Like Tell-Tales, the Mediterraneo site will contain an eclectic mix to do
with things nautical, or nearly so, in the
Mediterranean. For sailing outside the Mediterranean stay here. Eventually, but not just yet, the pages to do with sailing in the Mediterranean will be removed from this site.
There will inevitably be some duplicaton between the two sites with pages that are relevant to sailing within and without the Mediterranean on both sites. These will all have the same page name so don't worry too much.
THE SITE ON SAILING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND NEW PAGES AND ADDITIONAL INFO TO EXISTING PAGES WILL BE ADDED WHEN AND WHERE I CAN ...
See the Navigating around page for a brief guide to what is on the other pages.
New bits are added to existing pages when I get time and access to a broadband connection so its worth checking pages you may already have looked at.
My old and salty Oxford Companion to the Ships and the Sea defines a telltale as 'a compass which the master of a ship had in his cabin so that he could always know the direction in which his ship was heading'. Later it morphed into a word meaning any device which reproduces useful information and for yachties 'a name used in yachts to describe the five inch lengths of wool sewn at intervals just abaft the luff of a sail to indicate the airflow'.
I like to think of a tell-tale as a more instinctive thing, that feeling you get when you are off watch and you feel there is something not quite right with the boat. The sound of water over the hull is different. The motion of the yacht is out of kilter. She's staggering through the water not cutting through it. Like a dog sniffing the air, things smell wrong but you can't put your finger on exactly what it is. So you get up out of your berth and go up into the cockpit to see whats happening. First you glance at the sails and you can just see in the dim night that the tell-tales are not sitting right. The winds come round on the nose and you need to bear off a bit to get them sitting right. And then a few mumbled words to the crew on watch and its back to bed. Tell-tales.
And it must also mean telling tales. There is always a danger that this sort of writing can become a boring angst driven diatribe about everything you find wrong with the world so I will endeavour to include as much of that as possible. And any other things that are vaguely related to living and sailing on that watery stuff.
Skylax and Rod Heikell
This web site will record, though not in any structured way, travelling with Skylax in different parts of the world. Some of you may be familiar with some of the sailing guides I've written for the Mediterranean and other parts of the world and a lot of you will not. This site is not intended to plug those books although I may put up some of the supplements that we do for them and inevitably I will mention things about them. It's what I do. It's what I've done for over a quarter of a century.
It is intended to be a lot looser with descriptions of some of the places we sail, on the joys and sheer graft of fixing and maintaining the good ship Skylax, of things on the fringes of the nautical mainstream, on the bizarre addiction to sailing that many of us have that is detrimental to the wallet and often uncomfortable and scary. Try explaining it to those who dwell on the hard bits they call land and you end up muttering some inanity about freedom and romance and self-sufficiency until you see the eyes glaze over and you can't stand to answer questions like 'What do you do all the time' ...anymore. But I'll try. Especially the romance and the addiction to life under sail.
Marriage and the mistress
Before Lu and I got married I had to tell her that I would always spend more money on a mistress than a wife. The mistress at that time was a previous boat, seven tenths, a Cheoy Lee Pedrick 36. 'Likewise', she replied, 'just as I will always spend money on my lover'. So it was a match made in heaven and the two of us have always put the boat first.
Lu is my muse, my shipmate, the one I bless at three in the morning when she comes up to take her watch. She loves getting the boat set up and sailing at its best and she does it all with that smile and hicuppy laughter. She is also the boat electrician, more patient and knowledgeable than me on marine electrics.
Skylax, our present boat is a Warwick Cardinal 46, designed by fellow kiwi Alan Warwick and built by the Tania Yard in
She had been neglected for three years or more. Her equipment was old and in any case the girl had suffered what must have been a fairly direct lightening strike. The B&G instruments, the black box linking autopilot and instruments, radar, SSB, smart charger, all of them contained gobs of molten PCB's and were never going to work again. The grounding plate on the outside of the hull had been blown clean away by the strike. Her sail inventory was tired, the rigging needed replacing, her other electrics and the plumbing were a mess. The tender was useless and her liferaft was destined for the rubbish tip.
So we bought her. The price was around 35 to 45 percent less than other Cardinal 46's on the market. She had beefed up floors and stringers and her construction elsewhere was stout. Her shape looked easily driven and so it has proved. Her layout was an odd one that just happened to suit us.
Lu and I spent two months fixing what we could to get her ready for sea. Rigging, plumbing, instruments, radar, autopilot. The list seemed endless. Our shakedown cruise was from Fort Lauderdale to the BVI's in one hit. That was when we knew she was a sweet boat.
FOR SUPPLEMENTS TO MY BOOKS GO TO THE CORRECTIONS PAGE ON THE IMRAY SITE.
THERE ARE ALSO SOME RECENT SUPPLEMENTS (TEXT ONLY) HERE
OCEAN PASSAGES & LANDFALLS 2ND EDITION
OCEAN PASSAGES & LANDFALLS 2ND EDITION
The new edition came out in December but check on the IMRAY
site for details. Both me and Andy have put lots of work into this
edition and it is a different and better beast than the 1st edition.
Well you can all be the judge of that.
Its not for sale here but you can order it from your local bookshop, from Amazon or other sellers on the internet, or from Imrays. Please check you are getting the SECOND EDITION.
Preface to the 2nd edition
Off the coast of Mindelo in the Cape Verdes a small tan sail emerged heading at speed towards Skylax. Balaena had everything up including the topsail on her gaff rig and was fairly skipping over the waves. We had been talking on the radio for days as we headed from divergent ports in the Canaries towards the Cape Verdes and had planned for months to meet up there for the first time on the water in our boats. The fact we met up in the ocean and sailed together to Mindelo was pure chance. We have talked often on the land in different countries, but meeting up on the water was a token, a special sartori, of how far we had come after embarking on the project of writing Ocean Passages and Landfalls. As usual Andy was heading south to the higher latitudes of Chile and Antarctica while I was sailing west for the Caribbean and Pacific along lower lats.
For this edition we have revised large chunks of the original book and have sailed tens of thousands of miles looking at the passages and landfalls. One significant change to this edition is the inclusion of guides to cruising areas around the world. From Greenland to Antarctica and the Red Sea to Vanuatu, we have put together the sort of information that is useful when choosing just where you want to go as well as some photos to give a hint of what is there. It's a big planet and seven tenths of it is covered by sea, so we are fully conscious that there are a lot more places waiting to be explored. We will put future guides to cruising areas up on the Imray web site (www.imray.com).
There is one blot on the seascape to this edition. Before this new edition came out Warwick Clay died in NZ and so we can no longer rely on his extensive knowledge of the South Pacific. We have done our best to research the South Pacific ourselves and Skylax has spent a busy year and more trundling along South Pacific routes to landfalls in this book. Hopefully Warwick is looking down benignly on us from his watery Valhalla.