The weather was a washout today in Portsmouth (and still is, as I write this in the middle of the afternoon here at the Rally Office). But that didn’t stop a crowd of sailors from braving the elements for the week’s first seminar aboard Isbjorn today at Ocean Marine Yacht Center!

I wanted to share some tips and tricks I’ve learned from all the ocean miles I’ve covered over the years, and all the rally boats we’ve inspected. Though I’ll admit I felt a bit silly spouting off knowledge given the company we had today!

I'm referring of course to Yves Gelinas, the legendary French-Canadian sailor and inventor of the Cape Horn self-steering gear, who is a guest of the fleet this week. Yves single-handedly circumnavigated in his Alberg 30 Jean du Sud over 30 years ago via the Great Capes, and, at the age of 76, is voyaging south to the islands again this fall, planning a passage to Martinique. He’s here on Jean du Sud and joined the group this morning for the seminar. Yves will also be hosting a private screening of his film Around the World with Jean du Sud on Thursday as part of the Rally Program at the Commodore Theatre in town. The film is considered by many to be the finest sailing film ever produced.

Participants turned up on Isbjorn clad in full foulies for a tour of the boat and a look at what makes things work smoothly for the crew offshore. Andy highlighted things both above and belowdecks, focusing on safety and ease of living aboard at sea. Stuff like handhold placements, stove pot holders, lee cloths and lee boards on the bunks and red interior lighting highlighted the inside of the boat. Topside, Andy demonstrated how to properly rig jacklines and preventers, where best to install MOB equipment, how to do a proper lashing for dinghies, jerry cans and the like and how to secure the anchor offshore.

“I hadn’t realized that stove pot holders were such a necessity,” said one participant. “I’d always just thought that with a gimbaled stove, they’d stay in place! But I guess they still slide off the burners on the stovetop. Suddenly our list got a bit longer after today!
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The program continues tonight with the City of Portsmouth’s official Welcome Reception at Griff’s restaurant on High Street, co-sponsored by Ocean Marine. It’s the third night of happy-hour activities, with the weekend events taking place at Still just around the corner. Tonight’s entertainment is set to include 9-year-old Colin, a prodigy in Scottish fiddle music, who a year earlier regaled the audience with his abilities on the fiddle

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