Two Yacht Losses, Many Lessons Learned

Earlier in the winter, I was saddened to learn of the loss of the junk rigged schooner Easy Go and today I was shocked to learn of the abandonment of the 42-foot catamaran Be Good Too; luckily there was no loss of life in either case. I think there is a lot we can all learn from both these cases [...]

Trans-Atlantic Single-Handed Sanity Check

Question [Edited for brevity]: I’d like to move my boat, a 50’ Hinckley Yawl, from Mt Desert, Maine to Mallorca, Spain and "do" the Med for 12-18 months. I’ve been thinking about single-handing her across; from Maine direct to Gibraltar. The boat is in good condition but 33 years old, I am in good condition [...]

Watch Out For Whales—Part II

Collisions with whales and dolphins are becoming an increasing concern for offshore cruisers, as I outlined in a previous post. But up until recently there has been no serious attempt made to quantify the level of actual collision events, or to plot their geographical distribution. Obviously, having some idea of where and when collisions might [...]

I am a fairly experienced Swedish sailor;  however, I have never “crossed the pond”. We have decided to buy a MacGregor 65. There are several for sale at good prices in the US, but very few in Europe. We will miss the most appropriate season [to cross the Atlantic]. Hence, I want to ask your [...]

Question: I'm thinking about sailing to Greenland from my home in Germany. My boat is a very sound 33-foot steel sloop, which I have singlehanded often. The natural way to go to Greenland from the German coast seems to be to use the stepping stones: Norway and/or Scotland/Shetlands, thence to Faroe and Iceland and on [...]

Question: We are toying with the idea of sailing the northern route [to North America from Scotland] with stops in Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Is that nuts? I know you have done it at least once if not more times. Our boats are sound, an Alden 48 and a Shannon 43, and we want to [...]

Watch Out For Whales—Part I

Another race, another whale collision, yet again ending in the loss of a boat and injury to a whale. Thankfully no loss of life, although one day that may not be the case. What is happening out on the oceans? Pirates everywhere, climate change driven hurricanes, and now homicidal whales? Well, the first and most [...]

Managing Ocean Currents

Chapter 10 of 10 in the Online Book Weather Reception and Analysis (Second Edition)

I have written a lot about weather up to this point in the book, but in many cases routing for the combination of the prevailing weather and any current or tide can be the most important contributor to a comfortable and safe passage. In this chapter I look at a real Gulfstream passage and discuss what to look for.

Trans-Ocean Navigation

Question: We are crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia. I found a large scale chart of the Atlantic (Imray Passage Chart 100). This single chart shows the entire Atlantic Ocean taking the earth's curvature into account and therefore does NOT have a compass rose to help steer by. I am having [...]

Rounding Cape Farewell, Greenland

Question: We are planning to cross the North Atlantic east to west via the Arctic route in June on the way to an attempt to transit the North West Passage. We plan to leave from Iceland on a passage to the west coast of Greenland and are wondering how close to round Cape Farewell [south [...]

Trans-Atlantic In An Old Boat

Question: I have my 36' Aage Nielsen yawl in Norway and I need to bring her home to Maine. I would appreciate your comments regarding my choice of routes. One idea is down to the Azores and then over to the eastern US; the reverse of how I sailed to Europe. The other option I’m [...]

After spending much of the last four winters in Maine and Nova Scotia refitting Morgan’s Cloud, John and I agreed that a winter in the Bahamas would be just the ticket. So when the blazing fall colours and chilly temperatures of early October indicated that Penobscot Bay, Maine wasn’t going to remain the balmy summer [...]

Risk Management, Hurricanes

Question [received July 11, 2008]: We’re in St. John’s, Newfoundland, waiting to cross to Scotland. We’re just about ready to go and the weather forcast is good for leaving. However, Hurricane Bertha is just south of Bermuda. The current forecast is for her to weaken to 55 knots within four to five days, and stay [...]

Question: I’m planning an Atlantic Crossing from Boston to Scotland. How can I recognize the best moment weather wise to leave for the safest crossing? Answer: Since weather forecasts are only accurate for about four days, at best, there is no way to manage the weather for an entire crossing of that length by picking [...]

Question: We're planning to sail from New York to Falmouth (UK) leaving around May 18th. Our plan is to sail WSW out from New York till we hit the Gulf Stream and then attempt to sail the great circle to Falmouth. We're debating whether to consider a more southerly route to stay clear of weather [...]

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