western sunset

Scruffy cruisers, coming soon to New England

Tomorrow morning begins the last chapter of our journey back to the USA. We’ll leave St Martin for Bermuda, and at the first weather window from Bermuda, we’ll aim for Connecticut. It’s been a lot of miles since departing South Africa in January! Too soon, western sunsets over the water like this one will be […]

8 busy iles des saintes

Skipping through the Caribbean

Slow travel is one of the benefits of cruising. Lingering weeks or months in a place let us better understand the cultures we encounter along the way. Getting to know people opens the door to experiences beyond the guidebook highlights or tripadvisor lists. To pass by nine different countries or colonies (right, actually “overseas territories”) […]

Mainsail Trim: luff tension

This post comes from Jamie, one in a series where he shares his knowledge as a tenured sailmaker. For more about Jamie’s experience in the field, see Sailmaker SAYS!.  Hey sailmaker. Tell me about luff tension. Hey dude, this isn’t Dear Abby. I won’t cover love tension or any other emotional instability you may have… […]

beach SUP paddleboard lesson

On not playing tourist in Barbados

Across many of the countries we’ve visited most recently—South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, the British Overseas Territory islands—we stepped into the role of tourist with happy abandon. Taking massive road trips in South Africa, hitting up TripAdvisor hotspots in Namibia. Hiring a guide for day tripping in St. Helena. Renting a car and touring around Ascension […]

repair to mainsail head

Mainsail Features: headboard vs head ring

This post comes from Jamie, one in a series where he shares his knowledge as a tenured sailmaker. For more about Jamie’s experience in the field, see Sailmaker SAYS!. Pictured above, Jamie replaced a corroded headboard with a ring on the mainsail of Solstice in Madagascar last year. Why does the head of a mainsail have a […]

<i>Ty reading at sunset...letting the chilled vibe of this passage take over.</i>

Crew’s view: joining Totem for a passage

This post is penned by our crew across the Atlantic, Ty Anderson. We’ve known Ty for a long time (backstory in this post); he’s also been aboard for legs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. He wanted to share some of his perspective on life aboard Totem; this also seemed like a great opportunity to […]

3- asymmetric starboard

Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados wrap

Seventeen days (and five hours) after leaving Ascension, we made landfall in Barbados on a sunny afternoon. Impending arrival was heralded by small fishing boats: wooden runabouts with a small cabin and a miserable radar footprint. It made the first one a little extra exciting, as it barreled towards us at dawn about 50 miles […]

ocean garbage

Trashing the ocean: sending out an SOS

Carefully sealed into the wine bottle was a message from afar. Fisherman in Florida found and read the drift mail, learning that it was from a woman that sailed across the Atlantic Ocean the year before. They contacted the sender and after hearing her message was found, she joyfully related the story to a group […]

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Ascension to Barbados: notes from the passage part III

Continuing notes from the passage… installment three. We’re in the home stretch! Our crew, Ty, is working on a guest post: what do you want to know about life on Totem from his point of view? Ask in the comments here, Totem’s facebook page , or through the Contact form (they’ll both reach us on […]

6 countryside

South Africa in hindsight

South Africa leaves an indelible impression. During our three month stay we fell in love with it for a multitude of reasons, but frequently felt uncomfortable. The answer I came up with, again and again, when asked by locals how we like it: “South Africa is a beautiful, complicated place.” Very complicated. In the “pro” […]

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