Cruising Tips

Fenders for Tenders

by Patrick Childress, Posted November 15, 2011
Inflatable dinghies are rough and tough, but their skin is thin. If your rubber duck leads a hard life, adding some protective padding in key spots will reduce chafe and help prevent the little boat from developing an odd list when least expected.

Extrasensory Perceptions

by David W. Shaw, Posted September 28, 2011
The night sky over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel flashed white with lightning, like a silent artillery barrage. The storms were so far up the bay the sound of the thunder never reached Sonata, the 1981 Pearson 36 cutter...
With sustained winds of 100 mph, Hurricane Irene is expected to strengthen as it approaches the U.S. mainland this weekend. Irene, already a Category 2, should avoid the southeastern states, but Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are battening down the hatches for a storm that could hit as early as Saturday afternoon. The forecasts echo those of 2010, when Hurricane Earl arrived with
Waterspouts are not just “tornadoes over water.” Meteorologists admit they still have much to learn about these phenomena, but there is a typical “waterspout cloud” that usually generates them. These dark, flat-bottomed cumulus clouds generally get no taller than 20,000 feet. As clouds go, this is noticeably low. Waterspouts get their energy from heat in the water, so they are most frequently
Like most cruisers, I was happy to ditch my symmetric spinnaker and defect to a more easily handled asymmetric kite, but I can’t deny that the symmetric sail has its advantages. It works better on downwind runs with the apparent wind at 140 degrees or more, and on most older boats it has the considerable virtue of already being on board (no need to spend money) and is probably lightly

Tools for your Cruise

by Don Casey, Posted August 22, 2011
Cruisers who sail long distances typically carry a vast array of tools and spare parts, but weekend sailors tend to buy parts as needed and depend on tools normally kept at home, in the trunk of a car, or even hanging on the rack at a hardware store. But what happens when you take your boat out of home waters, with house, car, hardware store and chandlery left behind? This is a good question to

The Mayday that Wasn't

by Stan Wreford, Posted July 1, 2011
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issueWe were 450 miles south of Bermuda and three days into a passage from Bermuda to St. Martin on Dream Weaver, our 50-foot cutter, when Dawn, my wife, asked me, “Why is the sink filled with water?”. With moderate northerly winds we’d made good progress for two days, but then the wind had died and turned southerly. We’d been

Sudden Exposure

by Steve Dublin, Posted June 23, 2011
This story originally appeared in the December 2009 issueWe were on the return leg of our round-trip cruise from Florida to the Dominican Republic. The crew included my wife Lucy and our sailing friends, Joe and Mary Merchberger, and we had all enjoyed the beautiful countryside and friendly people of the Dominican Republic. Our sleigh ride back north had all but erased the memory

Hardening Targets

by Jan Irons, Posted June 16, 2011
We were savoring a meal of fresh mahi-mahi with new friends and soaking up the quirky backpacker atmosphere of the Caribbean beach town we planned to explore the following morning. Winterlude, our Passport 37, was anchored less than 100 yards away, just out of view. After lingering over one last rum punch, we dinghied back out to our boat in time to catch the last rays of the setting sun
Originally published in February 2009 issueWinter is biting deep now, and there isn’t a lot of sailing to be had in my local creek. It’s a grim scene in business too, so all I can say is thank goodness for the swinging oil lamp and the yarns that stand in for that stiff, cleansing beat to windward those of us in the north are missing so badly.Last weekend I was a guest at
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