Cruising Tips

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

Shaft Seal Cruising Tips - On Deck

by RON SCHAPER, Posted October 1, 2009
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

A Life Afloat

by Cindy Wallach, Posted September 3, 2009
Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in the big city. One day the little girl’s mother and father brought her to a big garden center. There were rows and rows of seeds and bulbs and saplings, and in the very middle there was a sailboat. She climbed on board and found a little kitchen, a little bed, and even a little toilet. Her mother called to her, “Honey, what

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
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