Columns

Voice of Experience: Communication Breakdown

by Carl Hunt, Posted October 31, 2013
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” This famous line from the classic movie Cool Hand Luke is also a phrase that neatly summarizes a bareboat charter my wife, Nancy, and I recently enjoyed with friends in Corsica.
They didn’t hoist the Jolly Roger or fire a shot across my bow, but their intentions were worrisome.
In a rare unguarded moment this summer, while discussing the cost of boat ownership, I recounted aloud the full cost of keeping a 34-foot sailboat on the water in my part of New England. My position in this debate was that boat ownership was more affordable than most people think, and I still reckon it can be.
It was a beautiful afternoon for sailing out on the Chesapeake, and our non-sailing friends seemed delighted to be taking an active part.

Windshifts: A Semi-Pirate Story

by Ray Jason, Posted September 19, 2013
They didn’t hoist the Jolly Roger or fire a shot across my bow, but their intentions were worrisome. I was 80 miles off the coast of Nicaragua, on a rhumb line course from Panama to Key West. The seas were sloppy and felt more like Mother Maytag than Mother Ocean. My Spanish is bueno, and I had been trying to raise my visitors on the radio for 20 minutes. Surely the four hombres aboard the 70-foot rust museum weren’t blasting through these dreadful seas just to sell me a fish.
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”.
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