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News & Views

Updates on what’s going on in the sport of sailing generally (most usually, but not always, relating to cruising under sail) and in the sailing industry, plus news nuggets and personal views on all manner of nautical subjects.

May 17/2024:  So… it happened again. I go off on the good ship Lunacy for a month of the detached life afloat (more on that in a minute), and another important person in my sailing life crosses the bar. Thus… another tardy obit. Last time it was Patience Wales, my first boss at SAIL Magazine....
March 8/2024:  I’ve been AWOL on the boat for the past month, with an antique laptop that can’t wrangle posts here anymore, so I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting this space. I’ll catch you up on my own adventures in just a bit, but first we need to discuss a couple of recent events that strike...
Oct. 5/2023:  I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about the orcas-messing-with-boats phenomenon back when the first incidents off Spain and Portugal were reported three years ago. It says something about the state of marine journalism, I suppose, that the most intelligent and interesting article I’ve read on the subject since then was recently published in the...
Sept. 2/2023:  Neither of these guys were on death’s door, at least as far as I knew, so I was a bit surprised when they died within a day of each other this week. They were both sailors, but in very different ways. Bill Pinkney, of course, was the first black man, of any nationality...
June 5/2023:  So… this involves a string of remarkable coincidences. Number one: my mother at age 15 went on a family trip to Ireland and the UK and was in England when Elizabeth was crowned queen in 1953. Number two: Twenty years later, in 1973, Prince Charles sailed into Portsmouth NH on HMS Minerva, on...
April 28/2023:  It has finally happened! A woman has won a solo round-the-world sailing race. Non-stop no less. South African Kirsten Neuschäfer, age 39, drifted across the Golden Globe finish line yesterday evening in Les Sables D’Olonne, France, after spending 253 days alone at sea, and so has planted an important flag in the annals...
Feb. 24/2023:  Elvis Francois, originally from the island of Dominica, was making repairs to his boat at St. Maarten back in December, when he somehow got swept out to sea. Twenty-four days later, in late January, after drifting across much of the Caribbean basin, he was rescued about 120 miles off the coast of Colombia,...
Feb. 10/2023: Got a hot text this morning from an old shipmate of mine, Geoff Hill, tipping me off that he’s been prominently featured in an official Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race viddy as the living incarnation of “the true Corinithian spirit of the race.” I can attest to this. I first met Geoff in 1992, when...
Feb. 7/2023:  Maybe this counts as progress. The new sailing flick that just dropped on Netflix—True Spirit, a dramatization of Jessica Watson’s 2009-10 solo non-stop circumnavigation—is not actually cringingly inaccurate as to the details and nuances of ocean sailing. They have, for example, done an excellent job of recreating Jessica’s boat, an S&S 34 she...
Feb. 2/2023:  I’ve been waiting since the 1990s, when I developed a crush of sorts on Isabelle Autissier, for a woman to win an around-the-world solo sailing race. A tantalizing prospect! This is the toughest, most extreme sport there is, but it is also that great rarity—a sport where women and men compete against each...
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