Cruising Tips

Hurricane preparation

by David Schmidt, Posted August 3, 2009
“Staying aboard is a terrible idea!” says Bob Adriance, the Technical Director at Boat US, which insures some 200,000 boats in the U.S. “There is little — if anything — you can do to protect your boat and it’s extremely dangerous. People have been killed.”Adriance advises that location is the biggest factor in determining how safe your boat will be during a hurricane. “A small seawall

Beating the Odds

by Ovi Sacasan, Posted August 3, 2009
Hurricane season is upon us, and early indications are that we are in for a big one. In these pages we look at ways in which you can prepare for the strong winds and storm surge that come with a hurricane, and a couple who rode out Hurricane Ike in Galveston last year share their story. Hurricane Ike was supposed to be just another in a steady parade of

Spinnaker Flying

by Patty Hamar, Posted August 3, 2009
Mention the word “spinnaker” and most sailors think of spicy downwind runs. But some of us have another use for those sails, namely flying. Given the right conditions and some stouthearted companions, getting airborne is a blast.How it worksFirst, you need a symmetrical masthead spinnaker, not a gennaker, an asymmetrical, or a cruising chute.

Mastering the A sail

by , Posted July 14, 2009
Though asymmetric spinnakers date as far back as 1865, credit Australian skiff sailor and designer Julian Bethwaite with the invention of the modern asymmetric, which he tested and developed on his Australian 18 designs during the 1980s. Bethwaite needed a spinnaker with a long luff and flat leech on either gybe. This would enable crews to sail the skiff’s tight apparent-wind angles without

Night Flight

by Patrick Childress, Posted July 7, 2009
Not a sliver of moon nor a single star could pierce the thick clouds. We were sailing, levitating, in total darkness. Keeping Brick House, our Valiant 40, just half a mile off the unlit rocky shore was the only way to stay out of the swift counter-current as we fought our way south along Mexico’s Caribbean coast. It was important to sail all night and make good time

Cheap geezer logbook

by Chip Lawson, Posted June 22, 2009
My sailing philosophy is, “when on watch, stay on deck”. I have made many changes to my boat to reduce the need to go below. One simple change was to create a waterproof logbook that I could safely leave on deck in any weather without fear of damage. A side benefit is that it is inexpensive as well.Using spreadsheet software I created a logbook format I liked. I purchased

Seamanship: Twin power

by Chip Lawson, Posted June 19, 2009
I was looking up at the masthead from the deck trying to see how the main halyard and the mainsail’s headboard were interacting and how the upper swivel for the jib furler was aligned. I took my 7x50 binoculars but I was still unable to get the close-up view I wanted. Then, in a eureka moment, I pulled out my digital camera, with its zoom capability, and put its lens to one of the binocular’s
Having a long length of line ready to use at short notice is always a good idea when cruising. You never know when you may have to run out a long mooring warp or set a kedge anchor. The trouble is that such a seldom-used line often ends up under piles of gear in the cockpit locker. This is a bad arrangement, because when you want a long line you often need it right now. You don’t want to waste

Boathandling: How to wind winches

by Charles Mason, Posted June 19, 2009
If you have invited guests aboard for an afternoon sail or for a cruise and you know they have limited sailing experience but want to be involved on deck, here’s a way to get them working that lets you be sure things are in order. Cut out some circular plastic rings that will fit snugly around your winch bases. Then put a series of arrows on the upper ring face—you can either use decals or draw
My initial reaction when I first saw a bow thruster on a 40-foot sailboat was to laugh my docksiders off. I’d spent a lifetime threading awkward boats with single props into tricky berths and could imagine no sensible reason for compromising sailing performance by drilling a hole the size of a baby’s head through the bow of a perfectly good boat. As thrusters became more common and I watched
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