Cruising Tips

Dodging Sea Monsters

by Tor Pinney, Posted May 9, 2011
Most commercial ships are run by competent professional crews. Still, close encounters with yachts are not uncommon. Every once in a while a ship arrives in port with a mast wedged in her anchor—and no one knows how it got there.To an offshore sailor a large merchant vessel can seem like a modern-day sea monster, capable of obliterating a yacht and spitting out the scraps

Sudden Turn

by Steven Fink, Posted April 20, 2011
One beautiful, sunny July day I was sailing Rondo, my Beneteau 423, about a mile off the famed Santa Monica pier in picturesque Santa Monica Bay, California. The wind was blowing gently at around 8 knots, and I was reaching along on port tack making about 5 knots. It was a typical Southern California day with a typical Southern California breeze. Suddenly, at a distance of about 300 yards, I saw

Season's First Sail

by John Fisher, Posted April 19, 2011
It was a beautiful afternoon in the middle of May, and I was making final preparations to move Second Epic, our Newport 30-III, from its winter storage yard to our seasonal slip at Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, New York.Rigging the boat that morning had taken longer than I expected, but that always seems to happen during commissioning. As I fussed over a few final details, I knew I should

Relearn the Old Lessons

by Sail Staff, Posted April 19, 2011
As we enjoy the summer sailing season, it’s worth taking a minute to be sure some important sailing traditions don’t get overlooked—or even forgotten—in this age of electronic navigation and autopilots. Stuff still happens out on the water, but fortunately, almost everything that does can be minimized or prevented through good seamanship.First and foremost, whether you are sailing an

Search Patterns for Sailors

by Sail Staff, Posted April 5, 2011
It’s late at night and you’re sailing downwind in a moderate breeze. You hear a faint scream, quickly go up top to investigate and discover, to your horror, that no one is on deck. Apparently, your shipmate has fallen overboard. You hit the MOB function on the GPS, get the boat turned upwind and proceed to the approximate spot where your companion fell overboard. He is nowhere to be

Voice of Experience: Heading for the Rocks

by Travis Gill, Posted March 11, 2011
We were halfway into a three-week summer cruise through the San Juan and Gulf islands in the Pacific Northwest. Aboard Hannah, our Hunter 356, were my wife Chantil, my 15-year-old daughter, Sierra, my 11-year-old son, Aaron, and our dog, Jack; also with us were my nephews Andrew and Zack, who are 13 and 12. Our vacation was going so well I jokingly considered calling work and asking for

The Fine Art of Gunkholing

by Kevin Walters, Posted March 10, 2011
July in Lake Huron’s North Channel is a special time. The cruising season is in full swing and what is normally a quiet wilderness area begins to come to life with cruisers looking for the perfect anchorage. Last year my family and I spent nearly a month in the North Channel visiting sleepy ports, rugged islands and one of the world’s largest freshwater fjords.The 1,000-mile round trip

March 2011 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted March 10, 2011
INGENUITY: Tackle and WinchIn the words of the great Bernard Moitessier: “Incredible, the power of a tackle on a winch. I feel I am going to start crying, it’s so beautiful…” These were his thoughts after he used a four-part block and tackle with its fall led back to a primary winch to straighten out the steel bowsprit on his ketch Joshua after she was hit by a freighter.

Say Again

by Rod Glover, Posted January 18, 2011
There are many different ways to embarrass yourself while sailing. Having fenders hanging over your topsides or large scallops in your mainsail between the slides are two popular examples. Another is to use improper radio procedures. This demonstrates your incompetence not only to those who can see you, but to everyone within 20 miles.I am constantly frustrated by the poor procedures I

Passage Power

by Bruce Balan, Posted January 3, 2011
We are always told when outfitting our boats for cruising that we need to make sure our onboard electrical system can handle our projected daily power usage. But that raises an important question: what sort of day are we talking about? Is it a day spent at anchor, the day we have a lot of guests and friends on board, a day spent in a marina, or—and very often this is not considered—a day spent
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