What has been going on is the search for a new boat (new to me, anyway). The project is to find one, preferrably a ketch, in the 40 - 45 foot range with a center cockpit and walk under to the aft cabin. As fast as Inertia is, and as much wind as she'll take, she's just too small for a liveaboard for very long. Especially since I need an office of a sort. But no fear, if I sell my townhouse first, I'm there on Inertia for a bit.
There are several boats I'm considering, such as the Pearson 424, Morgan 43, Gulfstar Hirsh 45, and a few others. They all come in sloop and ketch rigs, but as I sail alone alot, a split rig seems more managable in more conditions. None of them are particularly fast, nor do they point very well, but I suspect that's because of the location of the genoa tracks and the fact that most of them don't have very good travelers.
I've even looked at a Beneteau 46 7 which is ocean ready. It's a lovely boat, but draws 8 feet and is a sloop with a huge mainsail. For me, a recipe for disaster. But it is well equipped. Contact Samalot Marine if you're interested. And you have around $125,000.
There have been several incidents in the news lately (at least the marine news). In the last month or so four incidents of Coast Guard rescues have occurred where the causes were either a poorly found boat or poorly prepared sailors. Check out these links:
/globe/city_region/breaking _news/2006/11/coast_guard_plu _1.html
If you're going offshore, you should be prepared as best you can, your boat should be well found, and you should not be expecting rescue. If you can't meet these requirements you should really think twice about long offshore passages.
How can you prepare yourself? The simple answer is know your boat and its systems - not just that they exist but that you can find and fix them. Know how to navigate with a form other than the installed GPS. Several portable GPS backups and batteries, a sextant and the ability to use it, paper (preferrably waterproof) charts as a backup to the GPS charts.
There are so few things anymore where we're not protected from ourselves by those who believe they know better. Sailing, and especially ocean sailing is one of those things that can't be regulated all that well. Let's all keep it that way.
See you on the water!