Archive | passagemaking

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Passage planning: the float plan

Writing a float plan is a simple thing to do, may be critical in the event of an emergency, and is all too easily set aside and left undone in the stack of tasks that precede going offshore. Provisioning. Checking the weather. Vessel integrity checks. Checking the weather again. What and why The bare minimum […]

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Efficient Sailing: passage routing

There’s a problem: many cruisers think that sailing performance isn’t important. Hey, cruising is about slowing down, right?! But dismissing performance is poor seamanship. Part two in a series. Efficient sailing is partly about sail trim and sail handling (that’s covered here), and partly about routing. With a few rules, routing from A to B can be […]

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Cruisers should care about performance sailing

There’s a problem: many cruisers think that sailing performance isn’t important. Hey, cruising is about slowing down, right?! But dismissing performance is poor seamanship. After some years of listening to cruisers disregard performance and gripe about slow passages, it dawned on me that confusion is to blame. Our good friend William demonstrated this last year during a […]

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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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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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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 […]

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Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados, part II

Continuing notes from the passage… from just beyond the halfway mark. 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, or through the Contact form (they’ll both reach us on passage). Day 6 This passage […]

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Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados, part I

Totem has been heading west for five days now. So far it’s been a beautiful passage: more gentle breezes than squalls, more pretty sunsets than gray skies. Departure Day I make a last run to shore, to mail a few postcards, try to visit a few people we met, and grab a last hour of […]

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Weather and communications on the passage

If you’re following along, you know we left Ascension Island a few day ago. Now, most of passages over time seem to top out around five days. We’ve had a few longer ones (especially in the Indian Ocean), but that’s pretty typical at the high end, and mostly they range closer to about three days. This passage, from […]

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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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