Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Amazing Trades, article in Ocean Navigator magazine

Ascension

Landfall on Ascension Island, South Atlantic, 2010

It’s been a little while since I posted links to my published writing, so I thought I’d share one that came out in the latest issue of Ocean Navigator magazine. It’s the last piece in my four-part series looking back at the toughest passages in my years sailing. But it’s not about a tough passage at all! I decided to end on a good note, so it’s about the best passage I’ve ever sailed, across the Atlantic from Ascension Island to the Caribbean. Hope you enjoy the story!

http://www.oceannavigator.com/July-August-2020/Amazing-trades/


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Lightning…

…is, for me, one of the most fearful things at sea. Your boat’s mast essentially acts as a lightning rod, being the tallest thing for hundreds of miles. Not much fun to contemplate in an electrical storm.

squalls in the ITCZ

Squalls in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (around the equator)

Of course, all prudent sailors ground their masts so that any potential strike will go down the mast and safely out into the ocean, typically via the keel. If you don’t ground your mast, that electrical current will find the fastest way to water, which can be through the hull at waterline…. You can figure out what happens next. Even with a grounded mast, though, lightning strikes are still terrifying. A friend of my family had her boat struck twice – fortunately at anchor with no one aboard – and the damage was significant, especially to the electronic equipment, all of which was destroyed.

Ominous, leaden sky before lightning storm

Ominous, leaden sky heralding the worst lightning storm I’ve ever encountered

As a child, I kind of enjoyed thunderstorms – seen from a safe distance and from behind the windows of a snug house. As soon as I started sailing offshore, though, I started hating thunderstorms. I’ve been lucky so far, but a couple close calls have given me a healthy fear of anvil clouds and the lightning they bring. My next installment (online here) in my “Toughest Passages” series for Ocean Navigator magazine recounts these episodes.

 


Celebrating offshore sailing: CCA awards

Here is a great article about this year’s Cruising Club of America awards.

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I already mentioned Jean-Luc Van Den Heede‘s incredible achievements in an earlier post, but I thought my readers would also enjoy hearing about the other awardees. The French solo sailor Guirec SoudĂ©e is the winner of this year’s Young Voyager Award, and the Rod Stephens Seamanship Trophy this year is being awarded to another young sailor, the 32-year-old Irish singlehander Gregor McGuckin, Van Den Heede’s fellow competitor in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. You can read all about these amazing sailors in the article I linked to above. They’re soon to converge on New York for the awards dinner – I wish I could be there too this year to honor all of them! Congratulations! 🙂


Worst Weather Challenges and other stories

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Recently, I’ve been writing a series of features for Ocean Navigator magazine. My series covers the toughest passages in my 50,000 miles of offshore sailing and it’s been a fun way to look back on many years of voyaging.

The first part of the series came out in the September/October edition of the magazine and is up online as well: Worst Weather Challenges. The second one is out in print in the current issue and covers our worst underway breakages. It also just came out online: Worst Breakdowns.

This current Ocean Navigator edition also has another piece I wrote, about a fascinating historical reconstruction going on in Maine – of the colonial ship Virginia, the first English ship built in North America. Last but not least, one of our photos is the cover image for the issue! (See left.) The catamaran pictured is the sleek and fast 57-foot Gunboat Vandal whose crew we met in 2018 in the South Pacific on their way to New Zealand.


Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum article online

Celeste leaving the Alaska Peninsula for Kodiak Island

Sailing in Shelikof Strait, Alaska

My Cruising World magazine article that I mentioned in the last post is now online. You can read it here and I hope you enjoy it! Thanks again to all the sailors who contributed!

https://www.cruisingworld.com/how-to-get-mail-at-sea/

 


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The Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum and other stories

Celeste in Kenai Fjords

When it arrived in my mailbox a couple weeks ago, I was excited to see that the most recent issue of Cruising World magazine features an article I wrote after surveying a bunch of fellow sailors: The Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum. One of the big organizational hassles for offshore sailors is what to do about a permanent address and about receiving mail while voyaging.

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Mail is actually the easier half of this equation, as much of it can be dealt with online nowadays, but the permanent address issue – required for tax filing, applications for foreign visas, and renewals of passports, bank cards, driver’s licenses, even boat documentation – is a little harder. So I sent out my survey questions to a bunch of sailors and got about two dozen responses, all of them informative and interesting. A big thank you to all of you who contributed! Continue reading


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Award from the Ocean Cruising Club

This year I was honored to receive the David Wallis Literary Award from the Ocean Cruising Club. It was for an article I wrote for the club’s biannual journal Flying Fish, recounting spending my twenties at sea, including the circumnavigation Seth and I made aboard our rudimentary, even primitive, boat HERETIC. It was very flattering to be singled out, especially as the articles in Flying Fish tend to be of quite high quality, in terms of the content (some very exceptional voyages recounted!) and the writing and photography. I was also excited to receive my copy of Flying Fish and see dear old CELESTE on the cover!


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Series in Water Craft magazine

WaterCraft Dinghy1I’m excited to have a new series of articles in Water Craft magazine. Water Craft is a British publication that comes out every two months and has some really high quality writing and photography. My series is called “Adventures with Dinghy” and chronicles just that – good explorations all around the world in the little rowboat. Some of the most fun to be had on big voyages is to jump in the dinghy once we’ve reached an anchorage and explore at an even slower(!) pace and even closer to the water, whether we’re heading up a river overhung with enormous mangroves, dodging sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, checking out a dive site in a coral lagoon, or tempting fate with the grizzly bears fishing in an Alaskan estuary.

The first of my series is out in the current issue of Water Craft – it tells the story of exploring a strange wreck in the Bahamas. Next up will be dolphins in New Zealand!


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Honored with Young Voyager Award from the Cruising Club of America

2019 CCA Young Voyager

Receiving the Young Voyager Award from CCA Commodore Brad Willauer. Photo courtesy of Dan Nerney.

Seth and I were incredibly honored to receive the Cruising Club of America’s 2018 Young Voyager Award. Recognizing “a young sailor who has made one or more exceptional voyages,” the award is relatively new among the CCA’s prestigious sailing medals. Given the two previous Young Voyager recipients, and given the club’s history of honoring truly exceptional sailors, we were bowled over to be the 2018 awardees!

2019 Young Voyager acceptance remarks

Acceptance remarks for the CCA Young Voyager Award at the ceremony in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club. Photo courtesy of Dan Nerney.

We traveled to New York to attend the awards dinner at the New York Yacht Club on March 1st, and what a gathering it was! Continue reading


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Not too late for summer reading!

It will probably come as no surprise that I love to read about outdoor adventures, ashore and afloat. So when we finished our summer’s sailing this year and received our big stack of waiting mail, I was excited to see the Summer issue of Misadventures magazine.

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Of course it’s always fun to see my own writing in print, but what I enjoy even more is seeing what else is in the magazines. This issue was full of interesting tales of guiding on the Inca Trail, becoming a park ranger in retirement, and advocating for public lands as well as fun stuff like a recipe for campfire Bibimbap. The theme of the issue was Landfall, which is of course a central part of offshore sailing (or at least, one hopes so!) My own piece was about the magic of landfall to a seafarer, that exhilarating – and sometimes bittersweet – moment when you first sight land on the horizon after days or weeks at sea. 

Misadventures is written by all kinds of adventuresome women and I was honored to be among them this summer. The magazine was started to celebrate women and the outdoors, and while it’s certainly inspirational to women and girls, it’s also just a good read about the great outdoors and great pursuits!  The Landfall issue is still available in stores, or on the magazine’s website. And while most of the print articles aren’t online, the site has lots of other interesting stories!