Friday, August 28, 2015

An annual pilgrimage to Clare Island

Clare Island at the mouth of Clew Bay

Every year, we visit Clare Island primarily because it's an easy sail from our anchorage but also because there is so much to see there.  The Saw Doctors have immortalized the experienced in their song about the place:

Will you meet me on Clare Island
Summer stars are in the sky
We'll get the ferry out from Roonagh
And wave all our cares goodbye
And we'll go dancing at the ceili
We'll go kissing on the strand
Take our clothes off in the moonlight
Skinny-dipping hand in hand
And we'll start drinking in the twilight
Keep it up until the dawn
In both the bars
Because there's no guards
To take our names and send us home.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lessons in leadership from the sea

The author as President of the HBA addressing
an audience of more than 2000 healthcare executives.

Being in charge of your universe

by Daria Blackwell

Many people in leadership positions, myself included, assumed their roles by chance. Not thinking of themselves as leaders, they got things done that needed doing. Someone had to step up to keep the ship from foundering. They may not have had all the skills they needed to fulfill their roles effectively at the time, but they had the right attitude. They knew it could be done.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Voyaging with Kids. A guide to family life afloat.

So you made the decision to go cruising with your family to expose them to a richer life at the edge of nature and replete with cultural experience. You just buy a boat, pack up your kids, and shove off, right?  Oh no. How will you provide for their education, feed them in exotic places where the foods are all different, wash diapers and ensure their safety.  Until now, there has been no resource available for families afloat. Thanks to these authors, everything is now about to change.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Lightning strikes...twice!

Dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning

by Daria Blackwell

A boat we once owned had the unlikely misfortune of having been struck by lightning twice. She had a dissipator on her mast, her rig was not unusually tall, and she was always moored in a crowded mooring field.  Yet, somehow, the lightning liked her best.

A study published last year in Science (ScienceVol. 346 no. 6211 pp. 851-854 DOI: 10.1126/science.125910) concluded that lightning strikes are predicted to increase 12 ± 5% per degree Celsius of global warming and about 50% over this century.  With the increase in likelihood of a strike, what do we need to know to protect ourselves and our vessels?

Here are a few things we learned from our experience.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The versatile ketch rig

Aleria off Jura in Scotland --main, yankee and mizzen flying --
in the company of a sloop.

by Daria Blackwell

When my husband Alex and I decided we wanted to cross oceans, we had certain criteria we wanted to take into account. Chiefly, we wanted a boat that sailed well, was comfortable and safe when crossing oceans and comfortable at anchor as well. After all, we were going to spend more of our time not moving than moving. But when we did move, we might be needing a stable platform in a storm.  That excluded many of the modern production boats, which tend to be beamy and flat. We also decided that we would be looking at ketch rigs. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Finding a solution for 'Solution'

Solution seen on the YB tracker in Horta.

Pico seen from Horta, spinning off lenticular clouds.
Our friend, Carter Bacon, had been planning this trip across the Atlantic for years.  His classic yacht, Solution, is a wooden 50 footer built by Nielsen in Maine in 1963.  He entered the Transatlantic Race of 2015 as a means by which to get her across the pond to sail the other side for a while. His wife, Peggy, would join him  in Ireland where her parents had a home; they intended to cruise for a few weeks before bringing her up to Scotland for the winter and next year's cruising.