Cruising Tips

Freshwater Engine Flush

by Don Casey, Posted June 12, 2012
As warm-water sailors, we do not winterize our boat. However, we do store it out of the water for hurricane season, and as part of our decommissioning procedure we run the engine on the hard to pass fresh water through the raw-water circuit and flush out salt and guard against corrosion.
North America is as big as its waters are varied. Some sailors inhabit a tideless world where 0400 departures to catch the south-going stream through Hell Gate are as foreign as flying to the moon.
“We're trying to teach women to be more safe and confident on the water,” explained Joan Thayer, co-chair of the conference and president of NWSA, “You don't have to listen to your husband screaming and yelling, you can do your own thing. You can dock the boat—let him be the bumper person!”
I watched through stinging spray as my fiberglass dinghy was swamped, turned into a sea anchor, and then quickly snapped its painter as my O’Day 31 surfed down 6-foot seas on Long Island Sound. It probably was unwise to be out on the water that day.
Mediterranean mooring—docking a boat end-on to a quay, as opposed to tying up alongside—is a common practice in many parts of the world, especially in non-tidal waters. Any skipper setting sail for foreign ports will find docking this way is often mandatory, as it saves dock space and protects boats from wake damage.

Unwrapping a Spinnaker

by Don Street, Posted May 11, 2012
When racing or cruising while flying a spinnaker close to or dead downwind—especially offshore, where a boat tends to roll more—there is a real risk the spinnaker will collapse, wrap itself around the headstay, and then refill with wind above and below the wrap. The wrap may start at just one or two turns, but often will increase to five turns or more.
As a 30-year veteran daysailor, I feel a moral obligation to spare you some of the physical and emotional pain I’ve faced over the years. I’m talking about daysailing’s dirty little secrets, the bilgewater of our sport. Feel free to take notes.
Dropped your dinghy’s outboard motor overboard? No need to panic. First, get the motor out of the drink quickly and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water; most importantly, do not let it dry.
Perhaps you’re looking at a cat as an option for an extended cruise, or you’ve chartered a catamaran for a week in the British Virgin Islands. You’re expecting some thrilling multihull speed, but once on the water you find you are disappointed.

The Pee Pot

by Don Street, Posted April 12, 2012
Every skipper worries about losing crew overboard when it is blowing hard and the males aboard persist in “bailing ship” (their personal ships, not the boat) on deck. In this respect, a yawl or ketch rig beats a sloop or cutter six ways to Sunday, as the mizzen rigging is good for leaning up against when bailing ship.
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