Sailboat Cruising

Whether you’re looking for insights into the best cruising grounds of the East Coast, West Coast, Caribbean or Great Lakes, or the latest in tips and techniques for doing everything aboard from set the anchor to fix your engine, recover a man-overboard victim or trim your sails, our editors and contributors have the answers.

How to Get Unstuck Quickly. Photo by Peter Nielsen

Cruising Tips

An Effective Way to Free your Boat Once You’ve Run Aground

“I’ve run aground” are words that justifiably send a shiver down every sailor’s spine. However, the damage you may do to your boat when running aground is all relative—the most important risk factors are the type of the bottom you’ve hit, your speed when running aground and the sea conditions. Avoiding the Bottom When you’re running Read More

Sailboat Cruising

Invasion of the Sargassum Weed

We were a couple of hundred miles out of Bermuda on the 39ft cutter Lunacy, en route to St. Martin, when the small floating islands of brown seaweed that dotted the ocean started to become a nuisance. Clumps of it wrapped around the keel and rudder, and skipper Charlie Doane grew increasingly annoyed at the Read More



Eight Bells: Herb Payson & Reese Palley

Two sailors whose writing brought much pleasure to SAIL readers over the years passed over the horizon this summer. Herb Payson, 88, was a musician and cruising sailor who sailed more than 45,000 miles around the Pacific with his wife, Nancy and their six children aboard the 36ft wooden sloop Sea Foam in the 1970s Read More


Sailboat Cruising

Hybrid Dinghy Seat

Here’s one for the I’ve-seen-it-all-now department: a dinghy seat that opens up to reveal an array of solar panels and wind generators to charge the battery for the tender’s electric motor. Pull the dink up on the beach, and it’ll recharge its own battery while you’re having a rum at the tiki bar. The brainchild Read More

Elizabeth City Courtesy Dock


The ICW: A Sailor’s Paradise

Yes, you read that right! The Intracoastal Waterway is indeed a sailor’s paradise. Last October we left Hampton VA as part of SAIL’s ICW Snowbird Rally, and didn’t refuel until we hit New Smyrna, Florida. That’s a long, long way and we made 80 percent of the journey under sail. Here’s how! I was skippering Read More


Cruising Tips

Keeping Cool on the Boat

A  Heat is used up in the process of turning a liquid into a gas; that’s why we feel cooler as our sweat evaporates. B For centuries, people have used this principle to cool things down. Nowadays, the most common examples are wearing a wet hat to feel cool, using a wet canvas-covered water bottle Read More



Voice of Experience: Dinghy Problems on an Offshore Passage

Ping! It was the tiniest little squeak of a sound, but it was out of place amid the pounding waves and constant groaning of the boat and so rang out like a microwave beep. It was the second ping we had heard that night, and we knew it was another bolt head shearing off onto Read More

The author’s daughter, Rona, hard at work


Windshifts: a Helpful Apprentice

Working by myself I have completed myriad maintenance and upgrade projects on my Catalina 34, Ukiyo, have kept her in good shape and ready to sail, and have saved thousands of dollars in the process. When she breaks—and it’s always when, not if—I’m the guy who solves the puzzle and gets her fixed. Often it Read More

Corroded, improper lifeline fittings like this one pose a serious danger to the crew

Cruising Tips

Surveyor’s Notebook: Respect your Lifelines

Considering lifelines play such a critical role in the safety of the crew, I’m constantly amazed at the apparent disregard many boat-owners have for them. Nothing lasts forever, especially lifelines, which should be replaced as soon as anything more than surface corrosion appears. Often, even when standing rigging may be replaced, lifelines are left to Read More

Kurt Russell as Capt. Ron (left), with Martin Short (middle) and Meadow Sisto (right)


Captain Ron Revisited

Sailors who have not watched the movie Captain Ron have missed out on a slice of cruising history. Goofy, farcical, stupid—I can’t quibble with anyone using these adjectives to describe the 1992 film starring Kurt Russell and Martin Short. But as I said recently when I introduced the movie at an evening cruising event: “I Read More