Father Knows Best
Before my mother died last June, she sent me a subscription to CW as a "just because" gift. Having noo-dled around on sailboats from Sunfis h to 40-foot Beneteaus and having completed one Port Huron-to-Mac race, I consider myself a pedestrian sailor. For the past 18 months, whenever a new issue hits my mailbox, I devour the articles, always come away with new insight and knowledge, and hope to remember them while I'm crewing on a Ron Holland Cal and, of course, when I own my own boat.
The December issue struck me as especially bountiful. As I said to a friend,"How did they get so much information into those pages?" Thanks for a job well done! I particularly enjoyed Herb McCormick's piece ("Fathers and Daughters") and felt the same twinge of separation, only for me, it came when I shipped my daughter off to her first year in college. Blink, Herb, and you'll be doing the same!
Fred Mirbach via e-mail
In the final paragraph of "Managing the Main" (October 2005), Ralph Naranjo describes sailors heading out under jib alone: "The covered mainsail remains unhoisted, and there's a perception that the sail is too demanding for a leisurely sail with a short-handed crew." My point is this: Especially when sailing solo, it's easier to sail off a mooring under headsail and then raise the main instead of raising and setting the main before the headsail. Try it, you'll like it. It's quieter, smoother, and easier.
John and Peggy Laney Bayfield, WI
I juSt REcEivED my fiRSt coPy of a nEw subscription to Cruising World, and I was delighted to see "Managing the Main," on furling mainsails. "Hurrah!" I thought; finally some information to dispel the prejudices I seem to find when I ask the opinions of fellow sailors. I was, therefore, extremely disappointed to see that the article was factual but not that informative. Data about design and technology and trite comments from product spokesmen (I'm an ex-marketer myself) can easily be found on websites. What will never be found on manufacturers' websites, however, is an honest assessment of the sailing properties of these various systems, particularly under reefed conditions; now that would have been information.
For example, if a furling boom provides good sailing in reefed conditions and an in-mast furling system doesn't, then the extra expense of the furling boom is worthwhile. I hope you'll address sailing with these systems in the future.
Ian Ramsden Mystic, CT
In "The Yin and Yang of Life Aboard" (Passage Notes, January 2006), author Liz Shaw uses the comments of five women, me included, to illustrate factors that have helped us savor voyaging with a partner for many years. I'd like to expand on two quotes that became abbreviated and, to me, seem to have lost their true meanings.
First: I definitely fell in love with the idea of sailing because it was offered to me by a blue-eyed loving hunk of a charter-yacht skipper. He also enticed me by saying that if we planned it all correctly, we could be free from normal, 50-week-a-year jobs. We did find we could earn as we cruised, working about three or four months each year, with the rest of the time free for exploring and sailing. The jobs we took on ranged from delivering yachts to repairing, varnishing, and rerigging boats, from writing articles to organizing a wooden-boat festival. I doubt I would have enjoyed cruising half as much without those work periods.
Second: Yes, the majority of long-term voyagers eventually do move ashore. Though we came to know several men who lived on board until the very last days of their lives, the wives who sur vived th em did eventually move ashore. Twenty years ago, when we saw a run-down miniature boatyard and cottage in a beautiful cove on an island near
Auckland, New Zealand, we used the money we'd received in exchange for Ser-affyn and bought it as a home base, a place that could serve us when or if we decided to move ashore. We've returned to this home base several times. When Liz Shaw spoke to us, we'd come ashore to earn some cruising funds in the boatyard, write a new edition of The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew, and hide from winter, not to settle down, as is accidentally implied. Come springtime, we look forward to continuing our cruising life aboard Taleisin, where she waits for us in Washington state on Bainbridge Island, for as long as it's fun!
Lin Pardey via e-mail
Inverter Discussion Continues
I'm writing on behalf of Xantrex to clarify some points made in "The Perfect Wave," your November 2005 article on power inverters.
We test our products for emissions and susceptibility in accordance with the requirements of the appropriate regulatory bodies, such as FCC and UL. We think that it's in the best interests of our customers, and we work with these bodies to ensure that the testing is appropriate to the environment. In the case of emissions, for example, we think that it's more relevant to cover the higher frequencies, such as VHF, than the commercial AM band. Our testing indicates that the MS2000 is very quiet in the frequency ranges where common marine-communications equipment resides.
Our products also adhere to ABYC requirements, including the incorporation of a DC fuse inside the case, as you suggested is done by Victron.
I agree that 63 pounds is heavy for a two-kilowatt inverter/charger—we've taken steps that will result in our updated MS2000 weighing 10 pounds less than it does today.
Most important, we've never had a warranty problem with the MS2000.
Kevin Binnie Xantrex
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water => LAGOON 570. LAGOON 67.
The fog didn't actually lift—it leaned to the right, revealing just enough of the rugged Nova Scotia coastline. The Victorian towers of the Lunenburg Academy loomed into view. We took bearings, just in case the fog decided to sway back our way, and pressed on under full sail.
We were nine days out of Fort Lauderdale aboard Quetzal, our Kaufman 47 sloop, and I was excited about making landfall. I hadn't been to Lunenburg before, home port of the once-illustrious Grand Banks fleet, including the most famous schooner of them all, Bluenose II.
The passage to this hard-working fishing community was a pilgrimage for me. I planned to make the UNESCO World Heritage site my base for the summer, and on my wish list was a sail aboard the replica of Bluenose II and immersion in the lore of this legendary Atlantic waypoint.
The fog lifted just enough to cast an eerie glow on the wharves and planked buildings on the waterfront. I couldn't shake a strange sense that we'd sailed into a time warp. The waterfront was handsome, but then I noticed the "For Sale" signs, big ugly placards tacked on the buildings. It seemed like the entire harbor was up for grabs. What was going on?
We tied up along the wharf of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and made our way to the Old Seafood Fish Factory upstairs. Chowder, lobster, and plenty of Nova Scotia wine later, owner Alan Creas-er joined us. Creaser, a Lunenburg native, is an entrepreneur and sailor. His family goes back to the first settlers, but his concerns are rooted in the moment. He offered up details of the drama that was playing out on the Lunenburg waterfront.
It's no secret that the fishing industry along the Eastern Seaboard has been in decline for years. In Atlantic Canada, where fisheries make up the largest piece of the economic pie, the situation is dire. The region's biggest operation was Clearwater Seafoods. Through acquisitions of scallop quotas, or licenses, Clearwater Seafoods had come to own most of the
Lunenburg waterfront. The company shook the famous seaport to its gills in the fall of 2003 when it announced that it was moving its operation down the coast to Shelbourne and divesting itself of all its Lunenburg holdings. Clearwater decided to clear out and leave Lunenburg to its own devices—or worse, to the devices of real-estate developers.
Continued on page 14
In 1983,whenDaveMartinwas 19,heset off cruising aboard Direction, his Cal 25. A few years later, still sailing solo, he met a kindred spirit named Jaja, and the rest is the stuff of cruising legends. The two married, sailed around the world aboard Driver, a 33-foot steel boat, while raising a family. Bernadette Bernon, a CWeditor at large, caught up with the Martins in Maine, where they're building a house.
CW: What inspired you to go cruising?
Dave: Looking at pictures in Gypsy Moth Circles the World by Chichester and reading Robin Lee Graham's Dove.
Jaja: I loved school. I liked my job as a custom log-home designer/drafter. But I realized as I looked out my office window
that I was missing out on life! I quit, flew to the tropics to teach sailing, and, well, things took hold.
CW: Do you still have cruising goals?
Dave: Sure. Avoid the rat race. Live close to nature. Be self-reliant.
Jaja: My new goal is to winter in the Falkland Islands, summer in Antarctica, then spend the following winter in Chile.
CW: You're both in your 40s now. Looking back, have you changed since going cruising?
Dave: Living on a boat for years has given me a store of patience that serves me well when writing or when working with wood. In other words, I can blaze on and think creatively in the face of lurking boredom. Joke!
Jaja: I'm the same person—except for the wrinkles and gray hair. Cruising has shown me that there are different ways of doing things and that in the States we don't always see all the alternatives. Living on a boat shows that you can live a pleasant and comfortable life without most of the luxuries that people think are mandatory. You can make most things you need, and you can fix or jury-rig things—or else maybe you don't need them.
CW: What's your funniest experience?
Dave: When we arrived broke in Australia in 1990. Jaja was six months pregnant and tricked the Australian immigration officer into believing she wasn't. The government didn't allow people with preexisting medical conditions to enter the country. Jaja said she had a $300 monthly trust fund. There was no trust fund. We didn't even have a bank account! The official said it was good we had money because working was illegal. He pointed across the harbor to another boat and said he suspected the crew was working. After the official left, we dinghied over and they helped us find jobs.
CW: Your most dangerous experience?
Dave: Sailing our 25-footer in a four-day, 50-knot gale north to Fiji from New Zealand with 5-month-old Holly and 2-year-old Chris on board.
CW: Other than "Do it," do you have any advice for young cruisers?
Dave: Be minimalists. Keep the boat small and simple. Think of cruising as a backpacking trip, not a five-star resort experience. Learn to use a sextant; this is the only way to understand the movement of the stars and sun. Leave the laptop at home. Don't become an e-mail junkie. Tel! people you'll write letters to them every three months. Disappear. Live your life. This is your youth, and the experience is fleeting.
Jaja: Have a good time. Lie in the sun. Drink too much rum sometimes. Don't wear clothes.
CW: What's been your biggest surprise since going cruising?
Dave: Three children.
Continued from page 13
Tiny Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, home port to the once-illustrious Grand Banks fishing fleet, is a favorite stopover for cruising sailors.
A year after announcing it was leaving, the company slapped an asking price of $9.7 million on the eight wharves and 24 buildings it owned on the waterfront. Horrified that its once-hard-working waterfront might turn into just another tacky tourist trap, citizens formed the Lunenburg Waterfront Foundation. Their mission was to preserve the working waterfront, but first they had to secure the property. A showdown ensued. As the Foundation struggled to raise money, Clearwater played hardball.
The Foundation also had to define just what a working waterfront should include, especially without the presence of the fishing company. It hired consultants to offer a snapshot of what a working waterfront might look like, and an intriguing picture emerged. The plan called for creating a marine enterprise zone that would attract interests including commercial-fishing vessels, a base for tall ships, a maritime educational institute, boatbuilding and service facilities, charter-boat and windjammer fleets, a marina, a fish market, and cargo-vessel berths.
The drama played out all spring and into the summer. A deal fell through, Clearwater wanted more money, tempers flared, the waterfront languished. Everyone I spoke to fretted over the waterfront's fate. Would it be turned into condos?
The Government of Nova Scotia finally broke the impasse by agreeing to guarantee a loan to the Foundation. A fair price was negotiated, and on August 24, 2005, the people of Lunenburg bought back their waterfront—and their future.
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The sight of the pickup truck filled with gringos heading up the winding, dirt road was as amusing for the locals as it was exciting for us. It was one of the most memorable days so far during our cruise aboard Tao Min, our Magellan 36 ketch.
The gringos were really a group of cruisers heading for a work day at the Nueva Creation School in Colonia Vicente Guerrero, a small hillside community overlooking Zihuatanejo, in Guerrero, Mexico.
Known locally as "the $10 school with the milliondollar view," it was
built from used materials by the families of its students. There's no funding; the community relies on its ingenuity as well as assistance from charitable organizations to keep it running. The work day was organized so cruisers could help repair and paint the desks, install a newly donated cabinet, build stairs into the hillside trails surrounding the school, and complete other repair projects during their layover visits.
The opportunity was presented in conjunction with Zihua SailFest 2005 (www.zihuasail fest.com), which promotes interaction between cruising sailors and the local community. Proceeds from Sail-Fest benefit the Zi-huatanejo area's school for indigenous children, the Netzahualcoyotl Primary School, and other community projects. Other local charitable organizations, including Los Niños (www.losninos.us) and ProjectsZihua (www.projects zihua.com), also participated in the work day.
More needs to be done, but sailors said they found it very satisfying to contribute to the village in this vital and unique way. Most rewarding, many said, was the chance to interact closely with a small local community, and so appreciate the people's resourcefulness and their pride and appreciation of what they have, no matter how modest.
If you're headed Down Under, you'd best mind your bottom. That's the word from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, which last fall launched a one-year voluntary program that requires those arriving in Australian waters to prove they have a clean hull or arrange to have their boat hauled and cleaned within the week. The anti-biofouling measures become mandatory in October 2006. Officials estimate that 70 percent of the 250 marine pests introduced to local waters arrive via filthy hulls and onboard equipment, with the remainder brought in by commercial ships. They maintain, for instance, that recent incursions of the black-striped mussel in Darwin and the Asian green mussel into Cairns were both caused by small vessels. Cruisers can find detailed requirements for hull cleaning, record keeping, and inspections at the service's website (www.aqis.gov.au/yachts).
Cruising Kids: We Want You
Secluded anchorages and weeks at sea may be heaven for the folks, but all that time cooped up with Mom and Dad can seem like a somewhat hotter place to the kids aboard.
So if Ma and Pa get to have their yacht clubs and cruising associations, it only makes sense there should be a social club for all the cruising kids out there. And there is, thanks to 14-year-old Gaelle and 12-year-old Manon, who are crew aboard Shogun and the founders of the Cruising Youth Association.
"As two kids who are cruising round the world, we think it would be really good to know where all the other kids and teens like us are," the two wrote from Vanuatu.
Seizing an opportunity to play matchmakers of sorts, they came up with the idea of creating a "whereabouts" database
The crew of Shogun, in mid circumnavigation, wants to make contact with other young sailors via e-mail.
that can be sent out to association members monthly, showing where kids are in their travels and listing e-mail addresses so they can stay in touch. Perhaps they can even convince their folks to meet up and make a little noise in those anchorages.
For additional information and to join their association, contact Gaelle and Manon on Shogun via e-mail ([email protected] sailmail.com).
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