Safety

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

Calling for Help

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 18, 2009
The three boats in Tom Cunliffe’s scenario all found different ways of coping with difficult weather conditions, and all made it to port with little or no drama. But what if things had turned out differently? How would they have called for help?Visual distress

Quiet Means Safe

by Bruce Balan, Posted February 16, 2010
I know sailors who can sleep through 40-knot winds even though the halyards are throbbing like a string quartet. But the truth is if something on the boat is making noise, chances are that it’s either hitting or rubbing something else and that means lots of chafe and wear. A quiet boat is a chafe-free and therefore a safer boat. At night that can often mean the difference between a good night’s

Towing - The Bottom Line

by Chuck Baier, Posted April 27, 2010
Many sailors have memberships with TowBoatUS, Sea Tow and other organizations. But how many understand what services their membership includes, what their own responsibility is if they do call for assistance, and what level of assistance they should expect to receive? Most memberships have different levels of coverage, and if you’re unsure

Sudden Turn

by Steven Fink, Posted April 20, 2011
One beautiful, sunny July day I was sailing Rondo, my Beneteau 423, about a mile off the famed Santa Monica pier in picturesque Santa Monica Bay, California. The wind was blowing gently at around 8 knots, and I was reaching along on port tack making about 5 knots. It was a typical Southern California day with a typical Southern California breeze. Suddenly, at a distance of about 300 yards, I saw

Dodging Sea Monsters

by Tor Pinney, Posted May 9, 2011
Most commercial ships are run by competent professional crews. Still, close encounters with yachts are not uncommon. Every once in a while a ship arrives in port with a mast wedged in her anchor—and no one knows how it got there.To an offshore sailor a large merchant vessel can seem like a modern-day sea monster, capable of obliterating a yacht and spitting out the scraps

Rescue 21

by Gordon West, Posted May 9, 2011
First the good news. Throughout most of the continental United States, calling the Coast Guard on your marine VHF radio now ties you into one of the most modern marine radio networks in use anywhere on Earth. As of November 2010, the 26 Sector Command Centers in the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 radio network can monitor transmissions along nearly 37,000 miles of coastline.
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