Question: We are looking for a used boat to buy, and wonder if you could give us any pointers. We plan to cruise the high latitudes and circumnavigate with two people. The features we are looking for in a boat are: Full keel 32 to 37 feet long Cutter rig Over 11 foot beam Answer: [...]

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Question: Do you have views on breaking load of main anchor chain compared to weight of boat? Our new boat is 40’ long and weighs something like 12 metric tons (26,000lbs) and a ‘standard’ 10mm (about 3/8”) galvanized chain has a breaking load of approximately 6 tons. Answer: Some thoughts that may help you choose [...]

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We just got an e-mail from our friend Louis Nielsen. Louis has lived for over 20 years, mostly alone, in a remote cabin on the west coast of Spitsbergen. He is one of the last, perhaps the very last, people to make a living as a trapper in the Svalbard archipelago, some 500 miles north [...]

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There is an interesting comparison test of anchors in the October 2007 issue of SAIL magazine. All the usual anchor suspects are put through their paces but what stands out is the very poor performance of traditional anchors, particularly the CQR, against more modern designs like the Rocna and SPADE. The testers at SAIL were [...]

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Question: My wife and I have recently sold our 40ft Cambria and purchased an Able Apogee 50 for extended cruising. We were very happy with our 20kg SPADE anchor on our 40 footer and would like to purchase a SPADE for the new boat. At 50 feet and with an unloaded weight of 35,000lbs, we [...]

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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. The wimp within me shakes his head [...]

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Q&A: Which Ensign?

Question: I liked the beautiful twilight photo of your boat in Hare Bay, Newfoundland in this month’s Cruising World, and I showed it to a friend who’s been reading a manual on marine flag etiquette. He asked me what flag you’re flying on the backstay…and if the boat is an American registered boat from the [...]

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Question: I am a 46 year old professional in fairly good health and in good shape. I am wanting to reverse the steps of my great-great-grandfather, sailing from Belfast, Maine to Bantry Bay, Ireland. I plan to leave June 3rd, 2011. The boat I want to take is a Macgregor 26M. Is this solid enough? [...]

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Question: We are considering applying Coppercoat to our aluminum boat and would be interested in your thoughts. I have attached some correspondence that I had with the makers of Coppercoat that may help: Question to Coppercoat [edited for brevity]: I’m seriously considering Coppercoat for my aluminum cutter. I am confused by one group of advisors [...]

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Question: I’m thinking of leaving the bottom of my aluminum boat unpainted since I’m afraid of electrolysis caused, or at least made worse, by antifouling paint, particularly if the bottom is scratched. The boat is in fresh water, so she will not foul much. Answer: There is no reason why properly applied antifouling paint that [...]

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Question: We have reached a stage now where we want to be cruising very soon (world in 4 to 5 years, local waters well before that), and so we are looking at boats to do this. In two weeks or so we will travel interstate to see this boat: She is a Colin Archer design, [...]

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Question: I just read your anchoring article in Offshore magazine—a subject really close to our hearts, and went to your website hoping to see how you constructed/designed your bow roller. We have a pretty similar collection of large/heavy anchors, though we do still have a CQR as a secondary (soon to be replaced by a [...]

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Our last news letter described our circumnavigation of Newfoundland in the summer of 2005 and our return to Maine for the winter of 2005/06, with a plan to complete the refit of Morgan’s Cloud over the winter and move back aboard in the spring of 2006 to resume our cruising life. It was not to [...]

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