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Contents Issue #241

May/June 2017


Features Ocean Voyaging

24 Natural-born sailors

The inspiring idyllic Ninigo Islands of Papua New Guinea

by Leslie Linkkila & Philip Dinuovo

Special Section


31 Weather graphics How to use graphical weather


resources, and their possible pitfalls

Chartroom Chatter

by Ken McKinley

4 American sailor sets US record 5 Restoration takes many turns 6 Sails for Haiti 7 A grounding incites an obsession 8 Piracy attacks off Honduras 8 Tall Ship Celestial Nav Adventure! 9 Notable New Titles

37 Low-tech weather solution finds niche in high-tech world The Saildocs service continues as a valuable


Voyaging Interview

resource for voyagers

by Casey Conley


40 Furler failure offshore

10 Undaunted in the deep blue sea by Robert Beringer

After tough return to New Zealand, voyagers get speedy replacement

Marine Tech Notes

13 More rogues waves, but size limited 14 Finding the time for celestial nav by Tim Queeney

by Barbara Sobocinski


Power Voyaging 15  Common senses cruising by Jeff Merrill

Correspondence 19 Nautical drifters 20 Emergency steering 21 Miles of wisdom, years of knowledge

Voyaging Tips

43 Checking hoses by Wayne Canning

Nav Problem 48 Bluebelle’s sole survivor by David Berson

9 For more on voyaging, follow us on:

24 On the cover: Bill and Jane McLaren run in their Bowman 40 Vagrant of Clyde down the Beagle Channel toward their next stop in the Falklands. Tom Zydler photo.



Ocean Nav­igator Marine navigation and ocean voyaging


Robert Beringer (Chartroom Chatter, “Sails for Haiti,” page 6) is a Florida-based marine journalist and photographer who is a member of Boating Writers International. He learned to sail on the Great Lakes on a Hobie 16. He holds a USCG 50-ton masters license and has more than 28,000 miles under sail. Beringer is refitting his Catalina 34 Ukiyo for a voyage up the East Coast with his family. His first book, Waterpower!, a collection of short stories, is available at Barnes & Noble. Ken McKinley (Special Section, “Weather graphics,” page 31) earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences from Cornell University and attended graduate school at MIT where he participated in research applying Doppler radar data to meteorology. He worked for a meteorological consulting firm for 10 years, providing forecast services to clients across the globe. In 1991 he founded Locus Weather, which serves a variety of clients. McKinley is well known in recreational yachting circles and has provided weather routing services for many yachts worldwide. Editor Tim Queeney 207-749-5922 Copy Editor Kate Murray Art Director Kim Goulet Norton contributing editors Scott Bannerot Twain Braden Nigel Calder Harry Hungate Eric Forsyth Jeff & Raine Williams David Berson Ken McKinley Wayne Canning


West Coast US & canada,

international Susan W. Hadlock 207-838-0401

east coast US & Canada, international Charlie Humphries


publisher/ advertising director Alex Agnew


Events & marketing coordinator Jody Gould


Barbara Sobocinski (“Furler failure offshore,” page 40) sails and lives aboard Astarte, a 1987 Moody 422, with her partner Michael Hawkins. They’ve sailed together for more than 30 years, starting on a 23-foot boat on the Columbia River in Oregon. They next sailed a 36-foot Cascade in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Since leaving St. Petersburg in February 2009, they have explored the Caribbean, transited the Panama Canal and explored the South Pacific, spending time in New Zealand to sit out cyclones and work on the boat. Plans for the future: “We’ll sail as long as we enjoy it and our health and money last!”

FINANCE Ken Koehler BUSINESS OFFICE Lee Auchincloss

Customer Service

PHONE 1-866-918-6972


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Ocean Navigator is published in January, March, May, July, September, October and November, with an annual special issue of Ocean Voyager in April, for $27.95 per year by Navigator Publishing LLC, 30 Danforth St., Portland, ME 04101. Periodicals postage paid at Portland, Maine, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Please send address changes to Ocean Navigator, P.O. Box 461468, Escondido, CA 92046. Copyright © 2017 by Navigator Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted in any way without written permission from the publisher. Subscription rate is $27.95 for one year (eight issues) in the United States and its possessions. Canadian subscription rate is $31.95 U.S. funds. Other foreign surface is $33.95 U.S. funds. Overseas air mail is $62.95 U.S. funds per year. Distribution: Newsstand distribution, domestically and internationally: Coast to Coast Newsstand Services LTD., 5230 Finch Ave. East, Suite 1, Toronto, ON M1S 4Z9. Phone (416) 754-3900; fax (416) 754-4900. Contributions: We solicit manuscripts, drawings and photographs. Please address all material to Editor, Ocean Navigator, P.O. Box 569, Portland, ME 04112-0569. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the safe handling of contributed materials. All other departments, 207-772-2466. Printed in the United States by the Lane Press


Attention All Boat Owners:

Power & Sail

We Are Seeking Philanthropy Partners

DONATE YOUR BOAT TO BENEFIT THE EDUCATION OF YOUTH AT SEA A boat donation has many benefits: • Stop the expenses of storage, maintenance, insurance and costly repairs. • Receive the full appraised value of your boat as a charitable tax deduction. • Proceeds from your boat donation will directly support the education of youth at sea. • Our partners will take full responsibility for the boat including the processing of all documents for the donor, the IRS, accountants and lawyers. • A boat donation can be implemented within a few days.

Tall Ships Portland is a Maine-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit and first official chapter of Tall Ships America®. We are dedicated to providing youth with enriching opportunities to voyage aboard tall ships; providing immersive, life-changing education and career development under the power of traditional sail.

• Our partner will manage all aspects and minimize the complexities of the charitable boat donation process for you while adhering to strict IRS rules and regulations. To become a partner contact: Matthew Oates Program Director Tall Ships Portland 207-619-1842 TALL SHIPS PORTLAND P.O. Box 517, Portland, ME 04112, USA

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Chatter Chartroom

by Casey conley

Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/Vendee Globe

American sailor sets US record <<

When Rich Wilson finished the Vendee Globe Race, he became the fastest solo American around the globe.

American sailor Rich Wilson finished 13th in the Vendee Globe, the solo round-theworld race that lived up to its grueling reputation. He also became the fastest U.S. solo circumnavigator. Wilson, 66, of Marblehead, Mass., steered his IMOCA 60-class yacht Great American IV into Les Sables d’Olonne, France, on Feb. 21. Wilson completed the estimated 27,440-mile course in 107 days, 48 minutes and 18 seconds, roughly 33 days behind winner Armel Le Cleac’h.


Wilson shaved two weeks off his previous Vendee Globe finish in 2008-09 and also set a new U.S. mark for a solo nonstop round-the-world finish. Wilson took the crown from Bruce Schwab, who set the prior U.S. mark of 109 days and 19 hours in 2004-05. “I found all the calms that exist in the Atlantic. It was never-ending in the Atlantic,” he said after crossing the finish. “Eight years ago, I said never again. But now it’s too difficult. This is the perfect race course. The most stimulat-

ing event that exists.” Twenty-nine sailors left Les Sables d’Olonne on Nov. 6, 2016, for the eighth Vendee Globe, which occurs every four years. The race follows a west-to-east course past the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn, then returns to Les Sables. Eleven sailors retired, six of whom had struck unidentified floating objects. Wilson kept a detailed log of his voyage, capturing physical and mental challenges, often-unfavorable sea conditions and occasional problems with his

Courtesy Bermuda Yachts

22 while traversing the southern Indian Ocean. “We had 35 knots of north, steady, up to 38, which created a big wave situation, with cresting seas 12 to 15 feet high. This went on most of the afternoon. And then suddenly, nothing. The physicality of this boat is beyond description, and I am exhausted and, frankly, demoralized.” Conditions were no better three days later. “We just got clobbered through the night, with 30 knots of wind, upwind, into the big building seas, and crashing and crashing and crashing. There is really nothing you can do on the boat, because you just have to be holding on at all times.” Wilson crossed into the Northern Hemisphere on Feb. 5 and into the northeasterly trade winds two days later. He reached the Azores on Feb. 16 and five days later he reached the finish line on France’s west coast. “What is fantastic about this race is the support of the public with all the people here,” he said after reaching Les Sables. “I remember the first time, someone said, if you finish the race, you’re a winner. I think that is correct.”


vessel, particularly with the autopilot system and hydrogenerator system for producing electricity. Wilson communicated regularly with other racers as well as thousands of students around the world through the SitesAlive online education initiative. Wilson hit the doldrums on Nov. 17 and crossed the equator two days later. Great American IV reached the Indian Ocean on Dec. 6, and on Christmas Day Wilson described an unusual bout of loneliness. “We are a long way from home and have a long way to go. Usually in my voyages, I haven’t gotten too lonely. But today I did. I’m sure it was exacerbated by the big depression that is forecast to develop ahead of us,” he said, according to race organizers. New Year’s Day brought 35- to 40-knot winds that eventually gave way to nicer weather on Jan. 5, which Wilson described as “the nicest day of sailing that we’ve had in one might say months.” Great American IV passed Cape Horn on Jan. 17, which was followed by more rough weather. “A very bad night last night,” Wilson said on Jan.

Above, Chicane under sail in an undated photo. Right, the boat during restoration.

Restoration takes many turns Squeezed into a boatshed on Eastern Long Island, the sailing vessel Chicane is a long way and many years from home. Designed by the wellknown and innovative Scottish naval architect Alfred Mylne and built by A.M. Dickie and Sons in 1926, Chicane, with a full keel and long overhang, looks like the kind of sailing ship that is not only fast but comfortable as well. The woodwork on deck and down below is of museum quality. Even sitting in the shed, the feel of the boat is one of power and class. Planked with quarter-sawn Burmese teak, Chicane is 62 feet LOA, draws a little bit more than 7 feet and displaces 26 tons. Chicane has been in the same Bermudian family since 1958 when William Kempe sailed the boat to Bermuda from England. In 1975, his nephew

Reid bought the boat. Shipwrights Joe Postich and Wendy Bliss began principal restoration work on Chicane, often incorporating advice and support from experts in the industry, including Donn Costanzo of Greenport, N.Y.-based Wooden Boatworks Inc. Alfred Mylne began his career as an apprentice to George Lennox Watson, who designed the Royal Cutter Yacht HMY Britannia, a racing cutter. He set up his own office in 1896 and was instrumental in establishing the International Metre Rule. He also designed race-winning 19-, 15- and 12-meter yachts. Though often overshadowed in public knowledge by his Scottish contemporary, William Fife, Mylne is now considered to have been an innovative designer in his day. David Berson


Chatter Chartroom

Robert Beringer

Sails for Haiti

As mariners, we all know the importance of a good


Above, IRG Executive Director Ray Thackery (on left) and Michael Laas of Sails for Sustenance on board Thunderbird V loading used sails for Haiti.

sail on our boat. With skill and patience they can take us in any direction, to a nearby island or around the world, and give us a palpable sense of true freedom found no other way. In the slightest zephyr, they keep us ghosting along. If too rough, we reef them or heave to until conditions improve, and they can even be used to set the anchor or partially plug a hole in the hull. But in a nature-battered developing nation like Haiti, they can be the difference between life and death. The one-two punch of the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 has left this impoverished island nation of 11 million in a state of severe food,


water and economic insecurity. In one day, the storm destroyed 75 to 100 percent of the crops and fruit-bearing trees in the southern breadbasket, along with 80 percent of the livestock. The unemployment rate has surpassed 75 percent, and the people live on a little more than two dollars a day. The fishermen operate like so many of the resourceful people here: They get the job done with whatever’s available and however they can, like a sequel of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. Each day, they put to sea in small, often leaky, engineless boats, using sails made from whatever material is at hand — sacks of flour, shower curtains or bedsheets — attempting to catch enough fish to feed their families and earn a few extra gourdes with the surplus. And so many are counting on what they do. The food stocks and fresh water have diminished to a level that has made the seafood industry of critical importance. In the Tiburon Peninsula, which the eye of Matthew traveled over, an outbreak

of cholera made things so bad that people were abandoning their villages to search for food and clean water. The international community is helping, but many key roads and bridges have been washed out, making it difficult to get aid evenly distributed. Enter avid sailors Michael Laas and Michael Carcaise. As University of Miami college students, they visited Haiti to gather data for an engineering project and met with Peace Corp volunteers who also sailed. After witnessing some Haitian fishermen setting up their boats, they had an “a-ha moment” and Sails for Sustenance was born. The concept was brilliantly simple: Through yacht clubs, regattas and boat shows, the two Michaels got the word out that those old sails in the garage or attic could now be donated to Haitian fishermen who would recut them and put them to use on their boats. Not only would the donors be doing something good, they would get a tax deduction too! “These sails are a huge improvement, enabling


Jonathan White’s teaching vessel Crusader aground in Alaska.

In the 1980s, Jonathan White ran the educational operation

that he founded called The Resource Institute. The operation was based on a former halibut boat named Crusader that was built in Tacoma in 1923. White’s group did environmental seminars in the Pacific Northwest, from Seattle to southeast Alaska. Then an incident aboard Crusader changed things for White and sent him off on a long quest that ended in a major new book on the importance of the tides. While anchored for the night in Alaskan waters, Crusader’s anchor dragged and the boat went hard aground on a falling tide. Hours later when the tide returned, the boat remained stuck in the mud and the flood tide inundated the vessel. Eventually Crusader was refloated, but the grounding made a major impression on White and pushed him to learn as much as he could about tides — both the mecha-

tides; or Mont St. Michel in France, which finds itself alternately a part of the mainland and then an island with each cycling of the tide. White was granted a special audience with the St. Michel monks to get their spiritual appreciation of tides, yet White also consulted with the biggest names in tide research like Walter Munk of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and had the entire book peer reviewed for accuracy. (A full review of Tide is coming in the next issue.) Most sailors have put a boat aground at some point in their sailing lives. White took his grounding and turned it into a book that explores the mysterious ebb and flow of the globe’s waters. Tim Queeney

The tidal bore sweeping up China’s Qiantang River.

Jonathan White

A grounding incites an obsession

nism that drove them and ways people have imbued them with cultural power. The result of his years of travel and study is a new book called Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, published by Trinity University Press. “I kind of uncovered the subject as I dove deeper,” White said when I spoke to him after a talk at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. “I was surprised at how poetic and mysterious it was. I kept discovering more mindboggling facts about tides.” White traveled all over the globe, seeking out places where the tides are unusual. Places like the Qiantang River in China, which has a spectacular tidal bore that sweeps upriver with each flood tide; or the Bay of Fundy with its massive 54-foot


Jonathan White

the fishermen to sail more safely at higher speeds,” beamed Michael Laas. “And it takes them off the near-shore reef, which is very depleted and into deeper water, so they can spread out their impact over a larger area of ocean. “Our overall goal is to have a positive impact on coastal Haitian communities and the lives of fishermen, and at the same time bringing the U.S. sailing community closer to the people that still live off the sea. We also did research to determine that we weren’t putting anyone out of business.” To date, Sails For Sustenance has shipped several tons of sails via partnerships with other nonprofit organizations. In December they shipped 43 sails and life jackets aboard International Relief Group’s 97-foot gaffrigged ketch Thunderbird V on a relief voyage to Îleà-Vache. They will offload the relief goods and then begin dispensing potable water via their onboard desalinator. To see Haitian fishermen in action or to donate your used sails, go to Robert Beringer


Chatter Chartroom

Piracy attacks off Honduras There have been three recent attacks on yachts off the

coast of Honduras. Merchant Marine Captain Mike Brown, S/V Reflections, and his female crewmember were sailing off the coast of Honduras. They had left Puerto Cortes and were on passage to Roatan. After 10 hours of sailing, they had made just 13 miles of easting and were five miles off the coast when they were sideswiped by a fishing panga with eight armed men aboard on Jan. 13. Two of the men immediately jumped aboard Reflections with semi-automatic pistols in hand. Four other armed men soon joined the other two while two men remained in the boat. Captain Brown remained calm and did not challenge the intruders. With guns aimed at him from two of the men, the other four took his crewmember down below to get cash, electronics and anything of value. Captain Brown then offered the men his dinghy, which was lashed to the deck. They cut it loose, but the dinghy got away. The armed pirates jumped back onto

to their fishing vessel to chase down the dinghy and left. Reflections made it safely to Roatan, about 70 miles away, without navigation equipment. On Jan. 18, a Frenchflagged catamaran departed Isla de Providencia for Rio Dulce, Guatemala. Traveling well off the Nicaraguan coast, they turned off their AIS transmitter but monitored all traffic closely. At 0830 on the morning of the 19th, after traveling 175 nm, now located 70 nm off the Nicaraguan coast and 35 nm ESE of the Hobbies Islands, they were approached by a single panga from the north with seven men who asked for water and food. They were provided. At 0900 the same panga returned asking for more, and a pack of cigarettes was given, while suddenly two more fishing boats with 40-hp outboards approached at high speed from the south with seven additional men. They converged on the catamaran, rammed and boarded the yacht, now visibly armed with knives and iron bars. Some of the pirates beat the locked doors and


gained entry to the cabin while the others scavenged on deck. The leaders seemed to be looking for drugs but found none. The pirates took computers, a smartphone, cash, assorted electronics, binoculars, VHF and hand-held radios, alcohol, clothing, anything that they could grab or remove. After about an hour they departed. Using a hidden VHF, the crew contacted a nearby cargo ship which then contacted the Colombian navy and piracy agency. At 1030, a single panga returned with a mixed group of eight of the youngest of the original pirates and again boarded, holding knives to the throats of the crew, this time attempting to sever the lock to the yacht dinghy/outboard. They failed and became nervous when they heard a VHF transmission from the approaching cargo vessel. The second group of pirates departed. The crew again made radio contact with the cargo vessel, which took all necessary information and agreed to inform Colombian officials.

The yacht proceeded to Guanaja, Honduras, without further incident. They arrived on Friday, Jan. 20. On Jan. 19, a 40-foot monohull sailing from Panama to the Yucatan passed over Gordo Banks at night. Chris Parker of the Marine Weather Center reported that the yacht was boarded by pirates who seemed to be looking for drugs. Finding none, they took iPads, electronics and rum. n -Excerpted from the Seven Seas Cruising Association Commodore’s Bulletin

Tall Ship Celestial Nav Adventure! There is still room for a few more celestial navigation and

offshore weather students aboard the square-rigged ship Oliver Hazard Perry on two Ocean Navigator at-sea seminars. The first is on a passage from Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda, from April 2 to April 12, and the second sails from Bermuda to Newport, R.I., from April 14 to April 22. This is a unique opportunity. Don’t miss this! Go to bermuda-voyage to sign up.

Notable New Titles The Boats I’ve Loved: 20 Classic Boat Designs by Chuck Paine 2016 106 pages

Some 60 years ago, living in New Jersey, I bought a lovely little centerboard cabin sloop that proved completely unsuited for anything more adventurous than daysailing the state’s inland waterways. My 19-footer, with its shoal-draft underbody and undrained wading pool of a cockpit, was far too unstable to survive a running sea or a heavy blow. Had I known then of a naval architect with the imagination and skill of Chuck Paine — alas, he was 12 at the time — I would have traveled the length of the Jersey coast to find the Paine-designed cruising sloop that sails today as the prettiest, toughest 26-footer that any singlehanded sailor could have wished for. But since it’s now too late for a western New

York landlubber like me to even think about owning a boat again, Chuck Paine’s stunning new book will have to stand in as the next best thing. Paine’s subtitle is “20 Classic Sailboat Designs.” Every one of his top picks is accompanied by photos or artists’ renditions, easyto-decipher hull cutaways and jewels of essays covering design, construction and sea-keeping qualities, even touching on what the author candidly refers to as “blemishes” — design components that fall short of expectations. In fluent and conversational fast-paced prose, Paine has pitched his book to armchair sailors as well as to seasoned mariners in search of the perfect sailing yacht. Not all of the boats are from Paine’s own drafting board. One is a Sparkman & Stephens Blue Jay that the author and his brother

built from scratch as teenagers, and another is an 80-year-old Nat Herreshoff 12 ½. Progressing in scale from that toy-like Herreshoff, the book carries readers through over 100 pages to the final entry: the 43-foot Paine-designed cutter Anasazi, a heavydisplacement, cold-molded vessel influenced by the work of John Alden. Despite the meticulous attention Paine pays to the mechanics of architecture and construction, he makes clear that his main goal in writing the book is to encourage readers to pick up one of the many older boats of his own creation now found in brokerage ads at what he calls “stupidly low prices.” In 1956, I bought my 19-footer used. With a 5-hp inboard auxiliary, it cost all of $1,100. The 26-footer Francis II featured in Paine’s book would have been the craft

of my dreams. The sloop is a double-ender of fiberglass or cold-molded wood. Her two-berth house provides full headroom “if you’re less than 6 feet tall,” and with nearly 2 tons of ballast, she is, according to the author, one of the most stable boats “for her size that my studio ever designed.” Of his famous “blemishes,” there are none. What Francis II would have fetched on the secondhand market more than half a century ago is hard to say with any certainty. But it would surely have been far less than the $17,000 to $21,000 Paine says his boats of similar length will bring today. Yet, though the author argues that cost in this range is not particularly excessive, he concedes that the choice for buyers remains what it has always been: either a used boat with perhaps another $50,000 invested for restoration and refit, “or a brand new boat … for more than twice the price.” And as Paine is quick to add, “decisions, decisions.” Alan Littell



Undaunted in the deep blue sea


Photos courtesy Little Boat Project

Above, Matt Kent takes Undaunted, out for a test. Right, Kent looking up through the hatch from the boat’s diminutive accommodations.

sn’t it true that big things often come in small packages? Matt Kent sure believes this. In a satori moment while doing a prosaic chore in 2010 aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara where he serves as bosun, Matt wondered aloud what the record was for smallest boat to cross the Atlantic. A quick visit to Dr. Google showed him that the record was originally set in 1891 with a crossing in a 15-foot vessel and eventually worked its way down to the 5-foot-4-inch fiberglass and metal craft sailed by Hugo Vihlen in 1993. To most mariners, that would have been the end of it, especially after reading that it took Hugo 105 days for the crossing and that he had to sleep in the fetal position the entire time. But Matt is not like most mariners. “I can do that!” he said boldly. And since that day, he has worked diligently to design, build and test his own boat to better the record. But Matt is not interested in shaving the record, oh no, he wants to destroy it forever. Undaunted, the aluminum vessel he’ll sail, is only 3 feet 6 inches from stem to stern. Though it sounds insane to cross the ocean in a vessel a bit larger than a bathtub, I can tell you from my meetings with Matt that he is a perfectly sane


and intelligent human being, and that the boat he is sailing possesses innovative communication, navigational and safety gear. The plan is to sail Undaunted from the Canary Islands to Florida in March and utilize the trade winds the entire way. The boat carries a 9-by-6-foot square-rigged sail and dual rudders that can be steered with an open or closed hatch. The 15-foot mast is hollow and will pump air in during bad weather. He should average about 2.5 knots. I recently caught up with Matt at his home near Albany, N.Y., where he was in the final stages of preparing Undaunted. Here are his edited comments: Ocean Navigator: What activities have you focused on in preparation for the voyage?

Matt Kent: We’re rushing to get the boat finalized and ready because we’re shipping it out next week when we drive it to Boston and put it on the big boat for travel over to Spain, and then to Tenerife. I’ve been in the shop 18 hours a day getting ready; we’re going to do a bunch of sea trials when we get out to the Canaries. I’ll spend a week or 10 days outfitting the boat, testing out the CO2 system, then I’ll get that all refilled and packed away and then I’ll head out. So the first week of March we’ll be going — that’s assuming the boat gets there on time, which is up in the air with the shipping company. Additionally, we are raising money to support the sciencebased education programs of The Bioreserve, a nonprofit organization located in Glen-

mont, N.Y., that focuses on creating dynamic programs for young kids and college level students alike (read more about Matt’s fundraising here: littleboatproject). ON: Tell me about the recent design changes you’ve made to Undaunted. MK: We’ve elected to not go with a life raft, and instead I’ve bolted three huge brackets along the port, starboard and bow of the boat. I have a whitewater company making me three inflatable bladders that I’m going to be placing inside a cargo net-reinforced bag that’ll roll up and be fixed to the outside of the boat. I’ve got two 7-pound CO2 cylinders, and if the boat takes on a ton of water or if I get a hole in it I can just hit a valve inside to inflate and lift the entire boat

up. The bladders can actually float three times the weight of the boat, so they’ll be able to lift it right up even if it’s completely full of water. Then I can pump it out, do repairs, and I can still sail with the bladders in place. If I get completely inundated and I’m having a problem pumping it out, the boat is positively buoyant anyway, so I can float the whole thing up much higher, get all the water out and then I can collapse and fold them back up and still have enough for two more shots of inflation. ON: What will you be doing once you’re in the Canaries? MK: We’ll be flying into Santa Cruz and then picking up the boat somewhere there — we won’t know where the boat is delivered until one week after it sails (from Boston). Why that’s the case I really don’t know, but we’ll clear through customs there. We’re working with another agency to see if they can get it to La Gomera for us. The boat can actually fit in the back of a pick-up truck, and with all the supplies it weighs 1,600 pounds. With it getting there the first week of March, I’ll still have four weeks to deal with the boat being late or damaged, where we could decide to go or not. And if absolute worst comes to worst, we can pack it away, leave it there and come back next year. But this project has taken over five years of my life already; I don’t want it to have another one, I just want to get out there and go.

ON: Why did you choose La Gomera as your departure point? MK: I can clear customs there, and it’s where all the ocean rowing races start. The port is ideal, the marina there is lined up with the winds, I should be able to just cruise right out of the port and there won’t be any other islands in my way. It’ll give me an open shot to the ocean, and it’s small enough that I’m out of the way — off the beaten path, but not too far from Tenerife where I could get supplies if I need them. ON: And what’s your plan for the voyage? MK: I’ll be heading down

Left, Undaunted has a substantial keel for stability. Below, a view of the vessel’s wooden rudder.



with the trade winds and the current south, then across at about 20° latitude and then back up to where it’ll be about 4,600 nm (to Florida), and that’s a longer but much more reliable route. It’ll probably take 95-100 days. I have enough supplies, we’re doing a full fit of all my food and everything in there and I’ve got a bunch of things donated from a couple of companies. It looks like I’ll have enough supplies to have 2,000 calories a day for 130 days. The dehydrated food we got is very plentiful and a good variety with a big boost of calories. It will allow me 1,500 calories a day, which I’m going to start the trip at for the first month just to see my progress. Then, after the first month, we can make a caloric adjustment. It would allow me a six-month voyage at 1,500 calories a day if some terrible thing happened. I’ve got a lot of margin for error, but I don’t expect the trip to be over three months. ON: I told my daughters what you’re doing and they want to know what you’ll do to keep from getting bored. MK: (Laughs) I’ll be learning Chinese out there, I have a whole bunch of books and movies and shows that I can play on my phone. I’ve tried to keep the energy consumption as low as possible so I’m not bringing a computer or anything like that, but I’ve got a bunch of thumb drives and such, and I’ll have a Kindle that will have 50 books on it. I also have a bunch of exercise systems: Every day I have to pump (drinking) water for an hour and cycle to make my electricity. I have a lot of those things to take up time, swimming and the standard navigation. 12 OCEAN NAVIGATOR MAY/JUNE 2017   

ON: Tell me about your navigational and communications equipment. MK: I’ll have a satellite phone that I can text from and do phone calls from. I’m going to do a daily update with my position and status that’ll either be posted to the Facebook page ( littleboatproject) by my support team or on Twitter. I’ll also have a smartphone with me that will act as a chartplotter; it’s such a small amount of power and its independent battery systems are wonderful. I have an independent GPS too, but it’s all battery powered. Everything on board with the exception of the AIS system is an independent, waterproof, batterypowered device that can be charged by any one of my solar panels or either one of my mechanical electrical generators. And everything is kept inside a big pelican case that is attached to the inside of the boat. ON: Some parting words as you head off into the Atlantic? MK: I want to remind people that this isn’t supposed to be a stunt, it’s not supposed to be some epic endurance challenge at all — this is a design challenge. And, most likely, when I get back people are going to ask me, “How was the trip?” And I’ll say, “Fine. It went perfectly. I’m super healthy, everything was fine and the weather was great.” That’s really what I expect. It’s not what I’m planning for, but that’s what I expect. This isn’t supposed to show how tough I am, it’s supposed to show how smart the team is. n Robert Beringer

MARINE tech Notes

More rogue waves, but size limited

bridge that crosses between two ConocoPhillips oil platforms in the North Sea. On the bridge, researchers placed four infrared lasers that pointed straight down to the sea surface. The lasers pulsed five times per second with 80 pulses in each group. They were set up in a square formation, according to coauthor Mark Donelan. “Three lasers in a right triangle are enough to provide directional information,” Donelan said. “A fourth was included in case one of the lasers failed.” The lasers sent pulses toward the water that were reflected back toward sensors. As the crests of waves passed underneath, the laser reflection returned to the sensor faster because it had a shorter distance to travel.

BY Tim queeney Similarly, a wave trough could be detected because the reflection took a longer time to arrive due to the longer distance it had to travel.

Courtesy ConocoPhillips


or ocean voyagers there are some undefined hazards that lie in wait in the hazy margins. One is the oft-discussed but rarely quantified danger of floating containers. Another rare beast is the rogue wave, the massive outsized graybeard with the potential to damage or sink vessels. Oceanographers at University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science recently published a study titled “The Making of the Andrea Wave and other Rogues,” which suggests that massive rogue waves aren’t as rare as previously thought. That’s a finding sure to grab the attention of an ocean sailor. The idea that there are more rogue waves lying in wait than anybody imagined might give a voyager pause. Is there a real danger here? The study, co-authored by Mark Donelan, professor emeritus of ocean sciences at the UM Rosenstiel School, and Anne-Karin Magnusson from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, involved measurements made by an array of lasers mounted to a

Donelan and his coauthor Magnusson took data acquired by the laser array and looked for signs of large “rogue” waves. After some detailed processing of the data, they were able to find an example of a rogue wave that occurred during the North Sea named storm “Andrea” in 2007. This

The ConocoPhillips North Sea oil structures where the oceanographic research laser sensors are located.



More rogue waves, but size limited

continued from page 13 Andrea wave was large and had a short period, which means it had a steep leading edge. The Andrea wave was calculated to be roughly 50 feet high — a steep, high wave that few voyagers would want to see up close. Another aspect of the study involved the number of such waves you might see. According to Donelan, the data showed large waves to be more plentiful than the standard theory would suggest. “Typically in the North Sea, in a typical storm,” Donelan said, “you would get a wave like Andrea twice a day.” For this to be true, of course, the wave-making wind would need to be blowing at storm level. According to Donelan, another important finding of the study was the self-limiting effect of breaking waves. Once a wave gets big and steep, it would break at the top. “What we’ve shown is that they are limited by breaking,” Donelan said. This self-limiting effect means that waves will not get any larger than 1.7 times the significant wave height. Significant wave height is the average height of the largest third of all waves. This means that 250-foothigh rogue waves are not possible. This last fact might not produce much comfort when a steep 50-footer happens to be bearing down on you! 14 OCEAN NAVIGATOR MAY/JUNE 2017   

Finding the time for celestial nav


here’s no question that the sextant is the star of celestial navigation. Everyone instantly recognizes it. However, there is another element that is just as important: time. For your sight reductions to be as accurate as possible, you need accurate Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). And one way to get it is to use that timepiece you carry around with you everywhere — your smartphone. You can get apps for your phone that automatically display GMT down to the second. An example of this type of app is Zulu Time, an iPhone app written by a developer in Ashland, Ore., named Kristian Ljungkvist, whose company is called Rate of Climb Industries. So how does Zulu Time get GMT? Here’s how Ljungkvist, a pilot who flies a Cessna 180 Skywagon, explains it: “The app queries the internal iOS time service using GMT as the time zone. iOS on the iPhone fetches the current time over cell or Wi-Fi automatically with regular intervals, which is based on (depending on the circumstance) the atomic clock at NIST or a GPS timecode at a cell tower. In testing, I’ve compared Zulu Time’s time to

the NIST official time and have had good results. On the Apple Watch, Zulu Time is even more accurate (according to Apple, five times more accurate), since Apple Watch polls a set of NIST servers at more frequent intervals for the most accurate time. “I calculate and display the time offset compared to your local time zone in the same way, using the iOS subsystem and the phone’s local time zone, comparing that to the GMT time zone time, which allows it to handle things like daylight savings automatically, etc.” So as long as your phone is in cell coverage it is getting very accurate GMT. What about offshore? In that case, of course, the phone can’t be corrected via the cell network and its accuracy is tied to the accuracy of the phone’s internal clock circuitry. The longer the phone goes without an update, the more inaccurate phone time is likely to become. The solution, of course, is to fall back on other sources of accurate time available via satellite: time from GPS and from your satphone unit. So, there are ways of using high tech to help with your low-tech — and, because of that, rewarding — celestial navigation. n

power voyaging



hat is that? That’s a new and different smell/sound/vibration/leak … something doesn’t seem right. What happened? These are thoughts that pop into your mind when you are aboard and sense a change from the norm. A fast realization of a system going astray can save the day, as what might start out as an annoyance or mild concern can quickly escalate if unattended. A small drip from your hydraulic reservoir may only require a quarter-turn of tightening on a fitting to stop it, but it could develop into the complete discharge of oil into the bilge if it isn’t addressed promptly. The more time we spend on our trawlers, the more obvious it becomes when things get out of whack. We develop internal baselines of what feels right and general observations.

Trust your intuition and use your judgment to diagnose and determine if a shift away from standard operating procedure has occurred. Realization identifies a change; then you need to assess and diagnose the cause and respond with a correction. You don’t need to have the training of an engineer or the talents of a mechanic to realize when a change has occurred. Sometimes a small detail can

have a huge potential impact on the big picture, so it is critical to train yourself to be alert and observant. Over time, you will develop some basic skills using onboard tools to make simple repairs. The key is to notice when something goes wrong, figure out the problem, come up with a solution and then take action. Our trawlers are outfitted with equipment and machinery that will let us know when they are spinning like a top and also reveal when they are not in good working order. Analog gauges use needles to show pressure, sight glasses

Above, even on a large power voyager like this Delta 70 in Seattle, you should use all your senses to stay connected to the vessel. Left, an engine room with tools and spare parts; unusual noises heard here can be a tip-off.


power voyaging

reveal fluid levels, meters read voltage — there are numerous feedback devices providing information to help keep us on track, and it is imperative to learn what is normal and to continually monitor everything.

Top, a clean, dry bilge is always a good sight. Right, keeping an eye on gauges helps you monitor the health of a boat’s systems.

As a professional yacht broker, I have been aboard thousands of yachts and attended hundreds of prepurchase surveys. I am always looking for new tricks and devices that other boaters have discovered to help them more readily identify a change in the normal. The “Dialing-In Your Trawler” series here in Ocean Navigator has shared many of the great ideas I have discovered. I’m a proponent


of spreadsheets and checklists, and I recommend you write down and record temperatures, settings and other data by logging them in at regular intervals to make sure the onboard orchestra of systems stays in harmony. It’s only natural that the more time you spend aboard, the more familiar you will become. Several of my trawler mentors have told me that they have learned the most about their boats one breakdown at a time. Obviously it’s best that breakdowns are avoided, so how can they be prevented? It’s as simple as paying attention. Man-made machinery is wonderful but can have faults just like humans. You can keep in touch with your boat using multi-meters, infrared temperature guns and torque wrenches. These tools are very helpful, but don’t neglect your own natural ability to look, listen and sniff. As a trawler owner, you need to consider how you can use your natural senses to help you keep your trawler “dialed-in” and running smoothly. Here’s a quick run-through on how you can take advantage of your common senses. Sight. We are all very visual, so be on the lookout. Check gauges, valve positions, warning lights, etc. — there is so much to monitor. Make labels or marks to give you a

quick visual reference of what is typical. Consider wearing safety goggles to protect your eyes, particularly in machinery spaces, as it may prevent a spurt of oil from splashing into your eye. I encourage you to consider adding an eye-wash station as part of your onboard first aid preparation. Also, if you keep your engine room neat and tidy, it is easier to notice leaks and drips. Hearing. There is a white noise effect from the humming of your engines underway that is soothing and inspires confidence. When the rpm changes, most cruisers will immediately sense this. In fact, on a long passage where I settle in on a certain speed, I use a change in rpm to summon all aboard to the pilothouse. Listen for new sounds and alarms. Protect your ears by wearing earmuffs in the engine room. Smell. Your scent sense will find lots of different smells on a trawler, from fragrances to odors. If something doesn’t smell right, you could have a problem. Would you recognize what a burning wire smells like? Sewage smells are the worst, but don’t cover them up with pine-tree air fresheners like you’d see in a car. If your sanitation hoses are getting “whiffy,” you can take a soft clean rag and rub along the hose, then give it the smell test. If that waste smell has permeated the hose, it’s time to change it out.

Above, when alarms go off, especially at night when there is less input to your senses, they get your attention fast.

Touch. In my early trawler days, we would check the temperature of stuffing boxes by patting our hands on the shaft coupling and feeling how hot to the touch it was — a nice way to burn your hand. Nowadays, we use an infrared temperature gun to more accurately record values, a much safer approach. Keep in mind that you have a lot of fasteners on your boat. While underway at sea, your boat can take a pounding — rocking, rolling, shaking, rattling and vibrating — causing screws and nuts to loosen. Check your fittings and apply firm pressure through your tools to keep things tight. Taste. I like to call this a “non-

sense” as there is always a better way to identify a problem than tasting an encountered liquid. On land, it is not uncommon when you notice a fluid to dip your finger in and then tap it on your tongue. Is it sweet? Salty? Don’t do this on your trawler! You may have sewage, seawater or bacteria floating in your bilge. There are some nasty things in fluids that can cause great harm — just avoid it. I heard about a surveyor who got a life-threatening bacterial infection simply by doing a taste test. Save your taste buds for food prepared in the galley only. Common sense. This trait is unevenly distributed at birth. It is a


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blessing, and we all share the fundamental attributes to listen and look. Become one with your boat. Question if something doesn’t seem right. Follow your instincts and remember that your first inclination is usually

the best. Our innate abilities can be bolstered through experience and self-teaching. We all have built-in know-how that is largely untapped. Open up yourself to all your senses and become one with your trawler.

A heightened sense of awareness will pay off by helping you find potential problems at earlier stages when they are easiest to fix. Every trawler has idiosyncrasies and its own personality, so get to know your boat. Think about how you respond to changing situations on land. Have you ever noticed that when you are driving your car and something seems wrong (a wobble or scraping sound, low tire pressure, smoke coming from under the hood, etc.) your first reaction is usually to turn down the stereo? What you are doing is eliminating distractions in order to help you determine what is happening. By minimizing competing input, you can narrow down the problem more quickly. Be observant on your trawler. Keep track of what is standard and record the norms. Don’t forget that big problems usually start small, so look for a shift in the little details and you will stand a better chance of realizing when a change has occurred and its potential effect on the big picture. Your boat is always speaking to you — are you listening? Keeping your trawler ship-shape builds pride of ownership and provides you with one more sense you can enjoy: a sense of accomplishment. n Jeff Merrill, CPYB, is the president of Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales, Inc.- www. He is a veteran yacht broker who provides individual attention and worldwide professional representation to buyers and sellers of premium trawlers. If you have a suggestion or want to get in touch, please e-mail Merrill at:



To the editor: Since my wife,

Catherine, and I began our epic world voyage on Dream Time, a 1981 Cabo Rico, we’ve averaged just nine nautical miles a day. A sea cucumber probably covers more distance than that. In fact, if a piece of driftwood was tossed into the Long Island Sound the same day we set off from Brewers Marina in Glen Cove, Long Island, and found the ocean currents, it would have traveled further than we have by now. When we sailed from the Galapagos to the Marquesas, a 3,000-nm journey, we endured a week of absolutely no wind with only the South Pacific currents carrying us gently west. But even on our slowest day, with fluorescent mahimahi happily camping under our hull, we still managed to cover more than 40 miles. For the record, Dream Time is not a slow boat; in favorable conditions, she glides along quite comfortably at 6 knots. But we’re happiest when swinging on the hook, drifting slowly from one sun-drenched tropical anchorage to another. We’ve abandoned all hope of sticking to our original schedule of circumnavigating the world in six years. Our plans are freestyle now — if we like what we’re doing or where we are, we continue doing it,

perhaps for one day, an extra month or even for an entire season. Applying this carefree cruising philosophy, we’ve been happily floating around the world for more than nine glorious years. We know how lucky we are to have this freedom, the lack of commitment and restraint that has given us the opportunity to explore in the true meaning of the word. To wander with no direction, to see with no limitation and to let circumstances, new friends and experiences influence our path. If we had stuck to our original schedule, we would have barely glimpsed the remote corners of the world, areas that were once completely unknown to us that now feel like home. We sailed down to New Zealand on three separate occasions and spent three cyclone seasons touring a country we never had any intention of visiting even once. For more than two years we explored French Polynesia when we thought, naively, that a few months would be more than enough for the region, and last year when we sailed into New Caledonia we intended just a quick pit stop en route to Australia, but that was more than a year ago and we’re still here. It’s a pace and lifestyle we never could have possibly

Neville Hockley

Nautical drifters

imagined back in New York when time was resented for its brevity and life was consumed in great distracted unappreciated gulps. The years are still flying by, of course — nothing can change that. But at least now, drifting slowly around the world, we are able to appreciate the journey. Life is no longer a dizzying blur, but rather a colorful, vivid, mesmerizing and exciting kaleidoscope of experiences. We’re showing no sign of speeding things up either. So far this year we’ve only managed to navigate a measly 900 nautical miles, or a very satisfying three-mile-a-day average. Now, that’s what I call progress.

Above, on a calm day Catherine Hockley enjoys Dream Time’s stately progress under power.

—Read about the cruising experiences of Neville and Catherine Hockley on their website: MAY/JUNE 2017 OCEAN NAVIGATOR 19



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Below, this rudder blade has been bent on its shaft. Above right, a juryrigged emergency steering setup for getting the boat to port.

On the Saco River for the past 50 years



or a vessel traveling any distance offshore, it should be understood that sometimes a simple failure can begin a chain of events leading to the total loss of the vessel. Most boats require a bare minimum of three things for a safe and successful passage: They need to stay afloat, they need to be able to move forward to reach their destination and they need to be able to steer a course to that destination. The rest just makes these three things easier and safer. When preparing for an offshore passage, most skippers pay a lot of attention to the first two requirements but often pay little or no attention to the last one. Steering tends to be one of those things taken for granted until it no longer works — then things get serious. The truth is many boats are abandoned each

season due to failed steering systems. Often these boats are in otherwise good and stable condition, but the skippers cannot make them head in the direction they need to go. Many are found still afloat weeks, months and, in a few cases, years after they were left by their crews. Often these boats are abandoned for something that could have been avoided if only the skipper had planned a bit ahead or had been prepared to deal with the problems. Planning for steering problems involves two main pursuits. The first is inspecting and maintaining the steering system, and the second is planning for what to do should that system fail while underway. In an earlier article (see Ocean Voyager 2015), I talked about the importance of doing proper maintenance and inspections of a steering system before heading out to sea. Inspecting a steering system is relatively easy and can help you avoid serious problems while away from help. Any steering system takes a beating when underway and this is increased as soon as the vessel is even a short distance offshore. The loads from waves, along with constantly correcting course due to those waves, will stress any system. This is why it is important to know ahead of

time that your system is in top condition. Most inspections are fairly easy and do not require a lot of time but can save a small problem from becoming a very big one. Steering inspection before each passage It is not possible to fully cover the maintenance of every type of steering system in this article, but there are a few key things to look at and more information can be found about your particular system online or from the manufacturer. There are, however, a few simple things that can and should be done prior to any offshore passage. Most prudent skippers will do a quick rigging inspection before heading out. Steering systems deserve the same attention. Taking the time for this should be done for both power and sailing vessels. Look the system over from the helm to the rudder. Check for play of loose fittings by moving them by hand. Check for cracks or play in any of the fittings as well as for loose nuts and bolts. Look for signs of wear such as metal filings below the fittings. Lubricate fittings per the manufacturer’s instructions. For hydraulic systems, look for oil or other signs of leaking at the fittings. Check for corrosion on any metal fitting or copper tubing, as OCEAN VOYAGER 2017

04_21_ON240_OV17.indd 8

2/17/17 5:38 PM

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Miles of wisdom, years of knowledge They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Likewise, it takes a fleet to raise a sailor. I was taught how to sail by what I consider to be the archetype of a sailor: middle-aged, portly, weather-beaten-looking face and permanently dressed in foul-weather gear and rubber boots. I think he even had a beard, surely the pinnacle of the model sailor, giving legitimacy and strength to everything he said. I spent a total of four weeks in his company and, as an introduction to the cruising life, I looked upon everything he told me as if it was some kind of magic — from the

something that my old-salt hero had never attempted or achieved. When James and I decided to have kids, we asked other sailing families about it. One couple that was helpful and imaginative with

To the editor:

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James Lloyd-Mostyn


Above, an anchoring tip the Lloyd-

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Mostyns learned from other voyagers. Left, Jess, with daughter Rocket, received tips from other cruising moms on good baby carriers.

new words in this strange-tongued sailing language to the mysteries of knots, line coiling, wind awareness and sail trim. He’d spent decades sailing with tens of thousands of miles under his belt and yet had never crossed an ocean. In my first three months of sailing my own boat, I crossed the Atlantic —

their solutions for adapting a boat to life with children had lived aboard for nine years. Yet, they had only had experience sailing in and around their home port in the U.S. and then the few hundred odd miles down to Mexico. When it came to the live-aboard life they were pros, but they had virtually

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all manner of boat-folks: permanent dock-dwellers, those who’ve sailed for years in one small harbor, boaters who still carry out all their anchoring and close-quarters maneuvers under sail, experienced

Jess Lloyd-Mostyn

no offshore sailing experience. Yet, rather than dismissing either example because of their limitations, we’ve discovered that we can gain a lot to further a more holistic sailing view by listening to

The Lloyd-Mostyn’s Crossbow 42, Adamastor, at anchor in French Polynesia.

ocean-crossers or those who’ve done many long passages at sea, sailors who’ve gone to remote or challenging places, cruisers who’ve built or re-built their boats from scratch. The crucial part is knowing where the gaps in their wisdom are. We met a Dutch couple who sailed in Patagonia while pregnant with their first child and talk about it nonchalantly, as if it’s run of the mill. Yet the things they can tell you about sailing through ice, anchoring with a spider’s web of lines leading ashore, or even kitting up properly to live alongside glaciers are astonishing. We know a crazy Frenchman who spent six years building his boat from the hull up and the whole bespoke beautiful thing looks more like a funky traveler’s hostel than a sailboat. But he’d be the first person I’d ask about any fiberglass work. I’ve lost count of the number of 22 OCEAN NAVIGATOR MAY/JUNE 2017

single-hander chaps we’ve crossed paths with who can all advise you on their strategies for getting enough sleep safely at sea. This pick-and-choose attitude to morsels of everyone else’s knowhow also affords you the chance to learn from and hopefully avoid other people’s mistakes. We have numerous cruising friends who can tell great stories about horrendous passages where they encountered 50- or 60-knot winds, total engine failures, sails exploding into tatters and anchor chains tangling fast in coral. We nod and listen sympathetically, quietly noting any extra information that we can store for later if they were attempting something at the wrong time of year, during a bad forecast or using shoddy equipment. Startlingly, we too are now asked for advice on all kinds of boat life. Sure, we have plenty of miles under our keel and two oceans and a couple of babies to add to our experience. Yet we still consider ourselves quite new to sailing as a whole and look back on just how green we were when we started out with a mixture of horror and awe. When we announced we were buying a boat to sail around the world, my parents, who are not remotely from sailing stock, looked at me as though I’d suddenly declared I was now a caterpillar — it was so far off their radar of knowledge. Yet despite their initial questions being “Are you allowed to sail at night?” “Can you anchor mid-Atlantic?” or, my personal favourite, “Are you buying a boat

with cupholders?” my mother did give me some sage advice. “Wear a jumper [sweater] and don’t drown” — guidance that continues to steer me well after four years at sea.

—Jess Lloyd-Mostyn is a frequent contributor to Ocean Navigator. She lives aboard her Crossbow 42 Adamastor with her husband James and their daughter Rocket and son Indigo.


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Sailors The inspiring idyllic Ninigo Islands of Papua New Guinea STORY AND PHOTOS BY LESLIE LINKKILA & PHILIP DINUOVO

s the squall passed, the stars began to appear in the inky night sky. A gentle southerly breeze filled in and replaced the trade winds that had been driving our Mason 33, Carina, rapidly along the rhumb line. “Drat, noserlies!” muttered Leslie. “Maybe it’s time to motor.” After almost 12 days of squalls interrupted by calms with a few delightful hours of easy sailing, we agreed it was time to burn some of our hoarded diesel fuel. It was 0300 local at 01° S latitude in the lonely western Pacific Ocean and we were on passage from the Republic of Palau, now more than 800 nautical miles behind us. We could just begin to see the signature of the fringing reef of our destination on our radar; the sky was black but dawn was not far away. We were trying to time a mid-morning arrival at the pass in the Ninigo Islands, which would allow us ample daylight for conning and picking our way through to the shallow reefs far into the lagoon to our anchorage. Given the intensity and direction of the wind, motoring was the only option in order to cover the remaining distance and reach our anchorage on time. We furled our headsails and held our breath as we turned the key to the engine, releasing it only when the Yanmar came to life at the push of

the starter button. The rumbling little diesel engine and our anticipation of landfall at a place few visit would keep us both awake, so we set about to make sweet hot tea. We settled into watching our track on a satellite photo displayed on a small tablet since our charts were, at best, inaccurate. With no moon and no swell to create breakers on the reef, there was no room for error as we closed on the atoll. As the eastern sky began to glow, silhouettes of tiny motus emerged on the horizon and we cautiously approached, following the waypoints we had uploaded to our GPS and peering ahead, continuously searching for uncharted hazards, including the unlit sailing canoes known to ply these waters. Through the pass The pass was only a narrow east-west break in the coral and

the rising sun was still low in the sky, so Philip took a bow watch and we pointed Carina at the location indicated on the geo-referenced satellite image. With no tide tables to guide us, we weren’t sure what we might find for current in the pass but hoped for the best — or at least enough wiggle room to abort if necessary. As we entered the pass, Carina began to sashay with the outfalls and small whirlpools and our speed dropped to about 2 knots. Leslie increased the engine rpm and we kept pushing stubbornly against the tidal flow until we emerged inside the lagoon, negotiated shallows and proceeded south, all the while on watch for reefs. “This is it,” Leslie advised when we had reached the waypoint of our chosen anchorage, and so I let the anchor drop into the bright turquoise water,

Far left, the authors’ Mason 33, Carina, acted as the committee boat for the races. Below left, the Ninigo Islands. Above, one of

Heina Group

the islander’s

Pelleluhu Group

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Carina’s Route

canoes. 144° E

Ninigo Group


SOUTH Ninigo Islands




Latangai Island

Manus Bismarck Sea

New Britain


Sama Mal

Solomon 8° Sea Port Moresby

Bougainville Island

let Carina drop back and then set the anchor hard. We felt a mixture of exhaustion, elation and disbelief. After months of planning, purchasing and packing hundreds of pounds of supplies and donations, followed by almost two weeks on passage, we had actually arrived at Mal Island in the Ninigo lagoon. And, we had arrived in plenty of time to witness the spectacle of the August racing season of the Seimat outrigger sailing canoes — a culturally rich and highly competitive event dubbed The Great Ninigo Islands Canoe Race. Almost immediately, an outrigger canoe pushed off the beach to our west, bringing the first of new friends, Michael Tahalam, for a visit aboard. Thus began our idyllic fiveweek adventure in one of the most remote and friendly cruisMAY/JUNE 2017 OCEAN NAVIGATOR 25

ocean voyaging

ing destinations we have visited in 13 years of wandering about the Pacific on Carina. The magnificent Ninigo Islands, a group of 31 tiny islands set in seven atolls, are part of the Manus Province of Papua New Guinea. These islands, like their distant neighbors of Wuvulu and the Hermit Islands, are seldom visited. During a busy year, only a handful of yachts drop anchor and most of those are friends of those who have already been to Ninigo. We were such a yacht. Not only had friends urged us to sail there, but a few had sent us donations to buy supplies along with gifts, and asked us to carry letters for the families they had learned to love during their own visits. We sailed into Ninigo with humanitarian donations and purchased goods provided by 57 individuals representing 18 yachts and 15 different countries. Those who cruise here choose to come for many reasons, including the healthy


Above, Leslie with islander Wendy Pihon. Above right, Philip receives a colorful hat from islanders. Below, some of the structures in Puhipi village.

lagoons that make for stunning anchorages set alongside pretty, neat villages. But above all, what is most attractive and endearing — and what brings friends of friends back — are the warm wonderful people and their still-flourishing sailing canoe culture that allows them to sustainably live on little except pluck, hard work and love. That is why we went and that is why we hope someday to go back. If we cannot, we will, like others before us, send back our love through others. The Ninigo Islands The colonial period history of these islands saw various powers claiming ownership and selling the islands and resources to the highest bidder. The first record we found of the sighting of Ninigo was in 1768, though the Spanish “discovered” the Western Islands in 1545. World events periodically changed the players, but the colorful and greedy western entrepreneurs — many who ruled like kings — were all sadly similar. What is more troubling is that, to this day, more than 40 years after PNG

independence, the land has not yet been returned to the people who have lived continuously in these islands for thousands of years. The PNG government has asked the cash-poor people for payment for the copra plantations that sit on the islanders’ ancestral lands. It is remarkable that the culture of the Seimat people survived its occupiers, though in some ways the introduction of genetic material from the outside has made the people stronger. The mixture of genes, from people from the far corners of the world, has certainly helped to make them strong and handsome with fine features and bright eyes. Today, only a few hundred generous souls live in the Ninigo group in a handful of remote communities where schools are located. It was only in the past few years that schools have been free, so parents, some of whom are illiterate, are keen to ensure their children are educated. The brightest children can now progress to secondary or tertiary levels of education and find jobs that bring a few kina (PNG currency) back to their

families in the villages. Often a family will have a hut near the school and another nearer their historic home or their garden. Most homes are constructed of jungle materials such as pandanus and bamboo. Converts to Christianity, the villagers are either Roman Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist, though everyone seems to live in harmony and intermarriages occur. Neither denomination in the recent past has sent clergy to support their followers. The provincial capital, called “town” by the Ninigo people, is Lorengau on Manus Island in the Admiralty group, nearly 200 nautical miles away. The president of the local-level government, a man from the nearby Hermit Islands named Paul Silas, lives there as the sole

Oscar and Keren fishing aboard their canoe Sea Mate in Ninigo lagoon.

representative of his people. The deputy president, Kelly Lui, lives in the islands but has no phone service, no email and no boat except for his sailing canoe. What compounds the remoteness of these tiny coral islands is that there are no service boats that call. The last supply boat fell victim to poor maintenance brought on by corruption or poor planning, and was scuttled rather than repaired. Without a regular supply of any commodity that cannot be sourced from the jungle or from the sea, the people treasure simple things like clothing, fishing line, books, food, medicine, pots and pans. With no supply boat, there are also no affordable options for islanders to send even high-value products, such as their pure

coconut oil, to market. There is also no electricity, no refrigeration and no cellphone service. Rain provides drinking water while shallow wells of brackish water provide wash water. Food is gathered each day from the sea or from prolific home gardens scattered throughout the tiny islands. Medical care is poor; malaria, diabetes and untreated injuries take their toll. Dental or eye care is nonexistent, and it seems most adults suffer from poor eyesight from uncorrected vision problems or maladies such as pterygium (surfer’s eye) brought on by excessive exposure to sunlight and irritants. There is also no industry: The copra plantations of the past are idle, and the few buildings are unkempt or collapsing. A brief contract with an Asian MAY/JUNE 2017 OCEAN NAVIGATOR 27

ocean voyaging

links for all. The islanders realize how important the canoes are and dedicate themselves to the preservation of the culture.

and are, for the most part, remarkably healthy and happy. One of the reasons that they can live so well with so little is because they have preserved the tradition of the outrigger sailing canoes that provide transportation, access to fishing grounds and communications

fishing company early in this century badly depleted the fishery and then fell apart, taking dozens of jobs with it, but serendipitously saving the protein source of the people. But despite a myriad of challenges, these friendly, caring and kind people survive

Getting there

Yachts setting sail from Aus-

A race begins in light air.

The traditional Ninigo canoe Oscar, our yacht contact, sat with his left leg tucked under him and his right leg swinging fore and aft at the helmsman seat of Sea Mate, his new 9-meter Ninigo canoe. Sea Mate skimmed across the turquoise lagoon and Oscar held the wide steering paddle with a fist in his right hand. He beamed out his warm gap-toothed smile and made a wide arc with his left arm and boomed, “This is our LIFE!” Oscar’s wife, Keren,

Kavieng and the Hermit Islands, is

the absence of a PNG embassy,

easy sailing.

60-day visas for the master and

From the traditional South Pacific

tralia during the cruising season

“Coconut Milk Run” from Mexico

will reach across the trade winds

or the Panama Canal, yachts arrive

from the east coast of Australia

consider riding the monsoon up

arrival, except in Port Moresby

at season’s end through Vanuatu

and around the eastern end of

and around the bird’s head of

where the Immigration & Citizen-

and the Solomon Islands, checking

the big island of Papua. Check-in

Indonesia, but this option requires

ship Service Authority handles the

in to Papua New Guinea at Rabaul.

is possible at Alotau on the big

tacking or motoring against light

visa. Advanced notice of arrival is

Yachts arriving from Micronesia

island of Papua or on New Brit-

trade winds once on the north

recommended. A visa extension of

or the Philippines have historically

ain at Rabaul. Gentle southeast

side of Papua. Roughly around

30 days is possible upon applica-

had no problems stopping, despite

trades flow west from Rabaul, so

December of each year, the mon-

tion to the Department of Foreign

having not yet reached a port of

the remaining 500 nm to Ninigo,

soon shifts and westerlies occur

Affairs and Trade. In practice, short


with convenient stops in friendly

at Ninigo. This brings unsettled

stays in remote anchorages such as

weather, but with careful planning,

the Ninigo islands, are tolerated for


From Darwin, a yacht might

crew are issued by customs upon


it could make the sail from Indone-

small yachts prior to checking in


sia easier. Vanimo is the most con-

when the area is distant from any

the Ninigo

venient entry port for this routing.

port of entry. Take care to check

Islands in

Christmas is a special season in the

with the latest security warnings


Catholic villages of Ninigo and the

about entry ports, as some have


families warmly welcome visitors.

reported incidences of robberies

A tourist yachtsman visa is

on the PNG mainland. Ninigo is

required to cruise aboard your

absolutely safe; you are treated

yacht in Papua New Guinea. In

like honored guests there.

gave us a Mona Lisa smirk and raised her left eyebrow ever so slightly, tucked a few curly strands of hair behind her ears, and then continued to lay out fishing line, clearly amused by her husband’s joviality. Indeed, the seascape and sailing have been the life of the people here forever, or at least since the great migration of Lapita people across Oceania that began thousands of years ago. The Ninigo people love their lagoon and they love to sail — and it shows in their smiles. According to scholars, the canted rectangular-boom lugsail/single-outrigger canoe design of this tiny corner of Oceania represents a blending of influences from MicroneAn AIS transceiver is a good

sia and Indonesia. The single asymmetric hull constructed of planked sides set onto a keel with an ama to windward are similar to features we saw in canoes of the outer islands of Yap. Also similar to the Micronesian tradition is the practice of shunting the Ninigo canoe, which is physically moving the mast and helmsman’s station end-for-end when changing course. From East Asia comes the sail design; rectangular lugsails were characteristic of the proas of the Celebes Sea — though Ninigo canoes longer than 9 meters are often sailed as ketches, with two masts carrying lugsail rigs. We saw evidence of rare fore and aft decks on single-hulled outrigger

The Ninigo canoes are speedy. Here racers practice at Mal Island.

canoes in eastern Mindanao in the Philippines, an area sharing the culture of Indonesia. And though the sailing canoes that have been plying these waters for thousands of years have inevitably evolved, the extremely efficient current form of the Ninigo canoe

Noonsite website. We entered the

is also an important contact. He

Western Islands woven hat as well

tool to have aboard, as shipping

southwest passage near Mal Island

is a ward councilor and can be

as some of their garden veggies.

between the South Pacific and Asia

and departed the passage to the

reached on the public telephone

passes through this area. We’ve

north of Longan at the end of our

(when it’s working) at “The Sta-

aboard include: clothing (children’s

found that purse seiners do not

stay. Neither was hazardous. We

tion” at Mal Island (Tel: +675

clothing especially), sunglasses

transmit AIS signals until they are

made and used geo-referenced

276 4542). Michael can answer

(polarizing is best), reading glasses,

right on top of you, but at night

satellite raster “chartlets” to define

pre-arrival questions such as what

solar lights, popcorn, brown rice,

you can see their glow for miles.

our routes into the lagoon and to

items might be most needed by

spices, 3-in-1 coffee, children’s

navigate around the multitude of

the islanders.

books, hand tools (small axes,

There are four main passages into the Ninigo lagoon — two

shallows inside. The programs we

nearby to Longan Island (one north

used were GE2KAP and SASPlanet.

Fear not to bring items of some

Great donations to pack

hand drills, sharpening stones,

value, for instance copper or stain-

kitchen knives), soap, toothpaste

and one west), one south of Lau

The key yacht contact at Ninigo

less steel nails, exterior or marine

and toothbrushes, wound-care

Island on the southwest corner,

is Oscar Sinapling on Longan Island

paint, small amounts of resin

supplies, school supplies, 2.5- to

and the eastern passage. Locals

— he has the PNG Tourism Board

and hardener needed for canoes,

3-inch copper roofing nails, 16-by-

assure us the eastern passage

yacht book. He is responsible for

hand-held GPS units, binoculars,

24-foot good quality woven plastic

is suitable for keelboats, but we

coordinating dive and snorkeling; a

etc. Islanders are willing to pay you

tarps for making sails, sailmaker

did not confirm this. Most of the

10 kina fee is charged by the PNG

appropriately in kina for goods.

thread and needles for hand-

smaller atolls have no entrance,

government per person per dive,

Thomas Ailis and family at Puhipi

sewing, three-strand or braided

though Heina does and one of

snorkeling is free. On our visit, one

village on Mal have been called

line (polypropylene is okay) in sizes

the local families assured us the

kina was worth about $0.30 USD.

the “ambassadors.” Expect a

from 5 to 19 mm.

channel is still marked. Waypoints

There is no way to reach Oscar

visit from him; he will likely bring

Leslie Linkkila &

for Heina can be obtained on the

ahead of time. Michael Tahalam

Elizabeth, his wife, and a gift of a

Philip DiNouvo


ocean voyaging

may be a recent phenomenon. No one knows for sure, as there is no written history, but according to Kelly Lui, all of the important design elements common today to the traditional Ninigo canoe were first realized in a canoe named Hamanoman (“amazing” in Seimat) around the time of the colonization of the Ninigos in the late 19th century. With a lineage stretching three generations further back to chiefs who conquered the nearby Hermit Islands, Kelly told us that his great-grandfather Saul built Hamanoman and that the design remains a family secret. Indeed, the Ninigo canoes of each clan vary in subtle ways, but because canoe racing is competitive to near fanaticism, such wisdom is not shared. It may seem odd at first that the Ninigo people are passionate about racing their canoes. But, as Oscar so enthu30 OCEAN NAVIGATOR MAY/JUNE 2017   

Michael Tahalam and crew salute Carina in the Ninigo lagoon.

siastically stated, the canoes are their life — without them, it is doubtful they would be able to continue to thrive in their islands. The canoes are made mostly from materials collected in the jungle or salvaged from the sea, though copper nails and “canvas” for sails are highly prized, and blue poly tarps have replaced the woven pandanus sails of the past. The canoes are efficient and fast, easily reaching speeds of 12 to 15 knots, and provide cost-free transport in a place where buying, fueling and maintaining a skiff is costly. A man’s very identity is inseparable from his canoe; to race against his neighbors and win, that is the ultimate proof of his skill. And the man whose sons are good sailors can send them far into the lagoon or out to sea to help support the family. Even the women are competitive. We were treated to lunch by Hanit, aka Sweet Honey, on Pihon Island for a number of days during the races. She and her sisters grumbled that the committee had failed to plan a women’s race, even knowing that the races were of such import that few men would allow a woman on their team. And the women wanted to race! Though there are many canoe racing committees throughout the island group, and races are scheduled at different times of the year, the

premier racing season is August when the southeast trades blow the strongest, bringing “big wind” and racing fever to the people. So this is when we chose to make our visit. In 2016, we were the only visitors from outside Ninigo and were treated like royalty. A small part of the reason for that was, because of a snafu or two, government funding for the 2016 races never arrived. When the islanders reluctantly shared this information with us, we proposed to donate all the prizes for all the races from our boatload of supplies – clothing, sunglasses, fishing and rigging gear, copper nails, LED lights, headlamps, solar panels and more — that we had packed aboard. The islanders were enthusiastic about the idea of winning the donations, so 74 canoes signed up to race over five days in two locations. We were thrilled to have been able to help preserve this important cultural event and we encourage anyone with means to visit to do the same. You will consider it an experience of a lifetime. n In 2003, Philip DiNuovo and Leslie Linkkila retired from corporate careers and set sail from Kingston, Wash. on an openended voyage aboard Carina, their Mason 33. They have traveled now for 13 years and logged 35,000+ nautical miles. Visit their website,


How to use graphical weather resources, and their possible pitfalls

Weather graphics BY KEN MCKINlEY


he way that mariners acquire weather forecast information has changed dramatically in the past generation. For most of the 20th century, forecasts were provided by government weather services as text products, often delivered by voice radio broadcasts. However, the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” certainly applies to weather information, and being able to receive weather maps or weather charts has always been considered to be a significant enhancement of text forecasts.


Weather charts were also transmitted by radio signals in the 1900s — mainly during the second half of the century — but receiving these charts required equipment able to decode the radio signal and transform it into a chart, commonly known as a radiofax receiver. Until about the 1980s, this equipment was expensive and rather bulky, making it impractical for most recreational vessels. Also, receiving the weather charts was time consuming and depended on conditions that allowed the radio signal

to be received clearly without interruption. Intermittent or static-filled reception could lead to charts that varied from inconvenient to interpret, to completely illegible. As radio receivers improved and became smaller, and fax technology advanced later in the 1990s, more vessels were able to take advantage of the radiofax technology, and the use of onboard weatherfax increased. But the most dramatic change has occurred in the early part of the 21st century as Internet access became more practical

Fig. 1: Worldwide view of wind data on the Earth site provides a good big-picture view of how weather systems interact. The site only shows weather model data, however. It hasn’t been interpreted by weather professionals.



and more affordable for more vessels, and computers have become smaller and more affordable and therefore commonplace on board. This, in turn, has led to a large

Courtesy PredictWind

Fig. 2: PredictWind sample weather chart for the northeastern Atlan-

increase in the amount of graphical weather information available to the mariner, both on board and ashore, and from both government sources and private entities.

tic showing isobars, wind barbs and color-coded wind speed.

Which weather graphics are best? The question inevitably arises: Which weather graphics are best to use? The answer is, it’s complicated. In addition to the wider availability of weather graphics of different types, navigation software packages have been developed that ingest data from weather models and use vessel performance data in combination with weather data to suggest routes for ocean voyages and calculate expected speed made good along the route. This makes things even more complicated.


First, when looking at a graphical presentation of data, it is critically important for the mariner to know exactly what is being presented, including its source. The first impression of any presentation will be the quality of the graphics. Looking at a screen and seeing an image that is clear and easy to understand fosters an impression that the underlying data is correct. Animations of data made by stepping forward in time in a forecast sequence are also very impressive to the user, particularly if a forecast position of a vessel moving through a proposed voyage is part of the presentation. However, many of the more popular presentations available on the Internet use computer model data that has not been examined or modified by a professional meteorologist. Why might this be a problem? After all, has not the development and improvement of computer models led to significant improvements in forecast capabilities? The answer to this question is most certainly yes. Computer models are one of the most powerful tools that meteorologists have to produce accurate forecasts. However, they are not perfect. Also, there are several different computer models that are in regular use, and each model has its strong points and weak points that depend on the

particular weather pattern in play, geographic areas and other factors. Raw model outputs In generating a forecast, today’s meteorologists have access to all of these computer models and use these tools in combination with other means, such as observed data and their knowledge of weather systems, to provide the best forecast possible. Many websites utilize raw model output from just one model to generate their forecast presentations, as do many navigation and weather routing programs. In other words, these forecasts have not been produced by a professional meteorologist and therefore do not benefit from the meteorologist’s expertise, both in terms of knowledge of weather systems and in terms of understanding how the models will perform in different situations. Because of the

Consulting Meterologists • Commanders’ Weather Corporation: • Locus Weather: • • Jenifer Clark’s Gulfstream: •

sophistication of the models, often these presentations will provide a reasonably accurate forecast for a given route most of the time — but not all the time. So let’s take a look at some of what is available online. The “Earth” website ( offers a unique and pleasing view of wind circulation around the globe (Figure 1). They describe it as “a visualization of global weather conditions forecast by supercomputers updated every three hours.” The user can adjust the point of view, the map projection and the zoom level. This presentation allows a very good visualization of how weather systems interact with one another by showing the wind circulation with no other information to clutter the screen. Other parameters can also be displayed. But in the end, this site shows only model data, not refined data that has been examined and/ or adjusted by a professional. Another website that offers some rather crisp graphics is This website focuses on offering maps that can be customized to any part of the world’s oceans and can display several different parameters. One type of chart that is quite popular is an image of wind speed, shown with traditional wind barbs as well as color-coding, superimposed over the area of

interest (Figure 2). Charts of sea state, isobars, temperature, wind gusts and other parameters are also available. A basic service is offered at no cost (registration is required), and a more robust set of products is available at a few different subscription levels. PredictWind also offers what they term as “Departure Planning” and “Weather Routing” services. These services are very similar to some onboard software programs, although the software programs incorporate more sophisticated vessel performance data. The PredictWind weather data is all model driven. They offer two different well-known models and also produce data from two of their own proprietary models for which they claim greater accuracy. But none of the data is regularly reviewed by a professional meteorologist in real time. As they correctly state on their website, if all of the models show a similar forecast, that will increase the user’s confidence level in the data. When there are differences, though, the user is left to try to determine which model is more accurate, and in some situations the differences between models can be quite significant and could lead to very different decisions for an ocean voyager. Yet another popular website that offers several different ways to view weather data

is Their basic premise is that the user can create a “virtual buoy” in any location and access forecast data for that location (thus their site name). This has tremendous appeal over the oceans because of the relative lack of actual data. Forecast information for virtual buoys is available at no charge for two-day forecasts (Figure 3), but like PredictWind, higher levels of service require a subscription. Thus, to obtain forecasts out to seven days, you must pay a fee. The subscription service also provides access to other products, including weather charts customizable for any area. Again, this information is derived solely from model output, and those using the service need to be aware of

Fig. 3: Twoday forecast from buoyweather.comfor a virtual buoy in the Gulf of Maine.



this. The Buoyweather organization does employ a staff of meteorologists, however, and they offer custom forecast services provided by professionals for additional fees. The Buoyweather and PredictWind situations illustrate very nicely why certain services can be offered at low or no cost to users, while others require a higher cost. Once software is in place to ingest model data and then display it in a specified way, the system can run 24 hours per day with little intervention, and the personnel costs to the organization are minimal. Websites like Buoyweather and PredictWind are counting on users trying their free offerings and being

Split Lead SSB Antenna

Above, Fig. 4: National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) coverage

M M No need for backstay insulators M Easy installation M No swaging, no cutting M Tough, waterproof, reusable M Highly conductive RF elements M Watertight leadwire to antenna connection M Stiff 34’ LDPE housing secures firmly to backstay wire

require that type of service should expect to pay more for it. Bottom line: You get what you pay for. A more recent arrival on the weather graphic scene is the National Digital Forecast Database. This product is produced by NOAA forecasters at the Ocean Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center, and is available on both websites. This product allows users to display color maps

area. Left, Fig. 5: NDFD


wind speed depiction, forecast valid 0000 GMT 1 March 2017. Communications expert Gordon West reports

“I have done numerous SSB ham and marine radio checks with this system and have found no discernible signal losses, even when used with a well-grounded backstay aboard a steel-hulled vessel. GAM Electronics, Inc. The antenna...can PO Box 305 bang out a signal Harrison, ME 04040 just as though it Phone: (207) 583-4670 were suspended in mid-air.”

– Sail Magazine


impressed enough to move up to a higher level of service, and given the quality of their graphics and user interfaces, this likely works well for them. However, when more comprehensive services are provided that involve professional meteorological consultation to help interpret the model data, the personnel costs are naturally higher. Weather is a 24/7 proposition for oceangoing mariners, and providing professional support to take account of this is more costly. Those who

of several different parameters (one at a time) on an adjustable map base with forecast times up to five days ahead. The coverage area includes offshore waters of the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii as well as tropical waters through the entire Atlantic and the eastern Pacific (Figure 4). By hovering over any point on the maps, the values of the selected parameters can be read (Figure 5). The big difference between these presentations and many others is that the database is

populated by forecaster-generated data rather than model data. At this time, the product is considered experimental, but it has been available for a few years and it will likely become fully operational soon. It works best with a highspeed broadband connection, so it will be most useful when ashore and may be tough to use aboard when offshore and the Internet connection is slow. Speaking of being offshore, even with a slow Internet connection, only email service and no web access, it is possible to download weather charts from the Ocean Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center through the FTPmail protocol. These charts are not as fancy as many of the color graphic displays noted above, and some might even call them “old-fashioned,” but they are produced by meteorologists, and, by using the full suite of analysis and forecast charts, they do show weather systems and their motion as well as marine weather warnings. In fact, even if other weather graphics packages are utilized, downloading these charts should be a regular part of the onboard routine for obtaining weather forecast information. These meteorologist-produced charts will greatly increase the value of other model-based graphics (see Figure 6, compared with Figure 5).

Weather routing programs There are several weather routing programs that can be installed on onboard computers to provide suggested routes based on vessel capabilities and expected weather conditions. These programs are generally utilizing weather data from one model. Again, examining data that has had input from a professional meteorologist and comparing with the model data and the suggested route from the program is strongly suggested in order to pick up on situations when the particular model in use may not be performing well. Some programs also allow downloads of OPC and NHC charts. Whenever there is a conflict between model data and forecasts produced by

Source of Web address Graphics

a meteorologist, it is best to put more confidence in the information from the meteorologist. Remember, the meteorologist has access to the same model data that are used in these programs, but also has access to other model data and will draw on their professional experience and expertise to come up with a forecast. If the forecast by a meteorologist is different than model data shown in a presentation, there is usually a good reason. To summarize, when using weather graphics from any source, it is important to understand the source of the weather forecast data that is being used. Model output is a very powerful tool but should not be the only source of data that is used to make decisions. Displays

Model or Description/Comments Meteorologist

earth Model

Very pleasing display, helps understand how weather systems interact.

PredictWind Model (several) Buoyweather Model, Meteorologist available for fee National Digital Meteorologist Forecast Database NOAA FTPmail Meteorologist ftpmail.txt

Limited data available for free, more extensive data available when subscription is purchased.

Limited data available for free, more extensive data available when subscription is purchased. Consulting meteorologists available for custom services at additional cost. In the drop-down menu at the upper right, choose “Oceanic,” then choose the parameter of interest in the adjacent drop-down menu. This link provides detailed directions for the FTPmail process. The fax schedule will need to be accessed on the OPC website in order to determine the codes for the desired charts. MAY/JUNE 2017 OCEAN NAVIGATOR 35

WEATHER special section

such as the Earth website, Buoyweather, PredictWind and others offer wonderful ways to view model data and thus can be very useful, but these should all be supplemented by data that has been produced by a meteorologist. This could include using a consulting service (such as the higher-end services offered by Buoyweather, or other meteorological consulting services), or by accessing the National Digital Forecast Database. Also, to gain a full understanding of the weather pattern, it is best to use something more than charts that show just one param-


eter, such as wind direction or significant wave height. The Ocean Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center surface charts that show isobars, high and low centers, fronts and other features — used in combination with some of the pleasing graphic products that are available — will provide a more complete understanding of the weather conditions that are affecting and will affect an ocean passage, and ultimately will lead to better weather-related decisions. n Fig. 6: Ocean Prediction Center 24-hour forecast chart at 0000 GMT 1 March 2017, same time as NDFD chart in Fig. 5.

Contributing editor Ken McKinley is the founder and owner of Locus Weather in Camden, Maine.

Low-tech weather solution finds niche in high-tech world


echnology moves fast these days, but SailMail and its accompanying weather service Saildocs have developed a devoted following despite their distinctly low-tech solution. SailMail, which turns 20 this year, has about 2,000 subscribers for its email service accessible through a Pactor modem linked with a high-frequency single sideband radio and various satellite terminals and handsets. In 2000, three years after launching SailMail, company founders Stan Honey and Jim Corenman established Saildocs, which offers access to custom National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis-

tration weather forecasts in text or gridded binary (grib) format. SailMail subscribers can tailor the forecasts to specific areas to meet their needs. While many standard charting programs can display weather from a grib format, the company also offers a program that translates grib data into a detailed weather map. Saildocs is primarily used by SailMail subscribers and others with lowbandwidth Internet seeking weather and text bulletins without having to download huge files, Corenman said. “One of the things we do is strip that down and just make it concise for the weather itself,” he said in


a recent interview. “The problem with the grib stuff is, as NOAA provides it, the files are huge … and it is difficult to get the data you want.” “What we did, and what a couple others now offer, is we let users access NOAA raw data and parse out the data they want,” Corenman continued. “You can set the lat and long and choose which parameters you want.” Corenman and Honey developed SailMail to run on single-sideband radio because that was the technology available in the mid1990s. As maritime satellite services have become more widely used and prices

The Saildocs service continues as a valuable resource for voyagers

Examples of grib weather data available via Saildocs and displayed via a grib viewer.



have gone down, the Palo Alto, Calif., company has adapted the service to run on Iridium, Inmarsat, Globalstar and other widely available satellite products. SailMail launched in 1997 with 10 subscribers. Over time, that number grew to about 3,000 people in 2008 when the recession hit. Since then, the company has maintained a fairly steady following of 2,000 subscribers. Corenman attributes the decline to several factors, including fewer people on the water and more communication options becoming available at lower costs. Saildocs is available with an annual $275 SailMail subscription fee that allows unlimited access to email and weather. Satellite-based subscribers pay for airtime, while radio users can access the service with no additional charges. The program has evolved over the years as NOAA forecasts have become more detailed. Within the last decade or so, NOAA began offering data on sea states, ocean currents, ocean temperatures and other

information, in addition to standard forecasts. Saildocs responded by tweaking its program to keep up with those changes. “What we have tried to do is expand our capability without obsoleting the stuff that still works. For our users, particularly those on a budget, high-frequency SSB radio email has a lot of attraction because of the low operating cost,” Corenman said. “The equipment is a pain in the neck to set up, but once you get it set up, you’re there.” Corenman acknowledged that people have different expectations about Internet use these days, even while cruising offshore. He expects satellite usage will continue to grow and radio use will continue its gradual decline. That said, he believes SailMail and Saildocs will continue to have a niche with costconscious mariners. Single sideband radio also has the advantage of daily “nets” — hart_13h 3/20/07 6:50 radio meet-ups at set times on set frequencies that let sailors stay in touch on the water at no charge.

Free email communication over the radio system is another big perk. “The thing people find, particularly in the cruise segment ... nobody is going to pay $1 a minute to chat with their buddies to find out what is going on,” Corenman said, referring to satellite airtime rates. While he doesn’t expect any revolutionary changes in radio technology, Pactor modems are getting faster, which is allowing faster download speeds. In many cases, radio downloads are faster than those on satellite. Meanwhile, the weather data that forecasting agencies are making available are getting better, too. “I expect you’ll see satellite use continue to increase and our hope is we can continue to develop and remain competitive in that business,” Corenman said. n Casey Conley is a staff writer for Ocean Navigator and ProfesPM Page 1 sional Mariner magazines and is the editor of American Tugboat Review.

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north course for the first day out of Whangarei. We had hoped to make it through a few degrees of latitude and away from another ugly weather system heading into New Zealand within a few days. The further north we could get, the better we could avoid it or at least minimize its impact.

After tough return to New Zealand, voyagers get speedy

Furler failure



Story and photos by Barbara Sobocinski


e left New Zealand heading for Fiji, a 1,200-mile trip. The weather was predicted to be a bit more boisterous than we would normally choose, but we had waited more than a month for a weather window and our New Zealand visas were expiring. Good windows had been slow to open during this stretch. New Zealand won’t force you out into bad weather conditions, but we thought this window was acceptable — as did many other yachts heading 40

in the same direction. It would be windier through most of the voyage (20-plus knots), but from a good direction (stern quarter) so we wouldn’t be banging into it and we could make good time. The previous weather window that many boats took earlier in the month was a motoring trip almost the entire way, something we couldn’t do with our fuel capacity. To try to avoid getting caught in the low and a hole with no winds, we took a due

Unusual furling problems As evening came, the wind had died enough that the sails were flogging badly in the rolling seas, so we rolled in the headsail, turned on the engine and motorsailed with the main. Then, with daylight coming, the wind picked up again and we turned off the engine and unfurled the genoa. It didn’t come out very smoothly and, in fact, got “stuck.” Michael went to look at the furler and noticed a riding lock on the furler line, something we never had before. We dropped the sail on deck so he could undo this knot and then pulled the sail back up on the furler again. The good news was that the winds were relatively light (about 10 to 12 knots from the stern quarter). Seas were quite confused with a steady 2.5-meter swell from astern. Though it was a bit of a challenge, the sail went up smoothly and we were sailing again. The wind started to pick up and we decided to put a reef in the genoa — it was again difficult to roll in. Michael went forward to check things

out again and came back with a few stainless ball bearings in his hand. The roller furler drum and extrusion was working its way up the forward stay … not a good situation. There was definitely a big problem with the furler. We had replaced the forward stay the previous year and had a rigger check out the furler system at that point, though he didn’t take the whole unit apart. We also did our pretrip check of the rigging and all seemed in order before we departed New Zealand. (Use Wayne Canning’s “Furler Maintenance” video available from the Ocean Navigator YouTube site as a good maintenance program and pre-check before heading offshore.) What was happening now was a repair we could not make at sea, and we also did not want to lose the sail or the entire rig. Dropping the sail to the deck and securing it was the only option. Michael checked out the forward stay and things looked

good from a visual inspection, but we did not want to put any excess stress on it in case of any damage at the top. Rigging the storm sail was the next step. In our seven years of cruising, we had yet to do this, so it took awhile to rig the inner forestay to get the lines fed correctly and the old hanks loosened enough to open and close properly. (Guess we should have done this before we left — now it’s been added to our offshore checklist!) The storm sail was up and working and we could make progress. We have a wireto-rope halyard that we use as an emergency headstay, to which we attach the storm sail. Turning around or pressing on With the boat safe and under sail, we now had time to decide what to do. We had been out two days and were about 200 miles from New Zealand, but still about 1,000 miles from Fiji. Heading back the 200 miles meant banging right into the southwesterly winds that were building. The seas were also getting bigger because of a big storm in the Roaring Forties. Continuing on to Fiji

was a much longer voyage in conditions that were predicted to be “lively.” Plus, we would have no headsail other than the hanked-on storm sail. We still had enough fuel to make it back to New Zealand. We were not 100 percent sure if the rig had sustained any damage. While we knew a good rigger in Opua, New Zealand, and were sure that the necessary repairs could be made there, we were not sure about the repair options or parts availability in Fiji. We made the call to turn around and head back. Because we had already cleared out of the country and New Zealand requires advance notice of entry, our SSB radio came in handy yet again. We could call and give our position and advance notice of our return. We could also set up a daily check-in with Taupo Radio, New Zealand’s maritime radio service, in case of any problems. This was comforting. We were also checking in daily with Gulf Harbour Radio, which was providing us with weather information to supplement our grib files. As we headed back, conditions continued to deteriorate just as predicted. We were

Far left, the broken furler. The drum is well above the guard, a sign of a serious problem. Below left, the furler lost all the ball bearings after failure. Above, Astarte safely at the dock in Opua.


Right, rigger Rob, of Northland Spars and Rigging in Opua, cuts the new head foil to the proper length. Bottom, riggers Rob and Brent fit the new Furlex 304S drum to the foil.

making slow progress against the wind and seas, motorsailing just off the wind with our reefed main. During the first night, as the wind picked up to a steady 30 to 35 knots with gusts to 45 and seas crashing over the decks, we chose to “heave to” in a modified fashion (without our headsail). This was more like forereaching, but it worked to calm the ride and stop the seas from crashing over the cockpit. For 12 hours we made little progress, but at least we rode out the worst of the passing storm and high seas in a more comfortable and safe manner. We made it back to New Zealand and into the Q dock about 48 hours after the roller furler broke. Once in, we could take a good look at the problem. There is a hollow shaft (about 1 inch in diameter) that the forward shroud runs, which threads into a machined piece of stainless steel where the wire terminates. The shaft is what the lower drum of the furler rotates. On our furler, this shaft was severed just above the threads, causing the lower unit to start to ride up the shroud. It was something we would not have seen on our rig inspection unless we completely dismantled the drum, bearings and aluminum extrusion. We certainly could not have repaired this problem underway. Original furler replaced The Furlex Type C furler was


original to our boat, a 1987 Moody. It had worked beautifully for seven and half years of fulltime cruising. So, it owed us nothing. But when on a cruising budget, buying a new one was a hard hit. We also didn’t have the luxury of time to shop around or get one shipped in to save a few a dollars. We were hoping to get a new one installed quickly. Luckily, the riggers in Opua were able to accommodate our needs. The new furler arrived at the riggers on a Tuesday and our old one was removed that day. We had a complete rig inspection at the same time. The new Furlex 304S was put together on Wednesday in the shop and installed on Thursday afternoon. We had re-checked into the country on a Saturday, and by the next Saturday we were heading out to test the new furler under load. We checked out of the country again on the following Monday to start our 1,170-mile passage to Fiji with a brand new furling system. It got a good test underway. Everything worked great. It could have been worse if it happened at night during one of those quick squalls. We then could have lost the sail or the rig, so at least the only thing that was damaged was our bank account. n Barbara Sobocinski and Michael Hawkins sail aboard Astarte, their 1987 Moody 422.


Checking hoses STORY AND PHOTOS BY WAYNE CANNING s a surveyor, it is my job ally requires crawling around to inspect hoses for probin the deep dark recesses of lems as I go about my inspecyour bilges. That said, it is an tions. It often surprises me important job that should be just what I find. I frequently done at least a couple times see critical hoses that are on a year if you want to avoid the verge of failure, just waitproblems. If you are not physiing to let go at the worst time. cally able to perform this task, The vessel owner is usually consider hiring someone to do completely unaware of these it for you, because — let’s face ticking time bombs in their it — it often requires a contorbilges. Hoses, hose clamps and tionist to get into all spaces you other plumbing fittings do should. not last forever; they all need It does not take much in maintenance or replacement at the way of equipment: a good some point. flashlight and a headlamp A hose or fitting that fails along with a screwdriver and can range from simple to serinut driver to tighten any loose ous; it can be nothing more clamps you may find. It would than a nuisance, or it could also be good to have a supply potentially sink your boat. of spare hose clamps of difInspecting and servicing or ferent sizes handy as well to replacing hoses can prevent replace any bad clamps that problems before they hapmay be found. You may also pen. Some hose manufactures want to have a friend aboard have stated that hoses should or, at minimum, a cellphone be replaced every five years. just in case you should become Although most will last longer than this, it does point out that hoses do need periodic service. To avoid problems, owners should do regular inspections of all the hoses in their boats, paying particular attention to those connected to fittings below the waterline. Inspecting hoses for problems is not a popular chore, as it usu-


stuck somewhere. Do not underestimate this, as it has happened to me. Try to wear clothing that will not easily snag on equipment when crawling into tighter spots, and keep a knife with you as well, just in case. If you do get stuck, remember: Do not panic, stay calm and move slowly.

Above, this hose has developed cracks and needs replacement. Below, this AC pump fitting is poorly

Below-the-waterline fittings So, what do you look for once you have worked your way into the depths of your boat? Of course you want to pay particular attention to any hoses connected to fittings

supported and can easily be broken or damaged by stored equipment.



This hose setup has a broken clamp that isn’t doing anything to keep the hose in place, plus it’s connected to a badly corroded fitting.

below the waterline, but all hoses deserve a careful inspection to avoid problems. Start with a simple visual inspection: Look for cracks and dry rot or anything else that does not look “right,” and pay particular attention to bends and turns in the hose — these are areas that stress the hose material and often will be where you find cracks or kinking. For hoses with wire reinforcement, look for signs of rust weeping through the outer jacket. Look for any signs of bulging or swelling, as this can be a sign of internal failure. Check for chafing, particularly near motors, equipment and where the hose passes through a bulkhead or other structure. Problems are not always with the hose itself but can be with the hose clamps and fittings that the hose is attached to. Carefully inspect the hose where it is attached to any fittings; this is an area where hoses can be damaged by clamps or the fittings themselves. Hoses are sometimes damaged during installation and this may not become apparent until the hose has aged. Look for signs of weeping from any fittings, both around the hose and around any pipe fittings. Check the hose clamps for tightness and rusting, and make 44 OCEAN NAVIGATOR MAY/JUNE 2017   

sure the hose is the right size for the fittings it is attached to. A hose forced onto a fitting too large or crushed down to a fitting too small is likely to fail sooner rather than later. This is also an area susceptible to corrosion, so check the fittings as well. While checking the hoses, make sure the right hose is used for the right job. This is particularly true for fuel hoses. Fuels can damage a hose from the inside out, so it is important that the hose be rated for that use. Fuel hoses will be labeled on the outside for their intended use. Any hoses that carry hot fluids for domestic use or cooling on the motor should be rated for high temperatures. Any hoses under pressure should also be rated for that pressure. Waste hoses should likewise be designed for that function as well, in order to prevent odor problems. Hose clamps can fail Hose clamps and hose fittings are equally important to the life and success of a hose and its ability to function without problems. Hose clamps can and do fail, causing everything from minor leaks to the sinking of a vessel. Clamps rust and break and, if not applied correctly, they can cause damage to the hose,

resulting in failures and leaks. A good hose clamp is all stainless steel, including the adjusting screw, and is made with a solid strap — not one cut for screw threads. I’ve seen a lot of failed clamps during surveys and almost all were broken in the middle where the screw threads are cut into the strap. Good clamps are not cheap, but they are well worth the extra cost for the peace of mind and longer life they provide. Make sure the clamps are snug but not so tight that they are cutting into the hose itself. After installation, hoses tend to compress, which causes the clamp to loosen a bit. A slight tightening is usually all that is needed to keep things working as they should. Over-tightening can damage the hose so be aware of that. The use of improper fittings will likewise result in problems, and this is a common issue with aftermarket installations. Hoses should be connected with properly sized barb fittings or fittings designed to be used with hose. The standard fitting is a barbed tail threaded to a pipe fitting to make the transition from hose to pipe. The barb should be properly sized to the hose and have sufficient length for the hose to seal tightly. Generally speaking, you will be able to get at least two clamps firmly over the barbed section. The hose should be pushed onto the barb so that it fully covers the barb without any exposed material left. The barb itself should be of the correct material, meaning you should never use brass below the waterline. A hose should never be attached to a threaded pipe fitting, as this will result in leaks as the fluid follows the threads. A hose

should also not be fitted to a smooth pipe or copper tube as it could slide off with surprisingly little force and cause leaks to be more likely. Run them clear Hoses should be well supported and run clear of any wires and/or moving parts. As with wires, neatly run hoses are not only safer but also easier to inspect and service. When securing hoses, use clamps or straps that will support the hose without damaging

A hose setup that initially looks good, but closer inspection reveals a broken clamp.

it. Metal straps should only be used if they are protected with rubber. For small hoses, wire ties can work well; however, with larger hoses, clamps and hangers designed for supporting hoses are better. Make sure no hoses are run over hot equipment such as exhaust pipes. This is particularly true for oil and fuel hoses, as leaks can cause fires with these fluids. When running hoses, try to avoid hard turns since these can stress the hose material and will shorten its life. Make sure the hose is not in contact

with any sharp edges or vibrating equipment as well. Should you find any bad hoses that need replacing, do not just automatically replace the hose with the same type. Very often the wrong hose was used in the first place, or there may be something newer that will work better for the application. For any below-waterline use, make sure the hose is rated for that use. As mentioned above, fuel lines must be rated for use with fuel, and this includes any fuel fill hoses as well as supply lines. Make sure any hose used for suction, such as intake hoses, are reinforced with either wire or hard plastic to prevent collapsing. Sanitation hoses should be rated for waste to help reduce odors; there are several new hoses designed for this, so a little research would be well worth the effort. Any hoses used for potable water should similarly be rated for this use. Removing and installing hoses is not always the easiest job on a boat, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help make the job easier. Before trying to remove a hose, first remove the clamps and then try to rotate it on the fitting to break loose any bond that has developed. I’ve found that a heat gun can be the best tool for this. Warm the hose before removal or installation. Take your time and allow the heat to fully penetrate the hose material to fully soften it. For hoses that are very stiff or just do not want to let go, you can try prying it off the fitting with a screwdriver or hose-removal tool from an auto parts store. Shoot a bit of WD-40 or other petroleum lubricant between the hose and its

fitting. Work it up and down while pulling it off the fitting. It also helps to wear work gloves to avoid those war wounds. When installing a new hose, once again, some heat applied to the hose end along with a bit of liquid dish soap will make life easier. Do not use petroleum lubricants with a new hose as it may damage the hose material. While checking the boat’s fluid hoses, do not forget about air hoses as well. Blower and air conditioning hoses should be checked, since air hoses tend to be made with a thinner material and can be damaged easily. Make sure there are no dips or loops that could fill with outside water or condensation and block air flow. Small leaks can add up in air conditioner hoses and reduce your unit’s efficiency, so repair any leaks with — you guessed it — duct tape. Hose failure is probably the most common reason for a boat sinking either at sea or at dock, and let’s not even get into the misery involved in the failure of a waste hose. Although it may not be the easiest task on your boat, it may be one of the more important and often overlooked maintenance jobs. It is well worth the effort to know all your hoses are in good condition and it may just save your boat from serious problems. n Capt. Wayne Canning lives on his Irwin 40 Vayu, in Cape Coral, Fla. A marine professional for more than 40 years, he is now a full time marine surveyor, freelance writer, and consultant. Visit and for more information. MAY/JUNE 2017 OCEAN NAVIGATOR 45

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Donations Needed Sextant Donations Needed The non-profit youth educational organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) needs used sextants for its on-board education programs. Ocean Navigator is partnering with OHPRI, to provide both youth and adult education in celestial navigation, seamanship, weather and other subjects. OHPRI is also in need of weather instrumentation such as barographs, sling psychrometers, and navigational gear such as hand bearing compasses, sight reduction tables and other gear. Donors will receive receipts for possible use for tax donations. If you would like to donate a sextant, contact Alex Agnew, Ocean Navigator Magazine,

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Weather Services ocean voyage weather forecasts Custom forecasts address your specific needs, taking into account your boat’s characteristics and your voyaging philosophy. A professional meteorologist will work personally with you to help make good safe decisions. Locus Weather 207-236-3935 Photo: © Jeff Yonover MAY/JUNE 2017 OCEAN NAVIGATOR


Nav Problem


Bluebelle was a 60-foot wooden ketch.

here is an intriguing picture on the Internet of a young girl on a small raft just as she is rescued, with a caption reading something to the effect of “Survivor of Shipwreck.” This tale begins with Dr. Arthur Duperrault of Green Bay, Wis. In 1961, Dr. Duperrault took his family on a sailing trip. Along with his wife and three kids — Brian, 14; Terry Jo, 11; and Renee, 7 — he went to Florida and chartered Bluebelle, a 60-foot ketch skippered by 44-year-old Julian Harvey and his new wife, Mary Dene. Harvey looked every bit the part of the salty captain: good-looking, athletically built and a genuine war hero who had served as a pilot both in WWII and Korea. Had Duperrault dug a little bit deeper though, he would have discovered this was Harvey’s sixth marriage and that one of his previous wives had been suspiciously killed in a car accident, which Harvey had escaped. Harvey had also been involved with the sinking of two yachts and had collected sizeable insurance settlements from both. So, the doctor and his family chartered Bluebelle with Captain Harvey and Mary Dene for a trip from Florida to the Bahamas, cruising the Bahamas for a week or so.


On the return trip, the pleasant vacation became a vision of hell. Harvey had taken out a $20,000 double indemnity insurance policy on his wife and aimed to collect. If she died an accidental death and her body wasn’t found, Harvey could collect $40,000. Harvey’s cold-blooded murder of Mary Dene was accidentally witnessed by Dr. Duperrault. This had tragic consequences, as Harvey then murdered Mrs. Duperrault, Dr. Duperrault and Brian and Renee. Terry Jo was to be next, but Harvey handed her the dinghy painter. Terry Jo dropped the line and the dinghy floated away. Harvey jumped overboard to retrieve the dinghy while Bluebelle, with her seacocks open, sank. He likely figured Terry Jo went down with the ship. Terry Jo, however, got on a small balsa float. For the next four days, she drifted without food or water until she was rescued by a Greek freighter in Northwest Providence Channel. She had suffered from exposure, but was alive. Meanwhile, three days before, Harvey had been rescued along with the drowned body of Terry Jo’s sister Renee. Harvey told the Coast Guard a tale of a sudden squall, a dismasting, a fire and the loss

BY DAVID BERSON of all on Bluebelle, thinking all along that Terry Jo had drowned. For three days, his story held. But, when Terry Jo was rescued, he checked into a motel and slit his wrists. Terry Jo returned to Green Bay and was taken in by family but was never encouraged to speak of the episode. Fifty years later she and a co-author wrote Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean, bringing her story to attention. In 1961, let’s assume Captain Harvey took a noon sight to ascertain his latitude. On Nov. 12, using the 2017 Nautical Almanac, the ill-fated Bluebelle was at a DR of 26° 32’ N by 78° 15’ W. The height of eye was 10 feet and Harvey was taking a lower limb sight of the sun. The Hs was 45° 30.8’. There is no index error. We want to calculate the time in GMT of LAN, then we want to reduce our HS to Ho. Finally, we want to calculate our latitude. n A. What is the time of LAN at the DR? B. What is the Ho? C. What is latitude?

Answers Answers: A. LAN is at 1657 GMT B. Ho is 45° 43.0’ C. Latitude is 26° 25’ N

Bluebelle’s sole survivor

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Ocean Navigator - May/June 2017  

Ocean Navigator - May/June 2017