Cruising Tips

No-risk mast climbing

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 5, 2009
Most halyard winches are not powerful enough to hoist a 200-pound sailor up a mast, so you need to find a way to let your primary winches take the strain if you need to hoist someone up the rig. Here’s what we do on our boat, where the main halyard runs via a rope clutch (not seen in the photo) to a small winch on the mast. First, we loop a spare length of half-inch line a few times around the

December 09 Cruising Tips

by Sail Staff, Posted February 17, 2010
MAINTENANCE: Keeping Fuel Sludge-ProofFour years ago our diesel engine died because of a blocked fuel line. We’ve known many other cruisers who have suffered the same problem. Whenever a boat is going to windward under power, as we were, the fuel in the tanks gets stirred up. If the tank contains dirty fuel or microbial growth, as ours did, there will often be trouble. To

Relearn the Old Lessons

by Sail Staff, Posted April 19, 2011
As we enjoy the summer sailing season, it’s worth taking a minute to be sure some important sailing traditions don’t get overlooked—or even forgotten—in this age of electronic navigation and autopilots. Stuff still happens out on the water, but fortunately, almost everything that does can be minimized or prevented through good seamanship.First and foremost, whether you are sailing an

Flying Free

by Don Casey, Posted November 15, 2011
On our Allied Seawind ketch we fly the national ensign from our mizzen topping lift, rather than flying it from a short staff on the rail under the mizzen boom where it would be at odds with the mizzen sheet.

Four Inexpensive Upgrades

by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 1, 2012
Here are four inexpensive additions and upgrates from experienced cruiser Terry Kotas, who sails Cetus, a Fantasia 35.

Faster Mainsail Reefing

by Don Street, Posted July 10, 2012
On my old yawl, Iolaire, I always used a mainsail reefing method that seemed odd to guests, but was very fast and worked well. After first casting off the mainsheet, we would hoist the end of the boom a full six feet into air—the depth of the reef—with the topping lift...

Water and the Prodigal Crew

by Tom Cunliffe, Posted February 18, 2013
Pressure water is always nice on a boat, but when a landlubbing crew comes aboard it only encourages them to waste a precious commodity.
Cats make great cruising companions, but life on a boat can be challenging for them.

Let the Wind Do the Work

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 20, 2014
The first time I tried to pick up a mooring singlehanded in a stiff breeze, I approached from dead downwind in the usual manner and stopped the boat with the pickup buoy right where I wanted it.
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
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