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This isn’t my first rodeo. It’s my second. I should know better.

The first rodeo was a 31-foot Far East Mariner built in 1972 that my wife and I purchased in the summer of 2001. I liked the boat because she liked the boat, whose interior spaces felt vast next to the 24-footer we’d been using for weekends on San Francisco Bay, and because the ketch rig and full keel reminded me of Moitessier’s Joshua and because it was what we could afford.  Read More

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Tony on Taonui

Nothing is quite so sobering as the realization that the Figure 8, this seemingly massive undertaking, this voyage that is a test of imagination (not to mention intellect, physical stamina, and funds), has already been done … and by one’s own boat!

Moli is a rare bird. Her purposeful, stout beauty would be obvious to a baby. But I never would have guessed that first time I Read More

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“Faye. Faye! Psst. Wrong envelope.”

When not cleaning coffee grounds from the floorboards during last summer’s 7,000-mile shakedown cruise in Moli, I kept myself occupied by shooting passage video.

The exercise was an experiment intended to answer three questions:

  1. What is the minimum technology required for video capture at sea? Read More
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“I’m looking for a boat named Moli,” said a friend, Burt Richardson, as he stepped up to the KKMI front desk.

“You bet,” said Emmy, “just head to the back of the yard, make a left at the water, and keep an eye out for the covered wagon.”

The first order of business on Mo has been largely cosmetic, to refasten the non-skid tread and lay down new deck paint, jobs any novice knows would be better timed for Read More

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A brewer like the It’s American Press doesn’t come along every day.

For starters, it’s surprisingly beautiful–in the way that complexity is beautiful when rendered, reduced, refined; rethought and redrawn until what remains is the perfect balance of form and function.

I know what you’re saying, “Hey, it’s just a coffee maker!”

But, as coffee makers go, this press is Read More

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In the previous post, a critical boat system–coffee making–failed in such dramatic fashion (twice) that, months later, I am still cleaning grounds from between the floor boards. Once home this launched a search for the perfect boat brewer, whose requirements are:

  1. Be easy to use in rough weather. Read More
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On day nineteen of last summer’s passage from Hawaii to San Francisco, Moli suffered a critical systems breakdown.

We had been climbing into winds of 25 knots for several days. Seas were steep and breaking. On that morning I rose at the usual hour and made my coffee in the usual way: cone with paper filter balanced atop a ceramic cup, the ceramic cup swinging on the gimballed stove.

In 20,000 miles of solo passages, this teetering miracle has never failed me.

Until this morning.

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Since the last refit report, I’ve moved Moli two miles up the channel to KKMI, a big, resourceful yard with a sense of humor and a small but practical chandlery that (bless it) requires no driving to get to.

Here the first order of business has been to pull the mast so as to initiate the rerigging project.

The ease with which this operation came off was disheartening and left me nothing whatever to write about. At 10am on a clear morning, two guys in green hard hats clambered aboard and before I could say, “Hold on, what about the…,” the mast had been launched on its way to the cradle.

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ASMA in the ArcticAboard Moli is a small hardbound book titled Rund Amerika, the story of my boat’s initial adventures with then owners, Clark Stede and Michelle Poncini. It’s in German. I can admire the photos, like the one above, but I can’t read a word.

So, I was grateful to receive this week the below Yachting Monthly article from 1991 where Stede/Poncini, in translation, describe their Northwest Passage in Asma.

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WARNING: for several months to come, many of these blogs will wander off into the badlands of boat refitting. My apologies if block-and-tackle-type discussions are not to everyone’s liking, but the work is a necessary prerequisite to minimizing excitement levels during the voyage itself, and writing about them, nearly so.

With the Figure 8’s September of 2017 launch decidedly in view (seems as close as next weekend), the race to the starting line has commenced in earnest, a race that has largely to do with preparing Moli and her skipper for a year at sea.

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