Alida under tow

HAVING REMARKED in my last post on how my first outing this season was free of mishaps, I suppose it was inevitable something would go wrong the second time I got afloat. Fortunately, I was floating on someone else's boat. My good friend Phil Cavanaugh (fellow SEMOSA founder and officially certified Better Person) enlisted me and our mutual poker buddy, Charlie McCleod, to help him bring Alida, his Baltic 35, to Falmouth Foreside all the way from Rockland. Ironically, to finish the delivery we needed help from TowBoatUS, which is precisely what happened during my second outing of the season last year.

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MEM-DAY WKEND 2012: First Sail of the Season

Lucy on Lunacy's bow

UNLIKE LAST YEAR, Lunacy's first sail of the season with family aboard involved no humiliations or mishaps. We enjoyed a most excellent daysail in sub-10-knot winds (courtesy of the fabulous screecher, now in its second season) and sailed north off the mooring at Portland Yacht Services up to Chandler Cove, where we enjoyed lunch aboard and a short hike and some beachcombing on the south end of Great Chebeague Island.

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FITTING UNDER BRIDGES: View From the Masthead

Sailboat under bridge

FUNNY THING ABOUT SAILBOAT MASTS and bridges: no matter how much clearance you actually have, when you're standing in your cockpit looking up it always looks like you're not going to make it. Of course, the people who think to put bridges in our way do try to provide information on how much space is under them, even at various states of the tide. But still every so often the situation is ambiguous, and you're not quite sure your mast will fit.

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ARC EUROPE 2012: Outer Limits Holed By Whale

Outer Limits departs Bermuda

I'VE BEEN MEANING TO SHARE more about my time in Bermuda visiting the ARC Europe fleet, but I hadn't thought I'd end up having to write a post like this. You may have heard the news over the weekend: one of the 33 boats that departed St. Georges for the Azores last Wednesday was abandoned on Saturday after striking a submerged object believed to be a whale. Fortunately, no one was lost or injured. The boat, a Hanse 370 called Outer Limits (pictured up top slipping out Town Cut on Wednesday), belonged to an amiable Dutchman, Joost Gehrels, who I happened to interview the evening before his departure.

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ABANDONED BOAT: Cha Cha Up For Grabs in Newport?

Cha Cha in Newport

Cha Cha at anchor in Newport. She seems very secure (note deployment of twin chain anchor rodes) (Photo from

THE UNFORTUNATE SAGA of CHA CHA, the 52-foot steel cutter I first encountered in Bermuda back in the fall of 2009, continues. According to an article published earlier this month, the city of Newport, Rhode Island, is now seeking to seize the boat, which reportedly has been lying at anchor in Newport untended since sometime last year. If the city succeeds in this and decides to sell Cha Cha at auction, it could be a good score for someone. The boat definitely needs a lot of work, but at the right price she should be well worth the trouble.

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BERMUDA RADIO: Masters of All They Survey

Bermuda Radio, view from

The view from on high. Bermuda Radio's perspective on the world

I FLEW HERE INTO BERMUDA on Sunday to catch the start of the World Cruising Club's ARC Europe rally, which departs tomorrow afternoon for the Azores and Lagos, Portugal. It is not the first time I've flown to Bermuda, but this will be the first time I've both flown into and out of Bermuda, as I normally come (or leave, or do both) by boat. Which means I normally get to chat with the guys at Bermuda Radio (ex-Bermuda Harbor Radio), who are keenly interested in the comings and goings of anything that floats within 50 miles of the island. Over the years, in answering their interminable questions about my intentions and the gear I have on my boat, I've developed a great deal of respect (and even affection) for these fellows, so when I learned that the WCC had organized a tour of the Bermuda Radio facility I begged to tag along. For anyone who ever sails out to Bermuda, this a bit like getting to visit the Wizard of Oz.

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Avon inflatable valve

The valve, rehabilitated

SOME MAY RECALL that last year's sailing season aboard Lunacy began with a series of amusing mishaps, one of which involved my inflatable dinghy, a 9-foot Avon with a roll-up floor. The very first time I tried to inflate it, the stem of the valve for the keel compartment popped out like a jack-in-the-box and went flying into the water. I simply ignored the problem and spent the whole season puttering about in a dinghy with a flabby keel. This year, however, I resolved to fix the valve and so paid a quick visit last week to Chris Harrison at Chase Leavitt in Portland, who bestowed upon me a rebuild kit (Avon Part #V00001) for Avon A7, B7, and C7 valves.

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NEW SEA CHEST: Plus A Filtration Scheme

Seacock and strainer

I promised to share pix of my new seacock/sea-chest installation (you'll recall the old aluminum chest had corrosion issues) once it was in place. Lunacy got launched late last week and yesterday was my first chance to visit in a while. I was pretty pleased with what the guys at Maine Yacht Center have worked out here.

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  • Boats & Gear

    Evaluations of both new and older sailboats (primarily cruising sailboats) and of boat gear.

  • The Lunacy Report

    Updates on what’s going on aboard my own sailboat Lunacy: breakdowns, maintenance jobs, upgrades, cruises and passages undertaken, etc.

  • News & Views

    Updates on what’s going on in the sport of sailing generally (most usually, but not always, relating to cruising under sail) and in the sailing industry, plus news nuggets and personal views on all manner of nautical subjects.

  • Lit Bits

    Longer articles by me that treat sailing and the sea in a more literary manner, short reviews of nautical books I think readers might enjoy reading, plus occasional excerpts from nautical books that I’d like to share with readers.

  • Techniques & Tactics

    Tips and diatribes regarding boathandling, sailhandling, seamanship, navigation, and other realms of nautical expertise.



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