Cruising Tips

Four Inexpensive Upgrades

by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 1, 2012
Here are four inexpensive additions and upgrates from experienced cruiser Terry Kotas, who sails Cetus, a Fantasia 35.
It was a pleasant day in May when our family boarded Val-De-Ri, our Catalina 34. We were preparing to sail from our homeport in Bath, North Carolina, to Chesapeake Bay, a long-anticipated cruise. Little did we know that we were in store for a smoking engine, medical issues, a storm from the north, and an unintentional grounding.

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.

Five Space-Saving Galley Items

by Jan Irons, Posted November 15, 2011
I lost at least 25 percent of the storage space in my galley when we installed our watermaker, because the only place it could fit aboard our cramped 37-foot sailboat was directly under the galley sink. Now I’m constantly looking for ways to save space in the galley. Here are a few of my favorites.

Flying Free

by Don Casey, Posted November 15, 2011
On our Allied Seawind ketch we fly the national ensign from our mizzen topping lift, rather than flying it from a short staff on the rail under the mizzen boom where it would be at odds with the mizzen sheet.

Figure-Eight Rope Coils

by Charles J. Doane, Posted November 15, 2011
Perfect O-shaped coils of rope look mighty nice when done up properly, and in many cases this is a fine way to make up and stow an idle line on a sailboat. But in some instances lines trained to coil down in ovals develop problems when working. This happens most often with lines that run through a multi-part tackle. If you coil the tail of a line that runs through a tackle in perfect ovals, you’ll soon find the line twists up in the tackle when you’re using it. Eventually you must unreeve the line from the tackle, untwist it so it runs fair again and then re-reeve it. To avoid this, you should coil the line in a figure-eight pattern when stowing it.

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
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