Archive for 2001

Man (or Woman) Overboard

Steve and Linda’s strategies for what they would do if one of them fell overboard.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 31, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Powering Up

two spinnakers from aft

We’ve been looking for the edge of the short-handed cruising envelope for a lot of years. Improvements in sail handling gear, materials, and our own experience have allowed us to push the horizon further and further. And even though BEOWULF looks pretty aggressive for a couple of grandparents, she is not yet at the edge of what the two of us can handle.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 21, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Free Guide to Hurricanes in the North Atlantic Basin

The forecasters at the Tropical Prediction Center have put out a 71-page booklet in PDF format on hurricanes in the North Atlantic Basin. We’ve just finished reading through it and it is a great resource – an excellent tool to go along with the material in Mariner’s Weather Handbook for dealing with hurricanes.

Click here to download.


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (December 15, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Satellite Phones Face Off

Globalstar vs. Iridium: The Great Face-Off.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 15, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Last Sail

The winter trades finally appear, in time for a lovely sail from St. Martin back to the British Virgins, where BEOWULF will be hauled out for the winter.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 7, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Medical Insurance for Cruising

In the Bernhardts’ April 01, 2001 discussion of their cruising budget, they state that they pay $2280 for medical insurance for the year for the whole family. I’d like to know which insurance company they use. Their boat insurance is fairly inexpensive also, since their cruising area includes Europe…Love this site. Thanks. Claire D

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Life Rafts

The Dashews have always been conflicted about life rafts. Find out why they don’t like them but still have one.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Cruiser’s Thanksgiving

Before the fleet disperses, Steve and Linda join friends from 15 boats for an unforgettable Thanksgiving potluck.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 23, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

EPIRB Registration

The registration you filled out when you purchased your EPIRB is good for two years, after which it needs to be updated. Failure to update means valuable time may be lost if you ever need to use the EPIRB! You can get data on line at http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/beacon.html , or in the US call 301-568-8649.

If you don’t have your beacon ID number handy, the folks at the registration office can look up the data for you with the name of the vessel and vessel owner’s name. They will then fax you the form to update.

Also, remember to check the replacement date on the battery. Most are good for five years.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 20, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

The Fat Lady Has Sung: Caribbean 1500 Race Results

The final results of the Caribbean 1500, where motoring speed and range were a big issue for the fleet.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 20, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Land Ho! Caribbean 1500 Fleet Arrives in Virgin Gorda

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor is awash in waves and heartfelt welcomes as the Caribbean 1500 fleet begins to arrive.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 16, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500: Crossing the Finish Line

Yesterday BEOWULF crossed the finish line, shaving five hours off her time from last year. Find out what Steve and Linda attribute this to.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 14, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500: Final Day

48 miles to go and BEOWULF is getting a workout.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 13, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500: Some Folks Have All the Luck!

298 miles to go…Steve and Linda share how they’re using the info provided by the new SetSail-MaxSea software in their decision-making process.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 12, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500: The Lottery Has Arrived

The Dashews have a tricky decision to make in terms of weather tactics…Plus they reveal one of their "secret weapons".

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 11, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Catamaran Found!

An eventful 24 hours.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 10, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Where Is the Opposition?

Where is the opposition?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 9, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Shackle Replacement

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Spectra Lashing

In the olden days, before turnbuckles and shackles, all sailing vessels were rigged with line. Now, with high-modulus fibers, we’re making our way back to the old approach. Today, many racing boats use multiple wraps of spectra or vectran line to make the same connection that used to be made with a stainless steel shackle.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500: We’re Off!

We’re off!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500: Ready to Go!

Ready to go!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 7, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

An Accurate Dip Stick

Few boats have an accurate dip stick for their fuel (or water) tanks. These are easy to make if you have a bit of time. Start out with a half inch dameter wooden dowel, which will fit into an access hatch or fill for the tank in question (we typically have a stand pipe welded to our tank tops, which is headed with a ball valve and a threaded cap).

Start with an empty tank, and then pause every 20 or 25 gallons to allow the fuel to level out and any foam to subside (you may have to wait 15 to 20 minutes). Drop the stick into the tank, note the liquid level, and mark it with a pen.

When you have finished the process, give the dip stick a clean, and seal with epoxy or varnish.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Stainless Steel Welding Rods

From time to time we seem to need a bit of thin rod stock-to replace a hinge pin, or make a catcher for fishing wires of ropes. The cheapest and most diverse source for stainless steel rod is a welding shop that does stainless work. Pick up three or four pieces, typically three feet long, in different diameters.

They will come in handy one of these days.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Maintaining Your Cool: Ventilation for Cruising in the Tropics

Good ventilation in the tropics is a key factor in enjoying the cruising life. This applies to charterers as well as full time cruisers. It also applies on those hot, wind-challenged summer days closer to home.

One of the keys to maintaining onoard ambience is a good flow of wind through the interior. This can often be augmented with wind scoops over hatches. When working out the rigging of the scoops, one also needs to consider reduction of sun load and protection from rain squalls.

The three photos below give some interesing options (for more information on awnings and wind scoops see pages 152-170 in Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia).

ventilation ideas

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

New Source for Traction Batteries

We’ve been using “traction” batteries for years in our boats. Our experience is that these have the best ratio of cost/space/weight to USABLE amp hours available. The cells we use are typically guaranteed for 1500 80% cycles! In the marine field, assuming you equalize them periodically, they will last 15 to 20 years, and withstand a huge amount of punishment.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500 Delay: More Time = Longer Lists

More time = Longer lists.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

World Storm Patterns

Hi, I am enjoying reading our book “Surviving the Storm”. I know you could not cover all the topics, and I have not read the whole book yet, but I could not find data or reference to world storm patterns. If one was chicken, and wanted to avoid category two and three heavy weather storms (page 16), what cruising routes could be planned, and where not to be at what time of year? I recall some published charts that show wind direction and speed at various locations. What about information on routes and the best time of the year to avoid bad storms. Could you name a few good sources for me. I get the hint that New Zealand is risky at best. If I missed this information in your book, please let me know where it is located. Thanks, Mike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 4, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500 Weather: The Plot Thickens

The plot thickens.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 3, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Caribbean 1500 Weather Factors

A heads up on some weather that could affect the Caribbean 1500 race/rally. Stay tuned for daily updates.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 2, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Hampton, Virginia

The Hampton Municipal Piers are humming with 50-some participants, including BEOWULF, their crew busy with last-minute preparations for this year’s Caribbean 1500.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 31, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Security Issues to Consider while Cruising

We’re headed back to the boat (in Norfolk, VA) in the next few days and are in our usual pre-going-away period of trying to get our respective desks cleared off. It will be really nice to get away from the daily overdose of news to which we subject ourselves when there are televisions close at hand. (Such equipment is banned from the boat for exactly this reason.) And, of course, the usual list of pre-departure projects, check lists and stocking up will keep us occupied and away from the news.

The two of us have been having some dialog about our philosophy of self-defense, in light of the “new reality” in which we all find ourselves. When we cruised years ago, and the kids were little, we looked at this in the same way we dealt with our medical kit. We were well prepared for almost any eventuality, and hoped like hell we’d never have to use that preparedness.

But with the kids on their own, the defense mechanism tends to moderate. On the other hand, the hassle of carrying an arsenal continues-there can be a lot of paperwork and running around when clearing in and out-if you have guns aboard. So, in recent times we’ve changed our approach to this very controversial subject.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 26, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

New Routing Tool

In the process of getting ready for their Virginia-to-Caribbean passage, the Dashews are using an exciting new weather routing tool–which is revolutionizing the way they plan their passages.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 20, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Watching Weather Rhythms for Chesapeake-Caribbean Passage

Watching the weather to head from Norfolk, Virginia back to the Caribbean.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 18, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Prioritizing Electronics for Cruising on 42′ Cat

I found your web site today and was fascinated with all the possibilities. We are in the process of buying a 42′ cat and will be sailing from the US East Coast through the Panama Canal and out to the South Pacific and points beyond. The boat does not have anything other than self steering and basic instruments and we would like to equip with radar, gps, plotter, etc…running into a PC and of course not spend a fortune. What would you suggest as someone who obviously has a great deal of experience? The route plotting seems like a great idea and we will have a sat phone but are unsure about a SSB. Thanks, David

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 16, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Chafing Gear

Hose is commonly used for chafing gear for dock lines and anchor rodes. It works OK as long as it is of a large enough diameter to allow air circulation around the line (as shown in the photo beside).

storing jerry jugs on deck

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 11, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

New World, New Cruising Plans

New technology, new plans. (Posted 19 Oct 01)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 11, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Tips for Tuning in SSB Fax Broadcasts

Seems like most folks have problems finding the right frequencies and times to receive fax broadcasts. The best times and frequencies vary with the sunspot cycle, time of day, and how far you are from the broadcasting station.

Sitting here in Antigua, with Boston and New Orleans stations just 1500 or so miles away, you would think everyone would be pulling them in. Yet a lot of folks have told us they are hearing nothing. We are getting good coverage, so I suspect there must be a common problem with picking the correct frequencies.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 7, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Boat Yard Diet

Boat Yard Diet…BEOWULF, Steve, and Linda all lose some weight. (Photos.)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 28, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Grounds and Geopolitics

How Steve and Linda are re-considering their cruising grounds in light of changes in the world.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 27, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Priorities when Planning to Go Cruising

Reflections after last week’s terrorist attacks.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 18, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Without Engine: Pros & Cons

The Dashews write about whether or not to go cruising without an engine.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 14, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Red Right Returning – Not!

Red Right Returning–Not! A warning against talking on the cell phone while piloting through rocky waters.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 14, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Water Pumps/Changing Impellers

One of the maintenance issues that is bound to occur is a bad salt water pump impeller.

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The photo above is from Wind Horse‘s starboard engine. Notice the missing vane in the lower right portion of the impeller? It would have been better to change this impeller on a proactive basis, before it got old and tired. The missing vane reduces cooling water flow, and we now have to find the piece so it does not block one of the heat exchangers.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 7, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Chasing Down an Elusive Oil Leak

It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been fighting this mother of all wars for five long, hard years. But yesterday we tasted the sweetest of all fruits-Victory!

Yes, friends, after running our Yanmar diesel hard (2800 rpm continuously) for an hour, not a trace of oil was to be found. Danny, our miracle-working mechanic from Billings had indeed found the elusive oil leak which has plagued us since launching BEOWULF in New Zealand. And now our engine sump will stay CLEAN!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 7, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Seagoing Web Access

Linda & Steve, In your recent article on the new passage planning software (I hope to see more on this later) you made a comment regarding downloading weather forecast data during your passage. What method do you use to access internet at sea?? Regards, Mark

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 3, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

It’s the Maine Thing…

Enjoying some stunningly beautiful anchorages in Maine, and BEOWULF gets a tune-up at an excellent boat yard. (With Photos.)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 25, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Using Battens in Roller Furling Mainsails and Headsails

A reader asks:

I have a 1997 Beneteau 461 with roller furling main and genoa and need to replace both sails. The main is relatively new but is poorly shaped – the leach cups, etc. I read that you use vertical battens in BEOWULF’s roller furling jib. If you used a 135% genoa instead of a 100% jib would you still use vertical battens or is their application only for jibs?

The British firm, Maxiroach makes roller furling mainsails (and headsails) with full length vertical battens that appear very attractive on paper. Doyle Sails makes a swing batten main. Quantum makes a main with vertical battens. Could you give me any advice on which of these products is the best or recommend someone that may know.

If you were going to buy a new roller furling main ( I know this is not likely to ever happen!) who would you go to for advice on the best way to go?

We asked Dan Neri of North Sails to answer this question:

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (August 17, 2001)    |    Comments (2)

Cruising in Maine

Maine seamanship techniques, and the difference between cabins, camps, and shacks. The hazards of Lobster Pots. (Reader response and new photo posted 18 September 2001)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 17, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Reefing

We’ve used slab reefing on our mains (and mizzens) on all of our boats going back to the 1970s. We’ve looked at in the mast and in the boom systems as they’ve come along and worked out their bugs, but have yet to see anything as fast, reliable, light, or inexpensive as good old slab reefing.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 17, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Drying Clothes on the Boat

To all you SetSailors who are into washer/dryers on your boats, we’ve got an update on our ventless dryer.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 10, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

All Things Being Equal (Batteries)

As we’re cruising on the East Coast and occasionally reading the New York Times, we feel it behooves us to be politically correct. We are already at a disadvantage in this regard due to the fact we have no burgee halyards to either masthead, and so cannot fly our owner’s signal or yacht club pennant correctly. The situation is made worse by the fact that in the land of Hinkleys we have neither varnish on deck, overhangs fore and aft, nor polished blue topsides.

We woke up this morning pondering this problem when Linda had an epiphany. “We’ll equalize the batteries! It’s been three months, they are overdue, and there are bound to be one or two cells lower than the rest, which has to be depressing for the poor dears.”

So, we’ve been sitting in this lovely anchorage in Somes Sound, with the smells of the verdant forest wafting around us on deck, and the smells of batteries being equalized wafting below. We started the process this morning at 0900, and should be done by 1300.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 10, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Headed to Maine

The Dashews and BEOWULF head up the coast to Maine, where they plan to catch up on some much-needed R&R.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 3, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Martha’s Vineyard

In Martha’s Vineyard, BEOWULF is sharing the Edgartown anchorage with hundreds of other boats. Find out why the Dashews chose not to moor, and what anchoring tricks they used to ensure a good night’s sleep.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 30, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Iridium Back in Business?

Steve: A new Iridium Satellite LLC has just announced on CNBC that these satellites are back in business with coverage over 100% of the globe. Great for offshore roaming types. Phone cost looks like $1500US for the handset, which accepts on-line data. I don’t have info about operating costs. Regards, DM

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 28, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Some of This Stuff Really Works!

We’re anchored in Newport, Rhode Island, to say hi to some friends and take care of some business. A pleasant couple of sails and anchorages have allowed leisure time to review a couple of the things we’ve been testing, and the results are positive.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 20, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Hydrocaps: Do They Really Work?

BEOWULF has been sitting at Atlantic Yacht Basin in Norfolk, VA for the past two months. She’s had her Trace inverter connected to shore power, acting as a battery charger. Before we left her we topped off the batteries.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 13, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

The Best Anchor?

We seem to get a lot of questions about anchors and anchoring systems – especially after one of the magazines runs an evaluation article.

If you are always anchoring close to home, in a good holding bottom, and bring your anchor up by hand, then having the most efficient, lightest weight anchor for your conditions makes sense.

But once you start to cruise a bit, and some of those anchorages become less than perfect, you need a good all-around anchor. From our experience, there is nothing that will touch the Bruce in this category. Yes, it is not the most efficient hook in terms of holding power per pound of anchor, but in thin sand over coral, or rock it is unbeatable (and these are amongst the toughest situations). What we do is go up on size a notch or two – for example, on the Sundeer 56/60 we specified a 110 pound (50kg) Bruce. In a lot of conditions you could get away with a much lighter version of another anchor, but this is enough weight to hold the boat in a poor bottom in a real blow, and in a good bottom you can anchor on very short scope.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 8, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Globalstar Phone System

Reviewing the Globalstar phone system. (Reader responses posted 18 September 2001)

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 6, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Made in the Shade: Awning Ideas

One of the cool things about cruising is all the interesting gear, systems, rigs, and canvas work we get to check out. Here are a couple of interesting approaches to tropical shade.

Awnings for cruising in the tropics

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 1, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Roller Furling

Image

It took a long time for us to become fans of roller furling. However, starting with Beowulf, the combination of the size and weight of her sails, and the increasing reluctance to get salt water on our bodies, forced us to take a harder look at this gear.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 23, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Spending Priorities

Spending Priorities: A lot of folks getting ready to go cruising have been asking us about how to prioritize the budget. Here are the Dashews’ ideas on the subject.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 9, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Communications in the 21st Century – A Benefit or a Curse?

Benefit or Curse? Steve and Linda write about 21st century cruising communications.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 2, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Piracy

How the Dashews would deal with a pirate attack. Their approach is different today than in the past when sailing with children aboard.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 18, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Abeam the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Abeam the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 14, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Bermuda to Chesapeake: Beowulf Gets Lucky

BEOWULF gets lucky.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 13, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Bermuda to Chesapeake: Exiting the Gulf Stream

Exiting the Gulf Stream, and assessing the MaxSea software.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 13, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Bermuda to Chesapeake: Racing the Front

Awaiting the wind shift, and racing with the front.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 12, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Bermuda to Chesapeake Passage: Reevaluating Weather Tactics with Surprising Forecast

1622 EST – The 48-hour forecast is a bit surprising, causing the Dashews to re-evaluate their tactics.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 11, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Clear of the Bermudan Reefs

1000 EST – Clear of the Bermudan reefs, with the high appearing to fill in from the west.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 11, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Bermuda to Chesapeake: Storm Covers on Hatches & Ready to Go

BEOWULF’s storm covers are secured over her hatches, and she’s ready to go…

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 11, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing from Bermuda to Chesapeake: The Weather Puzzle

Trying to figure out the weather puzzle to decide the best time to leave Bermuda (with the help of some new routing software).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 10, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Unforecast Weather in Bermuda Teaches 3 Valuable Lessons

When the eye of the storm unexpectedly passes over St. David’s Harbor, the Dashews are re-acquainted with three valuable lessons.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 9, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Storm-Bound in Bermuda

What’s the big deal with 30 to 40 knots of wind in the Gulf Stream?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 7, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Snugged Down at Anchor in Bermuda

0400 EDT – The baromoter continues to fall, but BEOWULF is safe and sound at anchor.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 6, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Approaching Bermuda: Boat Speed Is Our Friend

0740 EDT – Approaching Bermuda, and checking in with the boats 50-80 miles to leeward of BEOWULF’s position.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 5, 2001)    |    Comments (0)

Weather Risk Assessment 120 Miles from Bermuda

1900 EDT – 120 miles from Bermuda, the Dashews discuss the issue of risk assessment in weather analysis.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 5, 2001)    |    Comments (0)