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Murder in paradise: is cruising dangerous?

A few days ago we learned that a cruising family was attacked on their boat in Guna Yala (aka San Blas), Panama, with the tragic outcome of death aboard. We met the New Zealanders in the Bahamas in 2017: their uncommon boat (a sky-blue trawler) and friendly crew made for memorable anchorage neighbors during a […]

Jerry cans on the dock finger. That monster at right is a 50 l tank, standard for Mexican fishing boats.

Tanked: mixology woes aboard

The dull thud of your heart sinking at that horrifying moment when you realize what you just did and consequences will follow: we all dread it. It happens anyway. Cruising comes with higher highs, and lower lows… pouring the wrong stuff in your diesel tank is one of those lower points. In mid-2012, Totem was […]

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New tools on Totem

It’s fun when you’ve been cruising for a bunch of years and can find delight in a few new pieces of kit on board. Here are a few new additions to Totem that earn their keep very nicely. What does that have to do with whales? read on! Laser rangefinder. OK, this has been on […]

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Totem’s Coppercoat application

Coppercoating Totem’s hull was a thrilling prospect, but pressure to do the application correctly gave me more anxiety any boat project in memory. The product features are substantial: a strong environmental case (nothing toxic ends up in the water, as with conventional antifouling paints), and solid financial value (the epoxy bottom should last for many […]

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Weather waffling: the passage departure decision

I watched from Totem’s cockpit yesterday as friends sailed out of the La Cruz anchorage. Their next stop: the Marquesas, French Polynesia’s nearest island group to the Americas, around 3,000 miles away. This week’s weather window spawned the first wave of South Pacific-bound departures from our corner of Mexico. When a big passage looms, evaluating […]

La Cruz provisioning

Cruiser karma: alive and well in La Cruz

Nine years ago this month, Totem rocked at anchor in this exact curve of coastline on the north side of Banderas Bay where we find ourselves today. We basked in the same sunrise over the sierras to the east, were enchanted by the same distant fireworks from Puerto Vallarta resorts in the evening, and maybe […]

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Crewing on Totem

For the 800 mile run from Puerto Peñasco to Puerto Vallarta, two coaching clients responded to our spontaneous offer for sharing the sail; Sam shares their experience in this guest post. David read the email before I did. And he’d already made up his mind not to go when he came upstairs to tell me. “It’s […]

Two Dolphins in sailboat bow wake

What 2018 taught us as cruisers

Pausing for reflection at the transition into a new year: living so much in the present, it’s worth stopping to draw out significant events that too easily slide into the misty past. Continuous learning is one of the great opportunities of cruising, and a few lessons stand out in 2018. We didn’t screw up homeschooling. […]

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Give the Cruising Dream! Last minute, no-shipping gift ideas

Need a little something at the last minute? Here are a few ideas to help inspire the hopeful cruiser in your life… or, put a smile on that cruiser across the anchorage from you! My favorite elves above, three years ago, on our mad road trip across South Africa to catch up with family in […]

Sailboat motoring with distant coastline ahead

Schedules, cruising, and the 800-mile passage nobody wants to make

“After this, no more schedules!” Jamie ranted a little while coiling lines at the mast possibly a little more vigorously than necessary while we motored into Banderas Bay yesterday morning. It’s a basic principle of cruising to avoid a schedule. Usually we’re pretty good at it, but this last week we sailed Totem more than […]

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