March 19 “Where you gonna put the rig?” asks Erin. “The what?” I ask. — I’ve returned to Homer to ready Gjoa for a sandblasting and bottom painting job whose list of preparatory tasks unfamiliar to me, all of which must be completed in two days, extends to the floor. What started as a, Read More

February 8 Homer weather changes every two hours and usually for the worse. So, if the sky clears, drop everything and do the outdoor tasks. How often has a sunny morning encouraged me to begin work in the anchor locker that afternoon only to find that after lunch I am rained or sleeted or, Read More

February 4 Insurance survey in the morning. Uneventful. Father and son team, both native Homerians. “Oh,” says the father when I ask, pausing as if struggling to remember, “Born and raised in Homer. Guess I’ve lived here all my life.” Both men are soft spoken and polite but clearly excited to survey something other, Read More

Boats of a certain age have history, but not always a history as interesting as Gjoa’s. I’ve written previously about the two-year Northwest Passage just completed by Gjoa’s most recent owners, Ann and Glenn Bainbridge. It was on this passage and a waylay in Arctic Bay, Nunavut, that I first met them both. The, Read More

Homer for the first time to see her sitting there on the hard like a bird awaiting spring. That was November. The snow fell wet and heavy and quickly turned to mud. Then back to San Francisco for a month of brooding. Then Homer again to buy her. And just like that The Figure, Read More

Here we consider the first of several big issues impacting the success of the Figure 8: Mileage and Timing. The Figure 8 Voyage consists of two distinct segments, a longish ocean cruise through the Pacific, Southern and Atlantic Oceans, and a tight, harbor pilot’s squeeze through the very constricted waters of the Northwest Passage. Strategies for, Read More

At the recent Strictly Sail show in Oakland, an experienced blue-water sailor and I got into conversation about the Figure 8. I described the loop in the Southern Ocean followed by the Northwest Passage and said I thought the latter was technically the more difficult. His expression darkened. “Down south it will be heavy, Read More

Archimedes lay in his bath, Newton pondered beneath a tree, and Einstein pushed a stroller along the busy sidewalks of Berne–surprisingly mundane activities for the birthing of big ideas. So I take it as fortuitous that my idea came into being while I washed dishes. Maybe water swirling in the sink suggested that a figure eight sailing, Read More