Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

14 comments… add one
  • Brian Fuhr Dec 23, 2015, 4:27 pm

    Fine slideshow thanks, renews memories of ou travels on the east coast. But not the winter ones! Your Norwegian guide was a great help this summer in our jaunt to Lofoten and back. Good work and happy holidays.

    Brian and Kathleen
    SV Pelorus Jack in Portugal

  • Steven Schapera Dec 24, 2015, 12:39 pm

    Thank you for your kind wishes! A merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and all of the members. May 2016 be a year of happiness, fair winds, and new waters.
    Now….on another matter….[in the pic on the card] that has to be one of the BEST winter covers I have ever seen. I would love to get more info, as I have twice tried to make the “perfect” winter cover and have failed on both occasions. Does anyone have any knowledge of the one in the pic? It appears to have a frame giving it full support. Help please!

    • John Dec 24, 2015, 3:29 pm

      He Steven

      The cover originally came from Fairclough in Connecticut. I can’t say I liked that iteration very much.

      We then modified it here in Nova Scotia so that it would work with he rig in and the boat in the water. Michele Stevens did that work to a much higher standard than Fairclough.

      It now works reasonably well, which it should, considering we could buy a decent second hand car for what we have in it!

      • Marc Dacey Dec 24, 2015, 6:04 pm

        Good to hear something nice about Michelle Stevens. While we are having our “ocean” main made over this winter here in Toronto, I have followed her loft’s notifications for some time, and a storm staysail and a few other items beyond my facility with a Sailrite await for our first winter in Nova Scotia.

      • Steven Schapera Dec 24, 2015, 7:09 pm

        Thanks John – yes, I knwo all about the cost as I too have spent a small fortune on covers to date. My thinking now is that without a framework of some sort, no “reasonable” cover will be able to endure the winds and rain of any storm. In my case, BECCA is left in the water, rig in, at her home marina of Carloforte, Sardinia. Storm winds can be quite severe, frequently with a lot of rain. This places a sever load on any inadequately supported cover. I am now thinking of fabricating a frame assembly out of either quite heavy wall poly-pipe (the black piping used to carry water in agricultural etc.), hoopped from side to side, similar in appearance to that of a greenhouse. Or, more rubust but also more costly and heavy, thin-walled galvanised tubing, say 1.5″ diameter max, with allen-screw clamps. I am fortunate in that I have plenty of space to store the frame and cover when not in use. Does anyone have any advice?

        • Eric Klem Dec 24, 2015, 7:39 pm

          Hi Steven,

          Given your location, I don’t know if this is possible but the best frame system I have ever used was kover klamps and 3/4″ EMT tubing. You buy the clamps and then go to your local supply house to get the tubing. They have a very good video on how to do the installation and it really is quite easy and forgiving. We used this system on our old boat and it took me about 4 hours to make the frame initially while working alone and then my wife and I could set it up in well under an hour and take it apart in less than half an hour. This is obviously a reusable system and doesn’t make sense for a one time job.

          We currently use a Genco cover which I bought used and a wooden frame that I made. It works well although the cover is wearing out and it really needs more support. I have been toying with the idea of making our own cover and using the kover klamps to make the frame.


          • Steven Schapera Dec 24, 2015, 11:31 pm

            That is great advice – just what I was looking for – I will contact them and see what I can organise.
            Much appreciated!

        • John Dec 25, 2015, 9:00 am

          Hi Steven,

          Our frame was made by Fairclough from 1″ and 1-1/2″ tubing. Part of the secret to a rigid structure is to add 1×3 horizontal fairing pieces—we have three lines each side. We attached ours with 3M filament packing tape, as per Fairclough instructions. This video gives a good idea of how it goes together:

  • Norris Dec 24, 2015, 1:27 pm

    Beautiful pictures.

  • Richard s (s/v lakota) Dec 24, 2015, 4:34 pm

    nice shots…just had difficulty reading the captions because of lacking contrast…cheers

  • Eric Klem Dec 24, 2015, 5:56 pm

    Hi John,

    I enjoyed the slideshow. At some point it would be interesting to hear why you decided to stay in the water for the winter instead of hauling. Growing up, we hauled our daysailor and skiff but everything else I normally sailed aboard stayed in because they were wooden. Once we got our own boats, we have always hauled so that we don’t have to worry during the storms and so that I don’t feel compelled to get aboard once a week.


    • John Dec 25, 2015, 8:54 am

      Hi Eric,

      Long story on storing in the water, but the short version is that the yard where we hauled last year had a major management upheaval. The result was that when it came time to haul we were not sure how things would pan out so storing in the water was our best option.

      And you are right, it’s a pain in the neck in the ways you mention, as well as being far more work to prepare properly, at least for the first year, than I would have believed.

  • Charles Starke Dec 28, 2015, 12:18 pm

    Hi John & Phyllis
    Happy Holidays!!!
    I have a Fairclough cover and found it excellent. Fairclough is very responsive and reliable. I store in the water. I could not paste the pictures here but will email them to you. Perhaps you would care to post them here with this post.
    We are above the hurricane gate in Stamford, Connecticut. I found a boat nearby that has not winterized in TWENTY years. He stores in the water and says the water one foot deep never gets below 38 degrees F. He winterized the water system since that runs above the bilge but does not touch the engine or generator. Thus, he is able to go out all winter, and he saves a lot of effort. I don’t have the courage to follow his example, yet.
    Also pictured is the new storm Trysail track. I wanted it to port since we sail the northern hemisphere, and to get out of a low up North, I want to be on Starboard tack and not have the trysail interfere with the offset Leisurefurl track. But the port side of the mast had the electrical run and would get interference from the track bolts.
    Best wishes

    • John Dec 29, 2015, 8:59 am

      Hi Charles,

      Hum, like you, I’m not sure I would risk not winterizing, but I have a temperature data logger next to the engine, so it will be interesting to see what the lowest temps are this winter.

      Glad you have had good experiences with Fairclough, unfortunately ours have not been as good.

      We are experimenting with a plugin that will allow pics is comments, so you can now try that.

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