Although “vacation” and “pleasure” are not yet authorized reasons for Americans to visit Cuba, it is now possible for U.S. sailors to charter a sailboat and cruise the island’s southern coast. This article in the August 2016 issue of Soundings, describes how, what it’s like, what’s there, and why bareboat chartering in Cuba is not for beginners. A mobile-friendly (one-column) version is also available on the Soundings website.
Also online: A feature on Pire, the legendary “capitan del puerto” at the Cayo Largo marina in Cuba’s first tourist resort island.
Posted in Cruising, Cuba, Environment, sailing, Stephen Blakely, Washington
Tagged Carribean, catamarans, Cruising, Cuba, cuban blockade, cuban embargo, sailing, Stephen Blakely
President Obama’s recent actions to restore normal diplomatic relations with Cuba so far do not extend to the sea: American boaters are still prohibited from crossing the 90 miles of water that separate the two nations. This article in the April 2015 Soundings explains why.
Posted in Cruising, Cuba, sailing, Stephen Blakely
Tagged boating, Boats, Cruising, Cuba, Cuba embargo, cuban blockade, cuban embargo, sailboats, sailing, Stephen Blakely, U.S. Coast Guard
The Haida Gwaii archipelago (formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands), is located at the northwestern-most corner of Canada’s Pacific Northwest. It is one of the most beautiful, remote, and wild places in the world.
This three-part feature in the March 2015 issue of Soundings shows why, on many different levels, there’s no place on Earth like Haida Gwaii. This article won a certificate of merit award in the Travel and Destinations category of the 2015 annual writing contest by Boating Writers International.
Video: Haida Gwaii and the Legacy Pole Raising
Video: Outer Shores, visiting Haida Gwaii by schooner
February 10, 2015 in Boats, Canada, Cruising, Environment, First Nations, Gwaii Haanas, Gwaii Haanas National Park, Haida Gwaii, Pacific Rim, sailing, Stephen Blakely
Tagged Canada, First Nations, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Haida, Haida Gwaii, Hecate Strait, Pacific Northewest, Passing Cloud, Russ Markel, Stephen Blakely, wilderness
Soundings, June 2014
Elbow Reef Light, as it’s properly named, is one of the few lighthouses left in the world still powered by kerosene and lit by hand, with a lens that rotates by hand-cranked weights.
This story in the June 2014 issue of Soundings profiles one of the prettiest and most historic lighthouses in the world. It received a Merit Award in the 2014 BWI annual contest for Boating Photography.
Posted in Abacos, Bahamas, Boats, Elbow Reef Lighthouse, Hope Town, Hope Town Lighthouse, Lighthouses, sailing, Stephen Blakely
Tagged Bahamas, Elbow Reef Lighthouse, Hope Town, Hope Town Lighthouse, lighthouses, Stephen Blakely
Among the most famous wooden schooners in the world, Bluenose has been a floating symbol of Canada for almost a century.
It is also three boats in one: The original, built in 1921 and sunk in 1946, was a working “saltbanker” fishing boat; it beat every American challenger thrown against it for almost 20 years in the most legendary sailboat races ever held between the U.S. and Canada.
The second Bluenose was built in 1963 to market Schooner beer and dismantled in 2012. Construction of the third and newest Bluenose was completed in 2013, in the same Nova Scotia shipyard where its ancestors were built.
This story, published in the July 2013 Soundings, looks at all the Bluenoses, the people and place that produced them, and why it’s one of the most special boats ever built.
Soundings, October 2011
New York by water opens a whole new world to the Big Apple. This six-page destination story in the October 2011 issue of Soundings magazine tells how to navigate those hectic urban waters, what you’ll see on the way through, and provides some valuable survival advice from one of New York’s professional tugmasters. Online here.
This article won first place for Travel/Destination story in the Boating Writers International 2012 writing contest (Sec. 4).
Soundings video with Capt. Bill Brucato, drawn from the article and using Brucato’s videos: “Let the big boat go first.”
Video of my East River passage
The voyage of Blue Chip, a 36-ft. Mariner and its crew of eight, in the 2010 Chicago-Mackinac Race. “The Mac,” as it’s known, is the longest (333 miles) and oldest (102 years) annual freshwater sailboat race in the world. It is an experience it itself, but a whole new boating experience for a saltwater sailor on a freshwater sea.
Details appear in the January 2011 issue of Soundings magazine (pg. 1, left), online here.
This article won an honorable mention in the Boating Writers International 2012 writing contest for Adventure story (Sec. 5).