Cruising Tips

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

December 2010 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted December 9, 2010
Waiting to InhaleA decade ago, while thumbing through a cooking magazine, a photo of a bicycle pump caught my eye. It turned out to be a vacuum pump that could do the same thing as a big, boxy kitchen vacuum sealer costing more than $100. But it was small, hand-operated and cost just $20. I researched the Pump-N-Seal food saver online and then ordered one. It has been an

September 2010 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted September 21, 2010
Line items Whether it’s an official range that is marked on a chart or just two sticks in the sand that you have set up yourself to help get your dinghy through a narrow cut in a reef, a range is an important tool for the sailor. A range works because the two vertical poles or objects are aligned to create an unmovable line of position. Ranges work best when the aftermost stick,

August 10 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted August 11, 2010
SAIL AWAY Although it’s easy to turn on the engine and pick up the anchor or cast off a mooring pennant, it can be a lot more fun for guests and crew if you sail away from an anchorage or mooring instead. This, of course, assumes suitable wind conditions and that you have enough maneuvering room—including a decent margin of error in case something goes wrong. If you really want

June 2010 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted June 9, 2010
SEAMANSHIP: Snatch and Release If you anchor out a lot, as I do, eventually you will be in a situation where the flukes get snagged on something: a rock ledge or an abandoned cable are typical culprits. You’ll know you are hooked when you shorten up on the anchor rode and it will not break out, even when you power ahead over it. To retrieve the anchor you need to reverse

May 2010 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted May 24, 2010
MAINTENANCERepairs on the runWe take very good care of both Yanmar engines on our Outremer 45 catamaran. Before we left Thailand late last year we serviced everything and figured the engines were in good shape for our passage to the Med. Everything worked well until we spent a week motoring in the windless Gulf of Aden and noticed our port engine was using two pints

April 2010 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted April 28, 2010
SAFETY: Deck SureHatches, like windows, are designed to allow light and air to enter the interior space. But there’s a price to pay if someone accidentally steps on top of a wet hatch. A slippery hatch can suddenly turn an orderly footstep into a chaotic crash on the deck. Or worse. The best solution—applying bands of anti-skid tape on the hatch—isn’t very pretty and lets

Towing - The Bottom Line

by Chuck Baier, Posted April 27, 2010
Many sailors have memberships with TowBoatUS, Sea Tow and other organizations. But how many understand what services their membership includes, what their own responsibility is if they do call for assistance, and what level of assistance they should expect to receive? Most memberships have different levels of coverage, and if you’re unsure

January 10 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted February 17, 2010
SEAMANSHIP: Hang tightPriority number one when I’m out cruising is to stay on board my boat. Using a safety harness after dark, or when conditions are strong, is important, but even the best harness only guarantees you stay attached to the boat. It’s no fun being dragged alongside. Also, accidents can happen in the most benign conditions. A sailor from my marina drowned
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