Cruising Tips

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

December 09 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted February 17, 2010
MAINTENANCE: Keeping Fuel Sludge-ProofFour years ago our diesel engine died because of a blocked fuel line. We’ve known many other cruisers who have suffered the same problem. Whenever a boat is going to windward under power, as we were, the fuel in the tanks gets stirred up. If the tank contains dirty fuel or microbial growth, as ours did, there will often be trouble. To

Quiet Means Safe

by Bruce Balan, Posted February 16, 2010
I know sailors who can sleep through 40-knot winds even though the halyards are throbbing like a string quartet. But the truth is if something on the boat is making noise, chances are that it’s either hitting or rubbing something else and that means lots of chafe and wear. A quiet boat is a chafe-free and therefore a safer boat. At night that can often mean the difference between a good night’s

September 2009 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted February 4, 2010
SHAFT SEAL SQUEALI was powering at low rpm when my wife asked, “What is that high-pitched sound?” I thought it was a belt, but when I went below and looked in the engine box all seemed fine. The noise seemed to be coming from behind the engine, so I lifted the small hatch over the PSS (Packless Sealing System) unit and found that the shaft, boot, and clamps were too hot
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