Seamanship

The Fine Art of Gunkholing

by Kevin Walters, Posted March 10, 2011
July in Lake Huron’s North Channel is a special time. The cruising season is in full swing and what is normally a quiet wilderness area begins to come to life with cruisers looking for the perfect anchorage. Last year my family and I spent nearly a month in the North Channel visiting sleepy ports, rugged islands and one of the world’s largest freshwater fjords.The 1,000-mile round trip

Deck Bladders

by Aussie Bray, Posted October 15, 2012
Fuel capacity usually isn’t an issue in home waters, but it becomes important when long-range cruising sailboats have to motor for extended periods.

Dreams at Sea

by Dave Welch, Posted March 11, 2009
At sea I remember my dreams; at home I rarely do. Awakened frequently by a new sound or unexpected movement of the boat, I pop to attention with a dream still running in my head. I have to; my world floats just above the surface.On a recent delivery from Charleston, South Carolina, to Tortola, BVI—eight days, but it felt more like sixteen—we pounded east and then south

Voice of Experience: Heading for the Rocks

by Travis Gill, Posted March 11, 2011
We were halfway into a three-week summer cruise through the San Juan and Gulf islands in the Pacific Northwest. Aboard Hannah, our Hunter 356, were my wife Chantil, my 15-year-old daughter, Sierra, my 11-year-old son, Aaron, and our dog, Jack; also with us were my nephews Andrew and Zack, who are 13 and 12. Our vacation was going so well I jokingly considered calling work and asking for
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
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