Cruising Tips

Cruising Tips - Visibility

by Sail Staff, Posted March 27, 2006
Signal Advantage (March 2006)If you have an on-the-water emergency during the day, keep in mind that a mirror is a very effective signaling device. If the weather is clear and there is sunlight, the reflection from a mirror can be seen up to 100 miles away. While it does need sun, a mirror doesn’t depend on batteries, satellites, or the electronic watchkeeping of a potential

Cruising Tips - March 2006

by Sail Staff, Posted March 23, 2006
This month: "talking" with signals; using signal mirrors; great-circle for GPS.VisibilitySignal AdvantageIf you have an on-the-water emergency during the day, keep in mind that a mirror is a very effective signaling device. If the weather is clear and there is sunlight, the reflection from a mirror can be seen up to 100 miles away. While it does need sun, a
This month: carrying a kite; a shorter scope; steering tips; sail saver; using lights on the high seas.VisibilityTo Flash or NotFlashing white lights are far more noticeable than fixed ones and can be much brighter for the same average power drain. However, it’s dangerous and illegal to show anything that could be confused with a navigation aid, so
Going sideways (January 2006)It's no secret that bow thrusters are a big help when you're maneuvering in close quarters, which is why they are becoming common on boats in the 40-foot range. One reason for this popularity is that the units themselves have gotten better. But it's also true that freeboards are getting higher and many of us either are getting older or are sailing with

Stanchion safety

by Don Casey, Posted February 7, 2006
Stanchion Safety (January 2006)When 200 pounds of force is applied to the top of a 30-inch stanchion, as much as 3 tons of pull can be exerted on the stanchion's base. That is more than enough to rip poorly mounted bolts up through the deck. Make sure all stanchion bases have oversized metal backing plates (not just shoulder washers), and check all the bases periodically for

This Is Not a Test

by Sail Staff, Posted January 25, 2006
Before going cruising, I had a long career skippering fishing boats in Alaska. Twice I had the need to resort to a liferaft. The raft must always be the last resort. Never give up on the boat until it has given up on you.The first time, I was alone aboard a small boat fishing salmon. While the boat did a slow roll all the way over, I ran up the side like a Laser racer
This month: attaching lifelines, poling the headsail, calculating tides, and oil anchor lampsSafetyUV damageInstead of attaching lifelines to pushpits with clevis pins, it’s good practice to use lashings of prestretched line. They provide enough tension to take the slack out of the lines but can be cut in an instant if need be—for instance, to clear the
This month: tethers, fouled props, halyard retrieval, and chicken gybesSafetyTreble tetherIn the 2002 ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), one of two brothers sailing a 50-foot boat fell overboard while working on the foredeck. He was clipped on to a jackline, but his brother could not get him back on board and he drowned. I thought about this incident, and
This month: Hurricane precautions, anchor handlingHurricane PrepPlanning shoreside precautions Hurricane-force winds (over 64 knots, or 74 mph) and the resulting storm surge are serious business. If your boat is in an area that might see hurricane conditions, you need to know what action to take. If possible, get the boat out of the water and remove

Tender tricks and stress-free anchoring

by Charles Mason, Posted August 9, 2005
At the DockDinghy-dock smartsDon Street, who has been rowing rigid dinghies around harbors in Europe and the Caribbean for more than 60 years, thought he had learned everything there is to know about handling a dinghy in any conditions. But he’s come up with a new trick for handling a hard tender around a crowded dinghy dock. “The usual routine,” says Street, “is to
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