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The International Small Craft Center At The Mariners' Museum

“april fool”.

Effect : Pleasure-Adventure

Type : Sailboat

Place : North America

Size : 5' 11"

Date : 1966

Builder/Location : Designed by Ed Mairs; Built by Phil Van Deventer

Museum Location : 37

Hugo Vihlen sailed from Casablanca to Florida in 1968, aboard this 6-foot sailboat.

“April Fool”, 1966 Designed by Ed Mairs Built by Phil Van Deventer, Coconut Grove, Florida 5 feet 11 inches long, 5 feet wide, 1,222 pounds Gift of Mr. Hugo S. Vihlen

Would You Cross the Atlantic Ocean in this Boat? That’s exactly what Hugo Vihlen did when he sailed from Casablanca to Florida in 1968, aboard this 6-foot sailboat. On his third attempt Vihlen sailed 4, 480 miles in 85 days, and established the record for the smallest yacht to cross the Atlantic Ocean — a feat that stood for 25 years (1968 – 1993). If you look into the cockpit, notice the seat belt. Can you imagine being belted into this boat during an Atlantic storm?

    Excerpts from “April Fool or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a Six-Foot Boat”:   Casablanca, Morocco 30 March 1968 As I chugged through the harbor, the size of the place struck me for the first time. My boat was just a matchbox among the docked freighters. If I was concerned that my boat was so small in a harbor, how was I going to feel when she reached the middle of the Atlantic? At sea, I’d be like a grain of sand on the desert. 8 April 1968 – At sea Awful rough. Twenty-foot waves, and steep. Barometer is 29.65. Nine days out. 26 April 1968 – At sea I have been sailing four weeks today. I decided it was time for a haircut. I got out the clippers and went up on the bow leaning over the edge so the hair wouldn’t somehow get into the cabin. I took about 20 minutes and it wasn’t a bad job if I do say so myself. Then I hopped overboard after first making certain to attach myself to the boat by means of a line. My first bath in four weeks. 9 June 1968 – At sea Catastrophe. I ran out of toilet paper today. Thank God for Reader’s Digest. 21 June 1968 – Florida It was Friday night, and after 85 days at sea, I was home, and happy. Many times, while at sea, I had wondered how long it would take me to get used to sleeping in a bed again. I went to bed that night and slept straight through until the next morning. The voyage was over.

april fool sailboat

Origin : Coconut Grove, Florida, USA


april fool sailboat

Old Salt Blog

A virtual port of call for all those who love the sea , hosted by nautical novelist rick spilman.

Old Salt Blog

Hugo Vihlen & the Voyage of the April Fool

Hugo Vihlen sailing April Fool

On April 1, often referred to as April Fool’s Day, it seems fitting to recount the voyage of Hugo Vihlen in his micro-yacht April Fool . In 1966, Hugo Vihlen sailed from Casablanca to Florida, aboard his 5’11” sailboat. In 84 days he sailed 4,100 miles and got within 6 miles of Miami, Florida before being stopped by contrary winds and current. He was finally picked up by the US Coast Guard.

The micro-yacht April Fool   now resides at the I nternational Small Craft Center at The Mariners’ Museum  in Newport News, VA.  Their web page features excerpts from Vihlen’s book, “ April Fool or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a Six-Foot Boat .”  My favorite is from June 9, 1968 after 71 days at sea:

“ Catastrophe. I ran out of toilet paper today. Thank God for Reader’s Digest .”

This log entry may point out an unexpecting shortcoming of ebooks on longer voyages.

Hugo Vihlen & the Voyage of the April Fool — 2 Comments


Yes, apparently April Fool was too big, so Vihlen sailed the other way across the Atlantic in Father’s Day, a boat 7″ shorter.

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Hugo vihlen and the april fool.

Did you know April Fools’ Day—or some variation of the day set aside for pranks on family and friends—is celebrated around the world, or that it’s been around in some form since medieval times? While you may want to use the day to play tricks on your family and friends (and who could blame you?), we thought we’d share a story about Hugo Vihlen, an American sailor who traveled from Casablanca, Morocco all the way across the Atlantic… and he did it all in his six-foot sailboat, April Fool.

Vihlen, at the time a Delta Airlines co-pilot living in Homestead, Florida, was an adventurer at heart. He embarked on his sailboat—technically, April Fool measured in at five feet, eleven inches—from Casablanca, Morocco, on March 29 th , 1968. Over 84 days, Vihlen was able to sail 4100 miles, all while struggling with wind and strong ocean currents. He almost made the entire trip, but at around six miles off the shore of Miami, Gulf Stream currents pushed April Fool and himback out to sea, where Vihlen accepted food and water from a fellow boater; but he refused to quit his journey just yet. The United States Coast Guard Cutter Cape Shoalwater eventually picked up Vihlen and his boat, allowing for his safe passage back to Florida.

While Vihlen made his first journey in his famously-named April Fool, he returned to the ocean for another transatlantic trip in 1993, aboard his even smaller sailboat, Father's Day, which he sailed all the way to England.

When you find pictures online pertaining to Vihlen’s journey, you may be surprised at what you see—his boat was shorter than he was!

Does Vihlen’s adventurous journeys across the ocean inspire you to pursue your own record-setting trip? Tell us about your own crazy ideas are in the comment section.

Hugo Vihlen and the April Fool

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April Fool: Or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a six-foot boat

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April Fool: Or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a six-foot boat Hardcover – January 1, 1971

  • Print length 216 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Follett
  • Publication date January 1, 1971
  • See all details

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  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0006C0NIQ
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Follett (January 1, 1971)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 216 pages
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 15.2 ounces
  • Best Sellers Rank: #4,758,763 in Books ( See Top 100 in Books )

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or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a six-foot boat.

By hugo vihlen.

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Father’s Day – the smallest boat to cross the Atlantic

11.06.19  –  By: Lindsey Skinner  –  In: News , People

Photo of the 'Father's Day' craft, with Hugo Vihlen standing in it with his arms raised in celebration.

All boats are designed and made with a specific purpose in mind, whether it is for leisurely trips along the river or for speed and agility to win races. Father’s Day , the boxy bright red boat in our Boat Hall, is no exception. She was designed to be small – as small as possible. Her designer and maker, Hugo Vihlen, allowed enough room for everything he needed to sail across the Atlantic Ocean – no room for luxuries, no room for non-essentials and barely any room for him.

A Korean War fighter pilot and former Delta Airlines Captain, Vihlen previously made an 85 day crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1968 in what was then the smallest boat to have made the journey, the 5ft 11 inch sailing boat April Fool . To Hugo’s dismay his arch rival Tom McNally seized the World Record in 1993 by making the Atlantic crossing in a 5ft 4 ½ inch boat.

Determined to reclaim the record Hugo set out alone later that same year to cross the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Falmouth, having been banned from launching in the United States by the Coastguard, who declared his boat unsafe. This time he was in his plywood and fibreglass vessel Father’s Day , his home-built boat, which was, crucially, half an inch shorter than McNally’s.

During the crossing Hugo had to sleep on his back with his knees bent: he woke every hour to check his heading and general sailing conditions, as a consequence of which he never drifted more than 10 miles off course. After facing everything the Atlantic could throw at him, and some close encounters with large ships, Hugo arrived in Falmouth 105 days later. He could hardly walk, had lost 34 pounds in weight, but he had recaptured his record.

His reception on arrival in Falmouth was hardly a hero’s welcome. One of the waiting journalists found him a pasty to eat while his boat was towed to a local yacht club. When the party arrived at the yacht club for a celebration tea they found it closed as he wasn’t expected, so a member of the public produced a bottle of champagne to toast his success.

What better time to look back at Hugo Vihlen’s daring achievements than on Father’s Day. 16 years later, along with his boxy bright red boat Father’s Day , he, perhaps unsurprisingly, still holds the World Record for sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in the smallest boat.

Father’s Day is currently on display in our Boat Hall.

april fool sailboat

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april fool sailboat

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april fool sailboat

The Smaller The Better? Meet the latest contender on a quest to sail the shortest boat across an ocean

Andrew Bedwell's inspiration to tackle the record for the shortest-boat-ocean-crossing comes on the heels of a 54-year-long story between two rivals: an American and a Brit

There is something delightfully silly about wanting to sail shorter and shorter boats over long distances. As I interview fellow Brit, Andrew Bedwell, I find myself smiling a lot. “It’s the ridiculousness of it,” Bedwell says when I mention the effect. 

Bedwell is talking to me about his plan to depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, to sail the 1,900-mile distance across the North Atlantic Ocean to Falmouth Harbour in England in a boat only 3 foot 3 inches long. 

april fool sailboat

Courtesy of Andrew Bedwell

In an effort to get a sense of the living space in such a tiny boat, I look around for size-equivalent objects. Thirty-nine inches is three-quarters of a standard 60-inch bathtub. His boat has similar dimensions to a large trash can with wheels; the footprint of a small shower stall. As a former professional sailor-turned ocean rower, I am no stranger to going on long voyages in small boats. Even for me, the scale of Bedwell’s boat is mind boggling.

april fool sailboat

Departing in May 2023, Bedwell expects his voyage to take him up to 100 days. His objective is to set a new record for the shortest wind-powered vessel to cross the Atlantic and to get the record he must sail within “50 miles west of the most westerly part of Ireland.” Bedwell would like to avoid getting towed from there to land, but the record is the primary goal. 

If successful, he will break the current record held by a boat 5 foot 4 inches long and with considerable margin. Bedwell’s boat is a whopping 2 feet and 1 inch shorter.

His inspiration to tackle the record for the shortest-boat-ocean-crossing comes on the heels of a 54-year-long story between two rivals: an American and a Brit. Their quest, like Bedwell’s, was to be the person who had crossed the Atlantic in the shortest boat. 

The first to claim the record was the American, Hugo Vihlen, in 1968, who sailed from Morocco to the East Coast of the U.S. in a time of 84 days. Vihlen was 36 years old at the time of his voyage, working as a co-pilot for Delta Airlines and living in Homestead, Florida. His boat, April Fool, was 5 foot 11 inches long and the voyage was the subject of his first book, “April Fool, or How I Sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a Six-foot Boat.” 

Twenty-five years later, Vihlen, by then a captain for Delta Airlines and age 61, took to the Atlantic once again. He chose a northern route from west to east and his new boat, Father’s Day, was 5 inches shorter. The boat measured a mere 5 foot 6 inches long. 

On his first attempt in 1992, Vihlen was stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard a few miles off Cape Cod. They declared his boat “manifestly unsafe.” Vihlen’s second attempt was from Canada, departing from St. John’s Harbour in Newfoundland. 

The change of location offered key advantages: a shorter distance to England, closer proximity to the Gulf Stream and no U.S Coast Guard interference. In the harbor he met Tom McNally, a former fine arts lecturer from Britain who, at that time, owned a boat measuring 1 and 1/2 inches shorter than Vihlen’s Father’s Day. Vihlen and McNally become friends.

Light and variable winds scuppered Vihlen’s attempt to depart from Canada that year, so he returned home and set about lopping 2 inches off his boat’s rudder, in order to better McNally’s shorter boat. 

McNally had already attempted to cross the North Atlantic 10 years earlier in 1983. He had departed from St. John's Harbour, Newfoundland, bound for Falmouth, England, in his first mini sailboat Big C. The boat measured 6 foot 9 inches. 

april fool sailboat

McNally in his 6-foot-9 boat Big C, before departing Newfoundland in 1983. Photo by Alamy Stock Photo 

Strong winds blew out his sails toward the end, and he drifted for two weeks until a Russian trawler came to his rescue off the southern coast of Ireland. A crew member had picked up a message, which he interpreted as “look out for six men in a boat.” The actual message read, “look out for a man in a six-foot boat,” but this was too unbelievable. In high seas and winds gusting over 35 knots (40 mph), recovering McNally and his boat proved no small undertaking. 

One of the trawler’s idling propellers struck and holed Big C. McNally lost his grip and hung suspended by a rope tied to his boat’s mast. Plunged underwater, the pockets of his pants filled with water and his pants slipped off. The boom operator responded to the situation by swinging Big C and McNally — now semi-naked and upside down — toward the trawler. Thankfully a hefty Russian sailor on the upper deck was able to grab McNally in a bear hug and Big C was brought to rest onboard. Much laughter ensued. 

As Vihlen prepared for another attempt at the North Atlantic in 1993, Tom McNally decamped to Lisbon, Portugal, with his second boat, the 5-foot 4.5-inch craft, Vera Hugh. Low on funds but ever resourceful, McNally had built Vera Hugh using part of an old discarded wardrobe. As a cabin hatch he used the transparent door from an old side-loading washing machine. 

The wind direction was unfavorable; violent storms battered northern Portugal throughout December 1992 and 20-foot king tides made navigation hazardous. McNally took local advice: he had his boat trucked to southern Portugal and the small fishing port of Sagres. Here he met the same problem as Vihlen off Cape Cod. Local police would not grant him permission to sail in what they deemed to be an “unquestionably unseaworthy craft.” The Portuguese ‘Guarda Fiscal’ kept a watch on his boat continuously. 

When the wind direction finally shifted, McNally placed two bags of unusable gear on the dock and asked the Guarda to watch his belongings while he tested his boat. He would be right back, he told them. Needless to say, he was not. 

McNally continued on after being hit by a freighter on Day 2. He bailed his boat for six days to the island of Madeira where he could repair the crack. On the next leg of his voyage, he was forced to drink salty water, which was only partially desalinated by his ailing water maker. Eventually he rounded the citadel of El Morro and entered Puerto Rico’s San Juan harbor. This was 113 days after leaving Sagres in Portugal. His kidneys were near failure, but he recovered and sailed on to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His voyage was over 5,500 miles in total, and in a boat 5 foot 4.5 inches long. He was finally the record holder of the shortest wind-powered vessel to cross the Atlantic and as an added bonus, the first person to cross an ocean in a vessel shorter than himself. He was 50 years old. 

McNally only held the record for a matter of months. Later the same year, Vihlen returned to St. John’s and reclaimed the title when he successfully sailed his 5-foot 4-inch boat across the North Atlantic to Falmouth. His boat, Father’s Day, remains a centerpiece in the Maritime Museum in the town of Falmouth where he arrived, and the story of this 115-day odyssey was chronicled in Vihlen’s second book, “The Stormy Voyage of Father’s Day.”

april fool sailboat

Andrew Bedwell standing on ‘Father’s Day,’ with permission of the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, England on Jan. 5, 2023. Courtesy of Andrew Bedwell

Not to be outdone, McNally mounted an attempt to to cross the mid Atlantic in 2002 in Vera Hugh – Cancer Research, a smaller iteration of his original 5-foot 4.5-inch Vera Hugh. The new version was a mere 3 foot 10.5 inches long. He managed to complete the first 800 miles from Gibraltar to the island of Gran Canaria without any issues, only for the boat and all his equipment to be stolen from the harbor in Mogán. 

Undeterred, McNally geared up for an ambitious double Atlantic crossing in 2009. He had a new, purpose-built 3 foot 10 inch boat, The Big C. His plan was to raise money for the charity Sail 4 Cancer by sailing from Cadiz to the Canary Islands, and on to Puerto Rico; sailing north up the eastern seaboard of the U.S. before heading back across to his home port of Liverpool. Sadly, illness frustrated his plans. For almost nine years he battled with several cancers including kidney cancer, which doctors believe may have been caused by drinking salt water during his voyage at sea. McNally passed away in June 2017. 

After McNally’s death, Andrew Bedwell came across Vihlen’s story. Nearing 50 years of age and married, with a daughter aged 9, a big challenge in a small boat appealed to Bedwell. As a professional sailmaker with a penchant for sailing small boats, he was gripped by Vihlen’s account of micro-sailing the North Atlantic. He contacted McNally’s daughter Lorraine. Her late father’s boat Big C had been in her garden behind a shed for almost 10 years. She was willing to sell. 

Bedwell is 6 feet tall. At 3 foot 3 inches, the boat is roughly half his size. I can’t help myself but ask, “What does your wife think about this?” Bedwell replies, “She thinks I am crackers, but she knows why I am doing it. I have always aspired to do challenges, always loved the sea.”

april fool sailboat

Big C has a sail area of 50.4 square feet. Courtesy of Andrew Bedwell

Only 80% of the boat is original but the challenge of space is the same. For power, Bedwell has two 30-watt solar panels affixed to the back of the boat, plus a 50-watt portable panel he can attach on deck in good conditions during the day. A hand-operated generator and a hand-operated water maker will keep his biceps busy (1,800 pumps will convert 1.3 gallons of seawater into drinking water). For the rest of his body, a physiotherapist has devised a program of exercises to stave off muscle wastage and deep vein thrombosis. He plans to take blood thinners as well, just in case. 

Bedwell’s diet offshore will consist of pemmican, a food that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity among doomsday preppers. A long-proven survival food that keeps for years, pemmican is made from beef fat, dried berries and dried beef. It’s a protein-rich substance that has historically been an important part of indigenous cuisine in certain parts of North America. For Bedwell, the challenge is not only calories per weight, but also calories per space. With its high fat content, pemmican can be heated and molded to fit around the inside of Bedwell’s boat. “How’s that on the gut? I ask. “It’s alright,” he says.

april fool sailboat

To sleep, he will curl up in a fetal position. Except when conditions are rough. On those days, he will be seated and strapped into his full-body harness. To pee, he can sit up with his head in the dome of the cabin hatch, but to poop, he plans to hang himself over the side. On learning this, I felt genuine anxiety. 

Before exiting the cabin he must first inflate the airbag at the back of the boat to give the vessel added stability. This can be done from inside. Next is the challenge of opening the hatch without shipping a wave into his living space and finally, comes the scramble on deck and onto the air bag so he can close the hatch. To get back onboard if he goes for a swim, there are handrails on the boat and a small step halfway up the back of the keel. 

As long as he stays attached to the boat, he should survive. 

april fool sailboat

Bedwell’s cabin. Photo shot from above, looking down inside. Courtesy of Andrew Bedwell

I have seen the diminutive 3-foot-3-inch McNally-Bedwell boat, Big C, as I was lucky to meet Tom McNally at the Southampton boat show in England in 2005. When I asked McNally how he had passed the time on his larger 5-foot 4.5-inch boat, he told me a funny story. 

An expat living in Portugal generously offered him a box of books, but only delivered the box on the morning of his departure. He left land sitting on the box without checking its contents. (This was at the beginning of his voyage from Portugal to Florida in 1993, so before mp3 players first came out in 1997.) When McNally’s boat was struck by a freighter and took on water, he discovered the box contained the complete works of Mills and Boon, originally published as escapist romance fiction for young girls and women in the 1930s. I laughed, so did McNally. He dried out the books, he said, and over his 113-day journey, he read every single paperback and then chucked the books into the sea!

In a boat 3 foot 3 inches, Bedwell won’t have the luxury of books. Without much power to charge his satellite phone or play music for long, he will rely on the ocean for entertainment. 

“It’s going to be like crossing the ocean in a trash can with wheels, while being strapped into the world’s best roller coaster for probably 70 days!” Bedwell exclaimed. 

Lia Ditton is an author and former professional sailor-turned-ocean rower. In 2020 she rowed a 21-foot boat solo and unsupported across the mid Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Hawaii and broke the women’s world record by 13 days. That was her 14th ocean crossing. She has sailed across the North Atlantic twice.


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Undaunted – the 42-inch yacht still hoping to become the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic

Yachting World

  • May 19, 2017

Matt Kent, age 33, turned back just 24 hours into his first attempt to sail across the Atlantic aboard the "stern-faced" tub Undaunted. Ryan Langley takes a close-up look at this tiny little ocean-crossing capsule.

april fool sailboat

Just 24 hours into his first attempt to sail solo across the Atlantic in Undaunted , his 42-inch yacht, Matt Kent had to turn back.

He set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 6 April, but returned after concerns about his boat’s seaworthiness.

He explains: “I wasn’t really in too much danger, [but] there was a weak point in the boat that was concerning me. The emergency floatation system component that was on the rudder assembly was getting hammered so hard in these really close together waves. The float was getting jammed upwards so fast and so often the boat’s movement couldn’t keep up.

“It was the worst, most unpredictable and erratic conditions I have ever sailed in with that boat. When it started gusting 45 knots I decided that I shouldn’t keep going with such an obvious weak link.”

Kent estimated his crossing time at some three months, so Undaunted cannot be fixed in time to avoid the hurricane season this year. He therefore plans to postpone his next attempt until the autumn.

He still hopes to set a record for the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic. “Both of the guys that held this record had to wait months or even years as setbacks took their toll.”

Where it all began for Undaunted

Skipper Matt Kent was working on a 200ft tall ship when he pondered what the smallest boat ever to sail around the world had been. On discovering that a 5ft 4in yacht had crossed the Atlantic, a seed was sown which resulted in the custom-designed Undaunted.

In 1965 Robert Manry sailed his 13ft 6in Tinkerbelle from Massachusetts to England (see video clip below), and the modern ‘microyacht’ trend was born. Tinkerbelle was followed by the 12ft Nonoalca and 8ft Bathtub across the Atlantic.

By 1968 Hugo Vilhen had made the smallest ocean crossing yet, sailing his 6ft April Fool from Casablanca to Miami. Vilhen went on to cross the Atlantic in his 5ft 4in Father’s Day , while in 2002, Tom McNally attempted, but failed, to cross the Atlantic in the absurdly tiny 3ft 11in Vera Hugh II .

Now Matt Kent, a 33-year-old professional tall ship sailor originally from Oregon, is preparing to cross the Atlantic Ocean aboard his three-and-a-half foot aluminium microyacht Undaunted . He expects the 4,700 nautical mile voyage to Florida, to take four months.

“ Undaunted is 42in long and 42in wide with a 5ft draught, 700lb lead ballast and a 40-gallon emergency water tank slung off the bottom of the keel,” explains Kent.

“Undaunted is designed to pitch rather than roll. That is counter to most boat designs. With better roll stability it will slip off the wind less as it leans forward. If it was more inclined to roll it would move forward and spill the wind from side to side, and be less efficient with more movement.

“Large twin rudders for low-speed efficiency and redundancy also help straighten the boat’s movement, along with a full keel.”

A test sail on Lake Erie demonstrated the unique handling of the boat Kent calls ‘a grumpy little man’.

“He sails downwind like a champ, self-tending downwind by sail angle alone due to the high mast being all the way forward. With a hull speed of just 2.5 knots he is not quick but he is stable and his square dimensions means he is affected by waves from any angle the same.

“He just bobs up and down. With a balance point about 16in above the keel and a 5ft draught he has a stability profile most designers would kill for.

“ Undaunted is a terrible boat, but he is a great storm shelter. A sailing capsule ready for the worst and also able to do the easy part, sailing in a straight line.

“We couldn’t make it go any faster, we couldn’t make it longer for the record. So we focused on safety and stability and through that our stern-faced grumpy little man was born.”

The emergency flotation system can be inflated three times using onboard CO2 canisters, or hand-inflated. Kent has calculated that one tube can support the entire boat, while three can lift the hatch out of the sea even with the boat full of water.

Capsule living

“Sailing it is quite simple, living on it is harder,” Kent comments. He cannot lie fully flat on board. “The boat is designed around my dimensions.

april fool sailboat

“We have enough space for me to sit upright, and lay my neck and spine out to decompress on the diagonal. The hatch I stand up in is just above my hip bones to prevent me from getting flipped out of the boat, though I will have a harness and tether on all the time.”

The boat is painted white to reflect heat and fully insulated above the waterline, Kent explains. “Below the waterline was left bare so the conductive nature of the aluminium hull will create a cold pocket for me to be in. For ventilation my dorade is at the top of the mast along with my running lights, AIS antenna, and radar reflector.

“However, if I have to keep the hatch shut, I have a neoprene mask with two one-way valves in it. One breathes in from the cabin down the mast and the other breathes out into a flexible hose attached to the inner tube going back out of the mast.”

april fool sailboat

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‘Did you sail that thing here?’ – solo across the Atlantic in a Folkboat

It’s a funny thing, the further I sailed away from northern Europe, the more attention my boat attracted in marinas…

Provisions are stowed under Kent’s feet. “I have enough food – half freeze-dried – for six months at 1,500 calories a day. I have intentionally put on 20 extra pounds for the trip as well.

“My diet consists of nuts, dried fruit, protein powder, nutrition bars, a variety of soups, stews, pasta, peanut butter, Nutella and so on. I have a huge variety as well as 64,000 extra calories in the form of two gallons of olive oil to add to my food.

“None of my food needs cooking but I do have a 12V/120W heat coil wand to heat water for dinner or tea or coffee, if I can afford the power. With a two-minute boil time I should be able to use it often. All of this fits in the bilge and down the keel.”

april fool sailboat

Rather than carry a liferaft, Undaunted has its own emergency flotation system. “I had a white-water raft company make three inflatable tubes that will be rolled up and attached to the port, starboard, and bow of my boat. If I get swamped, holed or have an emergency I can turn a valve from inside the boat to have CO2 fill the tubes and float the boat until I fix it, or pump out,” explains Kent.

Undaunted has no engine, so the watermaker and battery charger will be operated by hand and foot pumps.

“I have two 1.2-gallon manual reverse-osmosis desalinators. One would be more than enough, but water is nothing to mess with.

“I will also have one month’s worth of water on board and one month of food that doesn’t need to be rehydrated if the watermakers fail or if I am injured and can’t pump. Making water and electricity will be part of my daily exercise.

“Also I will be able to swim behind the boat with a dual tether and harness system.”

The keel fresh water tank is divided into four ten-gallon compartments to avoid loss of stability in the event that Kent uses the water. Each can then be separately refilled with seawater.

Permission to land

When Vilhen crossed the Atlantic in 1993 in his 5ft 4in Father’s Day , his original plans were thwarted by the US Coast Guard and he eventually departed from Canada. Kent says this was one of the drivers in choosing a west-about route.

“Not only is the thought of coming home better than showing up someplace else after a long voyage alone, but it means that by the time I am in US waters I will have just crossed 4,600 miles of open ocean.

“If I can, I will pull into port, raise my Q flag and wait for Customs there. If I am near shore and I become too much of a traffic hazard, we will have a small boat come retrieve me.

“We are trying to make sure we don’t get in the way of other people’s livelihood or put anyone at risk with a needless rescue operation.”

His safety equipment includes AIS and an EPIRB.

“I have a satellite phone and a shore support team watching weather and my progress, giving me daily weather reports and receiving my location and status updates directly. I will also be tracked by my AIS system.

“I have a standalone GPS, GPS on my radio, GPS on my sat phone and on my smartphone and chartplotter, as well as redundant clocks and a sextant, and paper charts of the Caribbean and mid-North Atlantic.”

Kent says he is unconcerned about the psychological challenge of living in such a small space for four months.

“I have spent weeks alone in the Guatemalan Highlands, and lived alone in the woods for years. I have never been so alone or for so long, but few have.

“With plenty of digital media, books, daily check-ins and phone calls on the sat phone I will hardly be alone. Meditation has been a big part of my life, so the loneliness of the trip is not my biggest concern.”


Length: 1m (42in) Draught: 1.5m (60in) Weight: 544kg unladen (1,200lb), or 816kg laden (1,800lb) Hull Speed: 2.5 knots Sail area: 49.5sq ft  (square sail) plus 27sq ft (rafee)

april fool sailboat

Undaunted has a modified square rig. “I have three identical yards and two sails, one square and one rafee [triangular topsail set above] a lower yard. One will be inside the cabin while the other is set.”

april fool sailboat

The boat has two watertight hatches: a small one set into the large one. The large hatch opens and locks over the back of the boat to act as a work table and guard against getting pooped. The small hatch has a lookout dome and is just big enough to allow Kent to get in and out.

april fool sailboat

Two 16-gallon polyethylene tanks or ‘saddle-bags’ are lashed to either side of the boat under a 4in port. They will hold lighter supplies like clothes and extra line, says Kent. “They are also reserve flotation in the event of flooding.”

april fool sailboat

The rudders are attached to the transom by two 4in piano hinges. Attached to that rack is a third tiller that travels through the transom inside a rubber boot to keep it watertight for steering from inside the vessel. There is no autopilot or wind vane self-steering.

april fool sailboat

Two roll-up solar panels can be deployed or stored down below.

april fool sailboat

The keel incorporates a 40-gallon water tank.

april fool sailboat

A large waterproof case houses all electronics, bolted to the port bulkhead. This includes breakers attached to the 105 amp-hour battery in the bilge.

You can learn more about Undaunted and Matt Kent’s Atlantic crossing on his Facebook page Little Boat Project or the website

If you enjoyed this….

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$10 million price drop on superyacht April Fool at Burgess and Merle Wood

Hot news of another large price cut from Burgess as they tell me of a $10 million drop on Feadship’s 60m motor yacht April Fool , a joint listing with Merle Wood & Associates.

She has recently emerged from winter maintenance at STP Shipyard, Palma, where she completed a full repaint from stem to stern. Having also completed her Lloyd's Class 5 year survey in 2011, this yacht is perfect for a new owner to step on board without needing to invest another cent.

April Fool has been run to the very highest standards with no expense spared, has had one meticulous owner since new, has never chartered and has seen very low levels of private use. Pedigree build and design and exceptional engineering combine with very spacious, sophisticated interiors and ample outdoor decks designed for maximum comfort. A host of features include a sauna and a gymnasium while practical design ensures guests can relax at leisure uninterrupted by the crew.

Built in 2006 by the Van Lent yard, April Fool was a winner at the 2007 World Superyacht Awards and is now down to $59,950,000.

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April Fools megathread

  • Thread starter Phil Herring
  • Start date Mar 18, 2019
  • Forums for All Owners
  • Ask All Sailors


SBO Weather and Forecasting Forum Jim & John

Peggie Hall HeadMistress said: I'm envious! Click to expand

Scott T-Bird

Scott T-Bird

Back in the 80's there was The Great Debate that began in Chicago as soon as The Tribune Company bought the Cubs from the Wrigleys about whether or not Wrigley Field should have lights for night baseball. Cubs owners (The Tribune Company) wanted lights. The local neighborhood (Wrigleyville) was in full voice resistance. It went on seemingly for the entire decade. But the writing was on the wall and it was going to happen. Of course, the lights eventually were installed in 1988 and the first game with lights was scheduled on August 8, 1988 (8/8/88). I don't recall if it was April Fool's in 1988 or a year or 2 earlier. In those days, before inter-league play, it was always a big deal for the Cubs- White Sox rivalry to open the season with their last pre-season game, held in Chicago. It just so happened to coincide with April 1. My favorite radio station of the day, WXRT, had Terri Hemmert in the morning broadcasting that The Tribune Company had pulled a fast-one on the locals and, in secrecy, had erected lights at Wrigley Field! The first game was going to be that evening between the Cubs & Sox! Hundreds of people drove by Wrigley that morning hoping to get a glimpse at the lights (they were not even installed yet)! I remember being tempted as I was driving to work on the Kennedy Expressway, going right past the exit at Addison St. Another one that they (WXRT) pulled off, in 1980, the Mayor Jane Byrne April Fool Fest was to be held on Navy Pier! The headlining acts included some artists whom were already dead! Hundreds showed up at Navy Pier, which in those days was derelict and padlocked.  

Peggie Hall HeadMistress

Peggie Hall HeadMistress

jssailem said: Says the lady who unstopped boat heads for a living. There have to be stories there that would put us into stitches. Click to expand


I was helping a friend with some indoor plumbing. As he was about to step on the ladder, I put my finger in his back as I pulled the drill trigger and asked,"does this thing work?". I was right behind him to catch him.  

nat55 said: Starbucks Announces Eastern Maine Store to be Located on Remote Island As you can probably deduce Matinicus Island is way out there..... Click to expand
Pirate Dave said: ... The Dr's Name? Dr Sloof L Irpa Click to expand
SFS said: law firm of Duey Cheatem and Howe? Click to expand

april fool sailboat

Peggie Hall HeadMistress said: Are they planning to deliver? Click to expand

I am guessing there was a bit of rum shared during the discussion.  


Peggie Hall HeadMistress said: This dredged up the memory of what may have been the funniest thread ever on the old CompuServe Sailing Forum. It was spawned by conversation about potato launchers--a short -lived fad in the '90s: a PVC pipe was the cannon, hairspray was the propellant. Here are the directions for making a simple one: To launch a potato put it in the pipe and ignite it. The resulting explosion launches the spud. It was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving that one of us had an inspiration: Go to any popular cruising grounds in the Caribbean and start a dock-to-deck roast turkey delivery service...our business plan was simple: Radio your order to us while you were still a couple of days out...and then send us your coordinates when you were no more than 2 miles out--we guesstimated that would be about the max distance possible without the need for enough fuel (we'd ruled out hairspray as not being powerful enough) to blow up our kitchen and us in it)--and then STAND BY FOR INCOMING GOBBLER! We had visions of flying fowl by the dozen....toyed with the idea of adding sides to the orders, but decided the special handling they'd need to prevent splattering 'em all over customer's boat would cost way more than it would be worth to 'em. I still think the Dock-to-Deck delivery idea has merit.... --Peggie Click to expand


Short lived. Better not tell Ronnie, having a faster boat is only as good as your ability to gain 60-odd yards, in a hellluva hurry.  

The April Fools I remember best was maybe 15 years ago. The guys that make the cartoons for the comic pages "conspired" to swap personas between characters. It was a riot! The one I remember was Mister Dithers became The Sarge from Beetle Bailey. Dagwood became Beetle. In the last frame, Mr Dithers was stomping all over Dagwood, like the real Sarge does to the real Beetle Bailey. I wish they would do it again- or just repeat those original classics.  

Ron20324 said: The April Fools I remember best was maybe 15 years ago. The guys that make the cartoons for the comic pages "conspired" to swap personas between characters. It was a riot! The one I remember was Mister Dithers became The Sarge from Beetle Bailey. Dagwood became Beetle. In the last frame, Mr Dithers was stomping all over Dagwood, like the real Sarge does to the real Beetle Bailey. I wish they would do it again- or just repeat those original classics. Click to expand

Meriachee said: Potato gun. Be afraid Click to expand


Back in the 80s I had my office in the basement. I did many modifications to my computer down there. I was up very late March 31st (4/1). I heard my wife upstairs call out to see if I was up. I didnt respond. I heard her get up out of bed and walk across the floor and call from the top of the stairs. It was while she was walking across the floor that I grabbed some wires, laid down on the floor and draped the wires across my chest. She came down the stairs to check on me and I started shaking violently while laying on the floor! Oh was she PISSED... after I got up.  

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Middle East Crisis Israeli Daytime Pause in Combat Appears to Take Hold in Gaza

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  • An Israeli tank along the border with the Gaza Strip. Amir Levy/Getty Images
  • Israeli protesters pulling down a barricade during an anti-government rally in Jerusalem. Hazem Bader/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Demonstrators blocking traffic in Jerusalem to protest the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and call for the release of hostages. Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters
  • Prayers in Gaza City on Sunday in the courtyard of the Great Omari Mosque, which was all but destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in December. Omar Al-Qattaa/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • An Israeli army officer inspecting damage from a Hezbollah rocket at a home in Kiryat Shmona, near the border with Lebanon. Menahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • The funeral of an Israeli soldier from the Druze minority in Beit Jann, in northern Israel. Avi Ohayon/Reuters
  • Searching for survivors after a strike in Bureij, a densely populated area of central Gaza. Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Follow news updates on the crisis in the Middle East .

The daily pause applies to part of southern Gaza, but not to some of the places most in need.

The Israeli military said on Monday that it had paused operations during daylight hours in parts of southern Gaza, as a new policy announced a day earlier appeared to take hold amid cautious hopes that it would allow more aid to reach residents of the beleaguered territory.

Aid workers said they hoped that the daily pause in the Israeli offensive would remove one of several obstacles to delivering aid to areas in central and southern Gaza from Kerem Shalom, an important border crossing between Israel and Gaza. Despite the pause, aid agencies warned that other restrictions on movement, as well as lawlessness in the territory, made food distribution difficult.

The policy applies only to a seven-mile stretch of road in southern Gaza, and not to areas in central Gaza to which hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have fled since the Rafah invasion began.

When Israel invaded Rafah in early May, the move led to the closure of the lone supply route between Egypt and Gaza, at Rafah, and it hindered aid groups’ ability to distribute food and other aid delivered from Israel and bound for southern and central Gaza.

Though aid groups had stockpiled food and other supplies before the Israeli push into Rafah, six weeks of fighting there have prompted concerns about hunger in southern Gaza, even as fears of a famine ebbed in the territory’s north.

With those stockpiles dwindling, “maybe for a couple of weeks they’ll have enough food, but if we cannot have access and sustain that, then that’s going to be a big problem,” said Carl Skau, the deputy director of the World Food Program, an arm of the United Nations that distributes food in Gaza. Food supplies in southern Gaza were “more stabilized a month ago, but we are really concerned now,” said Mr. Skau, who visited Gaza last week.

The closure of the Rafah border and fighting around it have forced aid groups and commercial vendors to route more of their convoys through Israel, where trucks enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing point. Once the food is inside Gaza, humanitarian organizations transfer it to their own vehicles and distribute it. Those groups say that Israel does too little to ensure the safety of those delivering aid, citing attacks on aid convoys and workers, including Israeli airstrikes.

Israel regularly says that there are no limits on the amount of aid it allows to enter Gaza and blames disorganized aid groups — as well as theft by Hamas — for the failure to move food from Israeli to Palestinian control.

“We think their main problem is logistical, and they’re not doing enough to overcome those logistical problems,” said Shimon Freedman, a spokesman for COGAT, the branch of the Israeli defense ministry that coordinates with aid groups.

Where Israel Said It Would Pause Fighting During the Day

Israel announced a new policy of avoiding daytime combat along a seven-mile route in eastern Rafah. The pause does not apply to central Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled.

Gaza Hospital


Route where Israel

announced a daily

pause in military

Area under May

evacuation order

Rafah crossing

(Closed since May 7)

Kerem Shalom

Source: Israeli military announcement

By Leanne Abraham

But prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have accused Israeli leaders of restricting aid delivery, seeking their arrest on charges including the use of starvation as a weapon of war. And aid groups said the fighting near the Kerem Shalom crossing made it even harder for aid groups to collect the food from the border and then distribute it onward through Gaza.

“Before Rafah, we had free access to Kerem Shalom basically all day, every day,” said Scott Anderson, the deputy Gaza director for UNRWA, the lead United Nations agency for Palestinians. “Now we still have access, it’s just a little more nuanced and difficult to get there,” he added, citing frequent gunfire and explosions in areas traversed by aid trucks, including three times recently when convoys recently came within roughly 100 yards of fighting.

“What we had asked for was windows to access Kerem Shalom without having to coordinate so closely with the I.D.F. — to be able to come and go, and the trucks to come and go, with more freedom,” said Mr. Anderson, using the initials of the Israel Defense Forces.

That led to the new Israeli policy of avoiding combat in daylight hours.

The military said on Monday that it had killed more than 500 combatants in Rafah, severely reducing the capacity of two of Hamas’s four battalions in the city. The remaining two battalions were operating at a “medium level,” the military said.

Though humanitarian groups welcomed the pause, they said that far more still needed to be done.

Israeli strikes have damaged supply routes in Gaza, hindering the passage of convoys, and crowds of desperate Gazans often intercept trucks in search of food. Cash shortages have prevented many civilians from buying food brought into Gaza by commercial convoys.

And as summer approaches, there is a rising need for more clean drinking water, Mr. Anderson said.

In recent weeks, Israel has allowed aid groups far greater access to northern Gaza, where fears of famine were once highest, opening up more access points to the north. But aid groups say that sanitation and health care are still highly inadequate in northern Gaza, even if food supplies have improved.

“We were driving through rivers of sewage everywhere,” said Mr. Skau, the W.F.P. official.

“We really flooded the place with ready-to-eat food commodities,” he added. “But this progress needs to be sustained and frankly we need to diversify.”

Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.

— Patrick Kingsley and Adam Rasgon reporting from Jerusalem

Israeli protesters mass in Jerusalem to call for elections after the war cabinet is dissolved.

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on Monday to call for elections and the immediate return of hostages held in Gaza in a demonstration that followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent decision to dissolve his war cabinet.

The protest outside the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, highlighted the competing pressures the Israeli prime minister is under from conflicting elements of Israeli society.

Last week, two relatively moderate members resigned from the emergency war cabinet Mr. Netanyahu formed in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas-led assault on Israel, citing differences over the conduct of the war against Hamas in Gaza. Far-right members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition called on him to appoint them to the war cabinet, but on Sunday, according to Israeli officials, the prime minister communicated to ministers at a wider cabinet meeting that he was dissolving the body instead.

In the crowd in front of the Knesset on Monday was Yair Lapid, the opposition leader in Parliament , video posted on social media showed. Some of the marchers carried a banner stating that they were “leading the nation to the day after,” a reference to the end of the war in Gaza.

An Israeli police statement said that the police had helped facilitate the rally near the Knesset, and no arrests were immediately reported there.

However, confrontations appear to have been more intense when some protesters broke off to march to Mr. Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, breaching a police roadblock. Anti-government activists have regularly gathered there throughout the war.

The activists chanted, “You are the chief, you are to blame” in front of the prime minister’s residence. Photographs showed some of them gathered around an open fire. Water cannons were fired, and at least nine people were arrested. The Israeli police said in a statement that some of the protesters had attacked officers, slightly injuring some of them.

The Israel Police said it would “continue to allow legal freedom of expression and protest but will not allow violations of public order and riots,” noting the fire.

The protests this week by anti-government activists are not connected to Saturday night rallies held weekly in Tel-Aviv and organized by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents the relatives of hostages held in Gaza. That group held a separate conference in Sderot on Monday on their efforts to bring the hostages home.

The anti-government activists are planning another protest in front of the Knesset on Tuesday.

— Ephrat Livni and Aaron Boxerman


Netanyahu disbands his war cabinet, a widely expected move after two major resignations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has dissolved his war cabinet, an Israeli official said Monday, after the departures of two significant members prompted demands from far-right politicians for representation in the influential group.

The two members, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, quit Mr. Netanyahu’s small war cabinet last week amid disagreements over the direction of the war in Gaza. The men, both former military chiefs , had been seen as voices of moderation in the body, which was formed in October after the Hamas-led assault on Israel and made many decisions about the conflict.

The Israeli official suggested that Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to disband the body — which was communicated to ministers at a wider cabinet meeting on Sunday — was largely symbolic given that Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot had already resigned.

Since their departures, discussions about the war have been driven by Mr. Netanyahu in conjunction with his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, and close advisers, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Dissolving the war cabinet formalizes that process. It may also defuse calls from Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners who might have hoped to fill the places of Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot.

According to Mr. Eisenkot, the influence of one of those far-right leaders, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the minister of national security, had long loomed over the war cabinet’s discussions. After Mr. Gantz resigned, Mr. Ben-Gvir immediately demanded to join the group, writing on X that it was “about time to take brave decisions, achieve true deterrence, and bring true safety to the residents of the south, north, and all of Israel.”

Israeli news outlets reported on Monday that Mr. Netanyahu’s move to disband the war cabinet was a direct response to that demand.

For now, major decisions about the war in Gaza — like whether to agree to a cease-fire with Hamas — will still be put to a separate and broader security cabinet. That group includes Mr. Ben-Gvir and another far-right member, Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister. Both have argued strongly that Israel’s military offensive in Gaza must continue until Hamas is destroyed.

The smaller war cabinet was charged with overseeing the fighting in Gaza. Having members like Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot, former military chiefs of staff from the centrist opposition to Mr. Netanyahu’s government, lent an aura of consensus and legitimacy internationally as Israel grew increasingly isolated over its handling of the war.

“Netanyahu was hearing from very serious perspectives,” said Mitchell Barak, an Israeli pollster and analyst who worked as an aide to Mr. Netanyahu in the 1990s, citing the military careers of Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot. “Now he’s lost it. What he has now is more of an echo chamber.”

Israeli news outlets reported that Mr. Netanyahu is now expected to rely on advisers like Ron Dermer, a seasoned confidant of the prime minister and former ambassador to the United States who served as a nonvoting member of the war cabinet.

But it’s important to remember that Mr. Netanyahu was nevertheless always in the driver’s seat, Mr. Barak added.

Dissolving the war cabinet “centralizes his power and solidifies it and makes it much more difficult for any mutiny,” he said.

— Patrick Kingsley and Cassandra Vinograd

The war cabinet is gone. Who’s left in Netanyahu’s inner circle?

Having dissolved his war cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will rely on an informal group of a few of his closest advisers in making important decisions about the war in Gaza, analysts say.

Mr. Netanyahu created the war cabinet, an influential five-person body, soon after the Hamas-led attacks last October prompted Israel to go to war in Gaza. Two former military chiefs of staff, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, members of the centrist opposition to the right-wing government, joined the group, giving it an air of consensus and credibility among Israelis.

But the two former generals resigned last week , and Mr. Netanyahu has not said whether he will reconstitute the war cabinet. His group of close advisers now lacks the political breadth and military experience the war cabinet had, and the stature of Mr. Gantz, one of Mr. Netanyahu’s chief political rivals.

Here is a look at who he is likely to turn to:

Yoav Gallant: Mr. Gallant, the defense minister and a former general, had been in the war cabinet. He is a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party but has occasionally broken with the prime minister. Last year, amid mass protests against a government plan to overhaul the judiciary, Mr. Gallant said the plan threatened national security, with many reservists vowing to refuse service if the plan became law. Mr. Netanyahu fired him, then reinstated him two weeks later. This year, Mr. Gallant has pushed for a specific plan for governing postwar Gaza , something the Israeli leader has resisted doing.

Ron Dermer: One of Mr. Netanyahu’s closest advisers, Mr. Dermer is a former Israeli ambassador to Washington who had been a nonvoting “observer” member of the war cabinet. He currently serves as Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, and he worked on Israel’s attempts to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia and to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Tzachi Hanegbi: Mr. Hanegbi is Mr. Netanyahu’s national security adviser, and Israeli news media reports said that he was likely to be part of a limited group of officials making sensitive decisions about the war. Last month, Mr. Hanegbi said that he expected military operations in Gaza to continue through at least the end of the year .

Aryeh Deri: Israeli news media also said that Mr. Deri, the leader of an ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party and a close ally of the prime minister, would be part of that limited group. Mr. Deri is a contentious figure: Last year, months before the war began, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that he was not fit to serve as a senior minister in Mr. Netanyahu’s government because he had been convicted of tax fraud.

Two prominent right-wing politicians with hawkish views on the war, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, would not be part of the smaller group advising Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Ben-Gvir, the national security minister, has demanded to be included in the war cabinet, and analysts said that Mr. Netanyahu dissolved it in part to prevent that from happening. Both Mr. Ben-Gvir and Mr. Smotrich remain, however, part of a broader security cabinet that makes some decisions about the war.

— Shashank Bengali

The U.S. Treasury imposes sanctions to cut off weapons to the Houthis in Yemen.

The United States imposed new sanctions on Monday aimed at cutting off weapons, supplies and funding to the Iranian-backed Houthis, who control much of Yemen and have been striking commercial ships in the Red Sea to show support for Palestinians in Gaza.

“The United States remains resolved to use the full range of our tools to halt the flow of military-grade materials and funds from commodities sales that enable these destabilizing terrorist activities,” Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement .

The sanctions were placed on two individuals and five entities that have facilitated weapons procurement for the Houthis, as well as an individual, a company and a vessel that have helped with commodities shipments, “the sale of which provides an important funding stream to the Houthis that aids in their weapons procurement,” the Treasury statement said.

Several of the designated entities are based in China or procure materials for weapons from companies in China, according to the Treasury.

The U.S. action comes as the Houthis have recently stepped up attacks on the ships. The U.S. Navy has responded with retaliatory military actions.

The U.S. Central Command said in a post on social media on Monday evening that it had, in the past 24 hours, destroyed four Houthi radars and one maritime drone in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and destroyed an aerial drone over the Red Sea. On Sunday, the Navy said it had airlifted the crew from a Greek merchant vessel that was attacked in the Red Sea last week. The U.S. military launched airstrikes on Thursday that destroyed three anti-ship cruise missile launchers in Houthi-controlled Yemen, according to the Central Command.

Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Monday that since mid-November, the Houthis, had launched about 190 attacks on ships sailing through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, a crucial shipping route through which 12 percent of world trade passes. The Houthis, the de facto government in northern Yemen, have built their ideology around opposition to Israel and the United States, seeing themselves as part of the Iranian-led “axis of resistance,” along with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Their leaders often draw parallels between the American-made bombs used to pummel their forces in Yemen and the arms sent to Israel that are used in Gaza.

“The Houthis’ continued, indiscriminate, and reckless attacks against unarmed commercial vessels are made possible by their access to key components necessary for the production of their missiles” and drones, Mr. Nelson said.

The Treasury’s statement accused the Houthis of “killing innocent civilians, causing severe damage to commercial ships, and threatening global freedom of navigation.”

— Ephrat Livni

Amid the devastation, Gaza is the world’s deadliest place for aid workers, the U.N. says.

Gaza has become the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers, the United Nations said on Monday.

At least 250 aid workers have been killed since the war there began on Oct. 7, the United Nations has said, and on Monday the U.N. said that nearly 200 of them worked for UNRWA, its main agency for Palestinian refugees, further hindering the work of organizations already struggling to deliver aid in the enclave.

Aid groups have said that most of the dangers come from Israeli bombardment and airstrikes, which have devastated Gaza over eight months of war, killing more than 37,000 Gazans, according to local health authorities. Israel launched its retaliatory campaign in Gaza after the Hamas-led assault in southern Israel killed about 1,200 people and abducted about 240, according to Israeli officials.

The peril faced by humanitarian workers in Gaza has interrupted or obstructed the distribution of desperately needed aid in a place where, aid groups have warned, hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions.

It was unclear how many aid workers have been killed by Israel’s offensive while delivering humanitarian aid, though at least some of the 193 UNRWA employees were, said Inas Hamdan, UNRWA’s acting public information officer for Gaza.

“Airstrikes or bombardment never stop,” Ms. Hamdan said. She added: “In order for humanitarian response to be effective, stable conditions are needed.”

The International Crisis Group , a think tank, said in early May that the Aid Worker Security Database — an open source for tracking attacks on aid workers globally — had documented 234 deaths stemming from 308 incidents targeting aid workers in Gaza. That is the most incidents recorded in a single conflict year since 1997, the group said.

But beyond Israel’s bombardment, the crisis group said, the rate of aid worker deaths in Gaza also stemmed from an ineffectual system to ensure the safe movement of aid workers by communicating and coordinating with the Israeli military.

Questions to COGAT, the arm of the Israeli military that implements government policy in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, regarding the system, known as deconfliction, were not immediately returned.

Dr. Tanya Haj-Hassan, a pediatric intensive care physician whose work with aid groups has taken her to many conflict zones, spent two weeks in late March volunteering at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir El Balah for Medical Aid for Palestine, mostly treating airstrike victims. She said deconfliction involved notifying warring parties that aid workers were coming in and where they were going, so that the warring sides could avoid targeting them.

In Gaza, she said, the deconfliction process was “a farce” and aid workers have been struck when there were no military targets nearby.

“Nothing compares to what I experienced in Gaza, the drone and the actual bombing was constant, so you always felt like there was a possibility that you or the building you were in could be hit at any moment,” Dr. Haj-Hassan said.

She added: “We don’t have any safety guarantees.”

In April seven World Central Kitchen workers were killed in an Israeli airstrike, even after the aid group said it had coordinated the movements of its convoy with the Israeli military.

The military later said in a statement that the “grave mistake” stemmed from a string of errors , including “a mistaken identification, errors in decision-making and an attack contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures.”

Israel’s own account of the strike raised questions about the military’s ability to identify civilians and its procedures for protecting them, as well as whether it has been complying with international law, legal experts told The New York Times after the strike.

— Raja Abdulrahim reporting from Jerusalem

A Biden adviser visits Israel as the military warns of a ‘wider escalation’ with Hezbollah.

A White House adviser met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday as the Israeli military warned that the Lebanese militia Hezbollah was risking a wider confrontation with its cross-border strikes against Israel.

The adviser, Amos Hochstein, who has overseen previous talks between Israel and Lebanon , was meeting with Israeli leaders amid swelling concerns that the confrontation with Hezbollah, a powerful militia and Lebanese political faction backed by Iran, could grow into all-out war. Several Israeli news outlets reported that Mr. Hochstein was holding talks aimed at preventing a further escalation.

In a post on social media late Sunday night, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said: “Hezbollah’s increasing aggression is bringing us to the brink of what could be a wider escalation — one that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the entire region.”

His comments echoed a threat that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made earlier this month, days after Hezbollah launched a barrage of rockets and exploding drones from Lebanon into northern Israel.

“Whoever thinks he can hurt us and we will respond by sitting on our hands is making a big mistake,” Mr. Netanyahu said , according to his government, while visiting soldiers and firefighters in northern Israel. “We are prepared for very intense action in the north.”

Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah is intertwined with its battle against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Hezbollah have fired back and forth in the months since the Oct. 7 assault on Israel by Hamas, another Iran-backed group, set off the war in Gaza. More than 150,000 people on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border have been displaced by the fighting there.

Hezbollah’s attacks have gradually intensified , with the group using larger and more sophisticated weapons to strike more often and deeper beyond the border. Both sides have refrained from engaging in full-blown war, but the tension has increased in the past week.

Last Tuesday, an Israeli strike targeted and killed Taleb Abdallah , one of Hezbollah’s senior commanders, prompting the group to step up its own attacks the next day.

Two days later, the Israeli military said that its fighter jets had struck “Hezbollah military structures” overnight in Lebanese border villages. Then Hezbollah launched what Israeli officials called the most serious rocket and drone assault in more than eight months of hostilities, a barrage that lasted into the evening.

The United States, France and other mediators have sought for months to curb the exchanges of fire.

President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Thursday that his country and the United States had agreed in principle to establish a trilateral group with Israel to “make progress” on a French proposal to end the violence. But Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, rejected that effort the next day , saying that France had adopted “hostile policies” toward Israel.

— Mike Ives and Randy Pennell

Sailors attacked by the Houthis and rescued by the U.S. Navy recount their ordeal.

The crew of the Tutor, a Greek-owned bulk carrier sailing across the Red Sea to India, were on the deck on a sunny morning last week when they spotted in the distance what looked like a fishing vessel with two people aboard. The crew members thought it was nothing unusual, but moments later, the ship captain said, they noticed a vessel rushing toward their ship.

The boat appeared to be remote-controlled — the fishermen they thought they had glimpsed were dummies — and crew members shouted, “Inside! Inside!” as they raced for cover, according to a video one of them posted on Facebook. The boat collided with their ship and exploded, shattering glass windows on the bridge of their vessel and submerging the engine room in seawater and oil, the captain said.

“We were all scared,” the captain, Christian Domrique, said on Monday in Manila, where he and the crew members, all of whom are from the Philippines, were brought after the U.S. Navy airlifted them from the stricken vessel . “It was the first time for all of us to experience that.”

It was one of the more dramatic episodes in recent months in the Red Sea, where the Houthi militia in Yemen has stepped up missile and drone attacks against ships in what it says is a campaign to pressure Israel to end the war in Gaza.

Twenty-one sailors including the captain were rescued from the Tutor; one crew member, who was in the engine room at the time of the collision, is still missing, according to Mr. Domrique and Philippine government officials.

Mr. Domrique, who spoke on behalf of the crew members at a news conference arranged by the Philippine government, said that all of them had stayed on the bridge of the ship after the attack while he contacted the shipowner, the Philippine government and the U.S. Navy, which has been patrolling the waters to deter Houthi attacks. He also warned nearby ships to avoid their location.

“Requesting immediate assistance. We were hit by a bomb,” Mr. Domrique says into the radio, according to another video posted on Facebook.

About four hours after the collision, at around 1 p.m., he said their immobile ship was rocked by another explosion — this time, from a Houthi missile.

“We did not know what to do,” Mr. Domrique said. “We were being attacked both by water and air. We just relied on prayers.”

The crew members moved downstairs to a passageway and camped there amid a scattering of water bottles, bags, extension cords and phone chargers. Some sailors slept on stairs.

“We are hiding now in the alleyway in the middle of the ship because we don’t know where the bombs will fall,” John Flores, the ship’s chief engineer, said in a series of text messages to his wife, who later posted them on Facebook.

The crew managed to find oil to power a small generator that provided light, a power supply and internet access. But Mr. Flores began to fear they would be attacked again, texting his wife that their ship had been drifting for 10 hours waiting for rescuers.

“Please remember that I love you and the kids very much,” he wrote. “Always take care there. I miss you all so much.”

Finally, U.S. Navy helicopters arrived and airlifted the crew members from the ship, bringing them to a Navy cruiser, the U.S.S. Philippine Sea. The U.S. service members, including many Filipino Americans, greeted them warmly, Mr. Domrique said, singing karaoke songs and bringing them food. They were taken to Bahrain before they flew to Manila.

Arriving at the airport, the crew members were seen smiling, though none spoke to reporters. After the news conference, Mr. Domrique hugged his wife, the relief apparent on their faces.

“We are all traumatized,” he said at the news conference, fighting back tears.

— Camille Elemia reporting from Manila

Netanyahu says he didn’t know about Israel’s plans to reduce fighting in southern Gaza. Analysts are skeptical.

The announcement came seemingly out of the blue on Sunday when it was first publicized via the Israeli military’s English and Arabic-language channels: The military would “pause” its fighting during daytime hours along an important humanitarian aid corridor in southern Gaza until further notice.

Amid some immediate confusion over the scope of the pause, a clarification swiftly followed, this time in Hebrew and seemingly for domestic consumption. The change did not mean a cessation of fighting in the southern Gaza Strip, that statement said, adding that the campaign in the southernmost city of Rafah was continuing. Military officials said the daily pauses were meant only to facilitate the increased distribution of food aid in Gaza, where international organizations have issued dire warnings about hunger.

The strange choreography of the messaging became stranger still when the government suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only learned of the military’s plan from news reports and signaled his disapproval.

But analysts said it was likely that the prime minister was aware of the plan and that each announcement was tailored to different audiences. The whipsaw statements appeared to reflect the competing pressures facing Mr. Netanyahu, as he juggles demands from the Biden administration and elsewhere around the globe with those of his own hawkish government. His far-right coalition partners oppose any concessions in Gaza, and he relies on their support to stay in power.

The new policy surrounding the humanitarian corridor — where the military said it would pause fighting from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily — went into effect on Saturday, according to military officials. But Mr. Netanyahu insinuated that he did not learn of the plans until Sunday morning.

“It’s classic Bibi,” said Amos Harel, the military affairs analyst for the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, referring to Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname. Like other experts, he said the announcement was unlikely to have been a complete surprise to him, even if the military commanders did not update him on the exact timing of what they called a tactical change.

“He has a mask for every occasion,” Mr. Harel said in an interview. “For the Americans, he needs to show he is doing more to get aid in. For the Israeli audience he can say ‘I didn’t know’ and go for plausible deniability.”

A statement issued on Sunday by an anonymous government official, whose name and office could not be publicized, as per protocol, said that when Mr. Netanyahu learned about the humanitarian pause, he found it unacceptable. The prime minister was later assured, the statement added, that there was no change in the military’s plans regarding the fighting in Rafah, the southern Gaza city near the corridor that has been the focus of recent operations.

Shani Sasson, a spokeswoman for Cogat, the Israeli agency that oversees policy for the Palestinian territories and that liaises with international organizations, said the move was meant to help clear a backlog of more than 1,000 trucks that had already been inspected by Israel and were waiting on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing.

“We are asking the aid organizations to come and pick up the aid and distribute it,” Ms. Sasson said. “It’s up to them.”

The military’s move coincided with the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and uncertainty over the fate of an Israeli proposal for a cease-fire with Hamas, which includes an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners. Officials said Hamas had demanded some unworkable changes to the proposal that was backed by the Biden administration and endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

The “tactical pause” also comes as Israel awaits another international report expected this month regarding food insecurity in Gaza. A previous report in March, warned that half the population of Gaza was facing “catastrophic” food insecurity and imminent famine.

Mr. Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, also have the threat of arrest, on accusations of war crimes, from the International Criminal Court in The Hague hanging over them. They have been accused of using starvation as a weapon of war.

Israel has portrayed Rafah as a last bastion of Hamas’s organized battalions and the military operation there as the final major step in the war. The military has now gained control of the corridor along Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, long a main conduit for weapons smuggling into the territory.

Israelis are increasingly questioning where the war goes from here and when it will end. The cost for both sides is rising all the time. At least 10 Israeli soldiers were killed in combat this weekend and an 11th died of wounds sustained days earlier.

About 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7 that prompted the war and in all, more than 300 Israeli soldiers have since been killed in combat.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war so far, according to the Gaza health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 this weekend, Gadi Eisenkot, a former military chief and now a centrist politician who quit the emergency wartime government along with his party leader, Benny Gantz, last week, accused Mr. Netanyahu of putting his political needs before those of national security.

Mr. Eisenkot said that the influence of one of Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the minister of national security, was a constant presence over the discussions in the war cabinet, even though Mr. Ben-Gvir is not a member of that decision-making body.

Mr. Ben-Gvir and the far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, have openly criticized the military leadership during the war and have also vowed to bring down Mr. Netanyahu’s government if he agrees to a cease-fire deal before Hamas is fully destroyed — a goal that many experts say is unattainable.

Predictably, Mr. Ben-Gvir was quick on Sunday to attack the military’s announcement of the humanitarian pause in a social media post , denouncing it as a “crazy and delusional approach” and adding that “the evil fool” who decided on it “must not continue in his position.”

Mr. Ben-Gvir did not specify who he meant.

Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.

— Isabel Kershner reporting from Jerusalem


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  1. "April Fool"

    April Fool is a 6-foot sailboat designed by Ed Mairs and built by Phil Van Deventer in 1966. It was sailed by Hugo Vihlen from Casablanca to Florida in 1968, setting a record for the smallest yacht to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

  2. Hugo Vihlen

    The voyage is described in Vihlen's book April Fool, or, How I Sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a Six-foot Boat. 1993 transatlantic crossing. In 1993, he chose to leave from the U.S. coast and headed for England, crossing the North Atlantic in a boat, named Father's Day, that was just 5 feet

  3. Hugo Vihlen & the Voyage of the April Fool

    On April 1, often referred to as April Fool's Day, it seems fitting to recount the voyage of Hugo Vihlen in his micro-yacht April Fool.In 1966, Hugo Vihlen sailed from Casablanca to Florida, aboard his 5'11" sailboat. In 84 days he sailed 4,100 miles and got within 6 miles of Miami, Florida before being stopped by contrary winds and current.

  4. Hugo Vihlen and the April Fool

    He embarked on his sailboat—technically, April Fool measured in at five feet, eleven inches—from Casablanca, Morocco, on March 29 th, 1968. Over 84 days, Vihlen was able to sail 4100 miles, all while struggling with wind and strong ocean currents. He almost made the entire trip, but at around six miles off the shore of Miami, Gulf Stream ...

  5. April Fool: Or, how I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a six-foot boat

    April Fool is the story of Hugo Vihlen's adventure crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a teeny tiny sailboat. My copy was accidentally "borrowed forever" in the 1980s from a small library when I was hugely irresponsible and on the move a lot—hopping islands, beaches, and landlords in a badly used 1969 Cadillac Sedan deVille with black curtains installed.

  6. April Fool! ⛵ This...

    This micro-sailboat named "April Fool" was built by Hugo S. Vihlen in 1966 and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean (from Casablanca to Ft. Lauderdale) in 1968. Built of 3/8" plywood covered with fiberglass cloth, April Fool held the record for the smallest boat to cross the Atlantic from 1968 to 1993. Talk about 'tiny but mighty!'

  7. 5ft 4 Inch "Father's Day" Is The Smallest Boat To Ever ...

    Unfortunately, the April Fool was six and a half inches larger than Tom McNally's five foot, four and a half inch boat which he sailed Across the Atlantic in 1993, claiming the Word Record for ...

  8. April Fool: Or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a six-foot

    April Fool: Or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a six-foot boat Hardcover - January 1, 1971 by Hugo Vihlen (Author) 4.0 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating

  9. One-off sailing boat "Father's Day"

    A Korean War fighter pilot and former Delta Airlines Captain, Vihlen previously made an 85 day crossing in 1968 in what was then the smallest boat to have made the journey, the 5ft 11inch sailing boat April Fool. To Hugo's dismay his arch rival Tom McNally seized the World Record in 1993 by making the Atlantic crossing in in a 5ft 4½inch boat.

  10. April Fool by Hugo Vihlen

    Showing 1 featured edition. View all 1 editions? Edition. Availability ↑. 1. April Fool: or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a six-foot boat. 1971, Follett. in English. 0695802117.

  11. Father's Day

    A Korean War fighter pilot and former Delta Airlines Captain, Vihlen previously made an 85 day crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1968 in what was then the smallest boat to have made the journey, the 5ft 11 inch sailing boat April Fool. To Hugo's dismay his arch rival Tom McNally seized the World Record in 1993 by making the Atlantic crossing ...

  12. Buon April Fool! Hugo Vihlen...

    Argentario Sailing Week. Buon April Fool! Hugo Vihlen sailed across the Atlantic in two tiny boats. His first was called April Fool. It was 5 feet 11 inches (1.8m) long. He set sail on March 29, 1968 from Casablanca, Morocco. Over the course of 84 days he sailed some 4,100 miles (6,600 km) before his progress was thwarted by winds and currents ...

  13. The Smaller The Better? Meet the latest contender on a quest to sail

    His boat, April Fool, was 5 foot 11 inches long and the voyage was the subject of his first book, "April Fool, or How I Sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a Six-foot Boat." Twenty-five years later, Vihlen, by then a captain for Delta Airlines and age 61, took to the Atlantic once again. He chose a northern route from west to east and his ...

  14. Taken for a (April) fool?

    It's the April Fool's Day piece, little more than an excuse for a classic wind-up to be enjoyed as much, if not more, by the publisher as the reader. ... The boat's main feature was clever ...

  15. April Fool

    W ith it's great dimensions (60.96 meters), the acclaimed April Fool meets all the expectations of all who board her. Aboard this wonderful boat, we find a world of exclusive comfort and ship amenities; therefore, she not only satisfies for her size and space, but also for her luxury and quality. Created by the famed yacht builder Feadship ...

  16. Smallest boats: The bonkers world of Microyacht adventures

    In 1968, he crossed from west to east in the 5ft 11in April Fool. In 1993, his record was broken by Tom McNally, a fine arts lecturer from Liverpool, in his 5ft 4 1/2in (1.6m) Vera Hugh .

  17. Undaunted

    Just 24 hours into his first attempt to sail solo across the Atlantic in Undaunted, his 42-inch yacht, Matt Kent had to turn back.. He set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 6 April, but ...

  18. April Fool's Day Prank Sailboat Style!

    "If you look a little closer you might see it..." as I step on the hose nozzle perfectly pointed in your face. 😁 No harm no foul, just a little water when w...

  19. Corny April Fools Day Pranks for Sailors

    Ziptie the toilet seat in the "up" position to tick off female crew. Vaseline the toilet seat, or put Saran wrap on the bowl and set the seat down over it. Put red Kool Aid powder in the showerhead for a sort of boaty Psycho scene (this only works for cruisers, since a racer would never waste water or Kool Aid).

  20. April Fools megathread

    Mar 25, 1997. 4,918. - - Bainbridge Island. Mar 18, 2019. #1. APRIL FOOLS! No, SBO is most definitely NOT refocusing on jet skis! But in honor of the most ridiculous day of the year we're going to share great April Fools stories this week. They do not need to be sailing-related (but extra internet points for stories that are).

  21. $10 million price drop on superyacht April Fool at ...

    15 May 2012 • Written by Malcolm MacLean. Hot news of another large price cut from Burgess as they tell me of a $10 million drop on Feadship's 60m motor yacht April Fool, a joint listing with Merle Wood & Associates. She has recently emerged from winter maintenance at STP Shipyard, Palma, where she completed a full repaint from stem to stern.

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    Sell Your Boat Used Gear for Sale. Parts. General Marine Parts Hunter Beneteau Catalina MacGregor Oday

  23. Middle East Crisis: Israeli Daytime Pause in Combat Appears to Take

    In April seven World Central Kitchen workers were killed in an Israeli airstrike, even after the aid group said it had coordinated the movements of its convoy with the Israeli military.