We Are All About Voyaging

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AAC world headquarters, aka our cabin in the woods.

It’s starting to feel like the world is coming seriously unglued, what with COVID-19 and the associated economic disruptions, not to speak of some spectacular stock market volatility.

So what are we changing here at AAC? Not a damned thing.

We will continue to:

  • Publish every five to seven days, with the occasional holiday (vacation).
  • Work on our refit series.
  • Roll out more improvements to the site design over the next six months.
  • Be there most every day in the comments to discuss offshore voyaging.

Of course, all of that is dependant on neither of us getting sick, but then all of us, particularly those of us who are older, are facing that reality.

As you would expect, our new membership sales have fallen off a cliff, but most of our existing members are renewing. Thank you. So, provided that continues, AAC should stay viable long enough to ride this out.

And, despite both being quite anxious people, Phyllis and I firmly believe that this will pass in time, so we are going to do everything we can to make sure that AAC is still around doing what we do when things get better.

Of course, all that’s pretty inconsequential at a time like this, when we are all fearful for the health of our loved ones and ourselves, and many will be struggling with money challenges. Know that Phyllis and I hope that things will be as good as they can be for you and yours.


Please limit your comments to any thoughts, suggestions, or questions you may have about how AAC will handle this situation. In other words, as usual, stay on topic.

To be clear, I will delete any comments of the “world is ending” type—plenty of other places to read that stuff! And don’t even think about mentioning politics or comparing how different countries are handling this.

In the same vein, going forward we will limit discussion to offshore voyaging. That said, if you need to mention the virus, or an associated problem, in relation to how you personally are approaching a cruising or boat issue, that’s fine.

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Richard Samuels

We’re racing on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon tomorrow, assuming the unusual March snow is gone by then. A social event after the race has been cancelled, as have most gatherings here. No St. Patrick’s day party at the club. Most stores are open. Grocery stores crowded with some empty shelves.Of course the world is going to end, in a few billion years, give or take. We’re all going to die, too. I expect, at age 67, I have twenty to thirty years. Life goes on.

Bill Attwood

Hi John
Wish you and Phyllis continuing good health. Like you, we are in the fortunate position of being able to self-isolate without problems. On reflection, that’s more or less our normal life style. ? The picture of your cabin in the woods produced an instant and violent surge of jealousy. Maybe some pics of outside would be nice as an occasional leavening of the serious stuff.
Yours aye

Marc Dacey

John, I just checked that 2016 post and it appears I still owe you a Gosling’s. So there’s that, at least.

Today the Canada/U.S. border was closed to “non-essential traffic”. Whether this will affect or retard our passage down the St. Lawrence at the end of April to haul out in Hubbards in June is, at present, unknown, of course. But we are wrapping up our refitting as if we are going to get there as it would be silly to stop now. Good health to all of you there, and I’m probably not the first one to note that the boat life is not nearly as affected by present events as is the, say, living in a condo and working in an office life.

Mike McCue

Hi John,

Happy to be a supporter of your excellent writing. I’m almost finished with what turned out to be a huge refit for my 1967 Cal 48 here in the SF Bay Area. Your articles and books have been hugely helpful along the way and you can count on me as a loyal subscriber for the long haul. I’ve learned so much from you and Phyllis as both a sailor and a boat owner. I encourage others to subscribe because it just makes sound financial sense. You’ve already saved me many, many times the cost of the subscription and those savings would have been even more had I discovered AAC and read your advice on refits before I started mine two years ago! 🙂

Finally, my wife and I started a company called Flipboard which is a great way to get more readers to be aware of your content. If you create a profile on Flipboard (free to do) I’d be happy to be sure we promote it to our millions of users around the world. Let me know if you do and I’ll see to it that we get it featured to our audience.

Take care of yourselves and thank you again for the incredibly useful advice and inspiration you provide to all of your readers.

– Mike

Norris Eaton

Hi Mike,

Flipboard is the first place I visit online every day. When I signed up, years ago, your interest in sailing was the reason I gave Flipboard a try.

While I have tried other methods of consolidating a variety of news feeds, I keep returning to Flipboard. I believe the winning combination is the quality content sources (NYT, Guardian, Globe & Mail, local Canadian CBC news, etc), being able to read a few lines of the first paragraph of any article regardless of whether the source is free (i.e Guardian) or paid (i.e. New York Times), an intro picture associated with each article, and new content arriving every few minutes at my personalized Flipboard “For You” tab.

Other than AAC, my other paid online subscriptions originated when I was able to browse a broad range of article headlines via Flipboard. As an example, I finally subscribed to the New York Times after noticing consistent quality article titles/intros featured daily on Flipboard.

John, having ACC headlines linked to Flipboard, with full articles still accessible as a paid service, should be an excellent way to promote the AAC website and possibly increase paid subscriptions over time.


Doug Merrett

Hi John and Phyllis,
Love the shots of BaseCamp, it truly does seem idyllic. The other thing that struck me in the photo was it seemed at first you were going seriously old-school with a micro-fiche reader. But now it looks more like some sort of glare shield for your monitor. Brought back memories of digging through the National Archives years ago looking at old records.
Doug Merrett

Timothy Grady

I do not understand whey subscriptions have tanked for you guys. It is still the best deal out there. Always a good [old school] perspective with the sprinkling of tech. Maybe more people are just casting off…

Andre Langevin

Stay safe John and Phyllis, altough COVID is like a flu on steriods, nobody wants to play the random roulette of genetic immunity system response. The Ocean Sailing seminar i should have had at Annapolis on March 27-28 was cancelled 🙁 and hopefully just postponed. While quiet at home i have been honing my digital skills by upgrading my venerable Navnet 3D (Windows CE) chartplotter from mechanical drive to SSD (yes it can be done although the disk is bitlocked). ALthough they are old like me, they work pretty well 🙂

Wish everybody a safe time

James Chase

I’m writing this from Solomons, Maryland, on-board my boat. I live in British Columbia, but I’m out here in Maryland for my final refit trip, before a planned TransAtlantic crossing in May… Now I’m facing the prospect of either going home sooner than planned, with unfinished work remaining- or stay and get the work done, but possibly end up being stuck here and unable to get home… the situation is fluid (bad pun intended). I’d prefer to just put my head back down, crank the tunes and get to work, but the necessary monitoring of the news is really getting overwhelming! Ultimately, while I know my plans for May could yet be affected too, I’d like to be ready if everything can proceed as normal…

Edward D Simper

Glad to hear everything is continuing. This is a great site!
We had intended to carry on west from Australia this year in Roundabout II but now it is becoming difficult to even get to the boat from our home in Alberta. Ah well, we do live in a lovely location on the edge of the Rockies, so not all bad. Self isolating in the backcountry may have to do.

Ted Simper
Roundabout II

Richard Elder

Hi John
Great that you enjoyed your Canadian Rocky Mt interlude. Here in Teton County Idaho the Targhee ski area closed a month early with 12 hours notice putting 300+ people out of work and triggering closure of the majority of business in the County. Unemployment went from 5% to 50% overnight in this two-stoplight valley, and the one supermarket was stripped bare in a day. Panic isn’t a pretty sight.

I’m at an age where I expect to be denied treatment should I contact the CORVID19 virus, so my goal is to stay healthy, active & outdoors.

My cruising plans for Alaska and beyond are on suspension like those of so many others. I’m left with the choice to self-isolate here with a large freezer and “work” to keep it stocked with trout and wild game, or head for the Utah canyonlands with my large base camp tent and follow the snowline north, hopefully into Canada during the summer if the border re-opens. So not all choices are bad!

Marc Dacey

We are looking at a mid- to late-June crossing to Europe, likely Halifax to St. John’s to Dingle, Ireland, so we are in the same boat, pun intended. Of course, whether we go or not will depend on which places, if any, are accepting visitors arriving after three or so weeks at sea. So you have my sympathies.

Dick Stevenson

Hi Marc,
Some FYI’s which I believe to be true, but please check out.
I believe the Azores have closed their harbors to visiting vessels and that anchoring is also not allowed. Iceland is or may be closed shortly. I mention both as they are sometimes considered bail-out destinations for the crossing you are anticipating.
Dingle was not a port of entry to Ireland a couple of years ago, although its location is perfect for boats coming from the west and wanting to cruise the west coast of Ireland: a not easy coast to get to. Contact me directly for a possible way to use Dingle as a port of entry.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Marc Dacey

Thanks, Dick. There is, in fact, a wrinkle: https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/71589/8bf801489bd04bbebd2cd5f81b03e358.pdf#page=1

As for Dingle, I’m just as happy to make for the usual port of Kinsale. A third of the geezers in Cork resemble me: it’s familiar turf. Thanks for the info on the Azores: Portugal is generally not in a good state, and I can’t imagine that wouldn’t include the Azores. I will contact you backchannel for your helpful suggestions, but I suspect the targets will continue to move over the next three months or longer, with implications for the attainability of all adventure cruising.

Wilson Fitt

Hi Marc, Dick

I cleared into Ireland at Dingle a few years ago with no formalities other than a phone call and faxing a copy of my passport. However, the world has been upended and all bets are off. I have been planning to sail over again this June to participate in the Cork300 hoo-ha, but that seems to be seriously in doubt now. Might have to find alternate adventures closer to home, here in eastern Canada. Oh well, there are worse fates.

Dick Stevenson

Hi Wilson,
Good to know. When I was there, a US flagged boat needed a well-connected local man to arrange a special check-in. Dick

Marc Dacey

Yes, our goal to clear in at Dingle was premised on that “show your passport to the camera” process. It was also premised on visiting a friend whose father’s farm is close to Dingle. But if she can’t fly home, we might as well clear in at Kinsale. Thanks for the memory: I concur that predicting the near future is hardly worth the effort.

Charles Starke MD

Dear John & Phyllis
Yay! Keep on writing to give us all some sanity and hope for the future. This is the best information in the world. I will renew and spread the word.
Best wishes and stay healthy.
Charles & Heather
Charles L Starke MD FACP
s/v Dawnpiper

Rob Thompson

We’ve had to bail out of our new boat build in Thailand and return to Australia to wait out the pandemic before returning, and hopefully find something productive to do towards the build in the meantime……

I’ve been wondering how cruisers might be dealing with border and port closures, and if anyone is getting caught out. What if your cruising permit/visa is expiring and the next country, or countries, closes ports to foreign vessels?

eric ploumis

I live in the middle of Manhattan (hardly a cabin in the woods) but did spend the weekend in semi-self-isolation, prepping my boat bottom in anticipation of an April launch. It isn’t that I wanted to be alone, it is just that it is a lot easier to find buddies to sail with rather than scrape-and-sand with 🙂 Lots of hysteria and paranoia here but the reality is there is plenty of everything (except toilet paper, go figure) and it is a lot easier to get around now that everyone is auto-quarantining.

Eric Klem

Hi John,

Glad to hear that you are continuing business as usual, it sounds like exactly the right thing to do.  


Michael Corboy

Hello from Whangarei New Zealand.
Current events are clogging the marinas here. not at all in a bad way. We are “locals” wishing to get into a berth as the boats by now will have started moving north. Back up the truck!
Crew cannot get here. Tonga is closed. things are shutting down day by day. Visa issues, customs/tax issues and the like.
A number of boats are just gonna head out to the islands and hang out for a bit. what else to do?
We are expecting a daughter back from Canada so she will go into self isolation and we are heading out to the islands and coastal cruising.
For all the world issues that are here and now, all we can do is “adapt and overcome” . I think life on a yacht in New Zealand is not such a bad place to be. It has, however bought up quite quickly, the issues affecting many people in the global issue.

Rob Gill

Hi John, latest info from Immigration NZ:
“Travellers with a temporary (work, student, visitor, interim and limited) visa expiring before 1 April 2020 who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply online for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued. Travellers with a temporary visa due to expire between 1 April and 9 July 2020 will have their visas extended to late September. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.”
So visiting yachts already in the country will be OK to stay – they won’t be able to depart for the Pacific Islands or Australia. NZ is in close “family group” lock-down from tonight NZ time. Everyone to stay home.
And Coastguard is advertising it doesn’t want people out on the water either, and is requesting (at this stage) no boating as this will increase contact through on-water rescues and pressure on hospitals from accidents. Best to find a marina or bolt-hole in walking distance of a super-market, and stay put for at least the next month. No socialising between boats.
Br. Rob

Iain Dell

Hi John – after decades in crisis response in both military then humanitarian roles, perhaps the most frequent critical failure is that people and organisations fail to plan or even properly consider the future while the cr@p is still hitting the fan. Ultimately, the test that makes such an overwhelming difference is not so much dealing with the emergency (although I certainly don’t want to belittle the effects) but how we recovered from it. Resilience in societies can only be built on the resilience of individuals so your ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude is a welcome change from the headless chickens who run around spouting that we’re all doomed. I think that by the very nature of what we do, us sailors are naturally resilient and so are in a good position to display some leadership in this situation among those around us.

Of course there’s a heck of a lot of uncertainty at the moment but the one certainty is that this thing will indeed end. Stuff the fact that I may be in a category vulnerable to COVID-19, my most pressing concern is that my boat is in one country and I’m in another!

Mark Wilson

Hi Iain

I am in the same boat as you. Me in London, the boat in Northern Italy. Clever place to buy a yacht this year.

Until this thread started I was feeling rather sorry for myself. Now I realise we are all in much the same boat. “Only connect”.

Now with a twelve year old daughter, whose school has just closed, I find myself wanting to connect with those voyagers who have sailed with children; both from the home schooling position and from the victualling one. For the latter I reckon that social distancing involves making limited visits to the shops.

We are off to our house overlooking the sea in Hastings, East Sussex. We are blessed by the arrival of the internet and mobile data; perhaps as significant an advance as the industrial revolution. And where we are we can purchase a lot of our protein from the open ended sheds of the Boys on Shore, the fathers of the men who crew the beach launched fishing fleet and who operate the D4’s and winches that launch and retrieve the boats. My wife stays in London and travels every day to her job in the most infected area of the city. She may not be a key worker but she is in charge of the women’s section of one of our national newspapers. Keeping people informed and stopping them behaving idiotically must be important.

I do have an old 28 footer near Hastings and that could become the perfect self isolating option apart from the weather at this particular time, a named storm virtually every weekend since January and the fact I don’t want to put my daughter off sailing for life.

First world problems I know. Virtually everyone of my generation that I know round here has decamped for their boat or their place in the country. We truly are the lucky generation; apart from the fact we are now the most vulnerable. I wonder how history will judge us.

Emile Cantin

I’m not too worried right now as it’s still winter here in Québec, so there’s not much sailing going on. However, we’re planning to cruise down the ICW to the Bahamas next year (not very “offshore”, I know), and I hope the current situation resolves in time.

Push-off is planned for September so there’s still plenty of time, but I’ve got a lot of work to do before that (upgrading systems & such), hoping that doesn’t get affected as well.

Jay Remick

Coming to the end of winter and with the current situation we feel very fortunate. We tuck ourselves away in our house in the San Francisco South Bay and when the cabin fever starts to set in we go up to the boat in the Bay and spend a few days. I think it is very important to pace ourselves since this Covid-19 situation is not going away anytime soon.
I thoroughly enjoy reading through your site and picking away articles that I had not read before. I’ll be very well prepared for the next cruise! Thanks for rounding out my day.

Drew Frye

To me, journalism and writing are two things, along with gaming and internet services, that should be safe. A good read is one of the few things shut-ins can still savor.

The difficulty is going outside for inspiration and content. I was sailing yesterday, taking some needed photos and trolling for ideas, but I guess even that may be restricted at some point. So far infection rates are low in my area and I can go sailing with zero social contact. But I will do whatever is asked.

Benoit Anthonioz

Hi all,
We were due to leave France to Tunisia where the boat is moored to prepare the next sailing summer, bags ready, full of gear and lists full of tasks.
Two days before departure, we realized it wouldn’t be possible, we were truly disappointed.
Now we are more than happy to be contained here in France, the kids came back from their studies places and we are enjoying a feeling of family life that we thought lost for ever.
It gives me time to read comprehensively AAC articles and that’s a plus also.
John, don’t worry about me leaving membership, it gives so much for the price !
Stay safe and make the most of the situation, it will soon be over. I just hope that after we will consider more life, relationships as precious things and less material belongings ?? Actually not certain at all ..

Rekka Bellum

Well, you got a new subscriber here. I’ve been meaning to get an account, because I’m a very green sailor and can stand to learn more. I am in Japan with my boat, and the situation here is stable, but uncertain. I take pride in my capacity to plan ahead, but for the first time in a long time I’m unable to do that? It’s a strange feeling.

Anyway, all this to say that I’m happy to help you continue to do what you do. Cheers.

Rodney Morris

HI John, we met on the docks at Annapolis where I suggested you look at the Maverick 440. Since then Oh! and I have sailed down the Chesapeake to Bermuda, St. Martin, Martinique, the BVI introducing guests to the cruising lifestyle. I am now the Bahamas. It is the perfect time of year to be here and a fabulous location to be sitting out the pandemic. The concern on Oh! is not the pandemic, it is where to go next to get out of the Hurricane zone. There are essentially 3 options, all with significant complications and none are risk free.
1. Go to the USA – But they could close at any moment and once I get there, then what? The infection rates are growing rapidly and the means to return to Canada tightening by the day. Plus, Canadian travel health insurance is no longer valid in the USA, which could be frightening. The only positive is that the Chesapeake area is the closest out of the hurricane zone option to home, which is Calgary.
2. Go to the Azores – currently closed but…they are accepting trans-Atlantic yachts on three islands. However, it is not clear if they are only accepting EU flagged vessels. I am currently looking into that. The Azores is currently virus free and probably the most beautiful group of Islands I have had the pleasure of visiting.
3. Go to Grenada – Not entirely locked down, but heavily restricted entry requirements and many questions remain as to being able to return to Canada. Hopefully, over the next 4 some weeks clarity will emerge for the better. It is a long voyage so it has to start by the end of April to beat the June 1st start of hurricane season.
All options require ocean passages, and a fairly big commitment without assurances Oh! and I will be welcome at the final destination, or able to return easily to Canada. Since I am Canadian and sailing solo, crew concerns are not relevant. However, they would be for any other yachts, especially with multinational crews and potential visa requirements. Our Canadian passports are golden!

Unfortunately, Nova Scotia is not an option as import fees on Oh! are prohibitive at this time. There is no doubt these types of concerns and others are shared by cruisers all over the world, each with their own twist, or circumstances. To help your subscribers navigate the current restrictions I would recommend
Then go to their Biosecurity links to see up to date restrictions world wide. A great resource and planning tool for cruisers in the current restrictive environment.
I enjoyed chatting with you on the docks at Annapolis and thoroughly enjoy the ACC articles, your World Head Quarters look amazing too! Thank you for sharing the photo.
Yours is the first site I recommend to every cruiser I meet. All the best to you and Phyllis and keep it up!
Cheers from Oh!
Rod Morris

Scott Johnson

On a positive and hopeful note, I just ordered an Ocean Brake drogue. Not giving up!

Marc Dacey

I had quite a positive experience with Angus Coleman over the phone. He’s clearly a bright and fastidious fellow whose fine product I hope never to use in anger.

Mark Wilson

So this is the land based voyage we are on.
Our 12 year old daughter has in the past 8 hours suddenly come up with a high temperature. Not super high. We know about those. Her late sister regularity had those. Children get fevers although this is a high for Georgie. We are used to ringing the emergency services. This evening we got someone who asked whether she had Corovinarus. How would we know ?
So we are are on emergency anchor watch. A familiar experience to all of us. Probably the storm will pass without danger as it usually does.
Everything we have read has told us that we, her aged parents, were the ones at high risk. We have already buried 2 daughters.

Mark Wilson

Hi John

Thank you for your kind words. Things are looking much rosier now.

We have had a scary week, the highlight being a visit to the red zone of the accident and emergency unit at our local hospital when Georgie’s condition seemed to be getting out of control. It was certainly an educational experience for a twelve year old to be surrounded by the sights and sounds of people suffering from this terrible illness.

But yesterday I had her out in the garden digging a trench to get down to the sand two feet below the topsoil; we are laying a sand base for a patio made from some large slabs of York stone we found when renovating. The house, named Rock House, sits on sandstone a couple of hundred yards along the cliff from the ruins of Hastings castle.

The weather this week has been unseasonably excellent and I look out at the big ships sitting on the horizon in the westbound shipping lane and dream of being out there too. World trade continues inexorably and life goes on.

Very best wishes to all


Mark Wilson

Hello John
Things are beginning to relax just a bit here. I ran past the Hastings and St Leonard’s Sailing Club on Sunday and they were launching their dinghies. Lasers seem to have replaced 505’s. I am signing my 12 year old up for lessons starting June 2nd. Have ordered an Arctic standard dry suit for her – remembering Easter holiday sailing courses in Bosham in the Sixties.
Our local marina has reopened. You can visit your boat. But you can’t take her out.
We look out our windows and are heartened to see the shipping lanes full of ships heading west. We even see the occasional cruise ship of an evening – moving very slowly. The world keeps turning.
Our daughter, who seems to have eaten too many sweets, is excitedly planning our putative drive to Italy in July to get to our new, to us, sub $100,000 Dufour 39 in La Spezia. She has found the perfect campsite near Dijon where we can break our journey. It’s probably not going to happen but we can but dream.
My friends tease me that I have been practising for this crisis all my life. And they’re not totally wrong. As cruisers we try to prepare for all possible outcomes. And as a members of the lucky generation life has been good to us. Shockingly, as a small family unit, this has been a golden time. We are statically voyaging through a memorable adventure. And if one of us old farts gets taken we haven’t got a lot to complain about. Thankfully the young have mostly been spared.

Brian Russell

I am reading the latest updates to AAC whilst anchored securely in the Exumas. The entire island system is completely shutdown in an effort to contain the virus. It is very refreshing and energizing to be thinking about innovative boat stuff rather than stressing about what will happen tomorrow or next week.
It looks like our planned Bahamas>Bermuda>Azores>Ireland>Scotland trip is going to time out, with the suspension of entry into most countries likely to last well into June (or beyond). Our expected crew, a seasoned Scotsman, can’t even get to his boat on the Clyde, let alone fly to the islands. Being “stuck” at anchor isn’t so bad: time to read War and Peace, paint, play guitar, work on photo books and films, swim, paddle or simply laze about if desired. I am trying to keep the thought that by choosing a cruising lifestyle we opted for experiences different from those we had previously lived. We certainly have had that wish granted! Attitude is key. Thanks for keeping AAC positive and focused!
SV Helacious

Richard Elder

Hi Brian
I’m sure you are starting to put some thought into where to stay if borders are still closed as hurricane season approaches. You might consider the fully enclosed lagoon at Alice Town on Eluthra if you have a big Spade or Mantus, or the similarly enclosed harbor at Royal Island. Both are fairly exposed, but they have mud bottoms instead of the hard sand common in much of the Bahamas.

Brian Russell

Thanks Richard, we’ve been to both places, really like Hatchet Bay/Alice Town. Apparently there are some old truck frame moorings on the south side to tie onto if you know where to look! We are planning, however, to sail to the Chesapeake area for hurricane season-our Markel policy requires us to be north of the Fl/Ga line. And we like the Chesapeake. Trying to get an extension on our cruising permit so we can stay in Bahamas until June. We fee quite safe here. The US will not turn away a properly documented US vessel and we have heard that folks are having no problem checking in using the Roam CPB app.

Albert Stahl

Like everyone my sailing plans are on hold; just concentrating on remaining healthy and in athletic shape… as one would endevor to do on a “very” long passage 🙂 as the saying goes
” more it changes, more it stays the same thing ” so as a scepticaI optimist look forward to being back on the water sometime soon. Us sailors are a very resilient lot, so keep safe both of you ! Cheers, healthy winds and warm regards