Boat Handling

Positive control astern

by Sail Staff, Posted April 6, 2009
Because a sailboat without a bow thruster lacks positive directional control when going astern at slow speeds, many skippers choose one of three options when it’s time to go into a slip. They go into the slip bow first; they stop at a right angle to the slip and then use dock lines to pull the stern in by hand; or they back down with enough speed on to maintain control.The first option is

Extending whisker poles

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 20, 2009
A standard spinnaker pole is as long as the J measurement on your boat – that is, the distance from the base of the mast to the forestay chainplate. This is purely a racing rule requirement; longer poles are penalized under PHRF rules. If you’re cruising, your whisker pole can be any length you like.On a couple of occasions when I’ve wanted to run downwind with

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.

Pole Up, Ge'nny Out

by David Schmidt, Posted May 11, 2009
Spinnakers and asymmetricals are great for ticking off miles when sailing downwind, but they can be a chore to handle shorthanded. They require constant trimming, and there’s always the possibility of a crash gybe or a knockdown. For a fully crewed raceboat this isn’t a concern, but for cruisers it can be daunting enough that many simply roll out their headsail instead and call

Compass Mask

by Connie McBride, Posted December 18, 2012
 Sunlight is not good for your compass. The liquid inside gets cloudy over time, making it hard to read a heading.
My initial reaction when I first saw a bow thruster on a 40-foot sailboat was to laugh my docksiders off. I’d spent a lifetime threading awkward boats with single props into tricky berths and could imagine no sensible reason for compromising sailing performance by drilling a hole the size of a baby’s head through the bow of a perfectly good boat. As thrusters became more common and I watched

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...

Mastering the A sail

by , Posted July 14, 2009
Though asymmetric spinnakers date as far back as 1865, credit Australian skiff sailor and designer Julian Bethwaite with the invention of the modern asymmetric, which he tested and developed on his Australian 18 designs during the 1980s. Bethwaite needed a spinnaker with a long luff and flat leech on either gybe. This would enable crews to sail the skiff’s tight apparent-wind angles without

Parbuckling Dock Lines

by Tom Cunliffe, Posted January 14, 2013
If ever you find yourself with a heavy boat tied to a dock or wall, blowing off so that no amount of heaving will bring her in, you can always use the simple principle of parbuckling on your docklines.

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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