Don't Blame eCharts for Anything

What the grounding of the Team Vestas Wind boat in the Volvo Ocean Race reminds us about our own navigation  (published January 2015) We have long taught at Starpath School of Navigation that we should never blame echarts for anything that goes wrong. This is a fundamentally important rule that we see violated over and

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The Queen Goes Digital

How we assissted, purchased and upgraded our electronics with the past, present and future in mind  (published January 2015) After three and a half years in a Colorado cornfield, the complete restoration and refit of our Pearson 424 ketch, Regina Oceani (Queen of the Ocean), was almost complete. Trucked 2,000 miles to Titusville, Florida for

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Weather Preparation: It's Not So Simple

Getting ready can be as easy or as complicated as you would care to make it, but the "easy" way will not get you the information that helps the most.  (published January 2015) We all prefer tasks that are relatively easy and uncomplicated. But the sad reality is that if we are to gain the

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Products to keep your cruising life safe and fun

We've identified a number of great products that will enhance our cruising lifestyle and keep you safe while doing it  (published December 2014) ZEAL Sunglasses Creators of stylish and sustainable eye wear, ZEAL Optics in Boulder, Colorado, might be better known for protecting skiers’ eyes. But their unique selection of polarized, impact-resistant sunglasses meets the

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AIS for Cruisers

(published May 2014) The Universal Shipborne Automatic Identification System (AIS) that was put into action in 2002 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), mandated that commercial shipping be equipped with a VHF based transponder that would automatically broadcast and receive each ship’s identity and steaming data. The protocol to carry AIS has been embraced by

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Radio Check

A guide to VHF radio communication and your safety  (published February 2014) In the ever-evolving age of modern marine electronics, the humble VHF still stands out as one of the most simple and effective communication tools we have aboard. Whether using it to hail for a bridge opening, to call a buddy boat or, in

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Satellite Phones at Sea

Voice and data communications has never been easier for cruisers  (published February 2014) The call came in on schedule from Lime’n at sea. “Can you hear me?” Tony called into the handset of the Spot Globalstar phone. “Loud and clear,” I answered from the relative safety of my desk at home. “Where are you?” Tony

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SSB Email and Weather Made Easy

An instant guide to receiving SSB email and weather at sea  (published February 2014) SSB radios are one of the most useful tools for sending and receiving information while offshore or in remote locales. Due to their long range (several thousand miles is quite common), independence from complex networks or satellites, and the availability of

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Personal Locator Beacons Save Lives

These small, inexpensive beacons perform mighty big jobs  (published February 2014) In the 2011 Fastnet Race, the mega maxi racer Rambler was leading the fleet when they rounded the infamous Fastnet Rock lighthouse. Then, the keel fell off and the big boat rolled over and turned turtle. The crew in the cockpit managed to crab

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Charting Up for the Caribbean

Here are the charts and guides you need to safely navigate and cruise the Caribbean  (published January 2014) Every fall hundreds of boats depart the East Coast for the Caribbean. Bermuda Harbour Radio estimates that as many as 1,100 boats make the passage south each year, and all of them need charts, pilots, light lists

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