Archive | November, 2010


FAQ: Preparing for a Pacific crossing

Over the last few months, we’ve had a progressive number of questions from friends who are getting ready for their own Pacific crossing. I’ve aggregated the most common questions, and provided some information based on our experience this year. These answers are in the context of our 2010 path from La Cruz, Mexico (near Puerto […]


Thankful to be here.

off for a walk in Coffs Harbour Our quiet family Thanksgiving dinner last night, we went around the table talking around things we’re thankful for. To a one, the kids all agreed: they are grateful to be out sailing, to be living this life.


Getting to know Australia

Same same but different At first blush, Australia is so superficially similar to North America- the differences sometime catch you by surprise. It’s like there’s a little unexpected twist to everyday things. The coastline at our landfall, Coffs Harbour, for example- looked so much like the Oregon coast. Evergreen trees, rolling surf crashing onshore, little […]


Land ho!

At four days and 21 hours, Jamie sighted the coast of Australia. Poetically enough, it rose from pink clouds at sunrise. I was off watch sleeping (and happy to stay that way), but he woke Niall up for a bleary first look at our destination. Australia emerges from the pink morning haze Later that morning, […]


Day 5 – Almost there

Sunrise in the Coral Sea The wind has backed to the Northeast, which means we’re running dead downwind. It’s also lightened up considerably to 10-15 knots. We motorsailed, which is easier on the autopilot, a more comfortable motion, and ensures we can get in during business hours on Friday. I’m devouring a stack of cast-off […]


Day 4 – Fickle Autopilot

Big news today- we GYBED! Yes, it’s exciting things like this that make the day of the passage sailor. Petrels circling Totem The autopilot needs to be babied. When he opened up the gear box for another lube, Jamie found brass shavings- a sign the planetary gears are wearing. At least we replaced the plastic […]


Day 3 – Blue skies!

Totem charges along on a reach. I wake to the “beep-beep-beep” sound of the autopilot spontaneously shutting down. A less auspicious beginning to our third day, which is otherwise bright and blue. Jamie spends a few hours hand steering. I get breakfast and monitor the morning radio net while skimming through the autopilot manual. The […]


Day 2 – Cool and gray

Lumpy gray seas reflect the sunless skes, too overcast to cast a shadow. Our cockpit cushions have a light salt grit from waves that slapped the hull and splashed over the coamings last night. The sea state has eased considerably from our first day, so I cooked a hearty breakfast for the crew/family of eggs, […]


Day 1 – departing New Caledonia for Australia

After waiting for an early morning squall to pass through, we headed toward the pass through the reef. Looking for a push to get away from the coast and a full charge to our house battery bank before starting the passage, we motoredsailed away from our last of 24 tropical islands visited this year. Gray […]


Landfall in Australia!

Totem is in Australia! Our passage from Noumea to Coffs was a little shy of 900 miles, and Totem rocketed here in five days + 1 hour. It was near ideal conditions for us (average around 20 knots with apparent mostly square on the beam), and the most comfortable sea state we’ve had in a […]

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