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Blue-Water Essentials: "mini" Crosses the North Pacific

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Blue-Water Essentials: "mini" Crosses the North Pacific by Dave Chamberlain

Sailing from North America to Hawaii is the longest uninterrupted passage, from a continent to an island, in the world. Known as "crossing the pond" the plumb route, from San Diego to Hilo, is close to 2,250 nautical miles. Having no personal ambitions for such a quest, my seminary buddy, Mike Shepard, convinced me that we should make the journey as a spiritual pilgrimage. We dubbed the voyage "The Radical Sabbatical," wondering what lessons the Master of the seas had in store for us.


Modifications to my 1967 20 foot Vivacity "mini" included: dual lower shrouds with heavy duty chain plates, Lexan windows, dodger, bronze rollerfurling, cutter rigged with rollerfurling storm staysail, full-batten mainsail with large slab reefing, all halyards and all reefing lines led aft, wood burning stove, added floatation for self-rescuing, locking compartment lids in case of a roll…

Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 4

Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 4 Beware - the water can enter the locks with great force

And then this boat kept coming... and coming... and coming. The hotel cruise ship 'Camargue'
We passed over the longest aqueduct in Europe, nearly half a mile long, at Briare. It carries the canal high over the River Loire and was engineered by Mr. Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame we then climbed to over 1200 feet on the du Centre canal, before being spewed back into the wide River Saone at Chalon and returned to civilization.

The River Saone was rather a disappointment the banks were so high the view was limited, but in a day or so we joined the Rhone at Lyon and what a contrast. We were ejected from the first lock at speed into the very fast flowing canalized section, then back to join the river again and past beautiful scenery at Vienne and Les Roches de Condrieu, famous for its special wine. So we proceeded on down the Rhone through wonderful and ma…

Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 3

Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 3 Our entrance to Paris was sensational. We had by chance arrived on Pentecost Sunday when the banks of the Seine were lined with Parisians in holiday mode. On seeing the red ensign on our boat they were waving and calling 'welcome to Paris'. There can be no better way to arrive in Paris than to pass under all those magnificent bridges and to see the beauty of the city unfold before your eyes. And then to enter the Paris Arsenal marina right in the center of town - just by the Place de la Bastille, it was marvelous. With all facilities available and Paris on our doorstep, we just had to stay for a few days.

The river above Paris, apart from the few industrial areas, continues to be just as beautiful, we paused at Fontainebleau to see the Chateau and to do some shopping and then continued to our last Seine lock, the Champagne. Locks are the danger points, damage to the yacht or mast can easily occur, and w…

Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 2

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Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 2 From Cherbourg, we sailed to Le Havre via the charming port of St Vaast-le-Hougue. We got held up in Le Havre - the regulations for the river compelled us to make the 70 odd mile trip to Rouen in the hours of daylight, and there is no stopping allowed on the way. In the early spring, it means there are only two or three days each fortnight when the tide makes this possible.

Keewaydin safely berthed in the marina at St. Vaast de Houge in France
Gales was blowing hard, and we were not able to cross from Le Havre to the mouth of the Seine. We thought we were going to miss the slot, so in desperation and against all the advice in the guide and pilot books, we asked for a passage to the Seine via the docks and entered the Tancarville canal. It worked very well, all the bridges opened for us as we passed along. We spent a rough night moored between two dolphins by the Trancarville lock gates in company with a very la…

Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 1

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Wine run to the Med: Through the canals of France – Sailing Story Parts 1 by David Collinson

When David Collinson set off for the Mediterranean, he took the scenic route up the Seine to Paris and down through the French rivers and canals. Here he recalls the journey with all its ups and downs

The scenic route through France appealed to both me and my wife in order to take our newly purchased 21-year-old Tomahawk 25 from Topsham to the Mediterranean. Years ago our previous yacht, an Achilles 24, had made the passage by sea, but now that we were both retired and over 65 we had more time available to enjoy the journey through the waterways and canals. Besides, it would be an interesting and learning experience for us both.

At Topsham we craned Keewaydin into the water on a beautiful April morning, then we motored gently down the River Exe and out to sea, hoping to find some wind and have our first sail. In the event, we motored across a glassy sea to Brixham, where we spent a few days s…

Motor Boat Parts and Accessories Reviews by Magazine Editor

Motor Boat Parts and Accessories Reviews by Magazine Editor. Chosen by our staff for their innovation, ingenuity, and imagination, these new products and systems represent leading-edge technology in the marine industry.


New Twos The Tohatsu and Nissan 50-hp motors represent an intriguing variation on the direct-injected (DI) outboard theme. First, these unconventional two-strokes qualify as the world’s smallest DI outboards to date. And unlike all other two-stroke motors that rely on high-pressure DI, these engines get the job done with Two-Stroke Low-Pressure Direct Injection (TLDI).

Based on the Orbital Combustion Process (OCP), TLDI hits its fuel charge with low-pressure air. The air vaporizes the gasoline droplets, creating a fine mist and maximizing the surface area exposed to oxygen. As a result, the gasoline burns more completely. Compliant with the EPA 2006 and CARB 2004 regulations, the new Tohatsu and Nissan 50-hp motors weigh from nine to 15 percent less than four-stroke ou…