Tragedy off Hong Kong in Volvo Ocean Race Collision

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There is more that we don’t know about what happened to our friends aboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing as they approached an epic finish of Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race. A long leg of the Around the World race saw them holding onto their sweet position in the front of the fleet for most of the way from Melbourne to just outside Hong Kong. And that’s when things went terribly wrong. What we do know is below – and in the days since the tragedy, there has been little concrete info added to the story – but there sure has been plenty of speculation. So we are offering you the facts as they are now – and a few others we wanted to throw at the story because these guys and gals are our friends, and we have 2 TotalBoat Ambassadors involved with this team, and we know that no news doesn’t necessarily mean good news.  Continue reading

Gabart: On Top of the Sailing World at Age 34

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Scuttlebutt offered up this story about just another amazing French solo sailor. But this time, this young man has not only accomplished his goal of setting a new solo circumnavigation record, but he smashed the former record! Read all about it here!

At 34 years of age, François Gabart obliterated – in his first attempt – the singlehanded round the world record. Gabart reduced the previous record by over six days, setting new standard of 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

From November 4 to December 17, Gabart and his 30m MACIF trimaran covered 27,859.7 miles at an average speed of 27.2 knots. His top speed was 39.2 knots, and his top speed over a 24 hour period was 31.8 knots. Epic!

Gabart was welcomed triumphantly in Brest (FRA) this morning (Dec. 18) and shares some thoughts on this remarkable achievement.

Continue reading

Roam: Tahiti to Hawaii – A Visual Voyage

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Here in New England, as the first flakes have flown in advance of the Christmas holiday, we offer this small gift in the way of dreamy cinematography, an epic sailing voyage and a dose of environmentalism: Roam, Lines to Hawaii, is the first short documentary from the crew at this cutting edge media company.  Roam describes their mission as one which aims to “reinvent adventure storytellling by unfiltering the voices of Creative and Athletic people who push the boundaries and explore not just their own back yard but far outside the documented….to share adventure as it is.” Continue reading

Cruising, Crashing and Cupping – Marion to Bermuda

Corinthians Race to Bermuda to Catch the America’s Cup

pesca bdaThis Friday, June 9th marks the start of the 40th anniversary of the fabled Marion to Bermuda Race. This 21st running of the race has been rescheduled to an earlier start date to align the arrival of the fleet in Bermuda with the America’s Cup final races in mid June. Alternating every other year with the Newport Bermuda Race, the Marion race has long been more of a cruisers delight, with the high-tech race boats that frequent the Newport version heading to Storm Trysail Block Island Race Week on these “off” years.

Of course Team TotalBoat will be rooting for our friends on Pescatore, a Hinckley Sou’wester 59 hailing from Mattapoisett, Mass. Racing in the Youth Challenge division (a certain number of crew need to be below age 23- so in their case- 5 crew under 23), Team Pescatore is hoping to beat their record from the last Marion Bermuda Race, when they were 3rd over the line, and finished 2nd in class. We will be following the boat on the race tracker and will report from Bermuda. If you’re around town and spy the TotalBoat ensign flying on Pescatore, knock on the hull and ask Captain Twice for a TotalBoat hat. Tell him we sent you.  Continue reading

The Greenest Jury-Rigged Hero

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There is one story left to tell in the epic Vendee Globe Race – with the final sailor still not yet across the finish line. However – one week ago on Feb 25th – another record setter crossed the finish line and that’s the story we want to share with you here. *With no disrespect to the final racer Sebastien Destremau… But we love the story of the Crazy Kiwi sailor, Conrad Colman, who is one of the 18 solo sailors who will have finished the race out of the 29 that started. Conrad’s finish – like all the others before him – is a massive victory (and like we said about Rich Wilson in this blog post, they are all winners for just finishing at all!) for a few special reasons.  Continue reading

Rich Wilson: Greatest American Ocean Hero

Photo by Olivier Blanchet/ DPPI

Photo by Olivier Blanchet/ DPPI

Congratulations and bienvenue to American solo sailor, Rich wilson, who has just completed his solo circumnavigation of the world in his 2nd Vendee Globe Race. We have already declared Rich the winner of the race, despite his actual 13th place finish in just over 107 days at sea. His interview below, done soon after he arrived on shore, shows just how tired, emotional and mentally exhausted the 66-year old sailor is after the race. However he learns, mid-press conference, that his own route mileage on the 29,000 course was the same as the race winner, Armel Le Cleac’h. And this put Rich amongst the leaders, just in a slower boat, and arguably in an older (and more experienced) body! Continue reading

TotalBoat Ambassador, Brock Callen, Pacific Ocean Explorer

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Photo from MV Gazette/ Mark Lovewell

Adapted From the Vineyard Gazette – Heather Hamacek

TotalBoat Ambassador Brock Callen is a pro sailor, avid kite foiler and all around ocean lover. Along with his father, Brock Callen senior, the father-son duo has already made a name for themselves on Martha’s Vineyard where they live year round.  As the head of Sail Martha’s Vineyard, Callen senior shares a healthy love for the ocean with his son, and soon they will be sharing much more – a cabin on the 272-foot ocean research vessel, the Falkor.  Continue reading

“Sail Anything” This Saturday at the Archipelago Rally

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photo courtesy: Peter McGowan (http://www.petermcgowanphotography.com)

By Guest Blog Star:  Chris Museler – Excerpt from Cruising World Magazine, Photos thanks to Peter McGowan

15-foot wooden tender, in three separate pieces, sitting on a seaweed-covered launch ramp. That’s how George and Lindsey Hill started their morning one day last October, preparing for their favorite regatta of the year. The couple bolted their home-built nesting dinghy together as kids skipped rocks across Massachusetts’ Westport River. Forty-eight other craft, all equally as unique as the Hills’ classy, varnished pulling boat with its lug rig, began to appear on the sandy riverbank. This was the Hills’ seventh time at the Archipelago Rally, held annually across Rhode Island and last fall in Massachusetts. For those in southern New England who love just messing about in boats, this late-season event induces giddiness. Continue reading

Armchair Hurricane Forecasting

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With half of the east coast buckling down as Hurricane Matthew stares down the Atlantic seaboard, we thought it might be a good time to share this great article published today on GCaptain. Here’s to hoping you need none of this, and to many more days of sailing and boating before cold weather shuts down the upper portion of the coast.

With Hurricane Matthew currently barreling across the Caribbean and threatening Florida and the U.S. East Coast, G Captain reached out to Fred Pickhardt, a Tampa, Florida-based professional ship weather router, to ask him what were some of his go-to websites and resources for tracking hurricanes and tropical storms. Here are a few of his favorites:

Best Hurricane Tracking Sites

  1. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is the place to find the official tropical cyclone forecasts and warnings issued by the US government for the North Atlantic as well as the Eastern North Pacific.  The site has many resources available with excellent satellite photos, computer model guidance and an archive of past historical tracks going back into the 180o’s. The NHC site is user friendly and comes in full feature, mobile and text only versions with easy access to the latest storm info, official advisories, marine forecasts and much more. Hurricane Matthew coverage HERE.
  2. The Weather Underground Tropical Weather Page is a very comprehensive and easy to use site which provides excellent tools for storm tracking for both the professional and the amateur.  The site is available in a full (graphics heavy), a lite version, a mobile version and an iPhone version. This site allows you to track tropical cyclones anywhere on the globe with interactive maps that allow overlays of computer guidance, forecast tracks, many satellite images and features several excellent weather blogs. Hurricane Matthew coverage HERE.
  3. The Naval Research Lab (NRL) Monterey Marine Meteorology Division Tropical Cyclone page is another useful site that provides global storm tracking with comprehensive satellite and forecast track information on tropical cyclones across the globe.  This site is heavy on satellite images and is oriented a bit more to the professional user. Hurricane Matthew coverage HERE.
  4. Stormpulse is a commercial site that offers both current and archive tracks on an interactive map that allows you to overlay satellite, radar and surface data. It has a unique feature that allows you to quickly check how far the storm center is from major cities/ports. Hurricane Matthew coverage HERE.

Other Useful Tropical Cyclone Tracking Sites

  • Tropical Cyclone Guidance Project (TCGG), part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), provides real-time guidance and information for major storms, including Hurricane Mathew. The site uses data from a variety of modeling centers outside of the NCAR, such as NOAA, other national numerical weather prediction centers, and universities. Hurricane Matthew coverage.
  • NASA often provides great satellite imagery for major hurricanes and cyclones. Check out their page for Hurricane Matthew.

Also be sure to check out Tropical Tidbits, a blog that focusses primarily on tropical cyclones and related topics, as well as Mike’s Weather Page at SpaghettiModels.com, which is a mash-up of various official models and information.

Blogging for Boating

It’s Easy to Be Prepared for Safe Boating on the Water

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Every morning the TotalBoatShow INBOX gets a google news alert tagging interesting news items that are “boating” related. It is both stunning and upsetting to read the daily news pieces that clog up the feed reporting on boating tragedies. Today feels especially tragic because Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández, one of baseball’s brightest stars, was killed early yesterday morning in a boating accident off the Miami coast. Continue reading