Ocean Navigator - January February 2021

Drama in the Vendee Globe solo world race

After a start delayed by fog, the 33-boat fleet of Vendee Globe solo racers began the nonstop race around the world on November 8, 2020, from Les Sables-d’Olonne in France. The fleet was the largest yet for the race,…

Notable New Titles — Plunge

Former liveaboard voyager and self-professed “citizen of the world,” Liesbet Collaert’s memoir Plunge is, like many other voyagers’ memoirs, an account of passages made, life aboard, dealing with gear failure, experiencing tropical beauty and a freedom tempered only by wind…

A rescue from a ship captain’s perspective

On November 9, the 328-foot Finnish-flagged cargo ship Midas rescued three French sailors from the capsized 50-foot catamaran Hallucine in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal. Included among the rescued sailors was French racer Regis Guillemot. A…

Float plan: an excellent safety tool

Filing a float plan is a valuable safety tool and its usefulness is regularly borne out by real incidents. Take the case of SV Bonobo. The owner filed a float plan with a friend regarding a voyage from Cozumel to…

A digital sextant

Sextants are wonderfully analog optical devices. A sextant user from the 1850s would have little problem using a modern sextant. Now a company in South Korea has begun offering something it calls the Korea Digital Sextant (KDS) that digitalizes…

Prized pilothouse possessions

In my more than 30 years as a boat builder/yacht broker, I have enjoyed visiting hundreds of pilothouses. From 30 feet to 100 feet, tiny to opulent, at boat shows for a quick walkthrough and underway for days on…

Reports of aggressive killer whales

Orcas have battered sailboats off Spain and Portugal and the behavior of these large marine mammals has baffled experts. Sailors along Spain and Portugal’s Atlantic coastlines…

Snagged anchors and empty gas bottles

Every corner of the world’s oceans has their own peculiarities. The roving squalls of the equatorial Pacific, the steep winter seas of the stormy northern Atlantic, the dreaded gales of the Gulf of Tehuantepec and the magically flat waters…

Light in a pinch

Routes from Florida to the Bahamas are as short as 50 miles, but they all involve crossing the Gulf Stream and hopefully arriving during daylight hours and early enough to clear Customs. For most sailors, this means an evening or…

It’s not easy being green

How can it be that something you love to do makes you sick? The ocean is a fickle host, at times benevolent and mild, then obstreperous and cruel — often within moments of each other. One minute you’re in…

Scopolamine patches: strong medicine

The scopolamine transdermal patch is a prescription medicine and very effective in the prevention of nausea associated with seasickness and postoperative nausea. By 2017, worldwide sales of the drug surpassed $370 million and have grown since. As with most medications,…