Archive | March, 2016

niall on deck for arrival in ascension

Passage notes: St Helena to Ascension

Graying dawn had barely begun to lighten the sky when we left St Helena under a nearly full moon. The distance to Ascension – a little over 700 nautical miles – was slightly awkward. Leave in the daytime, and we’d arrive at night, something we really did NOT want to do. So we departed in […]

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St Helena for cruisers

On one hand, St Helena is an obvious choice for boats heading NW from Cape Town: it’s along the path of a logical route, whether you are pointing to Brazil or to the Caribbean. So it’s surprising that quite a few of the boats passing through during our two week stay were doing just that: […]

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Passage meals: what we’re eating at sea

What do you eat on a passage? How do you prepare food for everyone, and have enough on board? This question came from a few different places after our weeklong sail from Namibia to St Helena. I don’t normally track what we eat, but this time I’d been writing down our meals in the margins […]

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Distinctively St Helena

St Helena is unique in many ways, and many we’ve been able to experience firsthand during our week so far – coupled with the sincere friendliness of everyone we’ve met, it’s going to be a hard place to leave. I’ve confessed to falling in love a little with every destination, but this is different: I’m […]

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Reefing, by and large

When do you reef? How should you reef? What are some excellent ways to screw it up? A few thoughts from Jamie (filtered through fun with salty sayings and his fondness for puns). Many witty phrases stem from seafaring and sailing ships of yore. It’s a wonder that so few truly help while sailing. Three […]

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Exploring St Helena

St Helena is exceptionally isolated. The nearest point on Africa – Angola – is about a thousand miles away. Brazil is nearly 2,000. There weren’t any humans here in 1502 when Portuguese were first reported to visit. Arriving by boat, the steep rock face of the cliffs may not seem inviting, but for hundreds of […]

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Passage notes: Namibia to St Helena, part II

Halfway to St. Helena at a steady pace, more than 180 miles fall behind Totem on our fifth day at sea. We originally expected to have more than eight days on this passage, but weather like this could make it fly a little faster. Every day is warmer: no question that this is the tropics […]

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Passage Notes: Namibia to St Helena

The steady thrum of Totem’s Yanmar beat the departure march from Walvis Bay. Heading out under foggy skies, there’s precious little wind to tackle 1200 nautical miles and change to St Helena. That’s fine: much as we’d rather sail, this gets the battery bank fully charged, and the watermaker will run for hours; things we […]

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There’s this boat: Nalukai

Every now and then I write about a boat that strikes us. They represent a spectrum of styles (the classic plastic Mary Powell; the rocket boat Relapse; the traditional teak Kalalau; bamboo schooner Coracle) but all have a common thread: they probably aren’t the boats you’ll see promoted at a boat show or glossy mag, […]

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