by Dave Welch, Posted March 11, 2009At sea I remember my dreams; at home I rarely do. Awakened frequently by a new sound or unexpected movement of the boat, I pop to attention with a dream still running in my head. I have to; my world floats just above the surface.On a recent delivery from Charleston, South Carolina, to Tortola, BVI—eight days, but it felt more like sixteen—we pounded east and then south
by Sail Staff, Posted February 5, 2009High and dry in the unchanging latitude of my zero-knot armchair, I was an excellent sailor. Always at the ready, nimble and knowledgeable, never seasick or tired—I was eager, eternally young, and unafraid.You need only ask some of my former illustrious shipmates. Joshua Slocum, Sailing Around the World Alone, found me a stalwart companion. With Richard Henry Dana, Jr., I spent
by Steve Henkind, Posted November 21, 2008GPS has greatly simplified certain aspects of navigation; at the mere touch of a button, a boat’s position can be determined within about 30 feet. Despite the reliability of these devices, boats are still being damaged because of navigational errors. After several decades of both navigating and teaching navigation, I’ve suffered a few close calls of my own and can recommend some ways to use your
by Steve Henkind, Posted November 20, 2008Chartplotters are powerful extensions of GPS technology and provide tremendous convenience, but they can get you into trouble if you’re not careful. While my focus is on vector-based plotters (digitized charts, which are the ones typically found on recreational sailboats), most of my observations also apply to raster-based (scanned charts) plotters.Scale change matters.
by Richard Woods, Posted August 26, 2008Follow these performance tips to get the most from your cruising cat.By Richard WoodsI’ve been sailing and designing catamarans since 1976. I’ve cruised tens of thousands of miles and have won several national titles in racing boats. Years of experience have taught me how to maximize sailing performance. For starters, nothing turns a cruising cat’s polar potential
by Sail Staff, Posted August 21, 2008When our wind generator stopped spinning in Fiji, we wanted to have parts sent to us by the manufacturer. Then several friends told us they were having trouble getting gear sent from overseas; the problems ran from having packages stopped in customs to shipments that never even showed up. So instead of having our purchases mailed directly to us at our marina, we asked a local chandlery that
by Niels R. Jensen, Posted August 21, 2008Spilled diesel fuel leaves an unpleasant odor that can nauseate some people, especially if they have to be down below in heavy weather. It’s tough to get rid of the odor once it takes hold. When the diesel in the fuel tank aboard Freelance, my Pearson 36 cutter, became contaminated, my fuel filters clogged and disabled the engine. I changed the primary and secondary filters and bled the
by Charles Mason, Posted August 21, 2008SailsBecoming a good helmsman is similar to becoming a skilled driver or pilot. In all three cases the best operators follow a routine that lets them continuously check many variables: the outside environment—the road, the airspace around them—the navigation instruments, and other important inputs, such as how much "pull" the machine might have when it goes into a