Cruising Tips

Cruising Tips - Navigation

by Sail Staff, Posted May 2, 2006
Chart Smart (July 2006)We arrived off Suva, the capital of Fiji, after a 10-day passage from New Zealand. While we knew the island of Viti Levu was about 5 miles off our bow, we couldn’t see it because of a heavy rainstorm. My husband, Bob, turned on the computer and looked at the electronic charts we had added to our navigation suite a few weeks earlier. We wanted to use them to

Cruising Tips - April 2006

by Sail Staff, Posted May 1, 2006
This month: rafting safety; making a chain collar; waxing your dinghy; and the Flemish coil.SeamanshipAvoid Damage AloftOne potential danger when sailboats lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash together and suffer catastrophic damage. Always look aloft

Cruising Tips - Sailhandling

by Sail Staff, Posted March 27, 2006
A Cutter that Cuts It (August 2006) For many cruisers, a cutter rig is the one that works best—so long as the staysail is cut for windward work, fairly flat with its draft well forward. A staysail also needs a good sheet lead. Sheet tracks and leads for many staysails seem to be placed more for convenience than effectiveness and often fail to take into account the staysail’s dual

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
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