Cruising Tips

Fenders for Tenders

by Patrick Childress, Posted November 15, 2011
Inflatable dinghies are rough and tough, but their skin is thin. If your rubber duck leads a hard life, adding some protective padding in key spots will reduce chafe and help prevent the little boat from developing an odd list when least expected.
There aren’t many sinking sensations to compare with the one you get when your GPS decides to take an unscheduled break, especially if you’ve been relying on an electronic chartplotter. One minute you know exactly where you are. The next you’re surrounded by a trackless sea, feeling distinctly insecure. 
Some might say that seamanship has been sidelined by technology, with safety and security more dependent on button pushing than sail changing. There may be some truth to this. But at the same time, there’s no question that today’s technology does fill some very real needs. 

Smartphone Anchor Watch

by Donald McLennan, Posted November 8, 2012
Many onboard electronics systems include anchor-watch alarms that sound if a boat drifts too far from where you anchored it. But what if you’re ashore at that time?

The Gourmet Galley

by Meredith Laitos, Posted June 20, 2013
What happens when a big-city chef gets tucked into an itty-bitty galley and is challenged to cook like a sailor? We shanghaied Chef Gibson of Waban Kitchen in Newton, Massachusetts and set out onto Boston Harbor to find out. 

DIY Hardtop Dodger

by Tor Pinney, Posted February 8, 2014
My ketch Silverheels didn’t have any cockpit canvas when I bought her, just an old two-bow dodger frame. I had visions of installing a hard dodger and bimini, but a lack of time, patience and skill caused me to opt for a hardtop for the dodger frame instead.
Going sideways (January 2006)It's no secret that bow thrusters are a big help when you're maneuvering in close quarters, which is why they are becoming common on boats in the 40-foot range. One reason for this popularity is that the units themselves have gotten better. But it's also true that freeboards are getting higher and many of us either are getting older or are sailing with

Keep Your Eyes Moving

by Charles Mason, Posted August 21, 2008
SailsBecoming a good helmsman is similar to becoming a skilled driver or pilot. In all three cases the best operators follow a routine that lets them continuously check many variables: the outside environment—the road, the airspace around them—the navigation instruments, and other important inputs, such as how much "pull" the machine might have when it goes into a

Diesel in a bag

by Richard Probert, Posted May 18, 2009
Halfway between St. John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia, a passage of about 30 nautical miles, the diesel in my Cape Dory 270 stopped. With 40-foot tides creating sluice-like currents, entering most harbors on the Bay of Fundy requires careful timing to arrive at slack water or when the tide is flooding. If you arrive late, you have to wait for the tide to change while being tossed about

No-foul jib sheet

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 5, 2009
The bowlines used to attach sheets to the clew of a headsail have an annoying habit of catching on inner forestays, babystays, and shrouds. Here’s a why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-before idea: if you’re replacing your headsail sheets, don’t cut them in half. Double the sheet over and thread the looped end through the clew. Pass the tails through the loop and draw tight. Then say goodbye to those
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