Cruising Tips

Back in the day I owned a salty gaff-rigged ketch named Autant. Traditional to a fault, she had no electricity, plumbing, winches, roller-furling or any other modern conveniences. Nor did she have an engine, though there were plenty of times when I wished it were otherwise. Like it or not, those years I spent cruising without an engine were emphatically educational.
For years I’ve been using a 3-gallon insecticide spray can as a portable pressure-water dispenser. You’ll find these in any hardware store.
This month: Hurricane precautions, anchor handlingHurricane PrepPlanning shoreside precautions Hurricane-force winds (over 64 knots, or 74 mph) and the resulting storm surge are serious business. If your boat is in an area that might see hurricane conditions, you need to know what action to take. If possible, get the boat out of the water and remove

Personal Bests

by Wally Moran, Posted November 21, 2008
Ask any two sailors what they like most about traveling the Intracoastal Waterway and you’re unlikely to get much, if any, agreement. We can all gripe agreeably about the downsides of the Ditch—long turns at the wheel, shoaling, brutal currents, inconsiderate boaters—but rarely, if ever, do you hear the upsides of one of the most fascinating water routes in America.Do we snowbirds ever

Mastering the A sail

by , Posted July 14, 2009
Though asymmetric spinnakers date as far back as 1865, credit Australian skiff sailor and designer Julian Bethwaite with the invention of the modern asymmetric, which he tested and developed on his Australian 18 designs during the 1980s. Bethwaite needed a spinnaker with a long luff and flat leech on either gybe. This would enable crews to sail the skiff’s tight apparent-wind angles without
My wife, Des, and I have just finished a two-year circumnavigation of the Caribbean Basin. Among the things we learned was that some of the most important things that made our cruising more enjoyable cost less than ten bucks. Here are some of our favorites.
  1. Insulated tumblers Ice is a precious commodity at sea, and so is hot coffee. We used our insulated tumblers for hot coffee in

August 10 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted August 11, 2010
SAIL AWAY Although it’s easy to turn on the engine and pick up the anchor or cast off a mooring pennant, it can be a lot more fun for guests and crew if you sail away from an anchorage or mooring instead. This, of course, assumes suitable wind conditions and that you have enough maneuvering room—including a decent margin of error in case something goes wrong. If you really want
Originally published in February 2009 issueWinter is biting deep now, and there isn’t a lot of sailing to be had in my local creek. It’s a grim scene in business too, so all I can say is thank goodness for the swinging oil lamp and the yarns that stand in for that stiff, cleansing beat to windward those of us in the north are missing so badly.Last weekend I was a guest at
It’s not as easy as pressing a button, but once you learn to use a windvane you’ll never get stuck hand-steering again.

Unwrapping a Spinnaker

by Don Street, Posted May 11, 2012
When racing or cruising while flying a spinnaker close to or dead downwind—especially offshore, where a boat tends to roll more—there is a real risk the spinnaker will collapse, wrap itself around the headstay, and then refill with wind above and below the wrap. The wrap may start at just one or two turns, but often will increase to five turns or more.
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