Cruising Most Commented

Cut Your Losses

by Kimball Livingston, Posted August 27, 2008
Keep after that guy in front of you

For too many sailors, the upwind leg is a chance to get buried by failing to attack or by failing to defend. Think about this one:

A boat well to weather of you (and slightly back on your hip) experiences a favorable windshift. What do you do? Howie Hamlin, world champion in the 505 dinghy, 18-foot skiff, and, as of 2006, the


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Downwind Dance

by Sail Staff, Posted August 27, 2008

Racers know that moving the genoa fairlead outboard on a reach improves boatspeed, but many cruisers overlook this and wind up sailing longer passages as a result. Whenever the wind is abeam or farther aft, it is best to open up the slot between the genoa and mainsail.

When a boat bears away from a close-hauled course and its mainsail is eased, the mainsail boom moves away from the


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Can You See Me Now?

by Sail Staff, Posted August 27, 2008

Many cruisers believe it’s best to locate a radar reflector as high as possible, perhaps even at the top of the mast, for better detection. However, the key issue for a radar reflector is the water-surface reflection, which affects the strength of the reflected signal. When the reflection is increased, the reflector is more apt to be seen. If reflection is reduced, a reflector could become


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Sound Off

by Sail Staff, Posted August 27, 2008

Not everyone knows that you can use a Digital Selective Calling (DSC) VHF radio to call friends on other boats without using channel 16. It’s a great feature, particularly if channel 16 is very busy or if you want your call to be somewhat private. Here’s how it works.

If I want to call a friend on Jubilee, I select a working channel—channel 72, for example—and check to see


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Beating in the Dark

by Sail Staff, Posted August 27, 2008
Steering close-hauled in darkness is largely a matter of feel. As the boat falls off the wind, heel angle may increase. She'll start to slow down when she falls off 15 degrees or more below her best course. But when she luffs above the optimum course, she will come upright and lose some of her way before the sails begin to complain audibly. It's easy to feel the boat coming upright, so being high
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