No matter how much you prepare, there is always something. A young Swedish couple I follow recently sailed from the Big Island in Hawaii to Honolulu. The sail wasn’t pleasant, and in the brisk conditions, they heard a loud bang against their aluminum hull. Turns out they lost their Rocna anchor overboard. The chain had been removed for the trip to keep seawater out of the chain locker, done a million times, but this time, their trusted stainless steel anchor restraint failed.
Like that credit card commercial, “What’s in Your Dinghy?”
What you carry in your dinghy may make a difference if the unexpected happens. Whether it is a handheld radio, sunscreen, or a working flashlight, it can make an unexpected situation just another cruising adventure instead of something less pleasant.
I now savor my first taste of the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, which last year attracted over 300,000 people from around the world. I purposely did not set any expectations for this walking trip, rather deciding to let it happen and see where it went. I was rewarded with new friends, and an experience that I could never have imagined.
While the last bit of jet lag conspires against me along with a strong allergic reaction to the pollen now covering Annapolis, I am sure this trip will linger on in my daily life as I plan my third act in life.
Technology has made remarkable progress in the past decade, making navigation easier, safer, and more reliable. But we're not at the point of autonomous boating, so it is still the operator's responsibility to maintain situational awareness.
It is time to develop a skilled workforce in the marine industry, as many older techs retire. Developing apprenticeship programs is now the focus of industry, federal, and state government who partner to create a talented and quality labor resource for the future.
If you are doing the Loop, ICW, northern canals, or other waterway cruises that involves narrow rivers or canals, reacquaint yourself with the proper signals for passing other boats and marine traffic.
Pam Wall makes a case for the outstanding life choice to cruise with a young family, as she and her husband did in their 39-foot sloop. Whether the vessel is a sailboat or trawler, it can be a life-defining adventure that so totally exchanges today's social media "experience" with the real world in all its diversity and beauty.
Inspired from comments made from last week’s post, let’s discuss helm seat options. There is no one solution for comfortable and safe seating at the helm on all boats. It is something designers and builders used to ignore. Today it gets the attention it deserves.
Notice the helm seating when you go to the upcoming boat shows. And can you get around it once it is in position?
Setting up your helm requires some thought as to how best to utilize what is often limited space. Whether you are refitting an older boat or buying a new one, make sure the instrumentation works for you, and critical instruments are where you can see and operate them with a casual glance.
As part of my midseason checkup, I reviewed the electronic devices and apps I use. Seems a bunch has happened that I had not really taken into account. Some navigation apps work better than others, and some no longer work at all. Companies consolidate and merge products and technologies in this shifting landscape, much like it did when paper charts were replaced with various formats and digital standards.
It’s been a crazy summer around Annapolis, with constant rain and heavy humid air on Chesapeake Bay. Not much fun for boating, but as we move into the second half of the season, it’s a good time to do some midsummer maintenance.
Time to step back from social media and regroup. How we get our information has changed in recent years, and not for the better. We need to rethink where we look for answers and updates. A new world is emerging that embraces a more human connection.