May 21 2003

Sloopy en Español

We’ve received requests from family in Venezuela that we write Sloopy in Spanish. Since O’Comillas has a Spanish flag, I found it only fitting that Sloopy would be bilingual. So we’ve translated the last two posts and added a new post. From now on, all Sloopy entries will be bilingual.

In terms of the main blog, I’ll continue to write in English, not because I’m better at it, but because it is easier. I’ll leave it up to Dad to write blog entries in Spanish once the voyage starts.

We leave for Newport on Saturday, so this blog is going to get very active very soon. Scheduled departure date for the voyage is Friday May 30th.

May 21 2003


Today I want to tell you about the Azores Islands. They are nine little islands in total that are part of a country called Portugal.

When I sail across the Atlantic Ocean I will stop at the Azores Islands to rest a little. It is a long trip all the way from the United States to these islands. Do you know how many days it will take me?

I will give you a clue. It should be a number between 10 and 20.

So I want you all to write the number of days you think it will take me to get to the Azores and have your mom or dad send Sloopy an email. When I get to the Azores, I will publish the names of everyone who got it right.

Wish me luck!

Hoy quisiera contaros sobre las islas Azores. Son nueve islas chiquitas que forman parte de un país llamado Portugal.

Cuando cruce el Atlántico veleando voy a parar en las islas Azores para descansar un poco. Es un viaje muy largo desde Estados Unidos a estas islas. ¿Sabéis cuantos días me va a tomar llegar a las Azores?

Os voy a dar una pista. Debe ser un numero entre 10 y 20 dias.

Así que quiero que escribáis el numero de días que pensáis me va a tomar llegar a las Azores y dárselo a mama o papa para que lo manden a Sloopy por email. Cuando llegue a las Azores, voy a publicar el nombre de todos aquellos que acertaron correctamente.

¡Deséenme suerte!

May 20 2003

A GPS failure? Do you remember the sextant?

The first question to ask is what do you mean by a GPS failure. If we are talking about a malfunction in the main GPS charter/plotter this is where redundancy comes in. We carry two backup portable GPS units on the sailboat with extra spare batteries. Therefore, the odds of everything malfunctioning are next to nil. That is of course provided the signals from the GPS satellite system are all functioning. Yup, it is actually possible (thankfully not too probable at this time) for the US Global Positioning System to stop working as hypothesized in Wired’s Oh, Nooo! What If GPS Fails?

Not so much because we are paranoid of such massive GPS failure, but because this is totally retro-cool: we are taking a sextant onboard O’Comillas along with a 2003 Almanac and Norie’s Nautical Tables and paper charts. Odds are, we won’t “need” any of this, but Dad and I felt it would be really cool to trace our voyage on paper charts using a sextant. The sextant we chose was a Mark 25 Sextant which instead of a split mirror (the kind I’ve seen before) it uses beam converger or full horizon mirror. Of course, until we get completely confident with the entire sextant process we will be double-checking our answers with, you guessed it, one of the GPSs onboard.

May 18 2003

More sailing in Newport

Going underneath Newport bridge

Sunset at Goat Island, Newport.

Father and son.

O’Comillas – a view from the bow

May 16 2003


Yesterday, I added a new entry for Sloopy so I thought I would explain what on earth Sloopy is all about.

When I was born my father did an animated cartoon using paper silhouettes and freeze – frame on an 8mm video camera. This is real film that had to be developed before the days of Hi8. To this date I still cherish that movie . It is a little corny , but very cute.

So I came up with the idea of narrating the journey across the Atlantic ocean for my son in a way that he could read it for himself every morning when he woke up, share it with his sister, and other buddies from his first grade class. I will write brief updates at first grade reading level with large fonts every day of the journey, weather and other factors permitting of course.

Why the name Sloopy? O’Comillas has one mast and is therefore a “sloop” so when thinking of a name for a cartoon to represent the sailboat Sloopy was the best I could come up with.