Seamanship

I’ve been on the wrong end of a towline twice. At the very least, being towed will ruin your afternoon. At worst, it can cause serious damage to your boat or injury to your crew. Knowing what to expect and what to do to help yourself—or to help others help you—will ensure things go safely and smoothly.

The Z factor

by Steve Henkind, Posted May 18, 2009
The first night on your boat after a long winter is always an education. You learn that the gentle rocking of a boat in a slip or at a mooring can be mightily effective when it comes to curing insomnia. You also learn, as the slightest of rolls sets crockery a-clinking and cans a-clanking, that you haven’t done a very good job of stowing the odds and ends that you’ve just put

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

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?

Refreshing Pause

by Steve Henkind, Posted May 18, 2009
This summer, many sailors will embark for the first time on a long, non-stop coastal or offshore passage that involves one or more nights at sea. If you are sailing a long distance, you should set and follow a formal watch schedule. Some boats utilize a “catch as catch can” approach—but this can lead to exhaustion and is a recipe for disaster. Watchstanding routines can range from a very basic

Season's First Sail

by John Fisher, Posted April 19, 2011
It was a beautiful afternoon in the middle of May, and I was making final preparations to move Second Epic, our Newport 30-III, from its winter storage yard to our seasonal slip at Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, New York.Rigging the boat that morning had taken longer than I expected, but that always seems to happen during commissioning. As I fussed over a few final details, I knew I should

Best Stern Anchors

by Peter Nielsen, Posted November 29, 2012
If you’re getting into serious cruising, there will be times when you want to set a stern anchor. Usually this involves emptying fenders, lines and whatnot out of a cockpit locker until you unearth the kedge and its rode.

Industrial strength safety

by Sail Staff, Posted May 18, 2009
Rope clutches, or stoppers, are wonderful items to have on board. Not only are they quick and easy to operate, they eliminate the need for extra winches. But each one must be labeled so the trimmer can see immediately what line that particular stopper controls.When San Francisco sailors Russ Irwin and Fay Mark labeled the clutches on their brand new 52-footer New
While sailing alone one summer on the south shore of Lake Superior on my Westsail 32, Antares, I approached Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula from the east. The Keweenaw juts out into the lake like a giant thumb. Through its base runs the tranquil Portage River, a handy shortcut for boats traveling this coast.After motoring up Keweenaw Bay, I anchored for the night in an open marshy area on a
Anchoring involves more than dropping a chunk of metal overboard and fastening your boat to it. The best way to improve your technique is through practice, but this can be hard to come by if your boat is often on a mooring or dock.
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