The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Happy Holidays From Phyllis & John

I have to confess that coming up with an article to celebrate the world’s second end of year holiday season locked in a struggle with a global pandemic and undeniable climate change has been challenging.

The last thing any of us need is me blathering on about the problems we are all facing for a second year, particularly since Phyllis and I have avoided the bug for another year while living in Nova Scotia, a place that has experenced far less impact and suffering than most, and so are deeply fortunate.

Given that, after much brain wracking, I have come up with five positive things to write about:

Cruising Restart

First off, it is totally amazing and wonderful to Phyllis and me that so many voyagers have managed to get back out there again in 2021.

We can only imagine how incredibly difficult it was to manage the intrinsic challenges of cruising and the ever varying pandemic restrictions, never mind the weather that seems to be getting ever more violent.

To all of you Phyllis and I say:

Well Done!

To make your cruises happen, no matter how short or long, in this uncertain world, took real bravery.

You are an inspiration to all of us to keep the dream of going cruising alive.

Adventure 40

And talking of keeping the dream alive. Phyllis and I are very excited that nine years after I wrote the original article conceiving the Adventure 40, there is now a credible team dedicated to making the boat real.

We both look forward to watching Pascal, Vincent and Maxime come up with a boat that’s going to make a real difference.

To help that effort along, I plan to spend some time over the holidays writing articles that will reveal just how much work and progress these guys have made in the last few months. You will be amazed.

Changing Boats

On a personal note, in 2021 we sold our much-loved McCurdy & Rhodes 56 and bought a new-to-us J/109 that fits our future needs better.

I have to confess that the emotional wrench of watching someone else sail away in a boat that had for 30 years been our home and magic carpet to incredible places and amazing experiences, followed by the new-to-us boat’s mast being damaged by the trucker who brought her to Nova Scotia so we have not yet got to sail her, has meant I have felt far from positive about this change at times.

But now, after a little time has passed, we are pretty confident that we made the right decisions, both in selling the old boat and in selecting the new boat, and so are looking forward to focusing next summer on the pure joy of sailing and sharing here at AAC what we have learned while refitting the boat this winter.


While we did not have a cruising sailboat this year, we still spent a lot of time on the water together, rowing our sliding-seat 17-foot Whitehall named Fred (means “peace” in Norwegian).

We had our first row in March, with the tinkle of the last of the ice brushing the bow, and finally put her away in our garage just two weeks ago as skim ice started to form once more.

No question Fred has the best fun-to-expense and fun-to-maintenance ratios we have ever experienced with a boat—we wash her off once a year.

Still Here

And while thinking about things to be positive about, while our sign-up rate has dropped a bunch since Covid, we still have almost exactly the same number of AAC members as we did when we declared our intention to keep plugging away, doing what we do, back in March 2020.

A lot to be thankful for, particularly when we think of all the people out there who have lost their businesses and livelihoods to this scourge.

So a huge thank you to all of you who have stuck with us and made it possible to write today that our plans for the future are the same as they were at the start of this: keep doing what we do.

Happy Holidays to all.

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Alastair Currie

Thanks for the resource John and Phyllis, and the effort that is put into it, I appreciate (I am sure like many others) the information as it helps me to continually develop my cruising knowledge.

Indeed, the world appears to be crazy and the future far from certain. I do find the philosophy of the “Serenity Prayer” very relevant in these times, and one does not need to be religious to appreciate its simple message.

It was indeed great to be sailing this summer, considering the previous restrictions that we faced in Scotland due to the pandemic controls. The weather was also particularly bright and sunny, which helped. At some point the glitterati of the British Sailing scene arrived in force in Scotland, which was different, with their white ensigns and large yachts cruising around. They usually sail the South of France or Channel Islands, banned under Covid travel restriction at the time. Normally, they are a rare sight up my way. Conversely, a lot of local sailors didn’t sail this year either, no doubt trying to manage their affairs post Covid controls.

Wishing you both, and my fellow AAC associates, best wishes for the season and a great 2022. Lang may yer lum reek! Alastair

Patrick Ryan

Happy Holidays John and Phyllis! Thank you for for being so committed to AAC. I am so glad I am a member!

Rob Cochran

Happy Holidays! 🍻

Mark Ellis

Thanks for the fantastic effort you and Phyllis put in. So very much appreciated. All the best for the New Year.

Dan Manchester

Merry Christmas, and thanks for the objective and informative content!

Stein Varjord

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thanks to Phyllis, John and all the members for the best website in the world on long distance sailing. Inspiration and learning enough for a lifetime.

John Cobb

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

Thanks for the content (All the great commenters too). Best subscription money I think I’ve ever spent.

Huw Morgan

Nadolig Llawen to you both and to your regular commentary team! No glitterati down here on the Bristol Channel unlike the beautiful cruising grounds of the Scottish Isles…..Certainly some scary tidal surges around some of the big Atlantic storms, even when our tide was only 9 metres in Swansea. It’s bound to coincide with a bigger tide sometime soon but hopefully your great advice and my tough Dutch Winner 9.50 will keep me safe and not stop the smiles on the faces of my grandchildren. Keep it going please as I don’t make any alterations on my boat without checking your site first👍

Jane Anderson

Happy holidays, and thank you for all you do!


Happy holidays to you both. AAC is one of my most important cruising and refitting resources. My Westsail 32 refit is moving along much smoother and safer because of you. The devil is in he details and you cover them. Thanks again!

Frederick Gleason

Thank you for your Adventure Cruising efforts. It is wonderful to learn new things from experienced cruisers. Smaller boats have advantages too! Have a wonderful Christmas

Bruce Bayne

Happy Holidays, John and Phyllis. Thank you for the untiring effort and dedication to the sailing community through AAC. You are very much appreciated!

Charles Starke MD

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy new year!

Andre Langevin

Happy holiday from Antigua ! Yes cruising in 2021 is a challenge, but the rewards are worth it. Fair winds to all cruisers for the next year.

Rob Wheeler

Happy Holidays and thank you for the update. Eagerly awaiting news about the Adventure 40…especially since Cruising World’s BOTY comes in at only 2M!

David Zaharik

Thank you John and Phyllis… I too own a Whitehall but its the 11.5 Westcoast,,,, a bit more maintenance but she fits on the stern nicely… a wonderful relaxing way to exercise and putz around. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you both. Thank you for all you do.

Jorge Bermudez

I have never commented on anything, I’m more of the troll type but I appreciate your efforts and I always enjoy reading your posts particularly those related to singlehanding topics. Hopefully we can go back to Lunenburg, NS next summer, my happy place. Merry Christmas!

Viv Wright

Wishing you both a great Christmas and a better New Year. It’s good to read your blogs, articles and news, it keeps me in the frame of mind for sailing.

All the best,


Pascal BINET

Happy Holidays and best wishes from the French team 😉

Michele Del monaco

Thank you very much for your effort , very appreciated from an italian sailor (Rome). As I’m dreaming of building a rowing wherry, why don’t you share some ideas about rowing boats alternatives ?

Marc Jackson

Merry Christmas to AAC! Not a sailor, but I consider my membership an investment in daydreaming, worth every penny. Can’t wait for the A40 progress reports. Cheers to all.

Bill Wickett

Best wishes for this season. Thank you Phyllis and John for your detailed research and thoughts on this sailing life.

William Elliott

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I am thankful for you and the time you take. High return on investment for sure. I have a great custom bow roller thanks to your mentioning of Ed Joy and more skills anchoring and docking that I would have. (Oh and great advice on my oversized Spade).

Marc Dacey

John, it was your mention of our mutual shipyard that caused us to arrive in Nova Scotia in October of 2020. While we certainly didn’t anticipate staying a second winter in the same yard and in the same nearby rental, we have been treated kindly in Nova Scotia and enjoyed (after COVID made starting a circ seem imprudent) a summer of coastal cruising. Despite the inevitable fog, it was a great few months aboard that gave us a lot of information on how to proceed.

We know as little of what the future will hold for our offshore sailing plans as anyone else, but this doesn’t lessen our admiration for this site, which, as I’m sure is the case with many AAC subscribers, remains the only one for which I (happily) pay. And if we can’t cross oceans in ’22, we’ll at least be very well equipped to go to Newfoundland and perhaps farther, which puts our “problems” in perspective. I look forward to more great articles that, I hope, lead to our own improved seamanship.


There is a lot to be thankful about. I like your positive turn on the season.

I enjoyed a wonderful, if brief excursion across the Border into BC, Canada in October. Met with several friends. Worked with an inventor of AutoPilot replacement parts. Battled a 70 kilometer wind storm to sneak through the islands and across the border home. Some good sailing and seamanship skills tested.

Let 2022 give us the freedom to do and be, where and with whom we choose. May I accomplish my adventure the 360 of Vancouver Island. May all have a wonderful and fulfilling New Year.

Stephen Wardle

Happy holidays to all the AAC community!

John Gulliver

Thank- you Phyllis and John for providing such a wonderful site. You’ve created the most useful and interesting database that will aid any mariner looking to “up their game” in coastal or blue water cruising. I consider myself amongst the former group as I just purchased a 42 year old Tartan 30 which really doesn’t have the tankage (and other issues) for the longer passages. That said, I’ll be reading everything you put out and re-read many articles as I go through the various systems and make careful upgrades. Cheers to you and all those that contribute.

David Smith

Happy New Year! Death to 2021!

Many thanks for sharing — especially your the wisdom about making it work for both yourself and Phyllis.

As a 63-year-old, who hasn’t touched sheet nor tiller in > 10 years, I’m hunting for the right boat. I just started the RYA Day Skipper course and have dreams of sailing from Lake Ontario to the Caribbean and beyond. My life-long partner is not sure she even likes sailing, so we’ll figure that out in local waters, first.

Meanwhile, I’ve fallen in love with a vintage (antique?) Swan 36, which could be the perfect, safe, stable platform for local day-sailing — and maybe (with a refit) a forgiving, weatherly boat for adventure. She is, of course, utterly beautiful. Which, for an old guy, makes me doubly cautious.

Advice welcome!

Best wishes to all.

Steven Bibula

Hello John,
Thank you for continuing to ‘plug away.’ Your world HQ looks nicely cozy yet functional, although it appears to be hopelessly aground and topsy-turvy in addition!
While on the merits I disagree that we are ‘locked in a struggle with a global pandemic and undeniable climate change’ and I found it somewhat discouraging to read these things affirmed at AAC with such conclusive language, I nevertheless appreciate your work here, as well as the general spirit of open-yet-respectful dialog in the comments. My hope is that all on this forum might continue to rise above the rather intense external pressures to become polarized (reinforced by now prevalent cancel-culture punishments in store for those who dissent from acceptable opinion and practice) and instead, focusing on the common interests that brought us all together in this forum, decline to become sucked into the policing of one another over broader social and political narratives. For whatever we think about ‘Covid-19’ or ‘climate change,’ surely we can civilly discuss various matters (for example, the impacts of changes to maritime travel and quarantine as a result of public policy based on the assertion of this or that) without insisting that everyone affirm the official and ‘accepted’ narrative. You have so appropriately affirmed this in your comment guidelines, when you wrote that, on any given truly relevant topic, we should feel free to affirm something subjectively, while making every effort to avoid asserting objectively those things that might actually be disputable or, at a minimum, amenable to fresh insights from competing perspectives. Hopefully, we can all agree that specific assertions about the validity of the claim that there is a pandemic and climate change are irrelevant to this forum… we are properly concerned with a more narrow slate of items.