Cruising Tips

There aren’t many sinking sensations to compare with the one you get when your GPS decides to take an unscheduled break, especially if you’ve been relying on an electronic chartplotter. One minute you know exactly where you are. The next you’re surrounded by a trackless sea, feeling distinctly insecure. 
Some might say that seamanship has been sidelined by technology, with safety and security more dependent on button pushing than sail changing. There may be some truth to this. But at the same time, there’s no question that today’s technology does fill some very real needs. 

Smartphone Anchor Watch

by Donald McLennan, Posted November 8, 2012
Many onboard electronics systems include anchor-watch alarms that sound if a boat drifts too far from where you anchored it. But what if you’re ashore at that time?

The Gourmet Galley

by Meredith Laitos, Posted June 20, 2013
What happens when a big-city chef gets tucked into an itty-bitty galley and is challenged to cook like a sailor? We shanghaied Chef Gibson of Waban Kitchen in Newton, Massachusetts and set out onto Boston Harbor to find out. 

The Perils of Bureaucracy

by Steve Dublin, Posted January 17, 2014
One of the more mundane aspects of bluewater cruising is having to clear in and out of all the foreign countries you visit. The task is often routine, but can sometimes be frustrating, perplexing or even hilarious. We have found this to be true on any number of occasions.

Voice of Experience: Scary Sunset on Galveston Bay

by Paul Jensen, Posted May 15, 2014
A hot July day on Galveston Bay with partly cloudy skies and a southeasterly wind was ideal for a sail, a picnic and a swim. Sailing upwind to the remote Redfish Island and then the Houston Ship Channel was where the afternoon sail turned perilous…

Cruising Tips - April 2006

by Sail Staff, Posted May 1, 2006
This month: rafting safety; making a chain collar; waxing your dinghy; and the Flemish coil.SeamanshipAvoid Damage AloftOne potential danger when sailboats lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash together and suffer catastrophic damage. Always look aloft

Keep Your Eyes Moving

by Charles Mason, Posted August 21, 2008
SailsBecoming a good helmsman is similar to becoming a skilled driver or pilot. In all three cases the best operators follow a routine that lets them continuously check many variables: the outside environment—the road, the airspace around them—the navigation instruments, and other important inputs, such as how much "pull" the machine might have when it goes into a

Diesel in a bag

by Richard Probert, Posted May 18, 2009
Halfway between St. John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia, a passage of about 30 nautical miles, the diesel in my Cape Dory 270 stopped. With 40-foot tides creating sluice-like currents, entering most harbors on the Bay of Fundy requires careful timing to arrive at slack water or when the tide is flooding. If you arrive late, you have to wait for the tide to change while being tossed about

No-foul jib sheet

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 5, 2009
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
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