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

NonStop & Alone – Racing Around the World

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Follow This: Singlehanded Race Around the World – The Vendee Globe – Starts Sunday

When the rate of attrition for a sailing race is more than 50% of the fleet, you can bet on being entertained, even glued to, following these sailors as they circumnavigate the globe. 29 sailors are planning to make it all the way, but only a portion of them will reach the finish line. We have blogged here about British sailor, Alex Thomson and his foiling 60-foot IMOCA monohull, Hugo Boss. Thomson has been training hard and pulling off some pretty cool publicity stunts along the way for suit-maker, Hugo Boss. We have high hopes for this English speaking sailor in a sea of dominant, ocean-going Frenchmen, for whom this race was dreamed up. Continue reading

Donna in the Southern Hemisphere

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Over the weekend, Captain Donna Lange had some big milestones in her sailing expedition. The solo around the world sailor has crossed the equator west of Africa and she is making great progress and in good shape. The boat is holding up. The captain’s spirits seem high – higher than her near Sea Madness in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (the Doldrums) when she was becalmed for weeks.

She wrote this happy thought in her blog, assuring all of her good place psychologically and on the globe: Truth is that I can’t think of any way that my world could be better at this moment. I am where I want to be right now and the ocean is kind, the breezes perfect and fresh enough, the motion as gentle as it can be and still make progress close hauled. My world on land has given me permission to be here.

Are you following her blog and her progress? It’s been fun and a bit “mental” to follow along with her writing which is so honest and forthcoming. She is not afraid to be afraid or down, and her mood seems to shift with the winds… like any good ocean sailor.

She is making good progress but is far from done. Only 50+days into her adventure – she is staring down decreasing temperatures, bigger winds and seas and who knows what else? But she is determined and mostly ready…except for some propane supply doubts and a few handy items left ashore – her Thixo tubes and flotation bags, kites and sextants are keeping her on track.  Follow Donna here.

Following Donna

Screenshot 2015-08-28 11.50.26She’s doing it! Donna Lange has been at sea for just over a month and she has crossed a calm (too calm?) Atlantic Ocean and is headed south towards the Canaries. She is fluttering between frustration for bad decisions about her course and departure and also for the things she left behind. But she’s doing it and she leaves you with her hopeful spirit at the end of each blog post and you know although she sounds intermittently despondent, that she is fulfilling her dreams and doing what she loves,

She has made friends with a sea bird, Alcid, who is keeping her company and has taken to a daily swim off the boat in the calm ocean. The bird and the swims seem to bring her hope. That and a fresh fish for a change of provisions. But there is much more sailing to be done. Are you following Donna? Click the photo above or HERE to follow her blog and latest position.

 

 

Donna Lange is on Her Way Around the World…Again!

Donna Lange’s send off party date was chosen months prior to the actual event, as is the case when reserving a fancy venue like the Herreshoff Marine Museum. But as the date for her second solo circumnavigation departure snuck closer, her to-do list remained long and stressful. But she did what any good sailor would do – continue to prepare like mad with lots of help and new equipment to tweak, learn and ultimately shake down. And when the date arrived and she wasn’t quite ready to go – and you DON’T GO around the world ill prepared – she went through her ceremonial send off, with plenty of fans and fanfare and even a canon salute and sailed off into the…. harbor.

Wisely and with much admiration for the guts, not only to know when to “hold ’em” but also for sailing around the world alone, Donna chose to carry on with the farewell and then have a little shakedown cruise around Bristol Harbor. She then returned back to her mooring and the work continued. No one at Donna’s send off could begrudge her for not sailing off into the sunset. She has done this “around alone” thing before and everyone there seemed to understand her focus and determination and support her in every decision she made.

She received many new pieces that were integral to her voyage. New pilot kites in the event of a mast failure, new Harken winches and blocks, new sails, a buoyancy system of inflating airbags, new solar and wind power, new lines and leads and many many other new complicated systems that required serious installation and education for a successful voyage.

So just yesterday, on July 31st, with a rare summer Bristol Harbor northerly morning breeze, she hoisted her sails and headed south out of Narragansett Bay. Her website is tracking her position (that she cannot see) and she will update us and her website via satellite connection to email and single sideband radio.

Farewell Donna and we wish you a safe and comfortable voyage. She plans to head across the Atlantic and down the coast of Africa and around the Capes in the Southern Ocean. With no electronics or GPS aboard, she is depending on her newly honed celestial navigation skills to guide her around the oceans. And when she pulls back into Bristol Harbor next spring, we will be there to greet her and congratulate her on being the first American woman to solo circumnavigate nonstop. And TotalBoat will have done the voyage around the world with her…and that, too will be a cool thing to celebrate.

GO DONNA!

Donna Sets Sail for the World!

In a few short days, the wait will be over for Donna Lange. For years she has been preparing for this second voyage around the world and the time has come to slip the lines, hoist her new sails and point her bow east across the Atlantic Ocean. Sunday at noon Donna Lange will leave Bristol Harbor on her attempt to be the first American woman to sail nonstop around the world alone. She has completed the circumnavigation before, when, as we shared in this blog post from a few weeks back, she made several stops along the way before returning home to RI.

Donna has been working madly for weeks on her Southern Cross 28 which she further readied for her ocean going voyage with new lines, a new Harken furler, winches and blocks and a new windvane, solar panel, sails and more! We were excited at the chance to send our TotalBoat brand around the world with Donna and offered her full sponsorship for her boating projects using TotalBoat.

  

She used WetEdge to redo the decks in a bright white. She used TB Spartan Bottom Paint in blue for her bottom, she insulated lazarettes and a bulkhead using the TotalBoat Floatation Foam, Used TB 5:1 Epoxy with slow hardener to seal the cockpit floor where the engine once lived. The teak railing got love from TB Danish Teak Sealer and THIXO, TotalSeal and Bond tubes are staples in her onboard workshop.

Come wish Donna well on Sunday at 10am at the Herreshoff Marine Museum. The send off party will sign her new mainsail, wish her well and wave farewell as she heads out of Narragansett Bay and out into the Atlantic Ocean.

We commend Donna for her vision of green sailing without GPS, engine and any outside assistance. Watch TotalBoat Show for updates on her position and progress and send messages to Donna which we will deliver to her via her SSB radio which will be one of her only electronic devices aboard.

FAIR WINDS and FOLLOWING SEAS, Donna. The TotalBoat Team will be there to wish you well as you sail away and TotalBoat will be at your sides (and above and underneath you) as you make your dream a reality.

We believe in you and we wish you well! See you soon!

 

 

Exclusive Interview: Donna Lange’s Solo Circumnavigation Preparation

When Captain Donna Lange set sail in 2007, she pointed her bow towards New Zealand after departing Bristol Harbor in RI. A registered nurse with a master’s degree, grandmother to 11 and mother of 4, the now 53 year old woman had a successful first attempt at solo circumnavigating, with a few extra stops, plenty of bad weather and an extended stay in New Zealand.  Now she is going back for more, with another attempt to solo circumnavigate on the same boat (a 28′ Southern Cross that is ocean proven and sturdy) – but this time without any stops and without any modern electronics.

She is not only ditching the stops – she is ditching the GPS, VHF and all modern electronics aboard in favor of a sextant and a single-sideband radio. She plans on updating her website often with news of her progress via the SSB radio.  We visited Donna today to drop off a big box of TotalBoat supplies for her work list,  and asked her about her planning, her route and her choice to ditch the modern conveniences that many of us feel are safety nets. She says she feels safer because she can depend on these manual instruments and doesn’t worry about them breaking down or losing signal, etc. Halsey Herreshoff of Bristol, RI and yes – one of the original Herreshoffs’ of the 1900’s boat design and building fame, has been spending time with Donna teaching her the ropes of celestial navigation.

Donna told SAIL Magazine about her choice to navigate with the stars, and it sounds pretty good to me!

DL: This voyage will emphasize the need for traditional seamanship skills to safely navigate offshore. I’ll enhance my experience by being tuned into the energy of the ocean and the celestial bodies. The most exciting aspect of my adventure will be finding my way by being connected to my inner self and immersed in the environment. The SSB allows me to access weather reports, transmit email logs to my website and provide adequate communication while I’m sailing. I will have a transponder so I can be followed and located if I have any safety needs, but I should be able to navigate accurately.

And you can bet we will be tracking Donna on TotalBoat Show on her trip around the world. She won’t be lonely out there with all 6 followers of this blog reading her updates and sending her notes. (ha!) She has solid support from friends and family up and down the coast who will support her along the way – and she has the backing and support of a solid sponsor base. (she can always use more sponsorship, though)

And in case you thought this would be easy for Donna, having done it once before, No way! Donna has a work list and boat that appears to need months of preparation, not weeks. But after spending a little time with Donna and her sturdy boat, I have little doubt that she can get it all done in time for her July 26th departure.  She will be TotalBoat-ing her vessel with the items below and has an ingenious idea for using our floatation foam in a bulkhead!

Here is her TotalBoat Supply List.
Floatation foam                                           1 qt.
Danish Teak Sealer                                     1 qt
Lust High Gloss Varnish                              1 qt
Total Buff-rubbing compound                     1 qt
Total Shine-finishing compound                  1 qt
Total Bond                                                  2 tubes
Total Seal                                                    2 tubes
Total Fair                                                    1- 2 qt kit
Epoxy resin/slow hardener it                       1 gallon
Milled Glass filler                                         1 qt
Wood Flour filler                                          1 qt
Thixo                                                           3 tubes
Thixo fast                                                    2 tubes
Spartan Bottom Paint– blue                        1-2 gallons
Topside Primer                                           1 gallon
Wet Edge Topside Paint –  white                 1 gallon

TotalBoat and Jamestown Distributors are proud to be sponsoring Donna by providing her with all the TotalBoat products she needs to make her boat sail fast and safely and to look great!

Event Schedule:

Donate to Donna’s campaign on her website. She needs more help!

Read the article from SAIL Magazine about Donna’s upcoming adventure.

Watch a video which preceded her last voyage: