Showing posts from March, 2015

Saving sailing - by keeping the fun in sailing fundamentals

What's wrong with how sailing is taught?  For some reason, the teaching of sailing skills in many countries where sailing is an active pursuit has over the years changed from learning the ropes on a local body of water from an experienced friend to a rigorously structured multi-year racing-based certification process. How did it evolve this way, and who says racing is the only way to acquire the necessary fundamentals?  I say bring back the fun and watch the numbers grow.

Vanuatu and the Solomons need our help

Cyclone Pam left destruction and death behind in the Pacific. It's up to us now to help the gentle people of these remote and vulnerable islands. The Ocean Cruising Club is coordinating efforts among sailors to get things done on the ground. Please do what you can to support those is position to assist.

Information for Immediate Release
Contact: Daria Blackwell OCC Press Officer                                                                      
17th March  2015 Sailors band together to get relief to cyclone stricken Pacific islanders

Beware the tides of March!

Syzygy, aurora, eclipse, meteors and more! The Ides of March has a bad reputation but it passed unnoticed this year; and this month we also had a Friday the 13th, which some people are rather superstitious about. But that came and went without much ado as well. We got lucky with weather overall as St. Patrick's Day was dry and not too cold. The parades, especially in Newport, were great fun, and there were only two ankle injuries during the ritual sunrise climb of Croagh Patrick. No, I did not climb. Done it once.

The highest tides in the spring are always around St. Patrick's, Day and this year they were a couple of days later. We live by the sea so we are used to tidal variation. I suppose that's an understatement in that we live on a one lane road by the sea which is under water during the big spring tides for an hour either side of the high tide mark.

Children's Books about Sailing

Finding good children's books to inspire a love of the sea can be a challenge.  I've been keeping track of good selections for some time.  There is a listing of children's books on our website CoastalBoating. Recently, a graphic novel caught my attention.  Here is my review.

Granuaile: Queen of StormsDave Hendrick and Luca Pizzari, Publication date: 16th February 2015,  ISBN 978-1-84717-671-4 PRICE €12.99/£9.99 PB, Format 259 x 168mm EXTENT 64pp, The O’Brien Press Ltd Tel: +353 1 4923333; Web:, Facebook:, Twitter:

The first graphic novel presenting the story of Granuaile, the Pirate Queen, is set in sixteenth century Ireland, a turbulent time when clans lived and competed under Brehon Law, the British were expanding ever farther from the East, and the Spanish plundered along the west coast.

Top 30+ Sailing Movies

Wow, what a cool collection! Great ideas for a sailing movie club. 
When I started to compile this list, I thought I'd come up with maybe ten movies. But as I got deeper into it, not only did I realize there were more than I consciously remembered over time, but also that the independent film production movement and digital technologies are causing an explosion of very interesting new entries. The work being done by young people is particularly inspiring and impressive, and perhaps signifies that sailing isn't dying after all. No, it's actually becoming the saving grace of a generation pressured as none before it. Because it is just too difficult to rate these movies as each one ticks a different box, I've just listed them in chronological order. Enjoy, and please let me know about any I missed.

Top Ten Instructional Books on Sailing

Want to acquire an exciting new skill that will last a lifetime? Try sailing.  Sailing can look daunting to people who look up and see all those ropes and poles, and sails. Sailing also suffers from the perception of it being expensive, and it can be, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of people who have boats and need crew and plenty of boats in people's back yards just looking for a new friend to take to sea.  So if you yearn for your own boat to mess around in, take the plunge and learn what it will take to acquire a good one and learn how to sail it.  If you'd rather not deal with the hassle of owning a boat, go down to your local sailing club and ask about learn to sail programs or crewing opportunities.  Chances are, you won't even have to know much to get started. But of course if you can show enthusiasm, pleasant personality, eagerness and some attempt at acquiring the skills, you will be in high demand.  
So here are a few basic instructional manuals…