Cruising Tips

Alone in gale conditions

by Sail Staff, Posted August 18, 2009
I dropped my crew at the fuel dock in Ajaccio, Corsica, thinking it would be only a few moments before I would be able to tie up Eidos, my 32-foot East Orient cutter. Lying just off the dock, I shifted in and out of gear and drifted while waiting for space to open up. Once I was safely tied up I planned to spend the rest of the day cleaning up and fixing things. It was early Sunday

Letting go a sheet

by Tom Cunliffe, Posted August 18, 2009
When the boat is tacking taking the loaded jibsheet off a winch can be a just cause for nervousness. On boats up to 40 feet or so, the safest way to do this is to first ease the sheet off a few inches; keep the flattened palm of one hand pressed against the turns on the drum as they begin to surge around it. This slight easing removes the worst of the load. Depending on the

Duct and sand

by Connie McBride, Posted August 18, 2009
We were sanding the epoxy on the bottom of our 34-footer when the PSA sandpaper disks my husband Dave was using started flying off the pad of his sander. Both the sander and the pad were new at the beginning of the project that was, of course, many disks ago. Dave cleaned the pad but then watched as another disk flew off. Because it was Sunday and the chandlery was closed, he was going to have to

Hitch consistency

by Charles Mason, Posted August 18, 2009
If you plan to be sailing in reduced light conditions make sure everyone uses the same procedure to secure a line around a cleat. If someone decides to use a fancy hitch during the day to secure a line it is easy enough to figure out how to free it up because it is right there in front of you. But when you are trying to clear an offbeat hitch in the dark, you might turn the

Timely toss

by Don Street, Posted August 18, 2009
Every crewmember on a boat should know how to coil and accurately throw a 50-foot length of 1/2" dock line. Skippers who will be asking new crewmembers to throw a dock line to someone on a fuel dock should show them how to do it well before the moment arrives. Throwing a line is not hard to learn, but the skill does need to be practiced. A good throw can save the day during a
My wife, Des, and I have just finished a two-year circumnavigation of the Caribbean Basin. Among the things we learned was that some of the most important things that made our cruising more enjoyable cost less than ten bucks. Here are some of our favorites.
  1. Insulated tumblers Ice is a precious commodity at sea, and so is hot coffee. We used our insulated tumblers for hot coffee in

Heat Beaters

by David Schmidt, Posted August 18, 2009
Cruising quickly becomes less enjoyable as the temperature soars, especially at night when sleeping becomes difficult. Mix in some sticky humidity and things rapidly get uncomfortable. AC works well , if you don’t mind being tied to shore power and a potentially noisy dock scene (we prefer quiet anchorages, thank you). If your boat carries a genset, then you’re still stuck listening to its

Calling for Help

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 18, 2009
The three boats in Tom Cunliffe’s scenario all found different ways of coping with difficult weather conditions, and all made it to port with little or no drama. But what if things had turned out differently? How would they have called for help?Visual distress

Weather Tactics

by Tom Cunliffe, Posted August 18, 2009
Modern weather forecasting is so good that we aren’t often caught out, but we all take a chance once in a while, especially when we’re under pressure to be somewhere else. Coastal sailing in near-gale conditions isn’t the same as ocean storm survival. Instead, we have to think hard about possible shelter and local dangers. Different boats have varying abilities. So do crews. Here’s a hypothetical

Dinghy Seamanship

by Fay Mark, Posted August 18, 2009
There’s an old saying that some of the most dangerous moments in sailing occur when people are in their dinghies. Over the years we’ve had lots of opportunities to see dinghies being handled well and poorly, and we’ve seen a lot more good and bad examples since we have been cruising in the Caribbean aboard our 54- foot cutter New Morning. We carry an 11-foot Zodiac
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