I have a memory of when I was quite young learning to tie my shoes. It was in the front yard of our Five Maples Farm in Pittsfield, New York, next to maple tree number 4. It was my sister who finally drove the lesson home. Not that she was the first to try. I’m pretty sure she was just fed up with tying them for me.

It occurred to me that many people who say they do not know knots, or can’t tie knots, may not be giving themselves enough credit. If we refer to the definitive guide, The Ashley Book of Knots (ABOK), we can find some of the classic functional knots we may have learned at an early age. We did not learn these knots to master marlinspike seamanship, but rather, to self-sufficiently wear a pair of sneakers.

For example, tying our shoes starts as a Half Knot, ABOK #1202. This progresses to the Bowknot listed as #1212. This is the same knot as #1214, which is the universal way to fasten shoestrings. These are bowed versions of the Reef Knot (or Square Knot, if you prefer), #1204, which could be unwittingly tied as a bowed Granny Knot, #1206. The Reef Knot will lay the bow side to side, the Granny Knot, end to end. Landlubbers “double-knot” their shoestrings to keep them from coming untied, or if they are too long, by adding another Half Knot in the two loops. This is actually called the Shoe Clerk’s Knot, #1215. A friend of mine refers to a Double Bunny to achieve a similar result, which I did not find in the ABOK but is just an additional Bowknot made on top of the first.

Most people have laced their shoes too. For me, #2034 and #2038 are standard. I sometimes do a variation of these not represented in ABOK. I am intrigued by #2033 too. #2035 and #2036 have not yet made it into my repertoire. These are crafted for a tidy look sans the bowed knot, but require more effort adjusting and tightening the laces. #2039 achieves a similar facing look as #2033 but is for shoes with an instep.

I would wager that any adult, and most children, who can tie their own shoes can do it with their eyes closed and the repetitions have made them masters. If someone tells you they don’t know knots, have them tie their shoes. Thanks, Sis.




Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 11.46.24 AMThe total: June 26-Sept. 26, 2019
The refit: June 26-July 16 (21 days)
The voyage: July 17-Sept. 26, 2019 (72 days)
St. John’s, Newfoundland, CA to Port Townsend, Washington, USA, via Greenland and the Northwest Passage.
The miles: 6658(ish) Nautical Miles
The boat: Breskell – an old timey, lo-tech, cold-molded sled

What is next for me? A million dollar question! But no worries….things have a way…..





Another Resourceful Sailor Series article dropped on Latitude 38‘s online magazine, ‘Lectronic Latitude, on August 5th while I was away transiting the Northwest Passage aboard S/V Breskell. It’s called Sacrificial Sliding Hatch. It’s about a quick fix (band-aid) for the erosion that can occur on a Flicka 20 hatch over the decades. Thanks to Tim Henry for the publication(his name mistakenly appears as the author.)

Click Here for a link to the article.






Me and Roald Amundson


NW Passage boats in Nome


Northwest Passage Finishers in Nome


The Bering Strait

People wonder where the photos are, as if the internet grows on trees. But there are not trees in the Arctic. We landed in Nome yesterday after passing through Bering Strait the day before, which is our official finish line for doing the Northwest Passage. FACT. Here in port are two other boats we had met along the way, also finishers. Altego 2 of the Czech. Rep. and Inook of France. Breskell is on the outside of the raft.
And a picture of me with one of my favorite bad*^s explorers, Roald Amundson.
Three reasons boats might not make it through the Passage this year. 1 – mechanical failure, 2 – poor seamanship, 3 – poor planning. Notice that ice is not one of the reasons.

Our route in Mapshare

Our next and final leg is to get the boat to Port Townsend.


Here is the inReach Mapshare URL for following Sailing With Josh as I continue on with Breskell’s 2019 attempt of the Northwest Passage.

inReach Mapshare

You can also follow the Sailing With Josh Facebook page for updates.



We are presently rafted up in Sisimiut, Greenland preparing to depart across Baffin Bay.




Hi Folks. Breskell will be leaving for the Arctic very soon for her 2019 attempt of the Northwest Passage, with the final goal of Port Townsend. Due to connectivity restraints, I will likely have limited access to posting on this WordPress blog. However, I intend to keep a daily position update on my Sailing With Josh Facebook page using the Garmin inReach. If you would like to follow along, please do. I am hoping to get some great stories for when I return. Also, a great party!

A special thank you to those people who have helped and sponsored me so far for this journey:

Karan and Gary Wheeler, Leigh Burrows, Juan DelCano ;), Charlotte Brown, Mr. Haley, and Robert Frank.






BreskellToday, I fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, to meet up with Breskell and Olivier Huin to prepare the vessel for the voyage of a lifetime.

I am sitting at the South Gate, in Sea-Tac airport awaiting my flight. That’s Seattle if you were unsure. My friend dropped me off at 12:15 for my 4:33 flight in an effort to a) miss traffic, b) get me plenty of time to check my gear, c) make it through processing and security in a relaxed manner.

Traffic was not too bad, which I am thankful for, mostly for my friends sake. I was able to check my bags curbside which was a relief, as I had enough gear to make man-hauling a serious chore. I realized I have never traveled by air with this amount of gear. This upcoming sailing endeavor requires being prepared, with limited intel. The gentleman at the kiosk was refreshingly chipper and helpful, and got me checked in with ease. I was concerned about one of the bags being overweight, but alas, it came in spot on the limit. Yes, exactly as planned!

The security check point had an epic line. I had plenty of time, so I decided to remain relaxed about it and roll with the  situation. The adage, attitude makes all the difference, applies here. When I finally arrived at Checkpoint #2, I used five bins for my carry-on screening. Shoes, overshirt, toiletries and pull out all of the electronics and other gear that you know will look weird on the x-ray. Like the water bottle with flashlights and batteries inside. In my effort to make it easy and transparent with all the gear, I forgot to remove my belt. Ha, that meant I needed to get the full pat-down with the “second observer.” No worries and no stress though. “What’s that in your pocket?” “Oh, you mean these earplugs?”

One of the carry-ons had to have a personal search too. “Okay, sure.” As the agent unpacked the bag, she found some wet wipes, a last minute addition for which I had checked the TSA website to see if they were admissible. “Oh, this must be it. I’ll just have to swab this” she said. “Sure, okay.” So she swabbed it and, of course, it was fine and she sent me on my way.

My next task was to find my gate, S4. Hmmm, I walked in one direction for about seven minutes before I realized I was headed to N(North) gate. I backtracked and saw the signs for A,B and S gate. So I walked that way for about seven minutes and soon realized it was all A gates. Duh, look at a directory. It turns out that the S gates are the ones you need to get on the train loop for. But, no worries, there’s plenty of time.

So far, so good as I wait for my flight. While things are going well so far, the day of travel has only begun. So much can still happen. Relax and stick to the plan. Enjoy the ride. For now, I am happy to be exiting Ballard and it’s dual culture of  progressive expansion and degeneration for parts less populated.


"St John's, here I come."

“St John’s, here I come.”

The bags.

The bags.

Mount Rainier's Cone Peeking Through the Clouds.

Mount Rainier’s Cone Peeking Through the Clouds.




Small Boats – Big Adventures
“How do you run a stern-tie setup when you have limited working and storage space on board?” This is one of the questions I asked myself in fitting out my Flicka 20, Sampaguita, for Pacific Northwest expeditions.
“The Stern-Tie Setup,” published in the July-August 2019 issue of Small Craft Advisor, No. 118., explains how I answered this question.
A special thanks to the staff at SCA and Duckworks.
To get a printed or digital subscription to Small Craft Advisor magazine, Click Here.


Small Craft Advisor

Part 2 of the two-part article is now available on Latitude 38‘s electronic version of their magazine ‘Lectronic Latitude. Thanks again to Tim Henry for publishing it. Click Here on the logo below to check it out. If you missed Part 1, not to worry, there is a link available for you to check it out when you click through. If you like it, please let them know. Thank you.

If you would like to support my Northwest Passage attempt aboard S/V Breskell with Olivier Huin, Eric, and Leila, Click Here.



Hi, folks. I have another article published on Latitude 38‘s electronic version of their magazine. This will be a two-part piece. Special thanks again to Tim Henry for keeping it going. Click Here or on the logo below to check it out. If you like it, please let them know. Thanks.

If you would like to support my Northwest Passage attempt aboard S/V Breskell with Olivier Huin, Eric, and Leila, Click Here.



Flicka 20