Sunday, July 8, 2012

Eight Bells

One thing I have learned on this second pass of the South Pacific is that even high latitude cruising is becoming part of the main circuit.  My old understanding was that you do the easy trade wind circumnavigation in your plastic boat but after completing it you graduate, become a true sailor and part of an elite minority.  You get a real boat (metal), aluminium if you have money and steel if you don't and you head to destinations like the Chilean Fjords, Antarctic or the west side of Greenland.  My older Cornell guide says that the number of boats that go to places like Antarctic are in the single digits.  That isn't the case anymore.  I think that in the early nineties once GPS became affordable, it triggered a big growth in cruising.  The latest is the accuracy and affordability in being able to receive weather forecasts.  There are GFS weather forecast models that go out to twelve days now. 

Before the availability of GRIBs, yachties used weather fax but also depended a large part on land based guys who knew yachting, local weather and would disseminate crucial info over shortwave radio.  Two big names recently died.  I heard of Don Anderson's (Amigo Net) passing en route to Pitcairn and this morning I heard that Des of Russel Radio passed a couple of days ago.  Guys like Des and Don do a great service to yachts on passage.  I have used both of them many times, checking in as often as twice a day.  I have fond memories of listening to Don completely exasperated when some greenhorn wants a detailed report for a 50 mile hop on the Mexican Gold Coast after he just said it was land and sea breeze for the entire area.  I remember it was Des who was the first to welcome me to New Zealand when I hailed him on VHF to let him know I had made it to the Bay of Islands... 

Short clip of checking in with Des just south of Vanuatu when I did the passage up back to the islands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting, found out about "Eight Bells" painting. Is it a common phrase when mean about determing position?