Showing posts from March, 2016

Wood finishing in a wet climate

Dealing with boat projects in the spring has us stressing out over when and how we're going to cope with it all. It doesn't help that we chose a 57-foot "classic" that this year is turning 40 years old. While Alex replaces all the through hulls, I am dealing with brightwork and teak decks, miles of them. Every time I tackle this chore I think, "we should have bought a smaller boat." It is what it is. 

Adult Colouring Books

Book Review

Calming Celtic Colouring Adult Colouring Book An amazing phenomenon in the book industry is the popularity of adult colouring books.  There’s a good article in Time magazine about how this whole trend got started. In 2013, Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford, who created elaborate black and white illustrations for corporate clients, had the idea to publish an adult colouring book when her clients kept saying they felt a need to colour in her illustrations.  Now, 16 million copies later, she is publishing her fourth offering, Magical Jungle.  Her other books, Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, and Lost Ocean, are actually quite beautiful and thematically interesting.  A fifth book, Johanna’s Christmas is due later this year.  So it stands to reason that others would be jumping on the band wagon, including Game of Thrones originator George RR Martin, whose colouring book based on characters in the hugely popular book and television series is due out later this year. 

Recipe's and Stories from Ireland

Book Review Recipes and Stories from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic WayBy Jody EddyPhotography by Sandeep Patwal
I loved this book right from the start. It features a compilation of stories about people and the ways of living along Ireland’s wild west coast, together with recipes that feature the local fare. It’s a fantastic complement to our own Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way. I’ve often wondered what the story is behind a successful regional niche product. Who thought of it?  How do they produce it?  Who buys it?  Where are they heading with it?  Those types of questions are answered and explored in intriguing storytelling fashion.  I’ve even learned about my personal favourite cheese: gubeen!  They’ve even included short regional travel guides to tell you where the hidden gems are. And County Mayo features quite prominently.

Spring projects

This year, we hauled Aleria out in the NW corner of Ireland in a town called Killybegs. Mooney Boats is our home for the winter and Alex has been very busy. Alex is servicing thru hulls and is finding serous issues. Alex is servicing all the winches to make it easier for me to winch. But with him doing all this work, the inside is all torn up and the outside needs to be dry so he can re-bed through hulls in rebuilt fibreglass.

Gee, that means I haven't been able to paint inside, clean the teak decks with the oxalic acid I bought, or strip the varnish on the teak coamings and trim, yet again. I know. I buy into the need for serious safety issues to be dealt with, but that means that once again the cosmetic stuff has been put off and I can't live with that any more. I can't live aboard a boat that embarrasses me.

Planet of the apps

Every time I think I've got my apps all figured out and organized just the way I want them, new apps emerge from the depths of the oceans or sky or wherever.

There seem to be apps for everything now. Apps for navigation, AIS, anchor alarms, marinas, anchorages, weather, tides, fishing, night sky, birding, whaling, cooking, reading and so much more. Tell me, how did we ever get along without apps. And what's app with this anyway?  They used to be called programs. Then they were web links accessed through browsers. Now they are apps. My laptop no longer has program files, it has apps. This has become the planet of the apps.

Press Release


Irelandopedia: Book review

Irelandopedia A compendium of maps, facts and knowledge
By Fatti and John Burke

While we are on the subject of Ireland, a great companion book to have aboard for children when cruising in Ireland is Irelandopedia. What a delightful concept for exploring the rich history of this island nation. County by county, there are countless interesting factoids, cleverly illustrated to accentuate their historical significance.  Seriously oversized and in hardcover, it is an excellent resource to help make history come alive for children and adults alike.

Introduction to cruising the wild west coast of Ireland

Sharing our passion about Ireland. We had the great opportunity to speak about sailing the west coast of Ireland in London at the Cruising Association House last night. We had a very good crowd of about 56 attendees, all very interested in exploring Ireland.

Using GPS as a Warning Instrument

Use your chartplotter's features to your full advantage By Daria Blackwell

In a companion article to the one posted last week, today I am covering the positive aspects of GPS use beyond navigation that many people don't take advantage of.  You have lots of capability in that instrument, and it pays to make full use of it.

The controversy over GPS

Periodically, and seemingly with increasing frequency, a cruiser somewhere posts a rant about how technology has reached the stage where paper charts and traditional navigation have been rendered obsolete. Some of these cruisers are very experienced (and I would have thought they'd know better).

I feel the need to put forth my proposition for why reliance on one technology that has its flaws is a really undesirable position to be in and has potentially serious consequences for the safety of the crew. It also undermines good seamanship practices.

What makes sailors want to go to sea?

A boat is not a simple thing. A boat is many things to different people. A fishing boat can provide pleasure or livelihood. A cruise ship provides a means to travel in style. A dinghy gives the option of racing or playing. But a sailing boat has many options of things it can deliver from racing on Thursdays to sailing off into the sunset. It delivers absolute freedom in an increasingly complex and controlled world. It uses the wind to propel us around the earth with the currents. It lets us escape the rigors of the "real world" which we quickly learn wasn't real at all. A boat is about dreams and fulfilling them. It's about being drawn out to sea to see what is beyond the horizon.

Last week, we were contacted by a young man doing a research project for his dissertation. The subject he chose was studying what instigates a decision to sail offshore. We were fascinated, particularly since he was the winner of a goodie basket from the Irish Sailing Association at Chri…