Although, our family sailed on Pelagic, our 54-footer built specifically for high-latitude expedition sailing, in the channels of Tierra del Fuego in 2008, sailing to Antarctica for an extended cruise over the long Christmas holiday was the opportunity for my daughter Lara and son Luca to finally realize why Dad goes south every year.
When your father is around-the-world racer and high-latitude cruiser Skip Novak, it's no surprise that a cruise to the Antarctica is a family vacation, and 11-year-old Lara Novak chronicles the Christmastime journey
When 27 sailboats joined the largest attempt to survey the plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean this summer, their crews might have expected to find large pieces of plastic floating on the surface. Instead, what they found by using specially designed trawls is much more sinister: The ocean is filled with masses of microscopic bits of plastic.
The decision on whether to carry a life raft and what kind of life raft that should be can be a challenge for sailors. New six-person, non-commercial life rafts cost at least $1,700. Used life rafts can be a relative bargain, but all rafts need periodic maintenance. The decision on what is right for a boat can hinge on factors as varied as budget to the kind of sailing you do.
We’ve been to plenty of concerts but never by sailboat, so when our friends in Florida called to ask if we wanted to join them to see the Dave Matthews Band via boat, we grabbed our bags and headed for the airport.
In the winter of 1956-1957, my grandfather commissioned a small sailing craft and named her for the young girl in Charlotte’s Web. He had been dreaming about small boats for some time and the popularity of his second children’s book made the project possible. He had owned other boats, including, a 30-foot double-ended cutter called Astrid, but Fern would be the first boat built for him.
The sailing world is flush with professional races that operate like finely tuned machinery. So when a truly grassroots competition arrives on the scene, it’s a breath of fresh air among intrepid pull-ourselves-up-by-our-bootstraps adventurers who make up for their lack of deep pockets with their courage, persistence and irrepressible good humor.
It was hazy, hot and the air was still and the seas were calm; certainly not the conditions we were expecting as we motored down the narrow channel toward the northern city of St. Petersburg on the eastern edge of the Baltic that so many of us had traveled so far to visit. But the uncharacteristically warm and sunny weather was only the first salvo of what proved to be a barrage of sensory overload that no reasonable expectations could live up to.
Francis Lee was named in honor of a father’s boating lineage, but everyone knows her as Sliver. To the dockside crowd of sailors who reveled in the champagne-soaked launching, Sliver was celebrated as a hometown wonder designed and built in the Pacific Northwest. The wood composite 62-foot double-ender was designed by Bob Perry and built at Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building.
Folding a sail is a task that sailors do every day, on the dock or on the deck, and while it won’t make or break you as a sailor, knowing how to fold a sail correctly will make your sails last longer, make them easier to set and ingratiate you to the rest of the crew.