Archive | passagemaking

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 […]


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 […]


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 […]

PW screenshot

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 […]

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 […]


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 […]

Bulwers petrel bird

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 […]

motoring out

Passage report: Cape Town to Lüderitz, Namibia

Totem’s anchor dropped late in the day in Lüderitz, the southern of Namibia’s two ports, three days after leaving Simon’s Town. Weather and boat readiness finally cooperated to help us extract from the magnetic pull of beautiful Cape Town. Even confident I will find the next port fascinating, it’s hard to leave a place where we’ve […]


Watch Captain

Our friend Ty has accompanied Totem on significant passages . We’re very excited that he’s booked a flight to Namibia next month, and will join Totem again to cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean. A little backstory on Ty and our history together seems appropriate: this is a piece Jamie wrote about our indomitable seafaring companion. […]


Passage hindsight: sailing from Madagascar to South Africa

Sailing from Madagascar to South Africa is technically challenging. The Mozambique Channel separating them is famously dangerous, in particular for the effect of gales blowing up from the Southern Ocean against the south-setting Agulhas current. For a reference point that may translate better to sailors in North America, I’m told it’s comparable to experiencing a […]

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