Cruising Grounds

Muddling Towards Golden Gate

by Michael Petrie, Posted November 21, 2008
They say you never forget the first time. For me, cruising offshore began back in 1976 onboard Azulo, a 20-year-old, 31-foot Mariner ketch. Three friends—Dave, Karl, and Allen—and I set out to follow the path of 19th-century writer Richard Henry Dana, up the California coast. A motley crew of four young sailors off sailing the high seas!I kept a journal during that first cruise,

A Year Afloat With The Family

by Sail Staff, Posted November 21, 2008
Living onboard a 50-foot sailboat with six members of your family for a year isn’t always easy—especially in a space the size of your living room. For example, what are you to do when your brother uses up all the hot water—for the rest of the day? Or when, after a bitter spat with your sister, the length of the saloon is the farthest you’re going to get away from each other—for the next two

Ceviche and Process Knitting

by Clark Beek, Posted September 24, 2008
I heard various comments about Peru from other sailors as I cruised South America, usually to the effect of “Don’t even go near the coast. Stay at least fifty miles off.” These rumors undoubtedly date back to the 1980s heyday of Peru’s dictatorships and the Shining Path guerillas; Peru is now in fact a pretty tame place. Moreover, it has 1,500 miles of coastline, several key New World

Fast Raft to Brazil

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008
Lodged in my nautical psyche I find indelible images of rafts: a boy and a runaway slave standing proud before a canvas tent aboard a makeshift pontoon of pine planks floating down the muddy Mississippi; a sun-bronzed Viking in a loincloth steering a lashed-up slab of balsa logs across the electric-blue Pacific with a massive oar. Having always wanted to be that boy and that Viking, how could

Passage To Tomorrowland

by William Yates, Posted August 13, 2008
A California sailor becomes the world’s first solo golden shellbackBy William YatesThe reefing line just parted, making a shot gun blast—BLAM!—as it went. This gets my attention. I don T-shirt, shorts, shoes, and harness, slip on the spreader lights, and climb the ladder to the cockpit. The big sail is flapping wildly. I ease the preventer and take in the main, then
Every once in a while, lake Superior fails to live up to its fearsome reputationStory and Photos by Fred BagleyMy wife’s father was 98 years old when I asked him why, having sailed Lake Michigan and Lake Huron’s North Channel for 65 years, he had never taken any of his boats to lake Superior. George replied without hesitation, “Too much fog, too damn cold.”Superior’s

What Heat Wave?

by Robby Robinson, Posted August 11, 2008
Yes, temperatures may be high, but there are brisk southeasterlies, warm waters, and the biminiEvening was still very hot. Friends had told us not to miss the unique monastery on Cat Island, and my wife, Carol, seemed eager and able. But as we traipsed the beachfront in the sun, I was waiting for my life to flash before my eyes. Going out in the noonday sun has never seemed

The Joy of Gunkholing

by David W. Shaw, Posted August 11, 2008
There's more to cruising than wide-open spacesI glanced to port at the anvil-shaped cloud rising high over the mainland to the west, then at the genoa eased to catch a southerly breeze blowing anemically up the Johns River off Elizabeth's stern. My heavy full-keel Bristol 24 barely moved. More to the point, I was losing the race with my friend's Tartan 27 as he glided toward

Crossing More Than Miles

by Sail Staff, Posted August 11, 2008
Mother-daughter bonding on the high seasAs I dialed my mother’s number on the Panama City pay phone, I told myself not to be disappointed if she’d changed her mind. My father, who’d been worrying ever since I’d announced my decision to sail the 3,200-mile passage from the Galpagos to the Marquesas alone, had e-mailed me the night before. Subject line: “Crew for your

Glimpses of an Alternate Reality

by Irene Gould, Posted August 11, 2008
Palmerston Atoll, in the Cook Islands, delivers hospitality unheard-of in the real world.We were six long days out of Bora Bora. The wind was like a baby’s breath, and the rolling swells frequently knocked it out of our sails. Progress was slow but peaceful until the western sky filled with the rapidly lowering cumulus of an approaching cold front. We were soon hunkered down in
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