Cruising Tips

Diesel in a bag

by Richard Probert, Posted May 18, 2009
Halfway between St. John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia, a passage of about 30 nautical miles, the diesel in my Cape Dory 270 stopped. With 40-foot tides creating sluice-like currents, entering most harbors on the Bay of Fundy requires careful timing to arrive at slack water or when the tide is flooding. If you arrive late, you have to wait for the tide to change while being tossed about

Industrial strength safety

by Sail Staff, Posted May 18, 2009
Rope clutches, or stoppers, are wonderful items to have on board. Not only are they quick and easy to operate, they eliminate the need for extra winches. But each one must be labeled so the trimmer can see immediately what line that particular stopper controls.When San Francisco sailors Russ Irwin and Fay Mark labeled the clutches on their brand new 52-footer New

Refreshing Pause

by Steve Henkind, Posted May 18, 2009
This summer, many sailors will embark for the first time on a long, non-stop coastal or offshore passage that involves one or more nights at sea. If you are sailing a long distance, you should set and follow a formal watch schedule. Some boats utilize a “catch as catch can” approach—but this can lead to exhaustion and is a recipe for disaster. Watchstanding routines can range from a very basic

The Z factor

by Steve Henkind, Posted May 18, 2009
The first night on your boat after a long winter is always an education. You learn that the gentle rocking of a boat in a slip or at a mooring can be mightily effective when it comes to curing insomnia. You also learn, as the slightest of rolls sets crockery a-clinking and cans a-clanking, that you haven’t done a very good job of stowing the odds and ends that you’ve just put

Pole Up, Ge'nny Out

by David Schmidt, Posted May 11, 2009
Spinnakers and asymmetricals are great for ticking off miles when sailing downwind, but they can be a chore to handle shorthanded. They require constant trimming, and there’s always the possibility of a crash gybe or a knockdown. For a fully crewed raceboat this isn’t a concern, but for cruisers it can be daunting enough that many simply roll out their headsail instead and call

Extending whisker poles

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 20, 2009
A standard spinnaker pole is as long as the J measurement on your boat – that is, the distance from the base of the mast to the forestay chainplate. This is purely a racing rule requirement; longer poles are penalized under PHRF rules. If you’re cruising, your whisker pole can be any length you like.On a couple of occasions when I’ve wanted to run downwind with

Positive control astern

by Sail Staff, Posted April 6, 2009
Because a sailboat without a bow thruster lacks positive directional control when going astern at slow speeds, many skippers choose one of three options when it’s time to go into a slip. They go into the slip bow first; they stop at a right angle to the slip and then use dock lines to pull the stern in by hand; or they back down with enough speed on to maintain control.The first option is

Dreams at Sea

by Dave Welch, Posted March 11, 2009
At 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

The Zero Knot Sailor

by Sail Staff, Posted February 5, 2009
High 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

Personal Bests

by Wally Moran, Posted November 21, 2008
Ask any two sailors what they like most about traveling the Intracoastal Waterway and you’re unlikely to get much, if any, agreement. We can all gripe agreeably about the downsides of the Ditch—long turns at the wheel, shoaling, brutal currents, inconsiderate boaters—but rarely, if ever, do you hear the upsides of one of the most fascinating water routes in America.Do we snowbirds ever
  • facebook
  • twitter