Cruising Tips

Faster Mainsail Reefing

by Don Street, Posted July 10, 2012
On my old yawl, Iolaire, I always used a mainsail reefing method that seemed odd to guests, but was very fast and worked well. After first casting off the mainsheet, we would hoist the end of the boom a full six feet into air—the depth of the reef—with the topping lift...
Night had fallen several hours earlier. The full moon was bright enough to cast shadows on the deck. But as we reached along through the tropics, an ominous line of black clouds slowly obliterated the stars behind us. A squall line was overrunning us from behind.
It's just you, your sails, the wind and water. You don't need anything else to enjoy a good summer cruise. Oh, who are we kidding? There's all kinds of fun and useful gear, and our ten favorites for this summer are sure to take your next cruise into some serious fun territory.

No More Cotter Pins

by Connie McBride, Posted June 18, 2012
Standing at the bow of Eurisko, our Creekmore 34, my heel always scrapes the turnbuckle for the cutter stay when I operate the windlass. For many years I inevitably returned to the cockpit after setting the anchor with a bloody foot where the cotter pin had gouged me.
Some might say that seamanship has been sidelined by technology, with safety and security more dependent on button pushing than sail changing. There may be some truth to this. But at the same time, there’s no question that today’s technology does fill some very real needs. 

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.
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