Embedding PhotoSpheres

At some point in the fall of last year (2015) Google changed their technology and it was no longer possible to embed Google Spheres in other websites.
That technology changed again in January, from what I understand, and thanks to some very smart people it is again possible to embed a sphere.
As it takes a while for my spheres to become a formal Google Maps contribution, it takes a while to embed them in a blog post – but better late than never.

Below is a sphere taken at Quarr Abbey, close to Rye on the Isle of Wight. Alex, Thomas and I enjoyed the bicycle ride there from Cowes.

France to Germany – video

The last leg of our 2015 transatlantic tour took us from St Malo, France, via Guernsey (Channel Islands) and Cowes (Isle of Wight, UK) to Germany.

The Channel Islands are a destination in their own right and in three days we barely scratched the surface. Taking the ferry to Sark was a great experience and we wished we had more time (and less rain).
Sailing across the Channel past the Needles and down the Solent to the sailing mecca, Cowes, was a special experience (especially, when 400 boats participating in the Fastnet Race are going in the opposite direction).
On the Isle of Wight we enjoyed our daily exercise riding bikes up and down the rolling hills.
Finally pushing off to the final sail took us past the cliffs of Dover, lots wind farms and oil platforms and endless lines of freighters. Going through the locks to get into the Kiel Canal indicated that we were getting close.
A large reception with family and friends topped it off before we took Tioga out of the water in Kappeln.
All basic repairs are done by now and the more significant work is in progress. The new mast was ordered.

Distance traveled: about 680nm.

Life is good… (don’t wait too long to live it to its fullest 😉  )

Again, an attempt to provide access to the same video in countries where YouTube blocks this video:


Azores to France – video

This video covers the 2nd leg of our 2015 transatlantic journey, ie the tour from Terceira, Azores to Brittany, France.

Our new crew, Peter & Sean Davis, John Fulghum and Doug Frauenholz, had flown to Terceira a few days before our departure and stocked up lots of fresh food, including a frozen piglet. Corinna and Lauren had flown to Germany while Nick and Philip continued on with the 4 new guys.
We left Terceira in late July and arrived in Roscoff about 10 days later.

While we did not have any significant storms to deal with, the challenges were initially more about sailing downwind as close to the rhumb line as possible, followed by low wind periods that turned against us and increased in strength.
Crossing the first traffic separation zone showed the value of our new AIS system and prepared us well for further crossings later on.
From Roscoff, our formal port of entry, we moved on the Isle de Brehat  and then St Malo.

Total distance sailed: app 1400nm.



For those in countries where this YouTube video does not run, the link below might be better choice (it takes a little longer to load, though)


Azores – video

This video is a quick summary of the various islands we visited on the Azores over 3 weeks in 2015. Each one had its own character and we had a hard time determining our favorite.

Our first stop was Flores, the western-most island and about 120 nm away from our next stop. While Flores is relatively small and provides only basic facilities, it has a lot to offer and we highly recommend a stop-over.
Faial was our next stop and with Horta clearly the center for ocean going vessels. Just across the straight was Pico, offering great vistas from Portugal’s highest mountain.
While our stay in Sao Jorge was brief, we enjoyed the quaint village and interesting public pool.
Our final stop, Terceira, had a lot to offer with UNESCO world heritage site, Angra do Heroismo, and lots more. It is also one of the few islands with a direct connection to Boston.

Distance traveled: just over 200nm


In case the YouTube video does not play in your country, try the link below:


Tioga slideshow and presentation at Dory Club

The number of chairs squeezed into our clubhouse last night might have broken a record. It was nice so see such as large and interested crowd during our presentation of this year’s journey across the Atlantic.

Given the close connection between our tour and the various people and places in France we visited, it was good to listen to Commodore Manny’s opening statements where he found the appropriate words to address the tragedy in Paris.

Manny handed over to Philip and we continued with a couple of photos summarizing the highlights of the tour, giving us the opportunity to explain the bigger picture in words and answering questions.

Fun facts:

  • preparation took about 5 years
  • 15 people sailed the boat this year, spread over three legs, supporters: many, many more
  • we sailed about 4000nm, roughly 1/3 of the entire tour
  • highest waves: about 45ft, strongest wind: low 50s kn, highest tides: approximately 40ft
  • sailboats seen between Nahant and Azores: 0
  • near collisions with whales: 3
  • time to paint mural in Horta: 3 days
  • number of significant storms: 3
  • highest number of concurrent AIS targets: 86 (North Sea)

After that, Corinna, Ellen and Peter presented the burgees to the Dory Club that we had exchanged at various places:

  • Peter  Cafe Sport, Horta, Faial, Azores
  • Guernsey Yacht Club, Guernsey
  • Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes
  • Island Sailing Club, Cowes

Videos for each leg followed, showing live at sea and the various places we visited.
Comments about Philip’s choice of music were minimal 😉

Photos we presented to explain overall route;

when you see dolphins jumping in deep blue water, life is good  our mark in Horta  Overall plan  Islands of the Azores we visited  Britanny and Channel Islands  Solent, Isle of Wight  A busy day on the Northsea  for 2 days we had to take every 90 min against wind in the high 20s  Kiel Canal (about 60nm)  crew of the first leg in Horta

Summary video of crew and this year’s highlights:

Fall projects

Quick summary on where we are:

while the replacement mast has not been ordered yet, we made some progress:
– the mast was pulled out of the boat, inspected, measured, photographed and stored
– two independent mast experts confirmed that the mast needed to be replaced (and not repaired)
– quotes are in from two mast builders
– broker and insurance are processing the situation
– logistics of getting a mast to Kappeln have been more or less worked out
As we are are running out of time soon, an order will have to be placed asap.

Major Repairs
– fridge repaired
– hydro generator: found turbines in Florida and received in MA (will move to EU soon)
– reviewed all boat repairs with boatyard (teak, hatches, dorade vents, awlgrip etc) – will be completed in the spring
– reviewed all mechanical items with mechanic (engine control panel, starter, alternator, hydraulic lines etc) – work expected throughout fall and winter
– dodger window – replacement in progress with sail maker
– steering wheel  – leather-work in progress with sail maker


  • the boat is out of the water and stored outdoors with nice views of the Schlei and the few remaining fall sailors
  • changed and recycled oil & filters
  • drained water systems and refilled with antifreeze (which is about 5-6 times the US price, so bring your own)
  • topped of coolant
  • stored sails
  • stored mattresses
  • washed and stored foul weather gear
  • stored inflatable
  • recycled outboard winterized&stored and fuel
  • stored food
  • stored sleeping bag, linens, towels etc
  • rebuilt seized staysail halyard winch
  • fixed all loose parts in engine compartment
  • cleaned engine
  • replaced pin for chock that harbor master in St Peter port lost
  • replaced fuel vent line on starboard
  • repaired companionway bolt
  • managed to get lpg tanks refilled (and not exchanged with EU tanks) – thanks to Volker’s advise (this was a big deal as 20-30 other places were not able to help us!! – some of them, like Boie, tried very hard even building adapters etc)
  • replaced v-berth cushion cover professionally
  • replaced broken water puppy for shower sump
  • covered boat with tarp
  • extended water tank vent hoses to prevent water from spilling over when heeled over
  • replaced port-light gaskets

We are in good shape and got a lot done in a place far away from home. Once the mast situation is sorted out (and we won the lottery) the opportunities are endless…

Winter storage in Kappeln, Germany   Even a specialist like Boie can refill an US tank

It takes a village

Back home after our trip to Europe, I finally managed to sort out the mail and find the August Cruising World edition that Mark Patek mentioned during the King of Clubs/Centennial Cup regatta.

For those that are not yet subscribers:

IMG_4614  Cruising World


Thank you, Mark!

The crew from Cowes to Germany

The longer sail from Cowes straight to the Kiel Canal was quite different from our other European daysails as we sailed day and night, had our watch system going etc. It was also very different from the “usual” long distance trips in that we were always relatively close to shore and had to deal with a lot more navigational hazards, such as oil platforms, wind farms, traffic separation schemes, tidal currents and lots of traffic. Going through the Canal for a day added yet another dimension to this interesting journey.

Alex, Bjoern, Corinna, Ellen, Thomas and Philip

Alex Bjoern  Coinna Ellen  Philip Thomas