Question: Next May we are taking our new (old) boat on a shakedown to Bermuda and back (our home port is Deltaville, VA, on the southern Chesapeake Bay). After that, we’ve been imagining a summer voyage in the Atlantic, maybe Azores-Ireland-Iceland-Canada-Chesapeake. My question is, is there a good route strategy for this trip? Answer: You [...]

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Question: Do you still do sights with a sextant? If so, where do you get the time signal from when underway? I found several shortwave frequencies for time signals on the web but the reception is extremely poor. In fact, I can’t get any useful exact time at all with my SSB receiver (Lowe HF-150 [...]

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Q&A: Magnetic Compass

Question: Do you use a magnetic compass to augment your navigation process? Answer: Yes, we do. We have a large Ritchie compass mounted on top of our binnacle. Despite having two flux gate compasses (it’s a long story why two) we like to check the course with the magnetic compass, which we treat as the [...]

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Q&A: Custom Log Book

Question: I read your article, “Knowing Where You Are“, in January’s Cruising World magazine and was wondering if I could see a copy of your custom log book page. Answer: Note that the blank column can be used for whatever you wish; we usually use it for recording water temperature, both when crossing the Gulf [...]

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The Problem After two days going to windward on the same tack, returning from Svalbard (Spitsbergen) to Norway, our bilge gas alarm went off. We searched everywhere for the source to no avail until I opened the gas bottle locker to a very strong smell of propane. Using soap bubbles I traced the source to [...]

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Many sailing writers claim that both people in a couple should have all the skills required to voyage before setting out, but is that really practical, or even desirable? Phyllis says not, and explains why.

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Reassembly

I am writing this while looking out the window of our rental house in Maine, admiring another gorgeous sunset over the beautiful waters of Penobscot Bay. There is about two inches of snow on the ground and on as much of the rocks as stick up above the water at high tide. The window I [...]

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Question: What do you use for heating on Morgan’s Cloud? Answer: We have an Espar D8 8KW (I’m not sure of the BTUs). It is one of the bigger ones they make and keeps us toasty in all weathers. One thing I would suggest is not to use the exhaust exit in the hull that [...]

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Question: Is keeping the interior of the boat dry in the midst of prolonged damp, chilly weather, and/or sea spray just a matter of dorade vents, hull insulation and your Espar heater? Do you have success keeping the interior dry or does it inevitably get damp? Answer: If you already have a boat, there are [...]

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After years of fighting with an unreliable diesel heater, we are very pleased with the Espar heater we installed in 2000. It is one of the bigger ones they make and keeps us toasty in all weather. One thing we would suggest, though, is not to use the exhaust exit in the hull that they [...]

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Fear, anxiety, call it what you will, most of us have it and going voyaging will trigger those feelings. But fear doesn’t have to spoil your cruise. John shares how he copes with his inner wimp.

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Furuno NX-500 Navtex

Navtex is an invaluable resource for weather and ice information. When our old Furuno combined weather fax and navtex receiver died, we balked at paying the high price (over a thousand dollars) of a new Furuno navtex and so bought another brand. So started a long story of not being able to receive navtex transmissions [...]

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We have found that having a forward scan sonar has made exploring in the high latitudes safer and more feasible. Instead of feeling our way along at 2 knots when off the charts, we can now travel confidently at 6 knots, since the forward scan reaches out up to 200 meters ahead. Also, the sounder [...]

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Alpenglow Lights

Before spending the winter in Arctic Norway, knowing we would be spending a lot of time below on the boat during the winter darktime, we replaced our old dim, inefficient overhead lights with Alpenglow fluorescents. What a difference! They give off a warm natural light and are beautifully designed and built. Not cheap but worth [...]

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Question: What can you tell me about receiving Greenland ice charts by satellite phone?  Is it a good solution and more reliable than weather fax? Answer: We have had problems getting ice information reliably by weather fax too, but unfortunately satellite transfer does not completely solve the problem either: We have an Iridium and a [...]

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