Video Tours of S/V Kinetic

Many of you may have seen S/V Kinetic as the Outbound Yachts “show boat” for the 2016 Spring and Fall Annapolis Sailboat Shows.   We were proud to have our beautiful new boat in the show, and let thousands of visitors see the boat we chose for our cruising and offshore passage-making instruction.

During last Fall’s show, Outbound Yachts’ owner Phil Lambert narrated interior and exterior video tours of Kinetic. These professional videos have recently been released to YouTube to reach an even wider audience. We’re delighted with the results – if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million!

Take the video tours at:

Exterior Tour:

Interior Tour:

Then, give us a call to see how you can sail on S/V Kinetic – for a day sail, a week of cruising, or an ocean passage!



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Preparing for Downwind Passages

Most of our passages this season have been to windward, despite our best planning. Any downwind legs have been with strong winds; plenty to keep the main and headsails full. Winter tradewinds have generally run from the East Northeast to East, but as Easter approaches we’re seeing more Southeasterly trades. As we look ahead to our return passages – from the Leeward Islands to USVI, and then USVI to the Chesapeake – we anticipate quite a bit of a downwind sailing, and want to be well prepared.

Our Outbound 46 Kinetic features jibe preventer lines running from the back of the boom (port and starboard) to a blocks on the bow, and then back to the stern cleats – so that jibes can be fully controlled from the cockpit. We also invested in a Forespar cruising whisker pole to “pole out” the jib or genoa on downwind runs. This arrangement allows us to sail wing on wing securely for long distances without fear of accidentally gybing. The pole is stored on the forward face of the mast, one end is fixed and travels vertically on a mast-mounted track. The pole position is adjusted and stabilized by triangulating it with a topping lift, afterguy, and foreguy. The foredeck crew adjusts the car height, topping lift and pole extension, while the cockpit crew controls the foreguy, afterguy, and sheet. When set, the pole is parallel to the deck, about 7’ high, and is angled to form a straight line with the mainsail’s boom. This position maximizes the surface area of the sails presented to the wind, for best downwind performance.

With the exception of a few practice runs and some downwind time off the Delmarva coast last summer, we’ve barely had a chance to use the whisker pole. Today we took advantage of a layday anchored in Deep Bay, Antigua, to practice pole sets, jibes and securing. To avoid excess “spaghetti” on deck, our “lazy” boom preventer line becomes the active foreguy, so jibing both main and pole involves some careful orchestration. Five hours well-spent, as we worked through the process, marked halyards and car positions, and documented the procedures in photos and written steps. Repeat, repeat, repeat, and then again, swapping crew positions. Our anchorage neighbors probably thought we were nuts, but practice makes perfect! Or at least, safe and efficient.  Now to try it on a rolling deck, with the headsail, and a dinghy stored on the foredeck.

When we return to the Chesapeake Bay in mid-May, we look forward to receiving our new cruising spinnaker, and a whole new level of downwind sailing… and training!

Training on Whisker Pole sets and jibes while anchored in Antigua

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Wind Power

There’s something very satisfying about waking to the sound of the wind. Wind whistling through the rigging portends a good sailing day, or cool breezes at anchor.   Wind also makes our wind generator spin, and that whirring turbine means electrical power, produced without burning fossil fuels. Wind generators harness the free (and generally abundant) wind to top up our battery banks, which run virtually all our onboard systems – electronics, lights, refrigeration, water pumps. Without that power, we’d have to run the diesel engine a couple of times a day just to maintain the batteries. Independence from shore or diesel power is a very gratifying to a cruising sailor, especially as we’re trying to keep Kinetic as “green” as possible.

Our Silentwind 400 wind generator was out of commission for two weeks while we awaited a new controller unit to be shipped to our cruising location from the Silentwind headquarters in Portugal (note: exceptional customer service). The silence was disconcerting, and the necessity to run the diesel engine was irritating, noisy and expensive. We still had a good solar panel, but it just wasn’t enough – we realized how much we relied on the wind/solar combination to meet our energy requirements. Now the new controller has been installed, and our wind generator is back in business – converting the tradewinds to amps, and feeding those amps to our grateful battery bank. We’re so glad to hear that whirring wind generator again!

Kinetic’s Silentwind Generator and Solbian Flex solar panel (plus Luci light)

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Blessings from the Sky


Kinetic being blessed

Kinetic being “blessed”

In many of the Caribbean nations we’ve visited, we hear the islanders refer to “blessings”. In some cases they are talking about good health or children, but much of the time they mean rainfall!   For the local populace, “blessings from the sky” mean healthy crops, cooler air and clean drinking water. One local radio program advised schoolchildren to remember their raincoats and boots, so they wouldn’t catch the flu in the (82° F) rain.

Onboard Kinetic, we see those blessings in several forms. Sometimes they arrive with 35 knot squalls while underway; generally with sufficient notice to put an extra reef in the sails, and remind us of who’s really in charge. Other times we are blessed with (indeed, we pray for) a quick freshwater shower to rinse the salt off the boat after a sporty passage. Blessings often include a rainbow, to put a wonderfully positive note on the whole event. Occasionally, blessings arrive when we’re unprepared (ie away from the boat with the hatches open), and that requires some airing of bedding and cushions afterward. It’s rare to have a full night without blessings, and we’ve become proficient at jumping up to close the cabin hatch, open to the ocean breeze. We have had limited success with our rain catcher, designed to supplement our freshwater tanks; perhaps we’ll have better luck if we call it a “blessing catcher”? No matter how or when our blessings arrive, we have no control over them, so we may as well adjust our attitude. Isn’t it refreshing to think of rainfall as a blessing, and make the most of it?

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Making Landfall – Guadeloupe

Making Landfall, Guadeloupe

Making Landfall, Guadeloupe

Approaching Guadeloupe today, we were struck by how much we enjoyed making landfall – especially a new one! At first, you might identify an island’s location by the cumulus clouds forming above, due to the rising warm, tropical air over the terrain. Since Guadeloupe is a volcanic island, we were able to see BasseTerre (perhaps mis-named, since it’s quite high) as we departed Antigua some 40 miles north; Guadeloupe appeared as a grey silhouette on the horizon, merged with clouds. As we approached, naturally the island grew, but we’ve determined that we can start seeing an island’s colors at about 12 miles distance. We practiced last week on other islands – St Eustatia, St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Antigua. As you approach, that small gray silhouette takes shape, and you can see contours, headlands, colors, and eventually fields, forests, towns, buildings and roads. We were amazed and delighted as we came around the headland that protects Baie de Deshaies. The dramatic coastline suddenly opened to reveal a beautiful bay enclosed within, protected like a pearl in an oyster. As we approached the anchorage, the church bells ashore beckoned us in, while the sun set on our stern. Welcome to Guadeloupe!

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Kinetic Sailing writes Catamaran Cruising Made Easy for ASA


Lisa & Andy with Cruising Catamarans Made Easy

Andy Batchelor and Lisa Batchelor Frailey, Solomons residents and owners of Kinetic Sailing, have written the brand new textbook, Cruising Catamarans Made Easy, just released by the American Sailing Association to national acclaim. The book is the new official manual for its Catamaran Cruising Course (ASA 114). Focused exclusively on how to operate a cruising catamaran, the newest book in ASA’s instructive and engaging Sailing Made Easy series highlights the unique skills involved to operate a cruising catamaran with its distinctive characteristics and operating systems. ASA selected the Batchelors to write the book because of their extensive catamaran cruising and chartering expertise, sailing instructor credentials and writing style. The couple wrote ASA’s Bareboat Cruising Made Easy, released in September 2014, which dovetails nicely into the cruising catamaran follow-on. “We worked with an excellent team of editors, photographers and illustrators on both books,” Andy said. “We’re really pleased with the result, and we’re eager for our Cruising Catamaran students to use this book.”

“Like our previous textbooks, Cruising Catamarans Made Easy is illustrated with rich, detailed photos and easy-to-understand text to help students learn quickly,” said Lenny Shabes, ASA’s Chairman of the Board. “It offers invaluable information on how to operate a cruising catamaran, adding tremendous value to many facets of the burgeoning catamaran industry.”

Published in full color and containing best-in-class illustrations along with world-class photography from renowned sailing photographers, Billy Black, Nicholas Claris, Sharon Greene and others, Cruising Catamarans Made Easy was written by expert sailing instructors Andy Batchelor and Lisa Batchelor Frailey. The 90-page book was also co-edited by Peter Isler, two time America’s Cup winner and Chairman of ASA’s Educational Committee, and Jeremy McGeary, a 30-year veteran sailing writer and editor. The book also features a foreword by world-renowned pioneer catamaran racer, Cam Lewis.

Cruising Catamarans Made Easy is the first book to serve as a complete guide for the cruising catamaran sailor. It features a water-resistant cover, an easy-to-follow layout of two-page spreads throughout and an extensive glossary of terms. The book retails for $23.95, and is currently available for purchase on the ASA website (

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Kinetic launched for the season!

Splash!  After a winter on the hard, Kinetic was launched on April 6th to begin the 2016 sailing season. We’re busy with spring commissioning, shakedown, new bimini, and installation of a wind generator.  Kinetic will be displayed at the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show Apr 22-24 for Outbound Yachts – come see us there!P1050870



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Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show 2016

BoatShowSwing into spring sailing at the the 5th annual Annapolis Spring Sailboat show! Come see Kinetic Sailing onboard our Outbound 46 “Kinetic” at the Outbound Yachts dockside booth!

Hosted by United States Yacht Shows, whose sailboat shows have become the gold standard – coming to you this spring, April 22-24, 2016. This show will feature over 2000′ of floating docks accommodating more than 80 sailboats, plus sailing schools, equipment and accessory vendors, good food, drink and music!  

Details of the show at: Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show.

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Outstanding Instructors for 2014

Instructor Training

Sail Solomons co-owners and instructors Andy Batchelor and Lisa Batchelor Frailey were each named “Outstanding Instructor for 2014”, an award that recognizes the top 1% of over 2000 ASA sailing instructors.

Sail Solomons Sailing School opened in 2007, and has received the Outstanding School award every year from 2008 through 2012, when the award was discontinued. Their instructors have been awarded “Outstanding Instructor” each year since 2007, making Sail Solomons the most recognized sailing school on the Chesapeake Bay.  Lisa notes “We’re more than just a sailing school. We believe sailing is a lifestyle, and we offer a continuum of sailing activities for all levels – from summer on the Chesapeake to winter flotillas and courses in the Caribbean.”

Andy indicates that the success of Sail Solomons is largely due to the small class size and personal attention each student receives. “We strive to give our students an exceptional sailing experience. Our boats are well maintained, and our instructors are all USCG licensed Captains and ASA-certified instructors. We want our students to love sailing as much as we do.” Lisa notes “We thank all our students for taking time to complete the surveys. We try hard to accommodate each student’s learning preferences, and we’re pleased that our efforts have been recognized. Seeing our students enjoy sailing is our greatest reward.”

The school is located at Zahniser’s Yachting Center in Solomons Maryland. Sail Solomons offers courses on their fleet of five daysailers and three cruising yachts for all sailing levels, from novice to advanced. Private instruction is also available. On Your Own Boat courses are very popular for sailors wishing to develop more expertise in specific areas on their own sailboats. Andy and Lisa are now owners of Kinetic Sailing.  They continue to instruct ASA courses for Sail Solomons, which is now under new ownership.

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Hurricane Tips for the Weather-Wise Mariner

By Capt Lisa Batchelor Frailey

Hurricane season is upon us, and it portends to be an active one.  With so many sources of information available, it’s easy to get overloaded by the variety of data and media hype. Here are some definitions and tips to weed out the key information and keep you prepared.

Definitions – adapted from National Hurricane Center’s Glossary:

Tropical cyclone – a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation. TC’s rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. They are further classified as:

  • Tropical Depression:  maximum sustained surface wind speed of 33 knots or less.
  • Tropical Storm:  max sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots. Tropical Storms are assigned names.
  • Hurricane: max sustained winds 64 knots or higher. In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons; similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.
  • Major Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 96 knots or higher, corresponding to a Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Storm Surge – An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. (Storm surge is generally the most dangerous aspect of a storm for mariners in port, causing the greatest damage to life and property)

National Hurricane Center (NHC) is the primary source of hurricane forecasts for the US.  The information is distributed in various formats – text, graphic, voice – to reach all users.  Commercial organizations use the same base layer of information, but use value-added graphics and discussions. The combination can be confusing, so look carefully!

Weather Underground Graphic of Hurricane Irene, Aug 2011

Weather Underground Graphic of Hurricane Irene, Aug 2011

Size Matters – a hurricane’s size is important because of the area it impacts, but its strength (intensity of wind speed) and track are even more important.  Things to look for in the graphics:

  • Forecast track – most probable track of the storm’s center, based on models and meteorologists assessment.  
  • Radius of possible storm center locations (measure of track uncertainty)
  • Radius of damaging winds, where the strongest winds are nearest the storm center, and on the right leading quadrant (as the storm travels). 
  • Wind Speed Probabilities – given for TS strength, 50 kt, and Hurricane strength, by geographic area.
  • Storm Surge – depicted in feet above predicted astronomical tides along coastal regions.
  • Mariner’s 1-2-3 Rule – refers to the rounded long-term NHC forecast errors of 100-200-300 nautical miles at 24-48-72 hours, respectively. It’s a graphical depiction the forecast uncertainty

Understanding these factors of a hurricane forecast will help you keep a sharp weather eye, so you can prepare appropriately. 

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