Billy Sparrow and Tranquility


Receiving “Tranquility” in Costa Rica, courtesy of one of our crew-couriers

Let me introduce this book with a recollection. It was my first trip, my first sailboat, year ’04. We barely crawled into SB harbor after a troubled passage from Long Beach with a smoking gas engine, ripping sails, and dry-heaving crew. I called a guy who had fixed my van “bro-style” a few year before – I knew he was a boat mechanic – and begged for his help.

That’s how I met “Billy Sparrow”.

With a knowing eye Billy glanced at the sorry state of my vessel, a 29ft Columbia, which I had bought sight unseen with zero boating experience, under the foolhardy impression one could just sail her north around Point Conception to Morro Bay. Most professional mechanics would walk away at this point with a sad dismissal.

Billy helped us get the boat in shape to get to Morro Bay in one piece

Billy helped us get the boat in shape to get to Morro Bay in one piece

Luckily, I had a beautiful Amazonian-brunette crew lady aboard with me, and she walked out the companionway extending her powerful feminine physique. This caught the eye of the irrepressible Billy, and kept him around long enough to hear my story, and share a bit of his.

Perhaps due to a mix of compassion and passion, he yielded. “Bro, I’m going to help you. This reminds me of myself. My maiden cruise was also trial by fire. Literally dude- my wooden boat caught on fire, I ran aground three horrible times, got taken out by waves, everything that could go wrong went wrong. You’re doing it man. We’ll get you to Morro Bay.”

Ahhh.. the alure of the sea

Ahhh.. the alure of the sea

Eleven years later, I get a copy of his book in the mail, relating the details of his maiden cruise.

As an adventure tale of youthful reckless-ness, there is none better, set amid the scenic and wild waters of the Pacific Northwest. As a story of overcoming hardship, perseverance, and accepting the power of things beyond our control, it has universal value and literary power. It is a transformative tale for everyone to read; to vicariously experience the wisdom of seeing ‘the struggle as the blessing’; and ultimately, to go for it.

Want to check it out?  Order Tranquility: A Memoir of an American Sailor by Billy Sparrow directly through their publisher, Inland Waters Press, and enjoy!

Trimarans inspiration from around the world

Is Aldebaran the only trimaran out there? As you can see, they come in all shapes and sizes! The L’Hydroptere and Sea Shepherd were in Los Angeles harbor last year when we were visiting Catalina. Our early seabird Klaus sent us the pic of the trimaran on the beach in Hawaii.

How elephant seals came back: the secret of Guadalupe Island


elephant seals near San Simeon, CA

Ever driven along Hwy 1 in California and stopped to look at the elephant seals near San Simeon and Carmel? Huge, phenomenal, gross, disgusting, and fantastic!

One would never imagine they were declared extinct in the 1880s due to over hunting. And that they bounced back against all oddsHang on– extinct? That would mean they would be gone.  There would be none here. How do we see so many on the webcam right now?


a historical photo from alaska

Their secret lies in an island 200 miles offshore of Baja: Isla Guadalupe, more reknown for diving with great white sharks than anything else.

great white shark at guadalupe island

The magic of the come-back.  This is why we’re doing the Green Coconut Run, and not just a traditional cruise. We want to learn about how it’s possible, in our frenetic world of resource consumption, to see nature thrive once again.

map of guadalupe oldIsla Guadalupe will be one of our first stops in the Green Coconut Run, sailing 3 days from Ensenada, in the middle of the ocean. Few boats go out there –mostly, exclusive dive charter boats.

It’ll be in the middle of our 1 month Baja leg, from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas, starting mid-March.


What’s the Green Coconut Run?  Read more about it in this post.

Sequoia and the International Rescue Group

Here’s a chance to join a fantastic sailboat in the East Coast- from Connecticut to Cuba. They are doing humanitarian work in Haiti with sailboats, called International Rescue Group. The captain, Sequoia, was one of Aldebaran’s "guardian angels" during our first haul-out… A time of great tribulation. Sequoia showed us the ropes of fiberglassing, and when he realized how hopelessly over-our-heads we were, stuck around and rebuilt our transom (the back of the boat) where it was rotting. Big shout out to Sequoia!

On Monday, October 20, 2014, Sequoia Sun <sunsequoia> wrote:


Just a short note and update of our status, progress and plans.

Tandemeer is in Connecticut at a dock in a beautiful location, new transmission, starter motor and main shaft bearing working well, sails back on after being repaired at a loft, with several crew living aboard and working on boat restoration and refitting projects every day. It is going well.

We sail or work on the boat on weekends and enjoy hosting visitors, volunteers and new crew every week. Volunteers to work on the boat and donations to support the mission are always welcome.

Plans are to sail south at the end of November to Florida for December, then the Bahamas in January, then on to Haiti to deliver cargo and lend a hand in February, and then cruising around Cuba in March and April … with 10 berths we have room if you would like to join the crew 😉

Stay in touch and follow us on our new website at or
Like us on the new Tandemeer Facebook Page:,

Also we have a new Meetup group here in the NY and CT area, so please join if you might like to come to parties and events in this area:

Here is a link to an article published online recently about the IRG voyage to Haiti earlier this year:—delivering-aid-supplies-to-Haiti-by-sailboat/127848

Below is a newsletter from International Rescue Group Executive Director Ray Thackeray on board lead vessel Thunderbird 5.

I look forward to sailing with you, especially in the Bahamas or Caribbean this winter. Let me know if you might like to join us for a week or more.

Wishing you a gorgeous fall and beautiful winter,

Fair winds,

Sequoia Sun
Captain s/v Tandemeer

International Rescue Group
a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation
Providing support, medical and humanitarian aid to disaster-hit coastal communities.

This summer so far has been very quiet in the Caribbean, hurricanes have been more destructive on the Pacific coast of Mexico. IRG’s Caribbean Fleet includes two sailing ketches with volunteer crews and both vessels are on standby. Thunderbird 5 is in Florida, and Tandemeer is presently being refitted for this winter’s season in Connecticut, rejoining the fleet in Florida in a few weeks. Both these boats are able to take volunteer medical crews, supplies and watermakers to help in humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions. There are also a number of IRG Reserve captains and boats who have pledged their help in emergency.
Aerialshot.jpg?width=350Join us for a great adventure! We are taking Thunderbird 5 out on a 13-week Caribbean Adventure Charter cruise to help pay for her humanitarian aid missions. We’ll be dropping off much needed medical and other supplies to two orphanages in Haiti and continuing on a fantastic Caribbean Island voyage from the Bahamas all the way south to Trinidad. Sail date from Miami, Florida is December 7th and arrival in Trinidad is March 8th. Click here to find out more.
Tandemeer, our 56′ Nautical Development ketch, is docked at a beautiful cove in Norwalk, Connecticut while she is being refitted and prepared for her voyage south to Florida in November. There is a lot to do to make her ready for the voyage south so we are assembling crew and working on the boat every day. If you are in the nearby tri-state area, or would like to come and visit for a week or a month to help us work on the boat, prepare for the voyage, or join the crew, or perhaps join us for a charter in Florida, the Bahamas, Haiti or the Caribbean this winter, please visit Tandemeer’s new website or post a message for Captain Sequoia on the IRG website. Here are a couple of photos from last weekend enjoying a day sailing on the boat in our web album of photos.
Trojan donated a very much needed bank to replace Thunderbird 5’s aging batteries, thank you Trojan! Now we have the big job of modifying the battery box in the engine room to accommodate these bigger and more powerful batteries.
Our planning for resources in disaster relief is coming along. We are working on a fundraising campaign to acquire two IEHKs (Interagency Emergency Healthcare Kits) designed by the WHO and UN, which provide enough medical supplies to allow a doctor and nurse to treat a post-disaster community of 10,000 people for 3 months – call it a field hospital… We would like to pre-position one for each of our boats in the Caribbean area ready for action when an emergency calls.
We are also working on obtaining a fuel bunker vessel capable of transporting 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel to power our fleet in action. This will allow continuous operation of our generators and watermakers to help alleviate two major problems after disaster strikes – predictable power and water for survivors.

Visit International Rescue Group at:

To control which emails you receive on International Rescue Group, click here

Brazilian fishermen sailing regatta!

Neat cross-over in sailing culture… The local fishermen hold a yearly regatta in Camamu Bay that runs behind the Peninsula de Marau, racing their dug-out canoes with three different types of rigging. This is in the north-east of Brazil, in the state of Bahia, 5 hours south of Salvador.


(Photos courtesy: Julian Maison)