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.

The mainsheet arch, pioneered on production boats by Hunter and now widely copied, has many advantages


Waterlines: No Strings Attached

I am amused by some of the running-rigging trends I’ve seen at boat shows lately, one example being this fashion wherein all working lines must be concealed beneath the deck. First it was all the lines led aft from the mast, then it was tails from the new-fangled double-ended German mainsheets, then it was jib Read More

Don’t be that guy…

Cruising Tips

Dinghy Dock Etiquette

In many popular cruising destinations or stopovers, dinghy docks can become very crowded. Over time, this simple set of dinghy dock guidelines has evolved amongst cruisers worldwide. Always leave your outboard down. Raised outboards can damage other boats. Have a long painter. This allows others to push aside your dinghy and nose up to the Read More


Cruising Tips

Cockpit Frame Mounts

A simple frame at the back of the cockpit is a handy place to mount various aerials and electronic devices. A Solar panels are more efficient if they can be rotated and angled, so that they are at right-angles to the sun’s rays. B Davits can be designed into the frame’s structure. C Wind generators Read More

In some places, it is common practice to swim or ferry the kedge cable or stern lines ashore and secure them to trees.

Cruising Tips

Sketchbook: Stern Anchoring

A Stern anchors, or kedges, are used to moor bow-to the shore. Drop the anchor three or four boatlengths out and then gently motor in using the stern line as a brake. If you run out of line, try accelerating and dragging the anchor slightly. Step ashore and make the bow fast with a couple Read More

Keep your enthusiasm in check when evaluating a used boat. Photo by Douglas Hodgkins

Cruising Tips

Buying a Used Sailboat

The hardest thing about buying a used fiberglass sailboat is keeping your head straight. With a new boat you (in theory, at least) get what you pay for, but entering the used boat market can be a bit like going through Alice’s looking glass. Is a shiny new 35-foot performance cruiser beyond your pay grade? Read More

Photo 6a & 6b. An infrared thermometer can diagnose poor connections and resistance in the circuit

Cruising Tips

How to Avoid Shore-power Problems

Cold, wet and tired, we had finally arrived in Charleston in late November, five weeks after leaving the Chesapeake. The ebb current in the Ashley River was running against the building easterly wind, and the harbor was a seething mass of waves and whitecaps. We were lucky to get a slip at all without a Read More

Illustration by Tadami Takahashi


VOE: A Faulty Heater Nearly Leads to Tragedy

I’m lucky to be here. If the companionway had been closed or 45 more minutes had passed, I would be dead. You can take every precaution, research every chart, check every forecast, but all it takes is a shift of the wind to learn quickly that you are at the mercy of the sea. This Read More

Whether you’re going to encounter gale winds or the dulldrums, high seas or heavy winds, having an accurate weather forecast is key for comfortable cruising. Photo courtesy of Kurt Arrigo/rolex

Cruising Tips

Tools for Weather Forecasting

In planning for the upcoming 2016 Pacific Cup—a race that takes sailors from San Francisco to Oahu, Hawaii—I was interested in tools for predicting the optimal route. Depending on the location of the Pacific high-pressure system and El Niño, sailing the rhumb line may not be the fastest course. The old rule of thumb is Read More



A Comet Named Elvis

Back in ancient times, long before the Interweb polluted the lives of bluewater sailors, I found myself late one winter in the Cape Verde Islands preparing for a transatlantic crossing to Antigua on Crazy Horse, my three-decades-old 35ft fiberglass yawl. I had spent the previous two months cruising the West African coast with no access Read More

Bliss (on right) in action


Sometimes, Downsizing is Harder Than it Sounds

Before it all went haywire, it seemed like such a simple and straightforward situation: my wife, Patti, and I are sneaking up on our 80s, and our Cape Dory 30 cutter was more boat than we wanted to wrestle with by ourselves. Time to downsize. I’ve long admired the Nonsuch boats, with the simplicity of Read More