Peter Goldsmith’s first sailboat race to Cuba was illegal. The Key West sailmaker and Michele Geslin organized their first race from Key West to Varadero, Cuba, in 1997. The event, which drew 40 boats, violated the 1961 embargo on trade with Cuba and the prohibition on travel to the island if it involved spending money.
In May 2013 Benjamin, a Wave Glider named after Benjamin Franklin, was awarded a Guinness World Record for the longest journey by an autonomous surface vessel. The 7-foot surfboard-shaped “roboboat” traveled 7,939 nautical miles from California to Australia powered by waves alone and guided by an on-board command-and-control computer. No skipper.
The last few months have been an exciting time for treasure hunters and fans of historic wrecks, as the oceans yielded surprising secrets. Three of the most interesting are the 15th-century Hanneke Wrome in Finland, the Spanish Armada ship La Juliana in Ireland and the polar explorer Maud in Canada.
Eighteen years ago this summer, Capt. Charles Moore was sailing home aboard his 50-foot catamaran after the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, and he discovered a plastic debris field in the North Pacific that was twice the size of Texas. It has since become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
“I’m a bloke. I just took it out of the box and attached it to my life jacket,” says Andrew Taylor, who nearly died after a wave swept him overboard in rough seas in the North Pacific in the 2013-14 Clipper Round the World Race. “I didn’t read the instructions.”
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