Archive for 2000

Leaky Chainplates

Some innovative tips for dealing with leaky chainplates.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 29, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising in the Fast Lane

The Dashews are getting up to speed trimming Beowulf’s new sails, and have some amazing results to share…with photos.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 22, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Getting There: Reflections on Passages vs. Arrivals

Rediscovering the joy of sailing without an engine.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 15, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Like the Old Days

In Anguilla Steve and Linda find an island as charming and laid back as the lands they remember from their early days of cruising.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 8, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean Sailing: Winter Trades Arrive and Pressure is Building

The pressure starts to build…Scoping out the competition for the upcoming Guadaloupe-Antigua race. Also, investigating the scene at St. Barts, a playground for the "beautiful people" and their beautiful boats.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 1, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Thanksgiving on St. Martin

Thanksgiving in St. Martin, where the Dashews are thankful for a healthy family, a strong, fast boat, and moderate tradewinds.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 23, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500 Epilogue

It’s official! Beowulf now holds the record in the Caribbean 1500. Plus, the Dashews discuss the pros and cons of rally cruising.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 20, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

British Virgin Islands Before the Crowds

Enjoying the British Virgin Islands during off season, before it gets innundated with charter boats.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 18, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Chesapeake to Caribbean: Arrival in Virgin Gorda with New Record

Arrival in Virgin Gorda in a new (unofficial) record.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 11, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Beowulf in Caribbean 1500: Wind Dies in Center of High

Beowulf sails into the center of the high, which has sucked away all the wind. But Linda and Steve stilll have hopes of breaking the record. Meanwhile, they’re using their "vacuum packer" to pack away cool-weather clothes.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 10, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Chesapeake to Caribbean: Beowulf’s Nicest Passage Ever?

Playing the squalls for wind helped Beowulf do a steady 20 knots last night, while enjoying one of the nicest passages ever.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 9, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Chesapeake to Caribbean Passage: Where Are the Northeast Trades?

Where Are the Northeast Trades?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Chesapeake to Caribbean Seamanship Tactics: Hitting the Corners

Hitting the Corners…Beowulf’s tactical options are becoming more limited as they close with the British Virgins.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Weather Tactics in Caribbean 1500 Rally

Playing with the water ballast system. Beowulf is ahead of the other racers, but hoping not to get caught in the center of the high.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 7, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Tradewind Sailing in Caribbean 1500

The weather faxes are totally off the wall relative to what Beowulf is sailing in.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 7, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Chesapeake to Caribbean Seamanship Tactics: Angle is Everything!

Angle is Everything!…Steve and Linda share the tactics they’ve been using for the first 24 hours of the race.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Chesapeake to Caribbean Passage: Last-Minute Preparations

There’s a flurry of activity, getting ready for the the Caribbean 1500 race/rally.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 2, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Weather Watch: Preparing to Return to the Caribbean

After being gone for 5 weeks, Steve and Linda are happy to be back aboard Beowulf in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 30, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

The Mother of All O-Ring Battles

In "The Mother of all O-Ring Battles," the Dashews learn that the easy approach is often the best.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 27, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Life Line Connections

The most costly and least reliable segment of your life lines is the terminating hardware. These are typically stainless on stainless turnbuckles, and are subject to galling and cracking over time. A much better approach is now possible with high-modulus line, like Spectra. Make up your life lines with nicro pressed end fittings, and then tie these in place using multipe wraps of Spectra line. There is a second advantage to this system. If you ever have a crew overboard, and need to get rid of the lifelines in a hurry, you can do so by cutting the lashings on one end.

Taking this approach a step further, when we replaced the life lines on BEOWULF this year we did so with Spectra line. It is about the same cost as the stainless steel we┬╣ve used in the past, a lot lighter, and not subject to corrosion like stainless steel wire.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 26, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Tips for Working with Marine Contractors

The Dashews did a lot of work this summer with various marine trades. In this report they share what they would have done differently, and what they did right.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 20, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Seagoing Washing Machines

Probably the most critical piece of cruising gear, the one which we cannot do without, is the washing machine. (Okay, Steve would do without, but Linda is much more civilized.)

For years we’ve used the Spendide washer/drier combo on various boats we’ve built. The unit on Beowulf has 28,000 miles on it. Since the motion at sea is even harder on the innards than anything which happens in actual washing, it has finally been starting to show its age.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 14, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Metal Boats: Welding in the Water

Welding in the water…The Dashews recently did some welding work on Beowulf. Here are a few notes on the process.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 6, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Electronic Charting

The marriage of the PC, GPS, and electronic charts is a double-edged sword. The system, when it is operational, definitely reduces workload for a short-handed boat, and helps with navigation in tight spots.

But the system is not foolproof. One must use the same care with these systems as with conventionally plotted positions.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 5, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

The “Ultimate” Sleep System

Even the bunk cushions aboard Beowulf are high-tech. Here’s a report on her newly redesigned "sleep system!"

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 29, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Comments on Using the WH Polar Pilot

We’ve been using the WH Polar Pilot option now aboard our 78′ ketch Beowulf for the past year. To say that the features in this option improve the breed is a major understatement. We think the performance and comfort enhancements are nothing short of revolutionary.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 28, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Testing Beowulf’s Radical New Sails

What Steve and Linda learned after testing Beowulf’s radical new sails. (posted 23 September 00)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 23, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Norfolk, VA: Preparing Beowulf for Hurricane Florence

It’s been a quiet hurricane season so far, but it looks like it could soon get interesting. In Norfolk, Virginia, the Dashews prepare Beowulf, just in case.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 13, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Navigating around Lobster Pots

How not to get caught by a lobster pot.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 11, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Beowulf Maintenance Update

It’s maintenance week aboard Beowulf.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 2, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

The Dashews are inspired after visiting a museum in Bristol dedicated to the great yacht designer Nathaniele Herreshoff.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 25, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Nantucket Bucket

Here’s the skinny on the Nantucket Bucket race.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 17, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Beowulf Cruising in New England

Navigating the fog of Maine and preparing for the Nantucket Bucket race.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 11, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Battery Maintenance

We’ve been using Trojan “Traction” batteries for years in our yachts. These industrial strength batteries are designed for a full 80% discharge, and guaranteed for 1500 cycles in industrial use. Last week we removed the batteries from the keel sump aboard Beowulf and sent them back to Trojan for service. We used a combination of main halyard and boat yard hydro-crane to remove them. It is somewhat over five years ago now that we purchased these batteries, and they have sat around for the greater part of this time – not a good thing for their capacity. Trojan took them in, cycled them to the 80% level twice, and then did a voltage check. The check is done at the discharged resting voltage. Turns out that these batteries are at 105% of rated capacity. Not bad after all these years. In chatting with Mark Waycaster at Trojan about maintenance, he emphasized several things (which apply to traction batteries and their marine batteries like the L-16):

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 20, 2000)    |    Comments (2)

Unusual Revolving Storms

Firstly, let me say how much I am enjoying your books, Mariner’s Weather Handbook and Surviving the Storm. For anyone with the slightest interest in the weather around them and in taking a boat to sea, they are excellent reading. However, I do have a couple of queries:

On page 340 of the ‘Mariner’s Weather Handbook’ you show three photographs of tropical revolving storms, when and where they should not be, one off Angola (West Africa) in April 1991 and two of one storm in the Eastern Mediterranean in January (no year mentioned). It is my understanding that no tropical revolving storms have ever been reported in the South Atlantic (until now) and that the sea temperatures in the Eastern Mediterranean in January are certainly not high enough for cyclogenesis nor is the ITCZ anywhere near the Mediterranean. Have you any explanation for these phenomena and/or a year for the Mediterranean storm (I would like to research past meteorological records to find what conditions actually existed in the latter case).

I look forward to your reply, Brent

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 3, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Maintenance Report after 28,000 Miles on Beowulf

After 28,000 miles of passaging, here’s the scoop on how Beowulf’s various systems are holding up.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 16, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Reflections on Cruising in the Caribbean

Reflections on the Caribbean cruising season.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 2, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Newport-Bermuda, Beowulf vs. Rebecca: Race Results

Postscript to the race – whatever happened to Rebecca?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 26, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Newport-Bermuda Passage: Dropping Anchor in Newport

Navigation sofware locks up as Beowulf approaches Newport in the fog at 0118. Luckily they also have radar and paper charts. There’s a moral to this story!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 25, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Bermuda-Newport Passage: Gulf Stream Tactics

Squalls, lightning, and sloppy sea state – Steve and Linda brush up on their Gulf Stream crossing tactics.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 24, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Newport-Bermuda Passage: Weather Tactics

Skirting the squalls, and porpoises welcome Beowulf to New England.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 24, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Bermuda-Newport Passage, Day 1

Underway, with signs indicating the approach of a cold front. Could make for a fast trip.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 23, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Final Preparations for Bermuda-Newport, and Agreeing to a Friendly Race

The skipper of Rebecca, a 140′ Frers, agrees to a friendly race from Bermuda to Newport.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 22, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Preparing for Bermuda-Newport Passage

The weather picture improving, Linda stocks the freezer with pre-cooked meals.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 21, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Relaxing in Bermuda, and Watching Weather for Passage to Newport, RI

"Decompressing" in subtropical Bermuda, and watching for a weather window to head for Newport, RI.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 20, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage: Hook Down in Convict Bay

Sailing at last; resolving a discrepancy between radar, GPS, and electronic chart; and landfall.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 15, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage Day 4

Finally enough breeze to at least motorsail, with hope for more improvement later.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 14, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage Day 3: Confusing Weather Forecasts

Interpreting a very confusing set of surface and forecast faxes.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 13, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage Day 3

A nasty-looking low could bring gale-force winds over the Gulf Stream, so Beowulf keeps pushing to make it into port first.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 13, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage Day 2: Fuel = Speed

Afternoon. Motoring more than expected, the Dashews have to make some tough decisions about how conservative to be with the rest of the fuel.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 12, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage Day 2

Morning. A funnel cloud provides a shot of adrenaline.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 12, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage: Watching the Weather

It’s not optimal weather but the Dashews are impatient, so Beowulf is off to Bermuda.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 11, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua to Bermuda Passage: Weather Window Looks Good

(Later in the day.) Weather scenario improves, and final preparations for the passage.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 11, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Watching the Weather before Bermuda Passage

Weather Alert! The Dashews are starting to watch the weather patterns in anticipation of their passage to Bermuda. If you want to analyze the weather along with them, check back with us daily over the next few weeks.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 10, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Race Week Reflections

Reflections on Antigua Race Week – the thrill of watching the classics sailing, and hot-and-heavy racing with the newer boats.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 9, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Guadeloupe-Antigua race report

Beowulf enters her first race – and breaks a course record! Here are all the exciting details of the Guadeloupe-Antigua Race.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 6, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

The Cockroach War

The Dashews are grizzled veterans of the cockroach wars. This week they share their secrets.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 29, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Antigua

Two great daysails from Martinique to Antigua, and observations from boat-watching heaven.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 21, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Chafe

How the Dashews have solved chafing problems.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 15, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Salt Water Ballast Tanks

Singing the praises of salt water ballast (with photos of St. Lucia).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 1, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia: Repairing a Bow Roller

The Dashews hate the clutter of carrying extra tools and parts aboard, but when their bow roller breaks in Rodney Bay, they’re grateful to have the equipment on hand to fix it.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 22, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Marigot Bay, St. Lucia: A Caribbean Anchorage as Nice as the South Pacific

Finally, an anchorage that rivals the South Pacfic (Marigot Bay, St. Lucia); and taking steps to enter BEOWULF in Antigua Race Week.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 17, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Bequia: Nice Cruising Destination

Picking up the local flavor of Bequia.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 10, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing to Bequia

Sailing off the anchor at Union Island, and now en route for Bequia, where old and new friends await.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 6, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Account of a Helicopter Rescue

Here’s a letter from a helicopter pilot who helped rescue the crew of Freya, and tried to rescue the crew of Salacia, as featured in Surviving the Storm. We found his letter so chilling, we thought we should share it.

To Steve & Linda Dashew,

I was able to see your “Surviving the Storm” book via Reg Ellwood…I was the Co-pilot and winch operator for the rescue of the Burman’s on the “Freya”. I was also Captain of the aircraft the following day at the first light in the search for Julie Black and the “Salacia”. The latter having been reduced to pieces not much larger than this letter.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (March 3, 2000)    |    Comments (1)

A Day in the Cruising Life in Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada

On a leisurely Sunday, the Dashews wander around Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada, checking out the other boats.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 27, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Strategy for Approaching Prickly Bay, Grenada

Deciding their strategy for how to approach Prickly Bay, Grenada.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 25, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Should Beowulf Head for St. Lucia or Grenada?

(Part 1) Depending on where the winds blow, they may go to St. Lucia instead.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 24, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing Towards Grenada

(Part 2) NE breeze makes for a nice tight reach to Grenada.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 24, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing from Curacao towards the Grenadines and Catching Up on Mail

The Dashews embark for Grenada, eschewing the conventional island-hopping route.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 23, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Spanish Waters, Curacao: A Friendly Spot for Cruisers

Cleaning up after the passage and getting to know Curacao.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 18, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to Caribbean Passage: Experience the “Coastal Effect” off Colombia

Evening – Experiencing the infamous "coastal affect" off of Colombia.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 16, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Arrival in Curacao after Four Days of Beating to Weather

Arrival in Curacao.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 13, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

Panama to Caribbean Passage Day 3

Tacking and wind shifts finally make for a more pleasant sail.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 12, 2000)    |    Comments (0)

SailMail/SSB E-mail

When we first started cruising in the 70s a key factor in our desire to keep going was the ability to communicate with friends and family. In 1976 state-of-the-art communication was via an Atlas ham radio. One had to watch band conditions, and the voice connection was often difficult to hear. You’d connect to a shore-based ham station who’d “patch” you into his local phone system.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 11, 2000)    |    Comments (0)