TBT: What it is Like to be On Passage?

We are preparing to to set sail to the Philippines in a few days. Meals are cooked, cabin in stowed and we have a keen eye on the weather. But it is always a little difficult to prepare for passage because you’re never really sure what lies ahead.

As we ready ourselves for sea I thought I would post my notes from our passage from Kavieng to Palau. While underway I keep a daily dairy; a page of notes that sums up the events, conditions and feelings of the past 24 hours.  If you want an idea about what being on passage is really like this should give it to you. These are not well-groomed or thought out notes, just reflections and reaction about the goings on as we are experiencing them. Here’s an excerpt:

Dec 15, Day 8: We managed to sail all night, but the winds lightened up after midnight and things got wet before day break. Morning watch was a boisterous ride. Grey all day, just impenetrable walls of grey. Winds NW-NE 10-30kts. We have been able to sail a more westerly course between 275-300◦. Close hauled all morning, of course, but making 6-7kts. The winds were fickle for Steve, abruptly changing direction and turning off as if someone flicked a switch. I made a hot lunch of “Steve Famous Gumbo” from cans and leftovers in the fridge. Rains increased during the afternoon and I sat my watch reefing and furling, seeing the boat speed eek to 8kts. Soaked to the bone and cold by 1800 we were both happy to be putting some miles under the keel. Winds continued through Steve’s evening watch and the rains finally stopped, brighter skies and moon light for me! Cold still, foulies and fleece on tonight despite being at 3◦N. Hoping we have made enough ground north to find the NE trades and progress to Palau can be made in earnest. Dahl for dinner. Port window leaking onto the bunk. Everything feeling clammy after a week of hot bunking. No shower today. Fresh veggies finished.”

If you’re interested in reading the complete blow-by-blow of our 20 day passage you can find it HERE.  Safe Sailing!

Love,

H&S

How-to Make Dinghy Chaps

We just left the world of inflatable dinghies after a very frustrating and costly few years dealing with our problematic Takacat.

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The Takacat and the ongoing problems of the seams coming unglued.

There will be more info about our experience and disappointments coming up, as well as our reflections on our new hard dinghy from Porta-bote. 

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The New Dinghy!

But if you’re still in the blow up boat camp and are looking for a good start of the season project check out my how-to article about making a pair of stylish and practical dinghy chaps for your inflatable, as appeared in Cruising World Magazine in March 2017.

CW Dinghy Chaps

Love,

H&S

 

 

 

TBT: Tales From the Crypt in Cruising Helmsman Magazine

Don’t believe it is bad luck to leave port on a Friday? Well, six years ago we tested the theory when we departed from Isla Coco’s and sailed to the Galapagos Islands. The passage was one of our worst!

If you’re near a news stand Down Under you can trip down memory lane with us and read all about our (mis)adventures in the March issue of Cruising Helmsman Magazine.

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Guests Onboard in BWS

Considering inviting friends or family to visit you while you’re out sailing? Read all about how to plan and prepare so everyone has a good time while onboard in my latest BWS column. Pick up the October issue of Blue Water Sailing on news stands now! Or pickup a digital subscription on Zinio.com

Discover New Caledonia with Cruising Helmsman Magazine

I don’t get to see myself in print very often but Steve found a copy of the August issue of Cruising Helmsman at the Brisbane airport. Any Kiwi or Aussie sailors interested in hearing about our time in New Caledonia last season pick up a copy today!!!

Stove Top Bread Baking

Want fresh baked bread onboad but don’t have an oven? Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to cut down on fuel used and heat in the galley.  Learn all my tricks for successful STOVE TOP baking in the August issue of Blue Water Sailing. Available on news stands now!

To make a Brummel Splice in Dyneema

This time last year we were bashing to windward with our newly installed dyneema inner forestay and staysail flying. It made the three day trip from New Caledonia to Vanuatu a whole lot easier. Read about how to splice dyneema in the June issue of Cruising World Magazine!

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Sprouting and Yogurt Making Onboard

On newstands now is the April issue of Blue Water Sailing magazine where you’ll find all the info you need start making yogurt and sprouting greens in my column ‘Heather Francis Onboard’. Make a healthy choice and pick up a copy today!

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