Posts Tagged ‘adventure sailing’



Laura Dekker - thrilled to have finished her circumnavigation. Photo lauradekker.nl.

It seems like the past few years were filled with great sailing feats by young sailors. Now the youngest has come home safely after voyaging 18,265 nm. On January 23, Dutchwoman Laura Dekker became the new youngest solo circumnavigator, reducing Australian Jessica Watson’s voyage by six-months.


Laura Dekker, 16, is reunited with her mother, sister and father on her arrival in St. Martin after a 361-day circumnavigation. Photo lauradekker.nl.

Having covered most of these attempts while writing the Cruising Compass for Blue Water Sailing Magazine, I became a champion of sorts, in hopes of forwarding their causes, and in some way, helping to broadcast their amazing feats to the non-adventure sailing world.

Some of you may recall that Dekker ran into more than just rough seas even before she set off on her attempt at circumnavigating the planet. She had intended to start her adventure at age 13, but Dutch authorities tried to block Dekker’s trip, arguing she was too young to risk her life, while school officials said she should be in a classroom.

“The Dutch government was not kind to me,” Laura Dekker wrote on her blog last week. “It was never my intention to be the center of world news. From the moment my plans became public, Youth Care and other government organisations tried to stop me. During the first court case, in August 2009 they asked the judge to take me away from my father and to lock me up in a secure clinic. Now, after sailing around the world, with difficult port approaches, storms, dangerous reefs, and the full responsibility of keeping myself and Guppy safe, I feel that the nightmares the Dutch government organisations put me through, were totally unfair. I am seriously thinking about not returning to the Netherlands. Of course I will discuss this with my parents.”


The route Laura took around the world, Image lauradekker.nl.

Unlike other young sailors who recently crossed the globe, Dekker repeatedly anchored at ports along the way to sleep, study and repair her 38-ft Jeanneau Gin Fizz Guppy. The teenager covered more than 27,000 nautical miles on a trip with stops at ports including the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, South Africa and finally St Maarten, from where she set out on 20 January 2011. Now, though she claims to be the youngest sailor to complete a round-the-world voyage, Guinness World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council would not verify the claim, saying they no longer recognize records for youngest sailors in order to discourage dangerous attempts.

Authorities in The Netherlands were quick to commend Dekker on her bravery, skill and perseverance, but insisted they had been correct to intervene.

“If Laura had drowned, we would be accused of not having done enough to protect her,” said an official from the Bureau of Youth. She added that it’s possible that Dekker made it around because they required her to sail a larger, more robust and better-equipped boat.

Dekker launched her trip two months after Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old American sailor, was rescued in the Indian Ocean during a similar attempt. Australian teen Jessica Watson set off Oct. 18, 2009 from Sydney, Australia, in Ella’s Pink Lady, her Sparkman & Stephens 34. She rounded Cape Horn Jan. 13, 2010  and returned to Sydney on 15 May 2010. Watson completed a 210-day solo voyage just three days before her 17th birthday.


Solo-circumnavigator Jessica Watson aboard her S&S 34, Ella's Pink Lady.

Mike Perham, also held the title of youngest person to sail solo around the world. He took nine months to circumnavigate the Globe in 2009 at age 17 on board the Open 50 racing yacht Totallymoney.com.


Mike Perham's route around. Photo totallymoney.com/sailmike.

Though it is Jesse Martin, of Australia, who still holds the record, recognized by Guinness World Records as the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe, sailing solo, non-stop and unsupported, at age 18 years 104 days when he set off from Melbourne on December 8, 1998, taking 327 days 12hrs 52 mins.


Newpaper clipping of Jesse Martin's return home. Photo jessemartin.net.


Sister & brother solo-circumnavigators Abby & Zac Sunderland. Photo abbysunderland.com.

“A true circumnavigation of the Earth must: start and finish at the same point, traveling in one general direction, reach two antipodes, cross the equator, cross all longitudes, cover a minimum of 40,000km..”

(21,600 NM, the circumference of the world at the equator.

                         – Explorers Web AdventureStats, 2007….

Dekker says her circumnavigation was about the voyage and she isn’t concerned about formal recognition. Neither is Hachette Book Group, which has already offered Watson a book deal, saying it will publish the blog entries she has written throughout her trip “as soon as possible after her return,” according to media reports.

“I think readjusting to life on land, keeping up with some of the exciting things planned for me, finishing my book and documentary, getting my driver’s license, and finishing school will be more than enough to keep me busy,” says Watson in her May 4 blog.

I’d like to offer a big “Congrats” to Laura. Our virtual “hats off” for an amazing feat. Well done! You go girl!


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10 Green Boating Tips for Cruisers, Alternative Cleansers, Protecting the Waterwaysgreen-boating-leafboat

1. Choose Green Products: Look for the EPA-certified “Design for the Environment” (DfE) label, which assures you that the product has minimal environmental impact and is safer for the person using it. Benefit: Safer products. Reduce water pollution.

2. Use The Right Prop: Use a prop with the right pitch so your engine reaches its designed wide-open-throttle RPM. An adjustable-pitch propeller allows you to dial in the optimum pitch angle in single degrees. Modular props, let you swap props while keeping the same hub. Benefit: Reduce fuel consumption, improve performance. [ flexofold.com ].

3. Add Alternative Energy: Solar panels and wind generators are getting more affordable and smarter. Most systems can be self-installed and will reduce your fuel costs significantly. Benefit: Reduce Carbon footprint & Reduce fuel consumption. Go to www.emarineinc.com for good comparison of the two options.

4. Keep The Bilge Clean: Avoid the accidental discharge of oily water by using a sorbent in each bilge area. Consider a bioremediation product designed to convert hydrocarbons into safe compounds. Benefit: Safer products. Reduce water pollution

WestMarine.com5. Retire That 2-Stroke Outboard: Although it may be possible to get a few more years out of your old-technology outboard, you’ll be much happier with the reduced noise, fumes, fuel consumption, and pollution of a modern injected four-stroke outboard. For an even quieter ride, try an electric outboard. Benefit: Save gas and reduce water pollution.

6. Recycle your Lead-Acid Batteries: 12V batteries are among the most recycled products in the world. Benefit: Save money and conserve resources. [ earth911.com ].

7. Prevent Fuel Spills: Use or install a device to prevent overboard discharges from your tank vent. Benefit: Save gas and reduce water pollution

8. Use an autopilot: Modern autopilots can steer better than most helmspersons—and they don’t have a limited attention span. Benefit: Reduce fuel consumption

9. Recycle Your Monofilament Fishing Line. If your harbor doesn’t have a recycling location, see the website [ fishinglinerecycling.org ].

10. Eat Responsibly Harvested Seafood: Choose sustainable seafood at a restaurants or grocery stores to ensure that the fish stocks are plentiful for your children and for generations to come. Go to eartheasy.com/eat_sustainable_seafoods.htm  for informational guide.


Support Yacht To Be Green!

More Tips:

Clean Boating at BoatUS Foundation

Florida Depart of Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Boating Practices

Vessel Cleaning:

Alternatives to Toxic Products

Product ➛ Alternative
Bleach ➛ Borax
Detergent & Soap ➛ Elbow grease
Scouring Powders ➛ Baking soda, or rub area with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse
General Cleaner ➛ Baking soda and vinegar, or lemon juice combined with borax paste
Floor Cleaner ➛ One cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water
Window Cleaner ➛ One cup vinegar + 1 qt. warm water. Rinse and squeegee
Aluminum Cleaner ➛ 2 Tbsp. cream of tartar + 1 qt. of hot water
Brass Cleaner ➛ Worcestershire sauce, or paste made of equal amounts of salt, vinegar and water
Copper Cleaner ➛ Lemon juice and water, or paste of lemon juice, salt, and flour
Chrome Cleaner/Polish ➛ Apple cider vinegar to clean; baby oil to polish
Stainless Steel Cleaner ➛ Baking soda or mineral oil for polishing, vinegar to remove spots
Fiberglass Stain Remover ➛ Baking soda paste
Mildew Remover ➛ Paste with equal amounts of lemon juice and salt, or white vinegar and salt
Drain Opener ➛ Dissemble or use plumber’s snake, or flush with boiling water + one-quarter cup baking soda + one-quarter cup vinegar
Wood Polish ➛ Olive or almond oil (interior walls only)
Hand Cleaner ➛ Baby oil or margarine
Head & Shower ➛ Baking soda; brush thoroughly
Rug/Upholstery Cleaner ➛ Dry corn starch sprinkled on; vacuum


Support Sailors Without Borders

Protect the Oceans!

According to the Ocean Conservancy, there are five general ways boaters can protect our oceans and waterways, and conveniently enough, each of the five tips starts with a letter that ends up spelling the word “BOATS”.

Be a leader in your community. Talk about marine litter prevention with members of your boating community, from your neighbor in the next slip to boating clubs and marina managers.

Offer your time. Volunteer in boat and marina cleanup programs, especially at sites only accessible by boat. And participate in Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer effort of its kind for the ocean.

Accidents happen. Be prepared with absorbent pads to clean oil or fuel spills. Dish soap doesn’t work. It just causes those liquids to sink and contaminate the bottom.

Take it all back to shore. Don’t allow cigarette butts to go overboard; small but significant, they are the most prevalent marine litter item found during the International Coastal Cleanup. Dispose of them properly onshore.

Set the pace. Recycle everything you can, from beverage containers to propeller-snarling fishing line or plastic bags.

Read more at the Daily Boater

Of course the greenest thing sailors can do is to just…………Sail!

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SCC_brochure_cvrIt’s the real thing!  Tall ship cruise operator Star Clippers operates three of the world’s most authentic, head-turning ships; the majestic four-masted, 170-passenger Star Flyer and Star Clipper and the magnificent flagship, five-masted, 228-passenger Royal Clipper.

The Star Flyer began its’ maiden season in Central America last November, in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, where it will sail six, seven, 10 and 11-night cruises out of Puerto Caldera to explore the bays and inlets of the Pacific coastline, with visits to lush rainforests and hidden lagoons.

Star Clipper Cruises has exciting itineraries in Central America and the Caribbean, where the Clipper ships will visit dream locations in the Grenadines and British Virgin Islands among others. The company’s ever popular ocean crossings are ideally suited to those who dream of long sea voyages, while the summer season will find the ships roaming the Mediterranean (French or Italian Riviera), the Greek Islands and a fascinating new route between Athens and Istanbul, including Turkey as a new destination.

Turkey should be an awesome destination to see from the decks of a Star Clipper Ship. In an article released today in eTurboNews.com, Turkey is expecting 31 million tourists in 2011!

The article states, “In the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED) annual tourism report, Mr Ahmet Barut, the President of TUROFED said “The total tourism revenue is expected to reach USD 25 billion in 2011 with 31 million visitors”.

Turkey is on the way to becoming one of the top tourist destinations and is currently ranking as 7th in visitors numbers in the world. The tourism sector in Turkey has grown nearly 16% in the last 3 years whereas the more traditional destinations of Spain and France have contracted by a similar amount.”

Starting in May, 2011, The Star Clipper Cruise Line will begin sailing Turkey, seven nights Southern Turkey or with the Greek Isles and Northern Turkey. I can’t wait!

To find out more, visit www.starclippers.com.



The Captain offers a lesson on a sextant. Photo by N.Birnbaum

Star Flyer anchored off Curu Preserve, Costa Rica. Photo by N.Birnbaum

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Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

If you dream of adventure sailing on a tall ship through the wilds of Central America, anchoring in pristine coves filled with dolphins, whales and birds not other boats or cruise ships, then you need to book a cruise with Star Clipper Cruises.

“Star Clippers operates three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels. Visiting ports often untouched by larger cruise ships and offering passengers the activities, amenities and atmosphere of a private yacht, Star Clippers is recognized as one of the premier specialty cruise lines.”

Join in a rare adventure of nature unbounded – cruising both Nicaragua and Costa Rica or Panama and Costa Rica itineraries.


Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

“From the stunning volcanic peaks of Nicaragua down to the rustic scenery of Panama, Central America’s breathtaking beauty allows you to just sit, stand, lie or look in any direction and watch nature perform around you. Howler monkeys roam freely through the jungle canopy above while manta rays weightlessly glide through the waters below.”

Clearly this is not a cruise ship in the ordinary sense. Star Flyer, like it’s sister ship, the Star Clipper, is a true clipper ship reflecting her proud heritage in every inch of her polished brass and gleaming brightwork. Once onboard you’ll discover a new age of sail, where the traditions of the past are happily married to the comforts and amenities of the present day. Star Clipper and Star Flyer are modern cruise ships in every way, created for luxury-loving passengers who also love the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships. Star Clipper and Star Flyer are both 360 feet long and each carries just 170 guests in pampered comfort.

Don’t miss out on this new cruising ground. Check out their new Panama Itinerary today!


Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

Costa Rica and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua Cruises run 7-nights.

Next sailing dates: February 13 or February 27, 2011.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica –
At Sea –
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua –
Playa del Coco, Costa Rica –
Cuanjiniquil (Nat. Park Santa Rosa), Costa Rica –
Puerto Carrillo, Costa Rica –
Islas Tortugas / Curu / Quesera, Costa Rica –
Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica –


Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011


or the newest 14-night Panama Canal Adventure:

Balboa to St. Maarten – March 19, 2011: 8 Ports of Call:
Panama Canal Transit – San Blas Islands, Panama –
Cartagena, Columbia – Oranjestad, Aruba –
Willemstad, Curacao – Jost Van Dyke, B.V.I. –
Sopers Hole, B.V.I – Virgin Gorda, B.V.I. –
Gustavia, St. Barts.

Rates start at $1,943 ppdo.

More Info: http://www.starclippers.com/us/plan-your-sailing/destinations/costa-rica-a-panama-canal/panama-canal-sailings.html


Photo: N.Birnbaum 2011

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Star Flyer undersail off Costa Rica. Photo:N.Birnbaum

Your Cruising Editor just returned from a seven-day cruise on board the S.P.V. Star Flyer, stopping at both Nicaragua and Costa Rica ports on the Star Clipper Cruises newest itinerary. Starting today, I will post images and thoughts on my experience of this semi-wild coastline along with notes on life aboard the Star Flyer where you can enjoy comfortable luxury while “roughing it”!

Please check back for the latest posts.



Mast climbing on the Star Flyer. Photo:N.Birnbaum



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Nancy Birnbaum, Freelance Writer/Editor

P.O.Box 667826
Pompano Beach, FL 33066

(954) 770-0900

skype_iconSkype: nbirnbaum2008






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Your Cruising Editor offers up this special list of the “Top 10 Islands to Sail To” so that you can bring in the New Year dreaming about your next cruise! Is your favorite island on the list? If not, please share it with us.

Fairwinds & Happy Holidays!

1. Vanuatu


Vanuatu Anchorage

vanuatu_mapVanuatu is a volcanic island chain in the south west Pacific Ocean, between Fiji and New Caledonia. There are about 80 islands with a total land area of 12,189 square kilometers reaching 900 km in a north-south direction. UNESCO World Heritage sites honor Chief Roi Mata on Éfaté, Lelepa and Artok islands.  Check out www.noonsite.com for info.

saga and ulu -san blas islands

S/V Saga with Kuna ulu

2. San Blas Islands, Panama

Only 36 of these 365 San Blas islands are inhabited, and here travelers can witness life as it has been since the 16th century. Since tourism doesn’t fit into this simple way of life, cruisers will find a perfect paradise: friendly Kuna Indians who still rule themselves, an abundance of ocean life, coconuts and sparkling clear calm water! What more could you ask for. Don’t miss the Monday night “trash night” bonfire and potluck at the Swimming Pool! Helpful hints for cruising the San Blas, courtesy of Blow Me Away Sailing.

3. Tierra del Fuego

tierra del Fuego with sailboat

Tierra del Fuego Sailboat

Tierra del Fuego or Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, is the largest island in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. Half of the island belongs to the Magallanes Region of Chile while the eastern part belongs to the Tierra del Fuego Province of Argentina. Great info by S/Y Nine Of Cups available at http://www.nineofcups.com/south_america_intro.html.

4. Dominica


Coast of Dominica

Dominica is home to the Carib Territory and was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean. Dominica is located in Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. CruisingWiki Guide.

5. Tasmania, Australia


Sailboats off Tasmania

The Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area covers 3.46 million acres (20 percent of the island) and is home to myriad threatened species, including the eponymous Tasmanian devil. Check out Marinas Guide – Australia for a good guide to anchorages by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. www.marinasguide.com.au/planner/guidetasanchorageryct.htm.

6. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


Locals sunbathe in the Galapagos

The UNESCO World Heritage List calls this mostly uninhabited chain of 19 islands a “living museum and a showcase of evolution,” citing land iguanas, giant tortoises and assorted finches among the countless varieties. Though there have been some changes to the fees the park is charging cruisers, most yachts that call at the Galapagos under the Transit Rules and with less than 10 crew on board, will still find there is no change to the Transit Regulations which allow a stay of up to 20 days in one of the Ports of Entry. For up-to-date info, check Noonsite.com.

7. The Seychelles


A schooner at anchor in the Seychelles

Located off the east coast of Africa, these islands are pure paradise. Totaling 115 in all, the Seychelles have no indigenous population and the largest ethnic groups are those of French, African, Indian, and Chinese descent. Also, it’s a matriarchal society. CruisingWiki Guide.

8. The MaldivesMaldives
Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this chain of 1,000 islands (200 are inhabited, and only 5 have any substantial population) is just a series of coral atolls that are barely above sea level. Natural erosion due to tsunamis and storms are slowly washing away these pearls. Get there while you still can. The Maldives have been a crossroads for sea traders for many centuries and the origin of the people of this country is mixed. It is an independent republic, which has been inhabited for over 3,500 years. CruisingWiki Guide.

9. Ko Lipe, Thailand

Ko Lipe, Thailand

Ko Lipe, Thailand

Located in southern Thailand, Ko Lipe is one of the Butang Group of Islands in The Tarutao National Park. Thailand’s first Marine National Park, established in 1972, consists of 51 islands close to the Malaysian border. Of the 51 islands all but Koh Lipe are uninhabited. Its one of the very best sailing areas in Thailand with many nearby islands to explore. CruisingWiki Guide.

10. Channel Islands, Californiachannelislands_map
Here the biggest star is a Pacific gray whale and the foxiest character is, well, an island fox. Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was. Here’s a good cruising guide site: www.sailchannelislands.com/cicruisingguide/index.php and the official National Park site: http://www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm

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