Seamanship

Dinghy Seamanship

by Fay Mark, Posted August 18, 2009
There’s an old saying that some of the most dangerous moments in sailing occur when people are in their dinghies. Over the years we’ve had lots of opportunities to see dinghies being handled well and poorly, and we’ve seen a lot more good and bad examples since we have been cruising in the Caribbean aboard our 54- foot cutter New Morning. We carry an 11-foot Zodiac

No-foul jib sheet

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 5, 2009
The bowlines used to attach sheets to the clew of a headsail have an annoying habit of catching on inner forestays, babystays, and shrouds. Here’s a why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-before idea: if you’re replacing your headsail sheets, don’t cut them in half. Double the sheet over and thread the looped end through the clew. Pass the tails through the loop and draw tight. Then say goodbye to those

Cheap geezer logbook

by Chip Lawson, Posted June 22, 2009
My sailing philosophy is, “when on watch, stay on deck”. I have made many changes to my boat to reduce the need to go below. One simple change was to create a waterproof logbook that I could safely leave on deck in any weather without fear of damage. A side benefit is that it is inexpensive as well.Using spreadsheet software I created a logbook format I liked. I purchased

Seamanship: Twin power

by Chip Lawson, Posted June 19, 2009
I was looking up at the masthead from the deck trying to see how the main halyard and the mainsail’s headboard were interacting and how the upper swivel for the jib furler was aligned. I took my 7x50 binoculars but I was still unable to get the close-up view I wanted. Then, in a eureka moment, I pulled out my digital camera, with its zoom capability, and put its lens to one of the binocular’s

Industrial strength safety

by Sail Staff, Posted May 18, 2009
Rope clutches, or stoppers, are wonderful items to have on board. Not only are they quick and easy to operate, they eliminate the need for extra winches. But each one must be labeled so the trimmer can see immediately what line that particular stopper controls.When San Francisco sailors Russ Irwin and Fay Mark labeled the clutches on their brand new 52-footer New

Refreshing Pause

by Steve Henkind, Posted May 18, 2009
This summer, many sailors will embark for the first time on a long, non-stop coastal or offshore passage that involves one or more nights at sea. If you are sailing a long distance, you should set and follow a formal watch schedule. Some boats utilize a “catch as catch can” approach—but this can lead to exhaustion and is a recipe for disaster. Watchstanding routines can range from a very basic

The Z factor

by Steve Henkind, Posted May 18, 2009
The first night on your boat after a long winter is always an education. You learn that the gentle rocking of a boat in a slip or at a mooring can be mightily effective when it comes to curing insomnia. You also learn, as the slightest of rolls sets crockery a-clinking and cans a-clanking, that you haven’t done a very good job of stowing the odds and ends that you’ve just put

Dreams at Sea

by Dave Welch, Posted March 11, 2009
At sea I remember my dreams; at home I rarely do. Awakened frequently by a new sound or unexpected movement of the boat, I pop to attention with a dream still running in my head. I have to; my world floats just above the surface.On a recent delivery from Charleston, South Carolina, to Tortola, BVI—eight days, but it felt more like sixteen—we pounded east and then south

The Zero Knot Sailor

by Sail Staff, Posted February 5, 2009
High and dry in the unchanging latitude of my zero-knot armchair, I was an excellent sailor. Always at the ready, nimble and knowledgeable, never seasick or tired—I was eager, eternally young, and unafraid.You need only ask some of my former illustrious shipmates. Joshua Slocum, Sailing Around the World Alone, found me a stalwart companion. With Richard Henry Dana, Jr., I spent

The Shipping News

by Sail Staff, Posted August 21, 2008
When our wind generator stopped spinning in Fiji, we wanted to have parts sent to us by the manufacturer. Then several friends told us they were having trouble getting gear sent from overseas; the problems ran from having packages stopped in customs to shipments that never even showed up. So instead of having our purchases mailed directly to us at our marina, we asked a local chandlery that
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