Cruising Tips

When Mark Edwards, a rigger from Auckland, New Zealand, molded the deck for his 50-footer Relapse, he deliberately included raised toerails that trap water on deck for most of the length of the boat: as in, all the way back to the fill-point for the water tanks.

Running Commentary

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 5, 2012
When we talk about downwind sailing, the debate often seems to be about the relative merits of symmetrical versus asymmetrical spinnakers, or gybing a headsail to go goose-winged. It’s easy to forget there’s more than one way to pluck that particular goose.

Do You Know Your Racing Flags?

by Sail Staff, Posted March 1, 2012
Everyone knows the Answering Pennant (AP or “Cat in the Hat” flag) means racing has been postponed and that the “P” flag means a standard starting sequence. But what about the “M” flag, an “N” flag over an “A” flag, or an answering pennant flying above Pennant 2? 
It’s not as easy as pressing a button, but once you learn to use a windvane you’ll never get stuck hand-steering again.
My wife, Penelope, and I recently enjoyed a wonderful cruise through the Florida Keys. Our boat, Alizee, a cutter-rigged Cabo Rico 36, was in excellent condition, with fresh bottom paint and recently inspected standing rigging.
Galley ovens often have hot spots. The short distance from the flame to the pan, a small heat shield, and the smaller volume of air inside the oven all contribute to food burning on the center bottom before its outer edges are cooked through.
We were maybe a quarter-mile from the mooring, motoring slowly home on a still summer evening, when the piercing bleat of the engine cooling-water alarm made us all jump. I looked over the side: Sure enough, the flow of water out of the exhaust had ceased.
The eternally fascinating mental exercise of choosing, equipping and organizing priorities on my ideal cruising boat has kept me awake on countless night watches over the last 30 years and 300,000 miles of bluewater sailing and coastal cruising. No matter where I sail or how ambitious my plans, there are a few things on my dream boat that are not negotiable.

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.
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