Many sailors embarking on ocean passages will take along the obligatory storm jib and trysail, with the vague idea that they may come in handy. Few sailors, however, have a real understanding of how and when to set them.
I’d always dreamed of using a spinnaker to propel our Tartan 31, Solace, along on a light-air summer’s day, but the thought of wrestling with an unruly kite (prior to running it over, of course!) was never appealing. Then one day I read about the benefits of rope-luff sails and their ease of handling in the January 2012 issue of SAIL magazine and decided, “I can do this!”
As a Christmas gift to myself, I asked Hans, my Norwegian cabinet-maker friend, to build some new upgrades for my old and beloved 1968 Venture 21. These included drop boards for the companionway, a bulkhead liner for the V-berth and a mounting board for a bilge pump, all of which he delivered on time to my dock in Olympia, Washington, rough-sanded and ready.
Whether you’re cruising or racing, an adjustable backstay is a helpful device for changing sail shape and controlling forestay tension for improved upwind and downwind performance. By dialing in the right backstay tension you can increase boatspeed. Regardless of whether you have a masthead or fractional rig, using an adjustable backstay is essential to good sail shape. While FULL STORY
My last two columns discussed the high cost of generating electricity with a diesel engine and the relatively short payback period for solar panels on liveaboard cruising boats. The problem with solar is that it requires a lot of surface area to produce significant amounts of power. This is relatively easy to find on catamarans, but not so on monohulls.
Your mast is back in the boat—or it may have been there all winter—the shrouds are tuned, the engine is checked, and all the battens are in the sails. You are ready for your first sail of the season. Without doubt, many boatowners follow this path, but if you’re one of them, be ready to act quickly if a piece of gear holding the mast suddenly fails and the rig begins to FULL STORY
Despite all the progress in sailing gear and equipment certain aspects of life at sea never change. Keeping water out, maintaining good boatspeed, preserving and conserving food stores, and carrying adequate spares for the inevitable failures that occur are all perennial priorities. Plus one more thing; having a good supply of fresh air below.