News & Views

SEA NYMPH RESCUE: Two Crazy Ladies and Their Dogs Adrift for Five Months

Sea Nymph

This story has been getting a ton of play in the mainstream media, plus of course the usual sailing-forum trolls who pounce like hyenas on any abandoned-boat mishap have been happily feasting on it. It does involve an unusual set of facts. Starting with the crew: one woman with 10 years of coastal sailing experience, another with exactly zero sailing experience, and two dogs, rather large ones, presumably with limited experience. Then there’s the fairly mild nature of the equipment failures that led to their drifting across the Pacific aboard their boat Sea Nymph for five months: an engine that got wet and wouldn’t start and a bent mounting bolt that compromised one spreader in their rig. Finally there’s the latest development: they claim to have been making radio distress calls throughout their ordeal, but it turns out they also had an EPIRB they never activated.

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EYE OF THE STORM: Cleaning Up the Mess in the Caribbean

Maria satellite image

Here we go again! As I write this Hurricane Maria, a Category 3 storm due to ramp up soon to Cat 4 strength, is bearing down on the islands of Dominica and Martinique with its eye projected to pass through the channel that separates the two islands by the end of the day. From there the storm should pass close by St. Croix tomorrow night, clobber Puerto Rico on Wednesday, give the Dominican Republic a glancing blow early Thursday morning, and then run right over the Turks and Caicos on Friday.

Maria track

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TANIA AEBI'S VARUNA: Abandoned and Up for Grabs in the Eastern North Atlantic

Varuna at dock

I have this straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, as Tania just dropped me an e-mail to help scare up some publicity. Though it no longer belongs to her, she’d really like the boat to be recovered. The boat (seen in a recent photo up top) being her old Contessa 26, Varuna, in which she sailed around the world alone as a teenager back in the 1980s.

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POPHAM BEACH PILING REMOVAL: The Politics of Beach Erosion

Popham pilings

So, about that arrogant CEO I mentioned in my last post: this would be Jackson Parker, who runs a heavy construction company called Reed & Reed, based in Woolwich, Maine. About five years ago Mr. Parker built himself a McMansion on Popham Beach--he calls it a “cottage,” in the best tradition of the old Newport elite down in Rhode Island--just down the beach from a small house owned by my aunt. WaveTrain riders with long memories may recall this is the house where my mom died over seven years ago.

Since buying his property and building his cottage Mr. Parker has decided he does not like a collection of old steamboat pier pilings (see photo up top) that jut up out of the water just off the beach, almost directly in front of my aunt’s house and just a short distance down from his. He may not like the look of them, or he may (as some contend) want to build a dock of his own, or, most likely I think, he may, as he claims he does, sincerely believe the pilings are causing the beach to erode.

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EDWARD ALLCARD (1914-2017): A Life Well Lived

Edward 1958

Sad news from the mountain fastness of Andorra: Edward Cecil Allcard, born October 31, 1914, died last week on Friday, July 28, at age 102, of complications related to a broken leg he suffered on July 3. He was the very last of what some have termed the “Ulysses generation” of bluewater sailors, which included such notables as William Robinson, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, Bill Tilman, John Caldwell, and Ernle Bradford, among others, who took up the sport in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Edward, who I had the honor of visiting with last year, was himself quite notable. He was the first to sail across the Atlantic singlehanded in both directions, the first to race across the Atlantic singlehanded (against Peter Tangvald in 1957), and was, I believe, the last of his generation to swallow the anchor, as he didn’t give up his last boat, Johanne Regina, an old Baltic trader, until 2006, when he was 91 years old.

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AMERICA'S CUP TAKE 35: In Defense of Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison

No, I was not rooting for Oracle Team USA in this just-concluded edition of the America’s Cup. And yes, like many others, I am quite happy to see the Cup go back to Auckland with Emirates Team New Zealand, and I am looking forward to seeing a new chapter open in the ever-evolving story of the oldest competition in sports. But I do not understand why everyone is now trashing Larry Ellison. Most of the post-event commentary I’ve seen would have it that Ellison is almost the devil incarnate, and that but for ETNZ he would have destroyed modern-day Cup competition.

How ungrateful can we be? I’ve never been a huge fan of Ellison’s, as loyal WaveTrain riders will attest, but I do think we need to give credit where credit is due.

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AMERICA'S CUP 2017: Catching Some Live Action in Bermuda

AC race village

It’s only a coincidence that I happen to be here while AC35 is going down, but it is a happy one. Yesterday I took full advantage of it and hopped on the special weekend ferry ($10 round trip) that runs direct from Ordinance Island in St. Georges out to the America’s Cup race village in the Dockyard. It’s a 45-minute run, all the way from the eastern to the western tip of the island. As we were pulling into the race village I could see the Defender Oracle’s boat was out on Great Sound, running through her paces in a light 8-knot breeze, and soon after I actually stepped ashore I saw she’d been quickly hoisted out on to the hard.

One of the impressive, and I assume expensive, features of these boats is that enormous cranes must be deployed every time you want to go for a sail in one.

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LADDER BAY: Eater of Yachts!

RM 1350 in slings

Late-breaking news from the W’Indies! Not one but two yachts have broken off moorings on the west coast of Saba in the past several days and both have ground ashore in Ladder Bay, a most inhospitable shore. The first was a sailboat, a French RM 1350, which reportedly was left on a mooring unattended while the family crew went ashore for a three-day holiday. The boat was refloated and towed to St. Martin, where it was hauled for repairs (see photo up top). An ugly bit of damage for sure.

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THE SEA IS NOT FULL: Preorder Your Copy on Amazon Right Now!

Ahoy all loyal WaveTrain riders and any other persons interested in ocean sailing and marine subjects generally. This is not a drill! You really do need to BUY THIS BOOK. By yours truly. Can now be preordered at Amazon at a price much lower than I personally would like to see it selling for. (But that’s Amazon for you.) One size fits all, and it is guaranteed to open your eyes to aspects of ocean sailing you never really considered before.

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