Cruising Tips

Dodging Sea Monsters

by Tor Pinney, Posted May 9, 2011
Most commercial ships are run by competent professional crews. Still, close encounters with yachts are not uncommon. Every once in a while a ship arrives in port with a mast wedged in her anchor—and no one knows how it got there.To an offshore sailor a large merchant vessel can seem like a modern-day sea monster, capable of obliterating a yacht and spitting out the scraps
We were maybe a quarter-mile from the mooring, motoring slowly home on a still summer evening, when the piercing bleat of the engine cooling-water alarm made us all jump. I looked over the side: Sure enough, the flow of water out of the exhaust had ceased.

The Pee Pot

by Don Street, Posted April 12, 2012
Every skipper worries about losing crew overboard when it is blowing hard and the males aboard persist in “bailing ship” (their personal ships, not the boat) on deck. In this respect, a yawl or ketch rig beats a sloop or cutter six ways to Sunday, as the mizzen rigging is good for leaning up against when bailing ship.
Night had fallen several hours earlier. The full moon was bright enough to cast shadows on the deck. But as we reached along through the tropics, an ominous line of black clouds slowly obliterated the stars behind us. A squall line was overrunning us from behind.

Don't Over Trim

by Charles J. Doane, Posted November 28, 2012
Next time the wind goes soft, instead of submitting to this self-fulfilling prophesy of slow-going, try opening up the slot between your mainsail and headsail.
Anchoring involves more than dropping a chunk of metal overboard and fastening your boat to it. The best way to improve your technique is through practice, but this can be hard to come by if your boat is often on a mooring or dock.
Maybe you’ve seen the popular shirt around the marina that reads: B-O-A-T/Break Out Another Thousand. It’s a pretty accurate saying when it comes to boat ownership and maintenance, but you don’t have to take the same financial blow to capture quality images offshore.
This month: carrying a kite; a shorter scope; steering tips; sail saver; using lights on the high seas.VisibilityTo Flash or NotFlashing white lights are far more noticeable than fixed ones and can be much brighter for the same average power drain. However, it’s dangerous and illegal to show anything that could be confused with a navigation aid, so

Chartplotter Protocols

by Steve Henkind, Posted November 20, 2008
Chartplotters are powerful extensions of GPS technology and provide tremendous convenience, but they can get you into trouble if you’re not careful. While my focus is on vector-based plotters (digitized charts, which are the ones typically found on recreational sailboats), most of my observations also apply to raster-based (scanned charts) plotters.Scale change matters.

Cheap geezer logbook

by Chip Lawson, Posted June 22, 2009
My sailing philosophy is, “when on watch, stay on deck”. I have made many changes to my boat to reduce the need to go below. One simple change was to create a waterproof logbook that I could safely leave on deck in any weather without fear of damage. A side benefit is that it is inexpensive as well.Using spreadsheet software I created a logbook format I liked. I purchased
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