The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

John’s Thoughts & Photos, December 2012

“Fun Tax”


I got an email from yacht designer Ed Joy, about something else, to which he added the following:

I agree with the sentiments in your hull form article. Racers having great fun scampering downwind on their sleds are dreading the “fun tax” that must be paid when it’s time to harden up the sheets – not acceptable on a cruising boat.

I have seldom heard it said better.

Don’t Want Any Hunters Getting Hurt, Do We?


Sign seen at the start of a hiking trail. When your teacher said that “punctuation matters” she was right!

All That Shines is Not Strong


Stainless has a place on a voyaging boat, but we don’t think that place is the anchoring system.

Here at AAC we have long warned against using stainless steel chain for anchoring or moorings. We are not metals experts, but we have seen and heard of too many fittings and chains made from stainless steel failing in unexpected ways at very low loads. As we understand it, no matter the grade, stainless steel is more subject to becoming brittle, due to cycle loading, than other steels.

Now there are solid test results from our friends over at Practical Sailor magazine that will, or at least should, scare you away from stainless steel chain forever. And anyway, having stainless steel anchor chain, and/or anchors, makes your boat look foo foo!

Traveling Unplugged


No internet or cell phone here.

I have to admit that one of the first things we do when we get to a new port is get connected to internet, either via Wi-Fi or data over our iPhone. (The new iPads and iPhones with their built in “Hot Spot” feature work great for this, connecting all three computers on the boat to the internet, very simply and elegantly and with really quite good speed.)

But is being plugged in all the time a good idea? Does the constant urge and ability to get connected enhance or diminish the joy of travel? A friend sent  us a link to this article that makes a pretty convincing case that it is the latter.

Would we go back to the time, not really very long ago, when we were out of touch with friends and family for days and even weeks when voyaging? No, but we do agree that swinging too far the other way can diminish voyaging. Like so much in life, it’s a balance. And we will be keeping a weather eye on that balance.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

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