Posts Tagged ‘cruising’
Mankind has been decimating oceans since the first hominid figured out how to sew a net, and the net effect on sea life – fish stocks a tiny fraction of their size just a few decades ago, coral reef and major species extinction, and worldwide pollution – has been horrifying. But one group of critters has not only dodged the bullet – they’re thriving nearly everywhere.
That’s the conclusion of a recent study in Current Biology, as reported by Gizmodo.
Something strange is happening to the oceans. As coral reefs wither and fisheries collapse, octopuses are multiplying like mad. As soon as they perceive weakness, they will amass an army and invade the land, too.
Okay, that last statement is probably pure paranoia. But it is a bit unsettling that cephalopods—squids, octopuses, cuttlefish—are booming, and scientists don’t know why. An analysis published today in Current Biology indicates that numerous species across the world’s oceans have increased in numbers since the 1950s.
There are plenty of theories to explain the “squid…squid…boom!” effect, but nothing concrete just yet. We urge our Anarchist cruiser/fisherman friends to add these tasty cephalopods to your onboard fishing target list – they’re mostly easy to catch compared to more gamey fish (the experience of reeling in a 10 KG giant squid on a rod-and-reel is a truly special one) and they’re a great source of protein. Octopus require traps or spears, but squid are almost everywhere and you can learn to catch them here.
May 24th, 2016 by admin
This Question Of The Week comes from PNW sailor ‘wristwister’. Got your own hellish experience with a sewing machine or some advice? Share yours.
The first cushion looks like absolute crap. I’ll probably chuck it and do it again.
The second cushion is marginally acceptable, feeling pretty good about that one.
I completely botched up the third cushion last night. Tossed it in the trash.
…and early on I realized my old machine wasn’t up to the task so I spent some bucks on a more suitable machine.
But I must say, the ladies down at the fabric store are getting a real kick out of me. A clueless man walks in and they kind of gather around and trip over each other trying to help me.
Any of you do your own upholstery? After you finished the boat, did you toss the machine and say “fuck that, never again”?!
March 28th, 2016 by admin
For every bikini-babe-clad voyage like Elizabeth’s milk run or the No Expats assfest, there are a thousand sailors living real life on the water. They live a cramped and stinky life, they never see the green flash (unless it’s a bar name), they can’t find the right key for the Yanmar, and they lose their forestay on the first open water passage.
While these are the rites of passage that every cruiser must face, no one has told the story better online than the crew of the Pestilence from the “Anarchy Yacht Clubb” with the documentary known as Hold Fast. You can watch them keeping it 100% real in the full show above, and make no mistake – it’s both very entertaining and a required reality check for the whole family thinking of heading to sea for an extended period of time. Hold Fast is also a great reminder to prospective filmmakers out there that high-quality storytelling can overcome low quality footage, but never the other way around.
Blue Anarchy has some well-written and interesting how-to guides for basic cruising essentials as well; hit them up here.
December 21st, 2015 by admin
Long known to intrepid tropical cruisers, the nasty twin mosquito-borne diseases Chikiungunya and Dengue Fever have slowly been migrating from the Caribbean and Centròamerica towards the southern USA, especially the breeding ground for everything nasty; Florida. One of the dozens of little obstacles to the future of Key West Race Week, Dengue hit the Keys a couple of years ago, and while some scientists are figuring out clever ways to sabotage the Aegypti mosquitoes that cause the diseases, Mexican doctors have gone a step further with their announcement on Friday that they’d gotten approval for the world’s first Dengue vaccine for use in the general population.
This is huge news to the billions of folks who live where Dengue is something of an epidemic, where some 390 million cases hit every year; the ‘bone-breaking disease’ may be ultra-rare in America but it’s the scourge of the tropics, and anyone cruising tropical America or Pacific or Asia will not go long without meeting someone who’s been effected. So bravo to the Mexicans and let’s hope the makers of Dengvaxia have something that really works!
Check out their release here, and if you’re a world traveler with a date in the tropics, forward it to your doctor.
December 14th, 2015 by admin
It may look a bit like vaporware from a futuristic basketcase, (and it certainly isn’t going to win any ‘Prettiest Yacht Awards’) but in fact this is nothing of the sort; it’s a 53-footer from the desk of ultra-fast BMW/Oracle/Team USA alum Paul Bieker, it’s already under construction at Gold Coast Yachts in the Virgin Islands, and it’s a ‘high-performance cruising cat’ for the Seattle-based wners of the current J/125 Hamachi, though the new fish will begin her career racing in the Caribbean.
For more on the boat or to ask the new owners about it, head to the Bieker blog, and then over to the thread; or just read on. Bob Perry’s been doing design reviews in magazines for decades, so let’s follow his lead; here’s a review of the design from one of Sailing Anarchy’s most verbose designers, Chris Ostlind.
Personally, I like that Paul and Eric have pulled design cues from Polynesian boats while subtly mixing the forms with modern thinking. The raised Manu forms at the bow tips are very definitely Polynesian in execution and I feel that they serve both functionality, as well as providing a counter point to the same conformed styling we see in so many boats derived from “conventional wisdom” ideology.
There is a distinct, wave piercing capacity in the bow forms, while not giving away that precious interior volume that a cruising cat needs to provide the kinds of creature comforts that are the hallmark of a great cruising cat. The Manu shape at the bow gives a pronounced cutwater shape that parts oncoming seas and that philosophy holds down the length of the bow as it makes use of the beveled edge that gracefully submits to the need for a flat surface for going forward safely. That same shape enhances aero efficiency by allowing the wind and water to slide over the form rather than be forced to make abrupt changes of direction, which guarantee form drag losses. The shapes also enhance the strength of the bow through styling engineered geometry and that can ultimately save laminate weight in the build and potentially help with costs, while reducing weight in the ends of the boat. All kinds of thinking strata involved here.
The riskiest component of the design, to me, is the incorporation of C-boards to give foil assist. At typical cruising speeds and realities, these boards are maybe a nod to current fashionable ideas more than they serve as a real boost to sailing that most cruisers are not going to be doing while underway. That’s another argument for another time, though. I get that the shapes of the boards can be incorporated into the hull shapes with a beneficial result on interior volume, so perhaps that is really what the creators are after here and the lifting foil aspect simply came along as an interesting side application. The T-foil rudder are definitely a good idea for a cruising boat as they allow for a more stable ride overall with little of the penalty issues that the forward boards entail.
The deck house is a nod towards the history of the Polynesian voyaging Cat, to be sure and I fid it refreshing in its approach and as a counter point to all the Space Station looking cats we see in huge numbers. I find the uniqueness of this take on a design to be a terrific statement in stepping away from the drudge of “me-too” cat design that tends to make all the boats in the marina look like Accords and Camry’s… and it gets the sailors out into the elements a bit where they can enjoy much better forward vision and a sense of really being able to look around and take in what is happening to their boat in the environment. Yes, it’s going to take a real special person to own and operate this boat, but I think that’s exactly what the design team were shooting for. Something interactive, rather than simply another layer of structure that typically stands in the way of the experience of sailing in the weather, sun and wind. A lot of existing cats of this size are like tooling around in a medical waiting room, where this boat will be putting the owner, sailor directly back into the place where it all started several thousand years ago; definitely an attempt to reconcile our collective willingness to encounter a sterile sailing experience and call it good.
A pleasure to behold and contemplate.
August 21st, 2014 by admin
Ronnie Simpson continues with the bad luck, as well as with the perseverance that keeps seeing him through. Another great story from our West Coast (and now world) wanderer. As always, you can follow Ronnie’s adventures on his page at Open Blue Horizon, and we encourage everyone who’s enjoyed Ronnie’s great writing and enthusiasm for the sport over the past few years to send him a few shekels via Paypal – just go here and type in [email protected] as the recipient. Dig deep, please!
It’s the thing that every sailor who sails engineless fears most; dismasting or other major problem with a lee shore, big swell running and breeze-on conditions. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation that I found myself in yesterday off of Maui’s east side while sailing my cruising boat; the Cal 2-27 MONGO.
While en route from the West coast to Australia, MONGO and I had just completed a picture-perfect early season passage from San Diego to Hilo, Hawai’i and were now cruising downwind through the islands looking for surf. After three days in Hilo, MONGO and I charged the Alenuihaha Channel from Hawai’i to Maui; known as the most treacherous in the Hawaiian Island chain. The little boat reveled in the big breeze and big waves of Hawai’i, averaging 7 knots VMG for hours, deep-reefed and all. After a brief 22-hour passage, MONGO sailed into Kahului Harbor and dropped a hook.
A strong Pacific high and stalled upper atmosphere low threatened the islands with reinforced trade winds, heavy rain and a lot of swell. Anchored in Kahului, I sought the relative safety of a mooring ball on the leeward side of the island (in Lahaina) as opposed to anchoring on the windward side with a beach park serving as a lee shore. I would sail to Lahaina in the morning, hoping to hit the Pailolo Channel in between Maui and Moloka’i in the morning before the trades built to their daily max.
Up came the anchor and within minutes, MONGO was clearing Kahului’s breakwater and heading north up the coast of Maui under single-reefed main. Taking the scenic route, I stayed relatively close in to shore, watching the waves break on the rocky beach, sending white spray high into the air. Having become an avid surfer in the past two years, I am fascinated by viewing different bits of swell-exposed coastline. Engaging my self-steering wind vane “Francois” (named after VG winner Francois Gabart), I made a cup of coffee and then came back on deck to enjoy my private boat tour of Maui and another tropical morning.
With a coffee in one hand and the tiller in the other, I watched on in horror as the mast broke below the spreaders and immediately came crashing down. Why it occurred, I do not know, but all indicators lead to the starboard lower shroud’s toggle failing on my 4-month old standing rigging. The entire dismasting happened in the blink of an eye and was as unexpected as it was brief. Having now put the boat through its paces for 4,000 miles of coastal and offshore cruising, 2 haul-outs and a thorough re-fit that included new standing rigging, new rudder and all of the safety gear amongst many others boat bits, I felt that MONGO was battle tested, well maintained and imminently sea worthy. Why did the mast fail?… I was in disbelief at what had happened.
Close in to a lee shore with pounding surf and a steady 18-20 knot onshore trade wind blowing, I had no time to ponder what had failed or why. It simply had. I looked at the rig, saw that we weren’t holed and called “mayday” on VHF 16. I then grabbed the hand held VHF and immediately ran to the bow to begin trying to anchor my engineless, dismasted boat. While anchoring, I continued to confer with the Coast Guard on the radio. I dropped the rig in about 80-90 feet of water, unsuccessfully attempted to anchor in 62 feet of water and finally got the hook down in 50 feet of water. Now to gather the rig back on board.
With 9-11 foot pounding surf rolling under the boat and one wave breaking over the bow, MONGO rode the seas like a bucking bronco making the task of recovering the rig exponentially harder, while also inducing a serious rig-on-hull thrashing. I used a couple of halyards led to winches to begin winching the rig back up next to the boat. With the spar full of water and the main sail impeding my efforts, I struggled to get the rig back on board. An hour had passed since the dismasting. My anchor had held, the Coast Guard was on the scene and the rig was secured to the side of the boat. Had I had more time, perhaps another hour, I believe I could have gotten the rig back on board. But I didn’t. The Coast Guard was circling a disabled sailboat that was anchored just outside of big surf. They were ready to get the rescue under way.
With the rig secured to the side of the boat, the Coasties threw over a heaving line with two tow lines on its end. I caught the line and rigged up for tow. The USCG wanted me to cut my anchor rode, but I pleaded for them to help me retrieve my anchor. I was just dismasted; losing my primary ground tackle seemed unnecessary. The Coast Guard indulged me and powered forward so that I could retrieve the anchor and chain. We towed east to get into deeper water and then south towards the harbor. Halfway back to Kahului Harbor, a wave broke into the side of the boat and began ripping the mast away. The bottom section, which was pointed at the sky, swung precariously around the cockpit, missing my head by inches and ripping the front of the stern pulpit off. The top section of the mast began ripping stanchions out of the deck as the bottom section began to threaten not only myself, but my wind vane Francois as well. The port side of the boat was oil-canning and flexing horribly and there were already two holes in the boat by the hull-deck joint. I feared being holed worse, so I grabbed a rigging knife, cut the halyards and jettisoned the entire rig and the main sail. The man had been kicked while he was down.
With no rig over the side, we could tow at 5 knots, the helm was neutral and MONGO felt like a boat again. I cracked a luke warm Coors Light. It was the first thing to go right all morning. Back into Kahului Harbor, we towed up to the commercial wharf next to the harbor’s lone Pilot Boat and tied up. I was boarded by the Coasties, cleared and then we moved the boat to its own side-tie. My boat had been dismasted, but all’s well that ends well and we were back in port safely with minimal injury to myself, and despite MONGO getting pretty trashed, she’s salvageable. This hectic morning was finally starting to normalize. I began cleaning up the boat in an effort to restore order. An hour and a half later, an 8.2 earthquake hit Chile. Tsunami alerts were issued and the port began buzzing with activity. I was informed that the harbor closed at 6 pm and that if the tsunami posed a real threat, the area would be evacuated. The man was getting kicked again while he was down!
Side-tied to the leeward side of the wharf, I inflated my kayak (my dinghy) and rowed two anchors, chain and rode out to leeward about 40 feet. I then tied two old halyards to massive tires that acted as fenders on the wharf. I eased off on the halyards and took up slack on the anchor rode. MONGO was now secured at four corners some twelve feet to leeward of the wharf and 20 feet to windward of two anchors. Theoretically, she could rise up and down ten feet if need be. Whether or not she would push her keel through the hull remained uncertain. “Be brave, MONGO”, I whispered to the boat as I left. I took one last look and then pushed off with my skate board headed for the nearest bus stop.
I grabbed a bus and went to Lahaina; in part to get away from the boat, in part to head for the hills in light of a potential tsunami and in part to begin sorting out the logistics of what will come next. The tsunami never materialized in Hawai’i, much to my relief. A million thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to evaluate the situation and come up with a plan to move forward. I thought of the one thing that I didn’t have on board that I needed; a hacksaw. I realized I didn’t have one on board halfway between Cali and Hawai’i and added it to my list of things to buy in Honolulu. Not having this saw nearly caused me to lose the boat as the mast was pinned to the port side at a precarious angle and threatened to be holed more severely than she was, as I couldn’t remove the port lower shroud. I eventually managed to break the turnbuckle, freeing the rig.
I thought of the irony of sailing 4,000 miles (originating in Tacoma, WA) on my boat that I purchased for $4,000 only to lose the rig in 18 knots of breeze with only a reefed main up, less than a mile from land. I also thought of the irony that my friend Ruben and I left Kahului in 2012 and rescued the abandoned Bela Bartok and sailed her to Honolulu, only to be rescued myself two years later and towed into the very same harbor we had left from; Kahului Harbor, Maui. I thought of the fact that I had lost the rig on April Fool’s Day. Murphy was clearly a sailor although his sense of humor fell on deaf ears this time.
After much thought and reflection, I realize that MONGO and I were dealt a serious blow and my journey to Australia has run into its first major roadblock. Rather than throwing in the towel and abandoning the voyage, my resolve has been solidified. I will continue to sail my boat to more land falls, both near and far.
First things first, I will source an outboard motor bracket and bolt on a borrowed 4-horse outboard from the Alameda-based Valiant 32 Horizon. I then plan to head to Home Depot to purchase wood, screws and glue to build a temporary box-section mast and then set sail for Honolulu next week. Once in Honolulu, I will re-build. I will re-rig and continue on my journey, stronger than before. Hopefully you’ll follow along, and of course if you want to send any mail, I’d love to hear from you [email protected]
I also want to extend my sincerest gratitude to the US Coast Guard out of Ma’alea Bay, Maui, the Kahului harbor masters, Zach Streitz of s/v Horizon, my friend Leah whose couch I crashed on last night, and everyone else that has sent me messages of support. Let the next phase of this journey begin.
Aloha and mahalo,
Ronnie Simpson, s/v MONGO
April 3rd, 2014 by admin