Cruising Tips

The eternally fascinating mental exercise of choosing, equipping and organizing priorities on my ideal cruising boat has kept me awake on countless night watches over the last 30 years and 300,000 miles of bluewater sailing and coastal cruising. No matter where I sail or how ambitious my plans, there are a few things on my dream boat that are not negotiable.
It's just you, your sails, the wind and water. You don't need anything else to enjoy a good summer cruise. Oh, who are we kidding? There's all kinds of fun and useful gear, and our ten favorites for this summer are sure to take your next cruise into some serious fun territory.
See our five most useful boat items and then share your own! If we like your list, we might print it in an upcoming issue of SAIL.

Cruising Tips: Knot Log Drain

by Bill Bleyer, Posted February 11, 2013
If you’re like many boatowners, you’ll only learn that the hoses connecting your cockpit drains to the transom through-hulls have failed when you see your floorboards afloat.
Picture this: you’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime to crew aboard a great cruising sailboat. All that’s left is to pack your duffel. In addition to the essential layers of clothing, here are a few items that will keep you comfortable and happy at sea.

Let the Wind Do the Work

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 20, 2014
The first time I tried to pick up a mooring singlehanded in a stiff breeze, I approached from dead downwind in the usual manner and stopped the boat with the pickup buoy right where I wanted it.
This month: coping with fog, inshore pilotingSeamanshipSailing in fogSummer sailing and fog seem to be inextricably linked in some parts of the country, and everyone who races or cruises will run into a bank of the gray stuff at one time or another. When you do, your priorities change from making good time toward your destination to not running into other

Nets Work

by Don Casey, Posted August 21, 2008
Providing proper stowage for clothing often seems to be way down the priority list on a cruising boat; most cruisers give a higher priority to stowing food, spare parts, and tools. But what happens to your clothes if there is no closet, dresser, or even a single drawer for them to occupy? Often they wind up in a locker with a front-opening door and lie there, loose on the shelf. While you may
My initial reaction when I first saw a bow thruster on a 40-foot sailboat was to laugh my docksiders off. I’d spent a lifetime threading awkward boats with single props into tricky berths and could imagine no sensible reason for compromising sailing performance by drilling a hole the size of a baby’s head through the bow of a perfectly good boat. As thrusters became more common and I watched

No-risk mast climbing

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 5, 2009
Most halyard winches are not powerful enough to hoist a 200-pound sailor up a mast, so you need to find a way to let your primary winches take the strain if you need to hoist someone up the rig. Here’s what we do on our boat, where the main halyard runs via a rope clutch (not seen in the photo) to a small winch on the mast. First, we loop a spare length of half-inch line a few times around the
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