Cruising Tips

Hitch consistency

by Charles Mason, Posted August 18, 2009
If you plan to be sailing in reduced light conditions make sure everyone uses the same procedure to secure a line around a cleat. If someone decides to use a fancy hitch during the day to secure a line it is easy enough to figure out how to free it up because it is right there in front of you. But when you are trying to clear an offbeat hitch in the dark, you might turn the

September 2010 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted September 21, 2010
Line items Whether it’s an official range that is marked on a chart or just two sticks in the sand that you have set up yourself to help get your dinghy through a narrow cut in a reef, a range is an important tool for the sailor. A range works because the two vertical poles or objects are aligned to create an unmovable line of position. Ranges work best when the aftermost stick,

Sudden Exposure

by Steve Dublin, Posted June 23, 2011
This story originally appeared in the December 2009 issueWe were on the return leg of our round-trip cruise from Florida to the Dominican Republic. The crew included my wife Lucy and our sailing friends, Joe and Mary Merchberger, and we had all enjoyed the beautiful countryside and friendly people of the Dominican Republic. Our sleigh ride back north had all but erased the memory

Do You Know Your Racing Flags?

by Sail Staff, Posted March 1, 2012
Everyone knows the Answering Pennant (AP or “Cat in the Hat” flag) means racing has been postponed and that the “P” flag means a standard starting sequence. But what about the “M” flag, an “N” flag over an “A” flag, or an answering pennant flying above Pennant 2? 
Perhaps you’re looking at a cat as an option for an extended cruise, or you’ve chartered a catamaran for a week in the British Virgin Islands. You’re expecting some thrilling multihull speed, but once on the water you find you are disappointed.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on inside that little tender’s house up on a drawbridge, you’re not alone. It’s a bit of a fishbowl up here, and everyone who walks by seems to look in.

Nifty Winch-Handle Holder

by Don Street, Posted December 20, 2012
It’s always nice to have dedicated spots on deck or in the cockpit for stowing winch handles. But the various pre-made molded-plastic or fancy fabric holders out there can be surprisingly costly, when all you really need is a short length of PVC pipe.
I had been warned about the swirling currents of Hell Gate, but it was the profusion of lights from ships, shore and navigational aids that overwhelmed me as I entered Lower New York Bay after sunset in search of an overnight anchorage.

Sailing Through Reefs

by Andy Schell, Posted September 20, 2013
Negotiating a reef inlet, be it in the Bahamas or the South Pacific, requires precise navigation and skilled seamanship. Detailed charts are essential, and you should always consult any local sailing directions you have onboard in advance.
When anchoring on chain rode it is usual to fasten a length of nylon line between the chain and the boat as a snubber. This absorbs shock loads if the chain suddenly gets yanked up tight. 
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