During a recent conversation with retired Coast Guard rescue swimmer Mario Vittone, I asked for his take on safety equipment for sailing offshore, and he responded with an answer I’d never heard before.
What you see is not what you get in Hatchet Bay. Located about two-thirds of the way up the long and narrow Bahamian out-island of Eleuthera, it is a place so twig-like you wonder how it hasn’t broken.
There’s an old saying that some of the most dangerous moments in sailing occur when people are in their dinghies. Over the years we’ve had lots of opportunities to see dinghies being handled well and poorly, and we’ve seen a lot more good and bad examples since we have been cruising in the Caribbean aboard our 54- foot cutter New Morning. We carry an 11-foot Zodiac FULL STORY
Even in the most idyllic of anchorages, the wind can come up in the middle of the night and cause trouble. At times like this we always have an action plan to follow if our anchor begins to drag. Experience has convinced me that when something goes wrong while a boat is at anchor, trouble is caused not by the conditions, but by how the crew responds to those conditions. Having FULL STORY
Most halyard winches are not powerful enough to hoist a 200-pound sailor up a mast, so you need to find a way to let your primary winches take the strain if you need to hoist someone up the rig. Here’s what we do on our boat, where the main halyard runs via a rope clutch (not seen in the photo) to a small winch on the mast. First, we loop a spare length of half-inch line a few times around the FULL STORY
The bowlines used to attach sheets to the clew of a headsail have an annoying habit of catching on inner forestays, babystays, and shrouds. Here’s a why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-before idea: if you’re replacing your headsail sheets, don’t cut them in half. Double the sheet over and thread the looped end through the clew. Pass the tails through the loop and draw tight. Then say goodbye to those FULL STORY
If you know how cold it is inside your refrigerator, you can perhaps troubleshoot an electrical or mechanical failure in time to save the box’s contents from spoiling. A thermometer inside the box doesn’t tell you anything unless you open the box and check it. That’s why I like to use a wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer of the type that’s readily available in most hardware stores. I put the FULL STORY