Columns

At sea, the boundary between dream and reality can prove rather elusive. Could my shipmate actually be waking me with these confusing words: “Ray, wake up! We’re way off course, and we need to reef the deck chairs!”

45 Years of Sailing

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 2, 2015
On SAIL’s 45th anniversary, we look back at 45 inventions, developments and refinements that changed the way we sail. The year is 1970. Richard Nixon is in the White House. Men wear long sideburns, oversized sunglasses, medallions, velour shirts and platform shoes—

Wally’s Laws of Boating

by Wally Moran, Posted February 6, 2015
When Murphy’s Law just doesn’t cut it...  
Dawn on the morning of my 40th birthday, singlehanding 300 miles offshore, I had just wrapped up an ambitious, five-year work stint that provided for the sailboat of my dreams plus a kitty to take her cruising.
It doesn’t matter how many children you have, or how much practice you’ve had raising them, one thing holds true: you get to start over with each one.  

How to Save a Flipped Dinghy

by Wally Moran, Posted December 10, 2014
As the silvery bubbles roiled past my eyes following an unexpected breaking wave, I remember thinking: just stay calm and you’ll float to the surface. No big deal here.

Voice of Experience: A Wayward Gust

by Sergio Cosso, Posted September 25, 2014
My first boat was a poorly maintained Thompson 21 powerboat that broke down so often I decided to try sailing. After all, having wind as the motive power and an outboard kicker when that failed would, in theory, provide the redundancy to keep me out of trouble and my family safe. 
We have an inflatable globe that hangs in our saloon, and it is ruining my life. It is an innocuous-looking thing: the different countries are decked out in cheery purples and oranges, and a there’s jagged Sharpie line showing our route from the Chesapeake to the South Pacific. But somehow, whenever talk turns to the future, the globe jumps off its perch and into someone’s hands. Mesmerized, we turn it and turn it, trying to take in every country, every possibility, every tiny harbor. And we begin to play an endless game of And Then We Could.
One beautiful afternoon last August I sat on an old-growth cedar stump that had washed up on the beach in a winter storm and watched a blue gale blow up the Straits of Juan de Fuca. The straits are straddled to the south by the aptly named 11,000-foot-high Hurricane Ridge and 20-plus miles to the north by the beach where I sat.

Voice of Experience: Going Wrong in Fives

by Timothy B. Glynn, Posted July 14, 2014
John D. Macdonald, through his iconic character Travis McGee, observed that one thing never goes wrong on a boat. Instead, things go wrong in threes.
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