BE GOOD TOO RETURNS: My Favorite Abandoned Catamaran Appears On a Beach in Scotland

Be Good beached

How the worm turns! I posted my account of how I and three others abandoned the Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too 300 miles off North Carolina exactly three years ago today. And now here I am come to report she has just washed up on a beach in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I couldn’t believe it at first. A guy named Jef on the island of South Uist sent me the photo you see above just yesterday, plus a few others, and asserted he thought it must be Be Good Too. The only similarity I saw was in the reverse destroyer bows. Other than that it was impossible to say if it was the same boat or not.

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TRUE CONFESSIONS: The New Lunacy

New Lunacy bones

I have been shy about mentioning this to people, for various reasons, but now it’s time to come clean. You’ll have noticed I am trying to sell Lunacy, my faithful Tanton 39 cutter of the last 10 years, and some have asked what comes next. The answer, of course, is another aluminum boat. Two of the many things owning Lunacy has taught me is once you’ve had an aluminum boat, or a boat with a transom skirt, there’s no turning back. So, yes, the new Lunacy has both those things, though that photo up there won’t tell you much about the skirt.

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2016 VENDEE GLOBE: Battle of the Foils Denouement

Armel on Banque Pop

Last we discussed this the race leaders, Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss and Armel Le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire (seen above, celebrating the New Year), had just been in sight of each other as Armel passed Alex and then opened up a slim 15-mile lead. It seemed my remarking on this was a jinx for Alex, as Armel’s lead steadily increased from there, to over 800 miles, and it was starting to look like Game Over for Alex. After the duo rounded Cape Horn, however, Armel fell into light air while Alex powered on and in a matter of days that lead magically evaporated. At one point it shrank to about 20 miles(!) and as of today Alex is only about 130 miles behind, still with a serious shot of winning this thing as the duo, who are both now in the North Atlantic again, pick their way through a complex weather system to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne.

But wait! We also can’t entirely rule out the third-place skipper, Jérémie Beyou on Maître CoQ, who has been staging his own Furious Comeback since rounding the Horn and has whittled a deficit of well over 1,000 miles to 650… and shrinking… by the hour… maintaining speeds of around 12 knots as I write, while Armel and Alex diddle around at sub-5-knots speeds in the Doldrums.

As Yogi Berra would say: It ain’t over, etc.

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FOLDING RIB DINGHY: The Best of Both Worlds in an Inflatable Tender?

FRIB 265

We have discussed dinghies before, in a global sense, and I’ve also made it known that I personally prefer roll-up inflatables, primarily because they are easy to stow. But I’m always on the look-out for a better tender, so I spent a little time checking out these new F-RIB boats that were on display in Annapolis in the fall. They struck me as well built, neatly engineered, with impressive specs and pricing. The smallest boat in the range is 9 feet (see image up top), which is the size I always go for, and it weighs just 79 pounds and sells for $2,995.

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ASIAN MISFORTUNES: Cruisers Killed, Kidnapped & Gone Missing in Malaysia and the Philippines

Atlantis on beach

This is actually about two different incidents that recently occurred, and I shall defy expectations and tell the story with the happy ending first. This concerning a veteran Australian cruiser, David Lenton, age 74, who was reported missing by Malaysian authorities and was believed to have drowned after his yacht, Atlantis, was reportedly “found adrift and abandoned” in Malaysian waters, off the town of Miri on the island of Borneo, this past Sunday morning. Appearing with the news snippet announcing this was the photo above, in which the yacht in question is notably unadrift, and is instead aground on a beach, evidently with an anchor set.

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2016 VENDEE GLOBE: Southern Ocean Match Race

What a nail-biter! Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss and Armel Le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire have been swapping places at the front of the Vendée Globe fleet for some time now and are deep in the Southern Ocean, not too far west of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at the southwestern tip of Australia. Le Cleac’h is the French heir apparent favored to win the race at the outset; Thomson is the Great Anglophone Hope, the only non-French competitor to have any chance of winning the race since Ellen MacArthur came a close second to Michel Desjoyeaux way back in 2001.

The ugly twist: Thomson has broken off his starboard J-foil (just as Ellen MacArthur lost one daggerboard after rounding Cape Horn in the 2000-01 race) and is essentially fighting with one hand tied behind his back. As the image up top suggests, when sailing on port tack Hugo Boss is a bit tender.

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SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Delivery to Annapolis Completed

Departing Manhattan

Not surprisingly, the very best weather window for getting Lunacy from Huntington to Annapolis came over the Wednesday and Thursday of the Thanksgiving holiday, when abandoning hearth and family for the vicissitudes of offshore sailing would have cost many spousal brownie points. It’s hard not to feel a little anxious about these things this time of year. Every day lost means the day of departure, when finally it comes, will likely be colder, with a smaller weather window and a greater chance of stepping in something.

Not to worry. After the trauma of grinding my fingers through the anchor windlass I was due for a run of good luck. Stroke one: my old partner-in-crime Hank Schmitt (see image up top), a professional delivery skipper no less, was willing and able to ride shotgun on this next leg. Stroke two: it looked like our weather window was stretching out for a bit.

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ATLANTIC 57 CAPSIZE: More Details on the Fate of Leopard

Leopard upright

Inspired in part by disparaging critiques made on the relevant forum thread at Sailing Anarchy, Leopard’s skipper Charles Nethersole got back to me earlier than I expected to discuss details of the catamaran’s capsize last week. We had a long conversation this morning, and I also had a long conversation yesterday afternoon with Leopard’s designer Chris White.

The main critique on the SA thread has been that the crew was negligent, given the unsettled weather conditions, in not having someone constantly stationed in the outside cockpit ready to cast off sheets in the event of a sudden squall or something similar. After debriefing Nethersole, as well as studying written statements prepared by him and his two crew, Carolyn Bailey and Bert Jno Lewis, it seems pretty clear to me however that the event was so instantaneous, with so little warning, there was nothing anyone on deck could have done to prevent the capsize. Indeed, it seems the crew was in fact lucky to have all been inside at the time, as I should think anyone outside might easily have been lost.

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

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