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Passage notes: Bermuda to Connecticut

“This is turning into an expensive passage.” Those were Jamie’s words to me after the latest breakdown on our third day at sea. A large block, used for the genoa sheet, had permanently parted ways with the track on deck. The passage started benignly enough, once we got going. Although the weather watch to depart […]

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Making friends with Bermuda blues

Bermuda made a late appearance into our cruising plans. Before we’d giving our routing back to New England much critical thought, the seed was planted with an email from a Bermudian. We have a few things in common; if we’d be visiting Bermuda, he’d love to meet up. It took a little while for this […]

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Passage notes: St Martin to Bermuda

Only one more passage separates Totem from landfall in the USA. The proximity is palpable, and conversation about what it’s going to be like has dominated dinner table conversations. The comfortable passage north from St Martin to Bermuda fostered cockpit discussion and navel-gazing under the stars, too. Here’s how it went. Passage metrics Distance: 872 nautical miles Duration: 5 days […]

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I admit it: I was wrong about the Caribbean

I’ll be honest: I didn’t think I’d like sailing the Caribbean very much. Too many people. No unique experiences. Credit-card captains on holiday. Commercialism. Surly locals. I have no problem admitting that my negative preconceptions were mostly shot down, as these islands have proven to offer a string of wonderful experiences. Here’s a smattering of […]

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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 […]

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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”) […]

At left, under tensioned luff; at right, slightly over tensioned; notice the knuckle in the luff near the head.

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… […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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