What a difference 18 years can make. Entering the harbor at the picturesque town of Velas on the island of São Jorge in the Azores, I am remembering the last time I was here. “Disastrous” is a word that comes to mind.
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.
A gentle west wind rippled the placid waters of Silver Bay, glistening in the light of a full moon that truly did make the bay look silvery. I was sitting alone in the cockpit, a cold beer in hand. Beads of condensation from the bottle dampened my palm. It was after Labor Day and the anchorage was deserted, except for me and my two Elizabeths.
Cruising quickly becomes less enjoyable as the temperature soars, especially at night when sleeping becomes difficult. Mix in some sticky humidity and things rapidly get uncomfortable. AC works well , if you don’t mind being tied to shore power and a potentially noisy dock scene (we prefer quiet anchorages, thank you). If your boat carries a genset, then you’re still stuck listening to its FULL STORY
The three boats in Tom Cunliffe’s scenario all found different ways of coping with difficult weather conditions, and all made it to port with little or no drama. But what if things had turned out differently? How would they have called for help?
Modern weather forecasting is so good that we aren’t often caught out, but we all take a chance once in a while, especially when we’re under pressure to be somewhere else. Coastal sailing in near-gale conditions isn’t the same as ocean storm survival. Instead, we have to think hard about possible shelter and local dangers. Different boats have varying abilities. So do crews. Here’s a hypothetical FULL STORY
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