Columns

After reading “The Essence of Seamanship” (July 2013) by Tom Cunliffe, as well as the online banter that followed, it became apparent that the topic of “seamanship” is a hot one, especially in today’s ever-changing world of on-water and systems technology. Here’s my take: 
We at SAIL don’t tend to dwell on the darker side of the sailing life—boats lost, sailors drowned. The monthly “Voice of Experience” column has its share of drama, but it’s the kind in which, to channel the radio cliché, “luckily, no one was hurt.” Quite honestly we’d rather focus on reasons to go sailing rather give anyone a reason not to.
Gazing upon Cayuga Lake on a calm August day, I am struck now three decades later by my vivid memories of what must be every sailing instructor’s worst nightmare. It was supposed to have been a picnic, a final exam for the summer sailing program at the local yacht club. Instead, in less than 20 minutes, it turned into a terrifying, life-threatening maelstrom of wind and water.

Windshifts: The Worst Day

by Matts Djos, Posted August 15, 2013
Though we’d dragged our 6,000-pound Balboa 26 over three mountain ranges and through seven passes, our pilgrimage from Colorado to Washington State had been relatively carefree. After that we’d spent three weeks in the Gulf Islands east of Vancouver, all without a serious mishap. Then, as we were moored in Oak Harbor preparing for the final leg back to Seattle, everything changed.

Multihull Madness: Our Readers Write

by Sail Staff, Posted August 8, 2013
In response to a letter in our July issue, SAIL editor Peter Nielsen asked our readers to spout out on their thoughts on multihulls. Check out reader responses to “Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea”.

Readers Write on the Essence of Seamanship

by Sail Staff, Posted July 8, 2013
In our July 2013 issue, regular contributor Tom Cunliffe reflected on the essence of seamanship. We asked about your views on seamanship, and you answered. Here are a few reader-submitted takes on the essence of seamanship.
After the rigors of our Ouija board navigation, Ken treated me to a spontaneous VHF serenade. Suddenly, blasting out of the radio came the unmistakable sound of the “Ride of the Valkyries.” I grabbed the microphone and hollered to my mid-ocean friend, “Charley don’t surf…Charley don’t surf!”

A Terrible Sinking Feeling

by Allen F. Murphy, Posted June 28, 2013
My running diesel made a clunking sound, followed by silence. Next came the sound of rushing water, as if from a large hose. I quickly pulled the companionway steps off the engine compartment and saw tannin-darkened river water gushing in around the propeller shaft, a shocking confirmation of my worst fear. If the flooding water couldn’t be stopped, Kelly IV, my 1979 Endeavour 32, would be lost.
It's no secret that the popularity of recreational sailing in America is ebbing and, sadly, has been for decades.  According to the US Coast Guard, since 1999 sailboat registrations have dropped by more than 25% , a trend that began back in the early '80s, and now barely 2% of all registered boats are powered by the wind.
America’s Cup. Controversy. One goes with the other. For as long as the Auld Mug has been in existence, it has been surrounded by various degrees of skullduggery, brinkmanship, double-dealing, scandal and just plain nastiness.
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