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3 Sailors Rescued Off Panama

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After multiple days of flooding, three American sailors were rescued this past Sunday (May 30th) off the cost of Balboa, Panama.

The rescue has been attributed to successful use of their EPIRB on-board.

The U.S. Coast Guard News has the details:

The U.S. Coast Guard said it coordinated the rescue of three sailors aboard a sinking sailboat approximately 50 miles south of Balboa, Panama, at approximately 5:23 p.m., Sunday. The sailors, whose vessel was reportedly taking on water for several days, were rescued by the 600-foot motor vessel Glenda Meryl, an AMVER system vessel. Read More »

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Stop-Motion Pirate Movie Looks Awesome

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From the British makers of Wallace and Gromit, the new movie “The Pirates! Band Of Misfits” looks like a mix of swashbuckling shenanigans destined to be popular for kids and the occasional adult. The New York Times has this positive review, and has chosen it as a Critics’ Top Pick.

“You can’t always just say ‘aarrr’ at the end of a sentence and think that makes everything all right.” This is wise advice and not only for pirates and piratephiles of all ages. It’s also the closest thing to a lesson – also: pigs are not fruit – in the delightful stop-motion animation “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” a story of high-seas silliness from that British national treasure Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit). Exquisitely detailed – from its ocean breakers to the wavelike curlicues on a pirate’s luxurious beard – the movie is a curiosity cabinet of visual pleasures but so breezy and lightly funny that you may not realize at first how good it is. (You’re too busy grinning.)

Read the rest of the New York Times review here.

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Crash of the Week: Ocean Sailing

While not technically a crash, this is a great video of some of the incredible conditions aboard these submarines – I mean VOR sailboats. Amazing how much water they take over the boat. If you haven’t seen the Telefonica near-knockdown, definitely check that out too (see further down the page). Those guys are earning their paycheck on this leg.

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Crash Of The Week: Watch Your Fingers

Sent in from our reader – Steve – we had a fun time watching this one. This is pretty much how we’ve seen these types of incidences actually occur on the race course. You’re zipping along, and then all of the sudden wham. That’s one advantage of staying on the high side. Thanks Steve!

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Should Your Propeller Be Free-Wheeling Or In Gear?

Leave it to the internet to come up with answers like these. In a great example of individual testing, MaineSail from Sailnet has some great research that he conducted to get the definitive answer to his question: does a fixed propeller generate less drag for a sailboat when it is free-wheeling or when it is in gear (not rotating).

There is a caveat (ahh..you thought this was easy). All sailors should look to their owner’s manual on their transmissions. Some engine manufacturers like my Yanmars allow the transmissions to be put into neutral under sail. Others may not.
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Cruise Ship ‘Anchorman’ Caught Red-Handed

We reported on this earlier, but the Californian who ‘accidentally’ released a cruise ship anchor was recently sentenced. But the notable thing were the details caught on film – in this case he walked closely in front of the camera several times. It was also interesting that it was the stern anchor, and not the bow anchor which was dropped. Check out the video…

A California man was sentenced in Florida this week to two months in prison and house arrest after he drunkenly deployed the anchor of a Holland America cruise ship while the vessel was underway.

According to reports, Rick Ehlert, after a long night of drinking on Holland America’s MS Ryndam in November 2010, snuck into the cruise ships control room and released the 18-ton stern anchor which brought vessel, traveling at 18 knots at the time, to a sudden stop.

Luckily for prosecutors, the whole thing was caught on the ships surveillance camera leaving little doubt as to the identity of the perp. A federal judge sentenced Ehlert to four months incarceration — two months to be served in a federal prison and two months of home confinement — followed by three years of probation, a $7,500 fine and alcohol abuse classes. Read More »

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Crash Of The Week: Epic Surfboat Crashes

We can across these historic videos showing epic waves – and absolute bone-crushing crashes. These really show the amount of power stored in those waves, and the bravery of those willing and able to challenge that power. Good stuff.

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Heading South? Could Bypassing Bermuda Save Your Life?

Don Street writes this fantastic article, well worth the read, which highlights the pros and cons of three major routes. He also notes the high risk of the unstable weather systems during the months of October and November. With weather predictions in those months only good out 48 to 96 hours, a route to Bermuda from Newport places you at risk of unforeseen and dangerous weather patterns. Definitely an remarkable article from someone with enormous experience at sea.

Going south in late fall from such New England ports as Newport, Rhode Island, by way of Bermuda is basically playing Russian roulette. In 2011, the bullet ended up in the firing chamber, and as a result, two boats and one life were lost. (See “Hard Lessons Learned in the North Atlantic,” February 2012.) This has happened many times in the past, and it will happen again if sailors keep following that same route. The North Atlantic is no place for a cruising boat with a shorthanded crew when fall gales rile the sea.

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RYA Withdraws Certification For Hot Liquid Southhampton

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We reported on the rescue of four Britons as part of a training program run by Hot Liquid Southhampton. Well, the RYA has withdrawn its certification – never something done lightly – following this, the latest of a series of three serious safety-related incidents.

The RYA has today (2nd February) removed its recognition of ‘Hot Liquid Southampton’ as a provider of RYA training courses. This means that Hot Liquid Southampton is now no longer able to offer or run RYA training courses.

The decision was made by the RYA following three serious safety related incidents involving Hot Liquid Southampton between January 2011 and January 2012. Read More »

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$3 Billion Dollar Wreck Discovered Off Massachusetts Coast

Treasure-hunters have been awarded salvage rights on a WWII wreck estimated at over $3B. Well, that’s one way to earn $3 billion dollars – dive for it. I’d hate to discover it didn’t have the money you expected…

A Maine-based treasure hunter says he and his crew have discovered a sunken World War II-era ship carrying a trove of valuable platinum, gold and diamonds worth as much as $3 billion. The British government isn’t so sure.

The BBC reports that Greg Brooks and his Sub Sea Research crew say that they discovered the wreckage of the SS Port Nicholson back in 2008, but that new underwater footage showing a platinum bar and 30 boxes — believed to hold platinum ingots — confirms that the valuable metals are aboard and prime to be recovered. The wreckage is about 50 miles off the Massachusetts coast.
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Around America Solo Sailor Nears The End

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The intrepid solo sailor Matt Rutherford’s trip looks to be ending soon. With no books, no solar panels, a hand-driven watermaker, and failing electronics, this solo adventurer has made it three-quarters of the way around the Americas – including the dangerous Northwest Passage to raise money for the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), a nonprofit sailing program for people with disabilities, based in Annapolis. He is expected to arrive in Annapolis – assuming everything holds together – in April – from his current location off Brazil.

We covered his adventures earlier, but it is remarkable to see how far he has gone to date.

The Washington Post picked up the story this past weekend:

By now, some 20,000 miles into this audacious odyssey, nearly everything onboard Matt Rutherford’s boat is either flat-out busted, rotted through, waterlogged beyond repair or otherwise reduced to ballast. If the insidious Arctic fog didn’t do the job, seeping into every crevice of the 27-foot sailboat and all its humble contents, then the rogue waves near Cape Horn surely did.
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This Boat Nearly Lost Its Rig, But Quick Thinking Saved Her

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Sail Magazine has published a series of sea-stories on their blog, and we found one which I thought was particularly interested. The lose the pin securing the base of the jib, and nearly lost the rig while cruising in Key West. Luckily, they were able to keep the rig – the inner forestay, and a stout, overbuilt mast likely saved the day. A fun read.

My wife, Penelope, and I recently enjoyed a wonderful cruise through the Florida Keys. Our boat, Alizee, a cutter-rigged Cabo Rico 36, was in excellent condition, with fresh bottom paint and recently inspected standing rigging. We were completely confident in her.

After several days gunkholing south from Miami, we arrived in Key West to find the spring break crowds had beaten us there, so we stayed only a day before heading across the Sea of Florida to Fort Myers Beach. We left our anchorage in the afternoon and sailed on a close reach out through the Key West shipping channel. Laying a course for Fort Myers Beach, we enjoyed 10- to 15-knot winds for the next eight hours, trailing two fishing lines behind us.
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Crash Of The Week: 49er Mind The Pole

These modern asymmetrical spinnakers are great, especially when they’re set on a pole. Fast to deploy, plenty of power, they really give these boats an enormous amount of maneuverability. More importantly, they’re useful tools for sweeping the decks of competitors. Nothing says “I’ve got right-of-way” like a bowsprit across the back of a competitors head. No wonder these one-design, Olympic class boats are so popular.

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Fascinating Assessment Of Costa Concordia AIS Data

Fascinating analysis of the raw video including the last moments of the use of bow thruster, and other control decisions. 14 minutes – a long but interesting video. Contact is made around 7 minutes. Not a good day.

Reconstruction of the Costa Concordia, Narration by John Konrad, AIS Data by www.QPS.nl from gCaptain.com on Vimeo.

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Boat Cards: Do You Use One?

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It is always fun to remember all the great people you’ve met and see during sailing. But how do you remember their names, their boats, and their stories? Is there any way to help people remember you? Well, one common trick is to print a hundred or so ‘boat cards.’ Essentially the business card of your boat, they have the name of the boat, some contact information (email), a picture of you and the crew, and any other information which might be interesting (where you are from? Your certifications? Your astrology sign?).

These even work when you’re out for just a week or two.

So you tell us – do you use Boat Cards? Comment below…

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Volvo Ocean Race: No More Gambles

The VOR fleet – led by Puma and Camper – has emerged from their concealed positions surrounding Abu Dhabi and the Somalia region. But this time, they are taking no chances, with all six boats staying within 15 NM of each other as they try to make the most out of moderate 10 to 15 knot conditions. Next up, Sanya China. Telefonica, the overall leader, has suffered a gear failure (broken fitting on the Code Zero sail – damaging the sail), but has stayed within close distance of the leaders.

No, we don’t understand the Camper guys, but the Telefonica video is straightforward.

For the next 1,000 nautical miles, the Volvo Open 70 fleet will predominantly be on port tack in a drag race that is taking the fleet across the southern tip of Sri Lanka and into the Bay of Bengal towards the waypoint at Pulau We and the entrance of the Malacca Strait, nine miles off the northernmost tip of Sumatra.

The landmass of Sri Lanka is continuing to produce a slight wind shadow, which has slowed the fleet, but once clear of the island and out across the Bay of Bengal, about 125 miles to east of the fleet, the breeze will pick up and the charge towards the barn door will begin in earnest. Read More »

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Crash of the Week: Costa Concordia

It may not be the biggest cruise ship. It (thankfully) hasn’t set a record of lives lost, due to the efforts by the local Italian Coast Guard. It ran aground only 600 feet from shore. Yet for sheer spectacle, the grounding and abandonment of the Costa Concordia – the largest cruise ship ever constructed in Italy – is remarkable. As fellow mariners, we are stunned by the admission by the captain that he left the vessel in the midst of abandoning ship. The chaos, confusion and poor decisions when so close to shore and in relatively calm conditions is deeply disturbing.

Truly, Captain Francesco Schettino appears to give professional mariners a bad name.

Underwater video after the jump.


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Eight Keys For Sailing With Kids

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Sailing with young kids can be great fun, but also can be stressful. Whether you grew up sailing with your family, or if you’re looking to get your own kids out on the water, a little preparation can go a long way. So what follows are eight keys to make sailing easy for you – and the kids!

Feel free to comment with your own kid suggestions!

  1. Lifejackets On: This may seem obviously, but get them a comfortable, properly fitting life jacket. Insist that they wear it when they’re on deck underway. And don’t be afraid to wear a lifejacket around them as well, to be a good role model.
  2. Set Up A Safe Space: Kids, particularly as they get older, want to have a safe space which is theirs. A private bunk (with lee clothes), and a locker may be all they need to have fun and be able to go to their own private space to read, play games, or just relax. Make sure for younger kids as well you have a safe place for them to sleep. For our 1-year-old, our forward cabin can be completely cushioned, making it a safe and protected area for her to sleep at night.
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Crash of the Week: Just Can’t Quite Fit It In There

I have a great deal of sympathy for megayacht crews. They’re often required by their owners to do the impossible, or at least the very difficult. Owners, on the other hand, are often unaccustomed to being told no, and have little experience to understand how difficult something can actually be. For example, this week’s crash features the 45-foot wide, 236-feet-long, $86 million megayacht Azteca entering Simpson Bay through the primary bridge which is just 55 feet wide. With a strong blow on her beam. Ouch.

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Crash of the Week: Florida Policeman Edition

Note to boaters in Florida. When there is a State Police helicopter following your boat with a FLIR camera aimed at you, don’t drink. Also, it isn’t recommended that you drive into the side of dock. Might not turn out well. Happy Holidays!

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