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A Postcard from Mar del Plata

The winds in the region of the River Plate follow a predictable pattern, swinging perpetually around the clock, but the speed with which they swing is very variable. Eager to avoid having to slog into a south-easterly, we left the estauary while the wind was still in the east and still blowing quite strongly (f6), and so we had a hard beat out into the sea. As Mollymawk galloped across the uneven plain, the greasy grey-green waters washed over our…

Happy Families

What would make you really happy? Maybe you’re already as happy as could be, but it seems that a lot of people aren’t. A lot of people have their eyes set on attaining or achieving a certain something which will make their life complete. When we’re small that something might be a shiny new bicycle, but as we grow up we get more ambitious: we want a house, we want a car, we want a holiday in the sun… In…

Bluewater Rafting

They say that the first man to cross the river probably used a log, but I’m not so sure. If you’ve ever tried stepping onto a floating log then you’ll know that it’s not easy; as soon as you put a foot aboard, it starts to spin around. Myself, I think that the first palaeolithic sailor used half a dozen logs which he lashed tightly together – and in northern Brazil there are people who still put to sea aboard…

Sugru for Sailors

Do you remember when Blu-Tack was first invented? It completely revolutionised the way we stuck posters and maps and pics on the wall. Well, Sugru is somehow vaguely reminiscent of Blu-Tack, but it’s even better. It’s a kind of modelling-clay come glue which sets to the consistency of a hard rubber and which is so versatile that it can be used to mend almost anything. In fact, it enables us to fix problems that we didn’t even know we had!…

Modern Canoe Building in Brazil

In our last article we introduced you to the dug-out canoes of Bahia. In chapter two of the story of Brazil’s traditional boats we show you how the natives have adapted their boat building methods to cope with modern legislation. In the Bahia de Todos os Santos and in neighbouring Camamu the dug-out canoes are low and narrow – and slow. Even the bigger ones, which accommodate six fishermen, are relatively low and very slow. They are evidently very heavy.…