Cruising Tips

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.

Tennis Ball Grommets

by Bill Bleyer, Posted September 19, 2012
When covering my boat for the winter, I like to use heavy gray-green poly tarps, as they are inexpensive and last several years if they are protected against chafe and are properly secured.

Clearing an Anchor Rode

by David Emsellem, Posted December 6, 2012
Here’s a simple trick I’ve used many times to clear a rope anchor rode caught on a keel. First, I get out my 15lb mushroom dinghy anchor and attach it to the snap shackle...
Setting a stern anchor is not for the faint of heart and can be a real pain. My friend Maurice Roper belongs to a club that always anchors in the same cove where anchors fore and aft are mandatory.
It is surprising to me that so few sailors are also fishermen. When joining a new boat for a passage, I often ask to see what kind of fishing gear the crew has on board. Almost always, I receive a puzzled look, or perhaps a mildly apologetic one, as my fellow sailors wonder where they last saw the jumbled mass of line, hooks and lead weights they call “gear.”

Anchor Rode Side Roller

by Tor Pinney, Posted February 3, 2014
The vertical windlass on my boat is designed to handle only one anchor. Like many cruisers, however, I carry two bow anchors and occasionally need to use both. The problem is my windlass, like most vertical windlasses, feeds just one anchor rode through a deck pipe built into its casing.
VisibilityHow to be seenWe all hope the lookouts on those huge container ships will see our little sailboats in rain, mist, and low light. Should we find ourselves in trouble, we pray that our rescuers will be able to make us out in the breaking waves.Some sailors have long recognized the value of being highly visible. Many ocean-racing boats have brightly colored hulls

The Zero Knot Sailor

by Sail Staff, Posted February 5, 2009
High and dry in the unchanging latitude of my zero-knot armchair, I was an excellent sailor. Always at the ready, nimble and knowledgeable, never seasick or tired—I was eager, eternally young, and unafraid.You need only ask some of my former illustrious shipmates. Joshua Slocum, Sailing Around the World Alone, found me a stalwart companion. With Richard Henry Dana, Jr., I spent

Spinnaker Flying

by Patty Hamar, Posted August 3, 2009
Mention the word “spinnaker” and most sailors think of spicy downwind runs. But some of us have another use for those sails, namely flying. Given the right conditions and some stouthearted companions, getting airborne is a blast.How it worksFirst, you need a symmetrical masthead spinnaker, not a gennaker, an asymmetrical, or a cruising chute.
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