Roz Savage has already rowed the Atlantic and is now most of the way across the Pacific. Why is she doing it? To create awareness about the pollution of our oceans, one painful oar stroke at a time. You can read more here.
It's been a while since I have spent some time with Dylan Winter and his outstanding "keep turning left" series, aka ktl. If you haven't checked out out ktl you are missing somethings special. I have blogged about it before so if you know all about ktl skip a few paras.
Dylan Winter is a professional documentary maker and being a former BBC guy, he's very good. He writes well, has a unique style and his films are totally absorbing.
Back in 2008 he set out to sail round in Britain in his 19 foot
"shitbox" (his words not mine) verrrrrry slowwwwwwwwly, basically in a
series of languid day sails mostly at about 2 kts. By doing this Dylan
observes and narrates as he goes. You can see a sample here.
Each time I watch one, I remember what a beautiful country Britain is,
how many people get on the water in so many different ways and most of
all how much I miss by not taking my time to enjoy what's right in front
of my eyes. Less time fiddling with backstays and more time observing
I get lost in these videos. After some of the tougher days in the last year, there's been nothing better than plopping down in front of the computer with a good bottle of wine and soaking in his voyage up the Stour or encounters with Old Gaffers.
After producing over 30 or so 10-20 minute long mini-documentaries and running them on Youtube, Dylan has moved the whole shooting match to his own site. Now rather than watch the videos in Youtube's sub-optimal environment you can download HD quality videos to your desktop. Understandably, Dylan is charging for this but for a mere $5 you can watch at will for three months.
I didn't do it for a while, mostly because it seemed like a bit of a headache. For the price of a sandwich and a bit of Paypallery to wade through, you get to enjoy, what is in my humble opinion, the best online sailing bloggy, youtubey thing on the whole damn interwebs.
One feature which you should not miss is the map feature. Dylan has used Google maps to show where each video was taken and you can navigate to the videos this way if you want to. It's pretty neat.
What are you waiting for. Stop wasting your time on my blog. Go check out ktl.
Back in October, a British couple sailing in the Indian Ocean were captured by Somali pirates. Their ordeal has been a nightmare. They were separated for a while but seem to have been re-united. They have been in poor health not surprisingly.
According to Guardian, things are getting worse as Islamic militants linked to Al Quaeda have moved into the area. They offered to pay the ransom for the Chandlers to what end we can only imagine. The pirates did not accept their offer and are now on the run with them.
Lets all keep the Chandlers and the other 300 hostages in our thoughts and hope that the British or other authorities find a way to secure their release.
The Tillerman posed one of his toughest writing assignments ever. This one required a lot more thought than usual. What will sailing be like 15-25 years from now?
It's a big question. I contend that no mode of transport has evolved so dramatically in the last forty years as sailing. This may be seem like a weird hypothesis given the advances in space, air and automotive technology but here's why I believe this. In 1969, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completed the first non-stop solo navigation in 313 days. Francis Joyon did it two years ago in 54 days. That's nearly six times faster in 40 years.
I will spare you an in-depth comparison between their respective boats (you can read more here) but what other mode of transportation has made a leap like this? The short story is that in 1969 the best solutions to accomplish this feat were either a very heavy, slow, teak sloop or a relatively sleek, single-hulled, steel beast with a telephone pole for a mast. Joyon's 2008 IDEC was a tricked out, carbon-fiber trimaran. They are about as different as a Sopwith Camel and an F16, a Model T Ford and a Formula 1 car but the evolution was twice as fast.
There have been game-changing innovations in almost every aspect of the sailboat in the last 40 years: Design; hull and rig material; sail shape (e.g. BMO's wing); navigation technology; power to weight ratio; the way the sport is conducted; participation in sailing as a leisure activity; cost and more.
So what about the next period in sailing innovation? My bet is that it will be a little less exciting but still transformative.
Saturday Night was Cruiser's Dinner at RYC, a frequently held event where the very jovial group of cruisers at RYC get together for dinner. It's a jolly and fairly liquid affair, often accompanied by a talk on something or other. This Saturday, the something or other was "Rigging Tips" given by David Thompson from John Eggers. Eggers is a local sail-maker and rigging specialist. There aren't many businesses like these guys left and they have a great reputation. After listening to David for a couple of hours I can see why.
David is the kind of guy I am in awe of. He lives sailboats. The guy could wax lyrical about esoteric boat part names like strap tangs, the pros and cons of different cotter pin types and the benefits of wire rig over rod rig for hours. In fact he did so, much to the chagrin of some of the dinner guests who could only take so many insights about the dangers of corrosion on boom-stays. I hung on every word.
I took notes on everything I could and over the next few weeks I will post tips that David shared every Monday till I run out of them. I will start with the basics and I asked the most basic of question, which was patiently tolerated by the experienced cruisers around me, specifically, What Are The Basics of Tuning The Rig?
This is motherhood and apple-pie to most sailors but I found David's answers a good refresher that connected the dots for me. David divided tuning into two parts: Tuning fore and back-stay for helm balance, secondly tuning the shrouds for mast position and rig tension.