Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Alaska Video Episode 9: Kodiak and Kenai Fjords

In our last video episode, we set sail from the Aleutian Islands heading east for the remote Alaska Peninsula. In this next one, we continue our 2016 voyage onward to Kodiak and then north to the stunning scenery of the Kenai Fjords. Sailing from tranquil coves to calving glaciers, we witness breaching humpback whales, sea otters, huge flocks of puffins, high snow-capped peaks, and deep fjord anchorages. Hope you enjoy!

 

P.S. You can see all the previous episodes on our new Videos page.


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Gone Floatabout Videos

I’m getting ready to upload another video episode from our Alaska voyage, so stay tuned for that in the next few days 🙂 Since it’s been a while since the last episode, I’ve put together a new page that has all the video episodes embedded, in order. You can find it under Media > Videos. Here’s the link. You’ll find the most recent episode (no. 8) at the bottom with thumbnail of the bears. Bear close-up


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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 Young Voyager Award this year. 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 this year’s 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! So many amazing sailors from around the world, ocean voyagers and racers with fascinating stories and mind-boggling accomplishments. And all of them so humble and understated about it. To name but a few, we so enjoyed talking with Jessica Watson, the Australian woman who, in 2010, was the youngest person to sail solo nonstop around the world at age 16, and who was last year’s Young Voyager awardee. Bruce Halabisky and Tiffany Loney and their two daughters were the wonderfully down-to-earth family who received the club’s highest award, the Blue Water Medal, for their 11-year circumnavigation aboard their wooden, gaff-rigged cutter. And it was fascinating to meet and get to know Stan Honey, the phenomenal ocean racer, navigator, and entrepreneur who received the Far Horizons Award, and his wife Sally (twice Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year!). I could go on and on about all the remarkable sailors and wonderful people we met and talked with over the two days we were there in New York.

2018 CCA Award Winners    Photo © Dan Nerney

With fellow Yalies and CCA members at the Awards ceremony (right to left): racing champion Steve Taylor, offshore racing record-holder Stan Honey, me, yacht designer and Arctic voyager Bill Cook. Photo courtesy of Dan Nerney.

CCA burgeeThe Cruising Club of America is an international organization dedicated to offshore voyaging and “adventurous use of the sea” through efforts to improve seamanship, the design of seaworthy yachts, safe yachting procedures and environmental awareness. The CCA was founded in 1922 and today has approximately 1300 members with great experience in offshore passage making. The CCA also organizes the Newport to Bermuda Race together with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Mexican flag

CCA burgee flying from CELESTE in Mexico

Seth and I are both members of the CCA and, as we said in our acceptance remarks, simply being part of an organization made up of such outstanding people – both as individuals and as sailors – is a great compliment, and to be recognized for our sailing by the club, a real honor. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to sail “two-handed” (alone together) across oceans from such a young age, and, of course, doing so – rather than crewing for older, more experienced sailors – has meant we’ve learned pretty much everything the hard way: by making mistakes. We have the distinction, for example, of having run aground in every ocean… (One of my favorite quotations is: “Show me a sailor who hasn’t run aground, and I’ll show you a liar!”  – Hal Roth in How to Sail Around the World) … and our boat repair skills were all learned by doing. So we both think of ourselves more as lucky sailors than expert ones, with enough stubbornness and determination not to let a mishap here and there deter us. So thank you, to the whole CCA, for this incredible honor!

(More about the award in this CCA press release and in this Cruising World magazine article.)


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Passage to San Francisco – feature article in Ocean Navigator

Passage to SF-2More publication news – my Ocean Voyaging feature article about the passage south to San Francisco appeared in the January/February issue of Ocean Navigator magazine and it’s up online now too!

This passage –  down the northwest coast – is very talked of, even a little feared, in the sailing community, and for good reason. It’s a rock-strewn, lee shore with few places to shelter, and it’s subject to volatile and not very pleasant weather. For many Pacific Northwest sailors, it’s the first real ocean passage, too – one leaves behind the protected waterways of Puget Sound and the Inside Passage in favor of the big ocean swells. Finally, if it’s left too late in the year, this passage can deliver some really nasty conditions, so the maxim among West Coast sailors is to round Cape Flattery (the NW tip of Washington State) and be off southward before October 1st.

My Ocean Navigator feature covers the major concerns and strategies regarding this passage and relates our own experience with it.  You can read the piece here.

I also wrote a blog post about it around when we actually did the passage, which is a lot less extensive, but which you can read here. Hope you enjoy!


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Alaska Voyage Video 8: The Alaska Peninsula

Another episode in our video series!

Our last video covered the start to our 2016 sailing season, in Dutch Harbor Alaska, in which we tackled the most necessary repairs to CELESTE following a typhoon. In this episode, with the boat in sailing condition, we set off to retrace our outward (2014) route back to Washington State. Leaving the Bering Sea behind, we sail along the Alaska Peninsula, one of the state’s most primeval-feeling and least known coasts. Volcanoes smoke, brown bears pace the shore, waterfalls tumble down cliffs, tides run strong, and glaciers gleam white in the sun. Hope you enjoy Episode 8!

P.S. I’ve also created a playlist for our Arctic Voyage, including the ‘trailer’ and Episodes 1-6 which cover our 2015 journey from Dutch Harbor to Point Barrow on the North Slope and return.


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Arctic Voyage Video 7: Repairs in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Here (finally!) is the next episode in our video series:

Our last video episode covered our passages south from the “top of America” at Point Barrow in the Arctic back to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, once again to be CELESTE’s winter home. So this episode is the beginning of the following season.

Winter 2015/16 was not nearly so kind to CELESTE as the previous winter – a typhoon from Japan hit the Aleutian Islands that year, causing severe damage throughout the town and harbor. So we return in June 2016 to find some major repairs to do. But between installing a new chain plate and readying CELESTE for sea, we also find time to observe the incredible wildlife of the area – humpback whales, sea otters, Arctic ground squirrels, and bald eagles.

Hope you enjoy this episode!

P.S. I’m taking a break from catching up on our Pacific voyage this year to catch up on these videos from a couple of years ago. So stay tuned for the next Arctic Voyage (really just Alaska from now on) video!


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Sea of Cortez Part 3: Return Passage to Cabo (May 2018)

Sunset Espiritu Santo

Sunset seen from CELESTE’s deck, Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez

It was hard to tear ourselves away from the beautiful bays and empty hills of Espiritu Santo island, but with summer (and hurricane season) approaching, it was time to sail back out of the Sea of Cortez and complete the final preparations for our Pacific Ocean crossing!

Since we’d been back in Mexico on the boat (after being away working for a few months), we had found the wind patterns pretty much the reverse of what they’d been in the winter. Back in February, we had made an upwind passage from San Jose del Cabo up to La Paz, fighting the strong north wind that prevails at that time of year. By May, we encountered frequent dead calms during the day and strong southerlies at night. This meant that we would be fighting headwinds again on our way south to Cabo (at least during the nighttime part of the passage). CELESTE sails pretty well against the wind, but headwinds make a passage longer (literally – you sail twice as many miles over ground to make the same distance good, as opposed to being able to sail straight on course with a favorable wind), so when we got a forecast for a calm day and night, we decided to swallow our sailing pride and make tracks to Cabo – we’d lingered long enough if we were going to the South Pacific that season!

Cabo Passage

Our route down Baja and up the Sea of Cortez (February) and then return to Cabo (May)

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