Archive for the ‘Sailing’ Category

So there we were, sailing along quietly along the Florida Keys (islands) towards Marathon. We had just put up the inner jib, which had a lovely shape and was pulling us along well. The slot between the jib (the sail at the front) and the inner jib was full of fast-flowing air literally sucking us along. Once again I marvelled at how 16 tons of steel can be drawn silently through the sea at running speed by a few square metres of canvas.
Certainly the wildlife appreciated the lack of engine noise. Just as I was adjusting the foot of the sail I heard a splash and some odd noises. Glancing over the bowsprit I saw them: long lithe shapes beneath the water racing ahead of Curlew. Every now and then they would cross the bow-wave and surf ahead of us. “Dolphins!” I cried, and Gina came running to see them too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0emJ5YRJKM

We watched them for about an hour. Soon they were joined by a mother and a baby dolphin, and the pod of eight criss-crossed the bow-wave. I had read that dolphins enjoy surfing in front of sailboats because of the lack of thrashing propellors. Certainly they were communicating with audible squeaks, and they appeared to acknowledge our presence.

It sounds sentimental, but I have to admit to feeling a jolt of joy whenever they leapt out of the water. I wondered why we don’t feel particularly fond of scaly fish. Certainly I felt aware of a mammalian¬†intelligence, and when I caught a glance from one dolphin’s eye I was quite sure of it.

They left after about an hour, and I felt so lucky to see the surfing dolphins.

19May

Work Continues on “Curlew”

in News, Sailing  •  Comments Off

"Curlew"Graham is out in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, working on “Curlew”, a 42 foot centre-cockpit steel ketch bought for the voyage.

This configuration is safest when large seas are encountered. The steel hull is strong enough to withstand grounding on coral or the odd ice ‘growler’, unlike a plastic or wooden hull.

The vessel is fitted with a large engine and generator set suitable for difficult conditions, and there are berths for six.

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