Cruising Tips

Servicing Dinghy Valves

by Charles J. Doane, Posted October 11, 2012
A well-built Hypalon inflatable dinghy can last well over 10 years if properly cared for. In many cases, the first thing to fail isn’t the fabric but the fiddly little spring-loaded valves used to keep the boat inflated.
On arriving at Alligator River Marina after a 15-mile passage across Albemarle Sound, we got a bit of a surprise. The place was practically empty, which was weird considering it was October, the height of snowbird season.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on inside that little tender’s house up on a drawbridge, you’re not alone. It’s a bit of a fishbowl up here, and everyone who walks by seems to look in.

Tennis Ball Grommets

by Bill Bleyer, Posted September 19, 2012
When covering my boat for the winter, I like to use heavy gray-green poly tarps, as they are inexpensive and last several years if they are protected against chafe and are properly secured.

Curse of the Cursor

by Peter Nielsen, Posted September 18, 2012
The first time I ever used a GPS on an offshore passage we almost lost the boat. The navigator, delighted with his new toy, had plotted a waypoint just off our destination, but somehow missed the long, low, unlit headland between us and it.
It all started with losing my job. Like many people in recent years, I found myself unemployed, and the lack of activity made for restless hands. I figured since I couldn’t find work, I might as well build a boat.
Misleading as its name may be, Bahamian mooring is an anchoring technique that can be used just about anywhere. If you’re looking to secure your boat in a jam-packed anchorage or in a tide-scoured waterway, a Bahamian moor can be very handy.
When we took our laptop in for repairs in Panama, we knew there was a chance it was irreparable. But we hadn’t thought it might get stolen.

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.
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