Cruising relationships are different

Group of adults hanging out in a small swimming pool

Familiar names come into focus on the hulls of sailboats as Jamie and I walk along the gravelly hardstand rows. It’s like seeing old friends after the space of time and distance; variations in the gap bring recollections for some in a heartbeat, others in just a few beats more. Remarkably, among the 70-odd cruising […]

Challenging anchorages revisited

Miles and years slide by, but the feel of an anchorage sticks with you. Name a bay, and memories flood back: the quality of the holding. The way the swell could wrap around one end. The dogleg track to avoid a shoal. Returning to old haunts, the filter of experience casts a new light. Two […]

Migrating for hurricane season in Mexico

Cruising has seasonal rhythms; weather is the dominant factor, and for cruisers in Mexico it’s time to be in – or well on your way to – an area to spend hurricane season. From Mexico’s “Gold Coast” on the Pacific, the primary choices are south to El Salvador or beyond, north towards the Sea of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Then and now: sailing Baja nine years later

What’s your favorite place? We’ve heard this question a lot lately. Jamie’s current answer to the “best place” question is that he has 100 top ten favorites. His point (aside from the impossibility of picking just one) is that there’s context needed. Some places are favorites for the delicious food. Others are unforgettable for their underwater […]

Circumnavigation, check! What’s next?

At anchor before playa de Balandra, Mexico

Motoring north from La Paz, parched mountains reach up on Totem’s starboard side along a gently winding channel. On the far side of a wide blue bay bask the low desert hills of southern Baja. Tonight we’ll anchor in a quiet bay where the water turns to clear turquoise near shore, and we scan the […]

Northbound to Mexico: lessons from the country-per-day plan

birds on the bow at sunset

The Pacific side of Panama felt palpably different even before the channel markers switched near the continental divide, green buoys replacing red on Totem’s starboard side. It was partly an earthy smell of the hot wind blowing through the Gaillard cut. A changed quality in the light, maybe, on the far side of sawtooth mountains […]

What’s your favorite cruising destination?

With 71% of our planet covered by oceans, there is no shortage of places to explore by boat. So when asked what we thought were the world’s most exotic sailing location, well, I had to wonder: how could we possibly choose just one from among our favorites? I asked the question on Totem’s facebook page and […]