Seamanship

North America is as big as its waters are varied. Some sailors inhabit a tideless world where 0400 departures to catch the south-going stream through Hell Gate are as foreign as flying to the moon.

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

Tools for your Cruise

by Don Casey, Posted August 22, 2011
Cruisers who sail long distances typically carry a vast array of tools and spare parts, but weekend sailors tend to buy parts as needed and depend on tools normally kept at home, in the trunk of a car, or even hanging on the rack at a hardware store. But what happens when you take your boat out of home waters, with house, car, hardware store and chandlery left behind? This is a good question to

Dinghy Seamanship

by Fay Mark, Posted August 18, 2009
There’s an old saying that some of the most dangerous moments in sailing occur when people are in their dinghies. Over the years we’ve had lots of opportunities to see dinghies being handled well and poorly, and we’ve seen a lot more good and bad examples since we have been cruising in the Caribbean aboard our 54- foot cutter New Morning. We carry an 11-foot Zodiac
Like most cruisers, I was happy to ditch my symmetric spinnaker and defect to a more easily handled asymmetric kite, but I can’t deny that the symmetric sail has its advantages. It works better on downwind runs with the apparent wind at 140 degrees or more, and on most older boats it has the considerable virtue of already being on board (no need to spend money) and is probably lightly
My wife, Des, and I have just finished a two-year circumnavigation of the Caribbean Basin. Among the things we learned was that some of the most important things that made our cruising more enjoyable cost less than ten bucks. Here are some of our favorites.
  1. Insulated tumblers Ice is a precious commodity at sea, and so is hot coffee. We used our insulated tumblers for hot coffee in
Galley ovens often have hot spots. The short distance from the flame to the pan, a small heat shield, and the smaller volume of air inside the oven all contribute to food burning on the center bottom before its outer edges are cooked through.

Hitch consistency

by Charles Mason, Posted August 18, 2009
If you plan to be sailing in reduced light conditions make sure everyone uses the same procedure to secure a line around a cleat. If someone decides to use a fancy hitch during the day to secure a line it is easy enough to figure out how to free it up because it is right there in front of you. But when you are trying to clear an offbeat hitch in the dark, you might turn the
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.

Tender tricks and stress-free anchoring

by Charles Mason, Posted August 9, 2005
At the DockDinghy-dock smartsDon Street, who has been rowing rigid dinghies around harbors in Europe and the Caribbean for more than 60 years, thought he had learned everything there is to know about handling a dinghy in any conditions. But he’s come up with a new trick for handling a hard tender around a crowded dinghy dock. “The usual routine,” says Street, “is to
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