Autopilot issues on the Global Solo Challenge

Autopilot issues on the Global Solo Challenge

You can’t race a sailboat around the world in a single-handed event like the Global Solo Challenge without self-steering.  Before windvanes, most boat designs could balance rudder and sails so with the helm lashed the boat would keep her course. The 1968-1969 Golden Globe Race, the first ever non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, came after effective windvane self-steering was developed for yachts. In a retro race like today’s Golden Globe that requires windvane steering, sailors can keep a desired course well enough to still be competitive, but otherwise modern solo racers depend on electric autopilots. Today’s versions are far more sophisticated than the…
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A change at the helm

A change at the helm

Even after a thrilling trick at the wheel, wending through the waves and keeping the sails drawing, it’s still a cheerful sight to see one of your crewmates climb into the cockpit, shake away the last bit of off-watch slumber and prepare to take your place. You tell them the course to steer, give a quick briefing on the changes in the wind, how the sails are set, what vessels or land may be nearby and then it’s time to turn over the helm. He or she takes responsibility for the vessel and your watch has ended.  Something like that…
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Water troubles at the Panama Canal

Water troubles at the Panama Canal

In response to last year’s severe drought, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reduced the number of ships allowed to transit daily from a normal 36 to 22. According to Noonsite, the ACP also announced that only one of those would be an unbooked transit. Numbers are up slightly for January but as all vessels under 125 LOA go unbooked (i.e. can’t reserve a specific transit) this will cause extensive delays for transiting sailboats and power yachts during the high season. In addition, special lockages that allow rally groups to go through without a merchant vessel have stopped, and the boats…
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Survey into gender design in sailing

Survey into gender design in sailing

The World Sailing Trust has launched a survey to gather baseline data on whether the design of sailing equipment is affecting the development of greater gender diversity. This new survey, launched in early October 2023, follows up on findings from its Strategic Review of Women in Sailing published in 2019. While opinions differ among sailors about how women are treated in the sport and whether that treatment needs changing, there’s no doubt from the news that they are participating in and winning events. World Sailing Trust was created in 2018 as a global charity to support sailing, especially through increased…
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150th edition  of The Little  Yellow Book

150th edition of The Little Yellow Book

With the 2024 edition, Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book turns 150 years old. Known informally by East Coast sailors as “The Little Yellow Book,” Eldridge is a jam-packed compendium of 275-plus pages of mostly useful stuff. In an era when even NOAA is phasing out printed nautical publications in favor of apps, Eldridge’s continued existence seems strange. But when my husband Tom and I sailed our Sabre 30, Ora Kali, from New Jersey to Maine one of the first things I did was buy the latest Eldridge. To successfully navigate up the East Coast would require not just up-to-date nautical…
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Helicopter rescue in Ocean Globe Race

Helicopter rescue in Ocean Globe Race

The 53-foot French yacht Triana, one of the 14 official entrants in the Ocean Globe Race 2023, was involved in an dramatic long range helicopter evacuation of a injured crewmember off the island of Maderia on September 19.  The injury occurred at 1300 UTC, September 17 when crew member Stéphane Raguenes slipped on deck in heavy weather causing a severe laceration on the back of his leg behind the knee. Raguenes was taken below for immediate first aid to stop the blood flow. He was sedated and given morphine under supervision by MSOS 24hr Telemedicine organization. Triana’s captain, Jean d’Arthuys, contacted Ocean…
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Two-time  circumnavigator passes

Two-time circumnavigator passes

One of Ocean Navigator’s longtime contributing editors, the extraordinarily experienced and thoroughly charming ocean sailor Eric Forsyth, died on August 22, at his home on Long Island, NY. He was 91 years old. A regular contributor to ON for many years, Forsyth wrote stories of his exploits sailing his Westsail 42, Fiona. Following his retirement from Brookhaven National Labs in 1995, Forsyth became a nearly full-time ocean voyager.  Born in Bolton, England, in 1932, Forsyth became an RAF pilot and flew early jet fighters. He later emigrated to Canada with his fiancé Edith, an M.D. He earned a BS in…
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Bill Pinkey: first to solo circumnavigate

Bill Pinkey: first to solo circumnavigate

Bill Pinkney solo circumnavigated the world via the three great capes in 1992. He wasn’t the fastest, and he didn’t do it non-stop, but Pinkney, who died in August, will be remembered as the first Black man to complete what is one of the most celebrated sailing feats.  “I’d been dreaming about an adventure,” he said in an interview with The History Makers (thehistorymakers.org) and he chose sailing because that was his greatest love. His original plan was to upgrade slightly from the 28-foot Pearson Triton he kept on Lake Michigan, but after Sir Robin Knox-Johnston recommended that “I should…
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ON photo  contest  sponsored by ICOM

ON photo contest sponsored by ICOM

Don’t forget the Ocean Navigator photo con- test sponsored by ICOM. The ON Photo Contest will be awarding an ICOM handheld radio  to each of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. We will announce the winners in the Jan/Feb ’24 issue. Send your photo (high res and one entry only please) and a brief description to tim@maritimepublishing.com. To be considered for the photo contest your email must have the subject line “ON photo contest.” Send us your best photo today!
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Wavewalker: Breaking Free

Wavewalker: Breaking Free

Wavewalker: Breaking Free By Suzanne Heywood William Collins-399 pages-List $28.99 Suzanne Heywood tells an engrossing tale, yet only in part about the sea and seafaring. Wavewalker is a narrative of family dysfunction. As a seven-year-old, the author, her younger brother, her adventurous father and chronically seasick mother, along with two crew, put to sea on a passage ostensibly intended to replicate Captain Cook’s epic third voyage, of 1776-79.  Though no relation, Heywood’s father — a British amateur sailor called Gordon Cook — was an ardent student of his namesake’s maritime legacy. Thus he decided to purchase a 70-foot wooden schooner,…
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