South America

Fast Raft to Brazil

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008

Lodged in my nautical psyche I find indelible images of rafts: a boy and a runaway slave standing proud before a canvas tent aboard a makeshift pontoon of pine planks floating down the muddy Mississippi; a sun-bronzed Viking in a loincloth steering a lashed-up slab of balsa logs across the electric-blue Pacific with a massive oar. Having always wanted to be that boy and that Viking, how could


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Cruising

Weight Back

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008
The bow is the last place you want extra weight when approaching a windward mark in a tightly packed fleet. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to keep the bowman off the foredeck during sets. It works best on boats with retractable sprit poles, but it can be adapted for boats that use standard poles.

The gear All you need is a swivel-mounted snapshackle, some lightweight cord, and some


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Cruising

Without A Paddle

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008
Because most dinghies have an outboard, it’s not surprising that many sailors neglect the oars. But if you’re not careful, one of them will inevitably come loose when you’re not looking. During the 18 months we spent cruising, we found four dinghy oars floating in various harbors. After we lost one of ours, I made a point of tying a length of cord from the midpoint of each oar to the dinghy. The
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Cruising

Nothing Is Best

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008
Many sailing tales are filled with drama and even life-threatening adventure. In my experience, however, a modern boat with an experienced crew can have an uneventful trip even in heavy weather. This may not make for great literature, but it indicates good seamanship and speaks well of the quality of most modern production boats and their components. I’m happy to leave the excitement and the
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Cruising

Check Them Out

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008

To check the condition of your sails, hoist each one individually on a calm day and watch what happens to the shape of the sail when you adjust the luff and foot. You still can get reasonable performance from an old sail if the basic shape remains; if it’s disappeared, take the sail to a sailmaker. He or she may have some suggestions for a recut.

If your mainsail uses short battens, make


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Facnor's flat deck furler on a J/111

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