Éric Tabarly

March 1976, Toulon, France — Éric Tabarly visits Alain Colas on his new giant yacht, Le Club Mediterranee.
March 1976, Toulon, France — Éric Tabarly visits Alain Colas on his new giant yacht, Le Club Mediterranee.

The red trimaran alongside us crashes through another short steep sea and a jet of water with the ferocity of a fire hose blasts her from stem to stern as she claws her way upwind into a steady 35 knots at the start of the 1986 Route du Rhum race off the French port of Saint Malo. I haven’t caught a clear view of the skipper for the last five minutes and I ponder whether he, like myself, is wondering what on earth possessed the organisers to start a single-handed Transatlantic race in such northerly waters in early November.

Swamp Pop Princess


This post is a shameless plug for a friend. But what the hell, if you can’t abuse your position for a friend, who can you abuse it for?

Shelly and Dave are live-aboard sailors on their beautiful, and beautifully maintained, Apogee 50 Cadence, currently headquartered at Charleston, South Carolina, where we met them the first time we wintered there.

The Boat Galley Cookbook: 800 Everyday Recipes and Essential Tips for Cooking Aboard

boatgalleyI have to admit that I was leery about writing this review of Carolyn Shearlock’s and Jan Irons’ fresh-off-the-press cookbook, since John and I do a lot of cooking, both on and off the boat, and are a long way down the gustatory road from making casseroles with condensed mushroom soup and dried onion soup mix, the type of ingredients many boat-oriented cookbooks have traditionally relied upon.

The Last Fisherman in Ramea


It’s strange. I have never had any interest in recreational fishing. When other voyagers talk about the cool gear they have that always hooks a fish on an ocean passage and how good the catch was to eat, all I can think of is the mess on deck. It’s not that I don’t like to eat fish, I do, I just don’t have the hunter gene.

But what is stranger still, given the above, is that I have always been fascinated by commercial fishing and the men and woman that make their living in that most dangerous of all professions. I guess you could say that I’m kind of a commercial fishing groupie.

So it is no surprise that one of my most cherished memories from our cruise of the south coast of Newfoundland last summer was meeting and going tub-trawling with Kerry Hatcher on his 35-foot long liner Our Choice out of the island community of Ramea. But that memory is also tinged with sadness.

Ocean Navigator Magazine

ON201_OV12_download_edition 1

Those of you who read AAC regularly will will know that I’m no fan of the current state of the sailing magazine industry. Just how many charter-in-the-Virgin-Islands-with-cheesecake, so-we-can-sell a-bunch-of-advertising, articles do we need? Boring, boring, dull.

But there is at least one shining exception to the above jaundiced view: Ocean Navigator magazine, which has always stuck with its goal of providing real information, written by real seaman who actually go to sea.

A Big Adventurer In A Small Boat

A small boat anchors in front of the cliffs at Teltvika.On our way to Svalbard (Spitsbergen) in Morgan’s Cloud in 2002, we stopped at Teltvika, a cove on the west side of Bjørnøya (Bear Island), a virtually uninhabited island which lies at the halfway mark on the 550 nautical mile passage from Norway.

During our second evening at Teltvika, the fog came in pea soup thick and the wind started to blow hard. Around dinner time a very English voice came over the—until now silent—VHF, saying it was the sailing vessel Sumara calling for Bjørnøya Radio, a radio relay station on the north coast manned by a few Norwegians. When they were unable to raise Bjørnøya Radio, John managed to connect with them, only to find that they were hoping to anchor in Teltvika for the night.

Visiting The Gizmo Guru

Last weekend we had a pleasant break from our re-power project while visiting some good friends in Camden, Maine and giving a slide-show to some members of the Ocean Cruising Club.

While there, our friends suggested that we visit Ben Ellison, author of Panbo, the popular blog on marine electronics, on his aptly named motor boat Gizmo. Ben was very welcoming and we had an interesting chat about forward scan sonars and his upcoming test of a unit from Interphase. We also talked about the convergence of electronic cartography and cruising guides, a subject of considerable interest to us as the authors of the Norwegian Cruising Guide.

Ben Ellison of Panbo


When people, predominately non-sailors, find out that John and I live on our sailboat and cross oceans (well, one ocean—seems we just can’t shake ourselves loose from the North Atlantic), the thing they most often ask is, “Aren’t you afraid out there?”

Webb Chiles—Adventurer And Artist

I stumbled across Webb Chiles’ site today. For those who don’t know of him, Chiles is a single-handed multiple-circumnavigator, consummate seaman, writer of good prose and even poetry, and probably a little nuts—but then, in my experience, many of the most interesting people fall into the last category.