All Articles by: Beth

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NASailor 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for Sailors


Since last year’s NASailor holiday gift guide was so popular, we decided to make it an annual tradition. However, we’re getting an earlier start this year so that you can spend Cyber Monday shopping for stuff you actually care about.

Patagonia Bimini CapPatagonia Bimini Cap
This cap has sun protection flaps to help you avoid the dreaded ‘redneck’ look after a day on the water. And unlike your typical baseball cap, it also has a water repellent finish for wetter days.

Antal RingsAntal Low Friction Rings
Similar to the Dyneema soft shackles, these rings are a raceboat technology which has made the transition to cruising. They are flexible, inexpensive and light: use them to replace turning blocks, simplify a backstay, or divert a line to reduce chafe. We recommend the version with a dyneema loop already attached for gifts.

AquaBotixAquaBotix HydroView
Wow – a remote-operated underwater camera that can be controlled from your smartphone or laptop. Especially useful for inspecting the bottom of your boat or anchor set. So it’s a *little* expensive. You can’t put a price tag on cool.

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Are Rallies Safe?

In a post on Inside Practical Sailor, editor Darrell Nicholson discusses the wisdom of group sailing in the wake of this week’s death of sailor Jan Anderson, who was washed overboard while traveling from Newport to Bermuda with the North Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

Reflecting upon watching the boats in the ’98 Round the World Rally race by, he remembers that some of his fellow sailors weren’t impressed by the rally mentality.

“It’s an itinerary meant for madmen,” Read More »

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VOR: PUMA Leads Near Brazil

PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) led Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) by 55 minutes as they rounded the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha at 0405 UTC this morning. CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS) is expected to reach the island this afternoon and Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA) tomorrow around midday.

The leading pair are enjoying some champagne sailing now that sheets are cracked and they are beam reaching and averaging very good speeds of around 15 knots and, in the next 24 hours, we should see these two extend their lead. Read More »

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Laura Dekker Arrives in South Africa

16-year-old solo sailor Laura Dekker put to rest questions about her circumnavigation route with her arrival in Durban, South Africa this week.

The would-be youngest solo circumnavigator, who has crossed the Atlantic, Pacific, and now Indian Oceans, did not release her route or location during her voyage from Darwin Australia to Durban South Africa, leading some to speculate that she planned to take a route through the pirate alley of the Gulf of Aden. But her arrival in Durban after 47 days of non-stop sailing revealed that she is taking the “long way around” the southern tip of Africa. Read More »

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NSHOF Debuts Online Sailing Library

The National Sailing Hall of Fame, which recently honored its first group of inductees, continues to expand with the electronic launch of the Tom Morris Library.

The virtual library lists all of the books that will be contained in the Hall of Fame’s physical library upon the completion of the NSHOF building in Annapolis, MD. The first set of books come from the Walter Cronkite Collection — a donation of more than 225 books by the estate of Walter Cronkite, who was the former chair of the hall’s Honorary Advisory Committee. Read More »

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Caribbean 1500 Departure Delayed by Storm


Thanks to Subtropical Storm Sean, the Caribbean 1500 fleet will be hanging out in the Hampton, VA area for a few more days.

The fleet race to the BVIs / Bahamas has been officially postponed until Thursday morning, since the newly named storm is sitting right in the rally’s route. The storm is projected to head off to the northeast over the next few days but is generating winds of 40-50 knots in its current location. Read More »

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Interview With a Cruiser: Leander


The “cruising with an infant” bit was what originally drew me to this latest in the Interview with a Cruiser series, but I found the entire interview to be refreshing. Paul Robertson and Sima Baran sail with their infant son, Alexander Robertson, aboard Leander, a Bristol 41.

When asked what they wished they had known before setting off to cruise, they responded with this observation:

Most marine vendors do not share your goal of having quality work done at a reasonable price. Read More »

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US SAILING Releases Report on Mac Race, Olivia Constants, and Rambler 100 Capsizes


US SAILING released its independent studies of three sailing accidents on Saturday: the 2011 Mac Race capsize of WingNuts that resulted in the deaths of sailors Mark Morley and Suzanne Bickel, the 420 capsize in Annapolis, MD that resulted in the death of 14-year old Olivia Constants, and the capsize of raceboat Rambler 100 during the 2011 Fastnet Race.

What’s striking about all three of these reports is how much was done correctly in each situation. Read More »

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How Do You GRIB?

Sometimes I wish there were a Steve Jobs for the sailing community – someone who could create simple, intuitive software for sailors’ needs. Like reading weather forecasts. Serious cruisers quickly learn that the best way to do so is to download and read the GRIB files provided by weather services such as NOAA – in essence becoming amateur meteorologists. Read More »

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Volvo Ocean Race to Avoid Pirate Alley


Three days until the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain! Information about the route and the six teams competing is available on the race website.

For the first time, the race route has been modified to avoid the risk of piracy. Legs 2 and 3 – from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to Sanya China — will be interrupted to transport the ships through the pirate-laden waters of the Western Indian Ocean. Read More »

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What is Your Boat’s Comfort Ratio?

Are you in the mood for some math? Charles Doane over at Wavetrain has written a series of articles explaining some of the commonly used ratios to help understand boat performance. His first two articles cover the displacement/length ratio (which evaluates how heavy a boat is and thus how much power is needed for it to reach its hull speed) and the sail-area/displacement ratio (how well the sail-plan will provide the power needed to get to hull speed).

But I was most intrigued by the formula for a boat’s comfort ratio. Perhaps it could be better described as the “how likely is this boat to make me seasick” ratio. Read More »

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New Rocna Owner Offers Anchor Exchange

Inside Practical Sailor reports that a new firm, Canada Metal Pacific, has taken over the license to produce Rocna Anchors. As we posted earlier, beginning in 2010, some Rocna anchors were produced using a weaker grade of steel than their previous counterparts. Major retailer West Marine sent a notice to customers about the issue and then, last month, offered credit to customers who weren’t happy with their purchase.

Canada Metal Pacific has also offered an exchange to unhappy Rocna owners. President John MItchell issued a statement about the issue: Read More »

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Missing German Sailor May Have Been Eaten by Cannibals


This fantastic and horrifying tale may replace weather as a sailor’s worst nightmare. German sailor Stefan Ramin, who disappeared last month in French Polynesia, is believed to have been killed and possibly eaten by local cannibals.

The Telegraph reports:

After a week of searches, charred human remains and clothes have been found near a campfire in a remote valley on the island, raising fears that he may have been attacked and eaten by cannibals.

Testing in Paris will conclude whether the ashes belong to Mr Ramin, but is expected to take several weeks.
A squad of 22 police officers on the island are now searching for Henri Haiti, a local guide who took Mr Ramin on a goat hunting trip in the mountains of Nuku Hiva and is believed to be the last person to see him alive. Read More »

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A Narrow Escape from Irene


The monthly e-magazine News from the Bow has a great cautionary piece on the dangers of relying on an untested mooring ball (and an untrustworthy person’s word) during a hurricane. Contributor Adrien Rock nearly lost his vessel Dolphin when the mooring ball it was attached to dragged during Hurricane Irene.

Rock was told the mooring he was assigned to use for the duration of the storm would provide adequate protection: Read More »

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Six Years After Katrina, New Orleans Marinas Still Hurting

With the J/22 Worlds kicking off in Lake Pontchartrain today and the U.S. Women’s Match Race Championship coming next month, New Orleans seems to be a great place for sailors. But though the city is host to these high-profile events, many of the city’s marinas aren’t back to full working capacity six years after being decimated by Hurricane Katrina. Read More »

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Annapolis Boat Show: Beneteau Oceanis 41 Photos

Starboard side view

The 41 is the other new update to Beneteau’s Oceanis line and both it and the new 45 were on display in Annapolis. Check out the pictures below. A new feature in both is the fixed mainsail arch which serves as the base for the mainsail tackle and the dodger. What do you think? Read More »

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Annapolis Boat Show: Beneteau Oceanis 45 Photos

Forward hull: Note the pronounced chin carried back to the stern. This was also featured on the Sense line.

As we learned a few weeks ago, Beneteau released two new models in the Oceanis line this year – a new 41 and 45. We saw both at the Annapolis Boat Show and have photos. The 45 pics are here, with the 41 pics to follow.

For the new design, Beneteau added a fixed mainsail arch and moved the mast back to 47% from the bow. The open transom has a bathing platform that can be closed up while underway and then opened at anchor for easy water access. Read More »

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