Cruising Tips

This month: tethers, fouled props, halyard retrieval, and chicken gybesSafetyTreble tetherIn the 2002 ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), one of two brothers sailing a 50-foot boat fell overboard while working on the foredeck. He was clipped on to a jackline, but his brother could not get him back on board and he drowned. I thought about this incident, and

Diesel in the Air

by Niels R. Jensen, Posted August 21, 2008
Spilled diesel fuel leaves an unpleasant odor that can nauseate some people, especially if they have to be down below in heavy weather. It’s tough to get rid of the odor once it takes hold. When the diesel in the fuel tank aboard Freelance, my Pearson 36 cutter, became contaminated, my fuel filters clogged and disabled the engine. I changed the primary and secondary filters and bled the

Boathandling: How to wind winches

by Charles Mason, Posted June 19, 2009
If you have invited guests aboard for an afternoon sail or for a cruise and you know they have limited sailing experience but want to be involved on deck, here’s a way to get them working that lets you be sure things are in order. Cut out some circular plastic rings that will fit snugly around your winch bases. Then put a series of arrows on the upper ring face—you can either use decals or draw

Safe Anchoring

by Jan Irons, Posted August 18, 2009
Even in the most idyllic of anchorages, the wind can come up in the middle of the night and cause trouble. At times like this we always have an action plan to follow if our anchor begins to drag. Experience has convinced me that when something goes wrong while a boat is at anchor, trouble is caused not by the conditions, but by how the crew responds to those conditions. Having

Quiet Means Safe

by Bruce Balan, Posted February 16, 2010
I know sailors who can sleep through 40-knot winds even though the halyards are throbbing like a string quartet. But the truth is if something on the boat is making noise, chances are that it’s either hitting or rubbing something else and that means lots of chafe and wear. A quiet boat is a chafe-free and therefore a safer boat. At night that can often mean the difference between a good night’s

Season's First Sail

by John Fisher, Posted April 19, 2011
It was a beautiful afternoon in the middle of May, and I was making final preparations to move Second Epic, our Newport 30-III, from its winter storage yard to our seasonal slip at Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, New York.Rigging the boat that morning had taken longer than I expected, but that always seems to happen during commissioning. As I fussed over a few final details, I knew I should

Figure-Eight Rope Coils

by Charles J. Doane, Posted November 15, 2011
Perfect O-shaped coils of rope look mighty nice when done up properly, and in many cases this is a fine way to make up and stow an idle line on a sailboat. But in some instances lines trained to coil down in ovals develop problems when working. This happens most often with lines that run through a multi-part tackle. If you coil the tail of a line that runs through a tackle in perfect ovals, you’ll soon find the line twists up in the tackle when you’re using it. Eventually you must unreeve the line from the tackle, untwist it so it runs fair again and then re-reeve it. To avoid this, you should coil the line in a figure-eight pattern when stowing it.
I share a 1995 Beneteau 42s7 with a friend. We (and most of our other sailing friends) are getting on in years, so we’ve made some changes to help make the boat easier to sail.
When we took our laptop in for repairs in Panama, we knew there was a chance it was irreparable. But we hadn’t thought it might get stolen.
One of the best things about being retired is that it allows me to spend some quality time doing what I really like. One such escape—wife willing—is a month-long stay on my sailboat on San Francisco Bay.
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