Know-How

Higher and Faster

by Kevin Montague, Posted August 28, 2008
Recently, a sailmaker called to inquire about upgrading the backstay system on his client’s mid-1980s 34-foot masthead-rigged sloop. The client was buying a slightly larger headsail that could cover a broader spectrum of wind ranges and thought that the standard backstay and turnbuckle just weren’t up to the task. The working range of the turnbuckle was 2 to 3 inches of length, and the time

Downwind Sails for Cruising

by Chip Lawson, Posted August 28, 2008
I’m a real fan of downwind sails because they add a lot of speed and fun. On my 40-footer I carry a 1.5-ounce symmetric spinnaker in a sock, a 75-ounce asymmetric, also in a sock, that I set on a collar around the headstay, and a 2.2-ounce Code 0 that I have mounted on a Harken furler. I use the symmetric when I have a good crew but leave it ashore when I’m sailing shorthanded. The Code 0 is

Busted!

by David Schmidt, Posted August 27, 2008
Sailors have been tying knots for millennia, and no doubt innovators have been trying just as long to invent both stronger rope and better knots. Yet the basic problem still remains: Every rope is weakened when its fibers are bent. Loading a knot with a large amount of weight creates a sheer force on the fibers; given enough force, the fibers break and the rope fails. Today’s

Bailout Electronics

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008
As part of a major refit of our BoatWorks Bailout boat, a 1983 Ericson 34, we installed an up-to-the-minute electronics package. It was easier than expected.By Mark CorkeInstalling a new pedestal from Edson gave us space for a number of instruments, with the C80 display taking center stage. The C80 acts as a chartplotter, radar display, and, with optional modules, can be

Easy Reefing

by Ian Nicholson, Posted August 21, 2008
Windage and drag are two of a racing sailboat’s worst enemies, especially around a sail’s leech. Many racers eschew in situ reefing lines until it’s absolutely necessary to reef. (Some cruisers also don’t use reefing lines, as they can chafe sailcloth.) The risk is that you can get caught out if you’re not careful. A smarter, faster way to reef without leaving reefing lines in

Paper or Plastic?

by Sail Staff, Posted August 21, 2008
"You're not carrying any paper charts?" is a question I've heard at all the exotic landfalls and cruiser's hangouts I've visited during my circumnavigation. Many cruisers, it seems, aren't quite ready to fully trust their electronic chartplotters. While almost all cruisers, other than a few diehards, do have plotters on board, they also carry enough paper charts and tools for measuring and

Genoa Gybe

by Tom Cunliffe, Posted August 21, 2008
A sailor quickly learns the right way to gybe a mainsail: Trim the mainsheet carefully, and always keep the boom and sail under full control. But in all the moving around, the headsail, often a genoa, tends to be forgotten. Unless you have a crew of eager sailors in search of a permanent job, that's usually a good course of action. Do nothing with the headsail until the mainsail has been

Smart Plan

by Sail Staff, Posted June 24, 2008
MAKE A PLANNING SPREADSHEETI use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for my planning documents, and I use four different worksheets. The main sheet covers a full year of sailing (I know, that sounds llke a lot of planning but I have found that it is very helpful to me) while the other sheets detail my plans for a long trip in the spring, plus shorter weekend trips and another long trip

Keeping Connected: Communications for Cruisers

by Sail Staff, Posted November 13, 2007
The rapid evolution of communications technology in the last decade has meant that more of us are able to keep in range of a regular cell phone. We asked many of the entrants in the 2006 ARC transatlantic rally how they planned to stay in contact with those back home and received a variety of answers. Here we describe what systems were chosen and why, and explain some of the

Decommissioning Checklist

by Sail Staff, Posted October 25, 2006
By Charles MasonBefore you do anything else, compile a detailed list of all the projects that need to be done before the boat goes back in the water next year. Detail each item as carefully as possible and take photos and measurements of the project area so you can use them when ordering materials and in planning work sessions. Make this list when the boat either is still in
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