Goodbye Safe Harbour, Hello Akeeva!

First of all, apologies for the looooong delay in posting. Much has happened since my last update here. After six years and more than 3500 hours on Safe Harbour, my Nordic Tug 37, I traded her for Akeeva, a Nordhavn 50. As that was happening, the coronavirus situation was rapidly deteriorating. Within days of buying Akeeva, and on the eve of Washington’s stay-at-home order, Anna (my fiancée) and I practically … Read more

Baja 2019 | San Diego to Ensenada

Most of the content on Slowboat focuses on cruising north from Puget Sound. This is the area where we have the most experience, and where most of us from the Pacific Northwest naturally go cruising. The Pacific Northwest is undoubtedly fantastic—plentiful and diverse wildlife, thousands of miles of sheltered “inside” cruising, and magnificent scenery—but it’s also cold much of the year. And there’s a big world to explore by water! … Read more

Day 9 | Flotilla to Alaska | Blunden Harbour to Fury Cove

Around Cape Caution! When we fell asleep last night, Environment Canada (Central Coast zone) was calling for “wind light” and seas one meter all day. Windy (ECMWF model) was showing this: Forecasts don’t get much better than that, but forecasts aren’t always right. So when we woke up at 4:30 a.m. we checked West Sea Otter buoy, where the wind was gusting to 4 knots and the seas were a … Read more

Cruise Report: Transiting the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a crossroads of the maritime world. About 40 ships a day transit the canal, ranging from yachts to warships and everything in between. It’s a critical economic link between the West Coast and East Coast of the Americas, a monumental civil engineering project, an important political achievement, and a milestone for cruisers. The vast majority of circumnavigating yachts transit the canal, and hundreds of cruisers who … Read more

Building a Weather Picture

One of the most important skills for successful cruising is understanding the weather and how it impacts your plans. This doesn’t mean being a meteorologist, making your own forecasts, or interpreting esoteric weather charts. Rather, it means selecting the right forecast from professional meteorologists (NOAA, Environment Canada, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), utilizing real-time weather data from the multitude of weather reporting sites along the coast, and adjusting cruise … Read more

Safe Harbour | Snowpocalypse at Blake Island

With Seattle in chaos and normal obligations cancelled because of snow in the forecast, we sought refuge on the water. What better place to spend the blizzard than Blake Island, we thought. So on Friday, after doing battle with every other Seattleite at the grocery store (50 minute line at Trader Joe’s!) we cast off. The locks, unlike the grocery store, were deserted—no waiting on a snow day! By mid-afternoon … Read more

Getting the Most from Windy.com

Windy.com is our single favorite weather resource for cruising the Pacific Northwest. We never ignore the official NOAA or Environment Canada marine forecasts, but Windy offers a much more granular look at the weather. Environment Canada and NOAA forecasts cover large areas over many hours with wind speeds expressed in big ranges (10 knots or more). Windy allows you to pan and zoom to the area you’ll be traveling, and to … Read more

Scooters Aboard!

Upon arriving in a new port, I, like most cruisers, usually want to explore ashore. Sometimes there are chores to do, other times there are specific attractions, and often I just want to get the feeling of a place. Regardless, land transportation quickly becomes an issue, especially if the supermarket, chandlery, or attraction is beyond easy walking distance. For years I carried a Dahon Mariner folding bike, but seldom used … Read more

Improving the Boat Fridge: Fridge Optimizer

Several years ago, I replaced the 15-year-old Norcold refrigerator aboard Safe Harbour with a shiny new NovaKool RFU9000. The new fridge reduced power consumption and was quieter, but it was far from perfect. In fact, it (along with the Force 10 range with the heat output of a Bic lighter) are among the most frustrating pieces of equipment onboard.  Temperature control in the NovaKool is, at best, imprecise. The rudimentary … Read more