Cruising Tips

DIY Hardtop Dodger

by Tor Pinney, Posted February 8, 2014
My ketch Silverheels didn’t have any cockpit canvas when I bought her, just an old two-bow dodger frame. I had visions of installing a hard dodger and bimini, but a lack of time, patience and skill caused me to opt for a hardtop for the dodger frame instead.

Anti Chain-Pyramid Rod

by Tor Pinney, Posted February 7, 2014
Like most long-range cruisers I carry a lot of anchor chain, but I was having a problem with pyramids in my chain locker. When weighing anchor my chain piled up beneath its deck pipe, sometimes reaching up high enough to block it, so that the chain being fed in would suddenly jam the windlass gypsy. 

Sail Repair: Palming It

by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 7, 2014
Every cruising boat should carry a sailmaker's palm along with a kit of essential sail-repair tools

Anchor Rode Side Roller

by Tor Pinney, Posted February 3, 2014
The vertical windlass on my boat is designed to handle only one anchor. Like many cruisers, however, I carry two bow anchors and occasionally need to use both. The problem is my windlass, like most vertical windlasses, feeds just one anchor rode through a deck pipe built into its casing.
For years I’ve been using a 3-gallon insecticide spray can as a portable pressure-water dispenser. You’ll find these in any hardware store.

Let the Wind Do the Work

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 20, 2014
The first time I tried to pick up a mooring singlehanded in a stiff breeze, I approached from dead downwind in the usual manner and stopped the boat with the pickup buoy right where I wanted it.

The Perils of Bureaucracy

by Steve Dublin, Posted January 17, 2014
One of the more mundane aspects of bluewater cruising is having to clear in and out of all the foreign countries you visit. The task is often routine, but can sometimes be frustrating, perplexing or even hilarious. We have found this to be true on any number of occasions.
When an offshore earthquake near Japan resulted in a destructive tsunami in March 2011, I, along with sailors everywhere, held my breath. My eyes were glued to the Internet. I watched videos of massive volumes of water rushing ashore, displacing families, killing people and destroying villages.

Walking The Prop

by Tor Pinney, Posted December 10, 2013
Prop walk, the tendency of a turning propeller to push a boat’s stern sideways, can be a real nuisance when maneuvering under power. Or it can be your biggest ally. The trick is to understand it, anticipate it, and make it work for you.

Learn to Read the Water

by Connie McBride, Posted September 30, 2013
Reading the water is an important skill you should practice often to ensure there’s always water under your keel
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