Ocean Voyaging

Stolen sailboat sails into hurricane

In an unusual and apparently tragic case reported on Boatwatch.org , a boat was stolen from its mooring and was sailed into a hurricane where a distress signal was sent but the boat was never found. On Friday, Sept. 10,…

North to Nome

With the changes in the Arctic, the Northwest Passage (NWP) is becoming an increasingly attractive trip to adventurous voyagers. In April 2020, I got a chance at making this famous journey when Matt Thomas, the owner of the 60-foot…

Crossing the Doldrums

For centuries sailors dreaded the aptly named Doldrums. This band of windless, hot, and humid weather near the equator could stall sailing ships for weeks, driving the crew to distraction with the monotony and sometimes even leading to the…

Sunrise wins the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race

The Fastnet Race, from Cowes, England, then out the English Channel to Fastnet Rock off Ireland and finally back east to end off Cherbourg, France, is one of the premier ocean races. The race course alone makes the Fastnet a…

Visual aids buoy buyers of new designs

When considering the purchase of a new boat, especially a new design that hasn't yet been built, you can't get enough input. You want to see the boat, exterior and belowdecks, from every angle. And when this aspect is considered,…

Transatlantic thoughts

Below is a recent email from Max Fletcher and Lynnie Bruce, CCA voyagers who sail aboard Juanona, a Nordic 40. Together they have sailed from Maine to the Azores, the UK and northern Europe. For the past two years they…

Overfishing and voyagers

While not every ocean voyager also is avidly into fishing from his or her boat, many voyagers do harvest fish from the sea and so the issue of fishing and overfishing is one that naturally concerns them. And even for…

Two dismastings dodged

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from J.R. Williams’ upcoming book on his sailing adventures, Tales of A Blue Water Cruiser. In the first few days of January 1999, I was busy getting my 59-foot steel ketch Havaiki…

A steel ketch built for sea

Our boat Havaiki was a 35-ton steel ketch. She was 48 feet on deck and 59 feet overall with the bowsprit and a six-foot…

Special Section: Marine Electronics

If you are planning an offshore cruise under sail, you need access to as much vessel data as possible in one single place. A multifunction chartplotter display is the nerve center of the modern offshore cruising vessel, bringing together chart…

Protecting your boat from overcharging

Earlier this year, I finally upgraded from lead acid batteries to lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries on my Valiant 40, Brick House. I’d researched for at least a year and South Africa, with its great tech base and good exchange…

Video reenacts Ever Given Suez Canal grounding

David Burch of Starpath Navigation examines the March 23, 2021 grounding of the 1,300-foot container ship Ever Given at 0700 local time at kilometer-marker 151 in the Suez Canal. Burch performs this reenactment with AIS data and an ENC chart of the…

Yes, you can still get Dacron

Our new Ocean Voyager 2021 annual issue has an informative article by Jayme Okma Lee for which she interviewed sailors on three voyaging boats about the decisions they made in replacing their cruising sails. One of the sailors interviewed was the cruising…

USS Constitution rebuild yields VP desk

Wooden boat owners know that wood is a beautiful material, but unlike fiberglass or carbon fiber, wood can fall prey to rot. And so wooden vessels can require rebuilding at times. A famous example of this is the USN's wooden…

A snazzier name for MFDs?

Is there a piece of marine electronics that does so much yet has such a non-descript name? The multifunction display, usually dryly shortened to simply "MFD," is a powerhouse that can combine electronic charts, AIS, radar, GPS, voyage planning, tide…

Research says Bermuda hurricanes getting stronger

For East Coast voyagers, Bermuda is an attractive option for an offshore passage. Either as a destination or a stopping point before proceeding south to the Bahamas and the Caribbean or east to the Azores and the Med. There's also…

The Magic of Landfall

So many of our words and expressions come from the world of ships and sailing: taken aback, by and large, hand over fist, a wide berth, a loose cannon, chock-a-block, and landfall. Landfall, to a seafarer, is the moment…

Optimizing Alternative Energy

A successful ocean voyage depends largely on the way we manage energy on our vessels, be it from the wind, the sun, the ocean, the auxiliary engine or a separate generator. As offshore sailors, our goal is to gain…

Digital tide tables online

In 2020 NOAA ceased publication of the printed Tide Tables in 2020. Another watershed in the move toward a totally digital world of navigational information. Working the Tide Tables was once an important part of any coastal navigation course (even…