Cruising Tips

Sailing Through Reefs

by Andy Schell, Posted September 20, 2013
Negotiating a reef inlet, be it in the Bahamas or the South Pacific, requires precise navigation and skilled seamanship. Detailed charts are essential, and you should always consult any local sailing directions you have onboard in advance.
It is surprising to me that so few sailors are also fishermen. When joining a new boat for a passage, I often ask to see what kind of fishing gear the crew has on board. Almost always, I receive a puzzled look, or perhaps a mildly apologetic one, as my fellow sailors wonder where they last saw the jumbled mass of line, hooks and lead weights they call “gear.”
When I first purchased my 1987 Beneteau First 375, I had visions of mimicking the exploits of Tania Aebi, the Martin family and other daring sailors I admired.
Back in the day I owned a salty gaff-rigged ketch named Autant. Traditional to a fault, she had no electricity, plumbing, winches, roller-furling or any other modern conveniences. Nor did she have an engine, though there were plenty of times when I wished it were otherwise. Like it or not, those years I spent cruising without an engine were emphatically educational.

Free a Line from a Prop

by Andy Schell, Posted August 21, 2013
Eventually everyone wraps a line around a prop. I was told this on my first-ever job as a captain—leading teenagers on liveaboard dive-training trips in the Leeward Islands—and bragged about being the only skipper not to have done so.
Have you ever spotted a lone sailboat anchored in what looks like a dream location—someplace not on the charts—and wondered how the heck they got there?

No-mess Charcoal

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 2, 2013
I’m a barbecue traditionalist; I love to grill on a charcoal fire. The problem on a boat is the mess attendant to keeping bags of charcoal onboard. 
Cockpits get cluttered underway or at anchor. Inevitably someone steps on that wayward tube of sunscreen, someone else sits on your sunglasses, and small stuff goes missing. If you want to keep everything within reach and handy, you need pockets. 
Picture this: you’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime to crew aboard a great cruising sailboat. All that’s left is to pack your duffel. In addition to the essential layers of clothing, here are a few items that will keep you comfortable and happy at sea.
Cats make great cruising companions, but life on a boat can be challenging for them.
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