Columns

According to Coast Guard statistics, the vast majority of drownings happen from boats less than 26 feet long, with solo boaters especially at risk. Isn’t it time for the United States to make lifejacket use mandatory aboard boats of this size or when boating solo? 

One Hull or Two?

by Pat Schulte, Posted February 4, 2014
A cruiser's take on the great debate

Voice of Experience: Race Interrupted

by Tim Turner, Posted April 15, 2014
As I tried to drop the mainsail on my Laguna 26 Sailvation in the midst of a howling hailstorm, I remembered the story of Ulysses being lashed to his mast.

Voice of Experience: The Less Difficult Sail

by Lambros Karrie, Posted May 6, 2014
About a mile east of the Saint Lucie shoal and about 15 miles from the entrance to Ft. Pierce, as John was negotiating a steep wave, we heard a sudden loud noise under our feet. John screamed “Take it, take it!” as the boat headed into the wave. The reefed genoa backed, and the boat came about and started heading in the opposite direction with the wind and waves on our port side.

Voice of Experience: Going Wrong in Fives

by Timothy B. Glynn, Posted July 14, 2014
John D. Macdonald, through his iconic character Travis McGee, observed that one thing never goes wrong on a boat. Instead, things go wrong in threes.
After over five months of sailing from the Pacific Northwest, down the west coast of North America, through the Panama Canal and on into the Caribbean, we were finally approaching St. Maarten. We were only 100 miles from our final destination, and a giddy feeling of anticipation had begun to set in. 
“Jim! What’s wrong?” I shouted as I sprinted half-awake toward the companionway with Glen, our 11-year old son, close on my heels. The roar of our diesel engine thundering into reverse had yanked me from my sleep.
In the Northeast the arrival of spring brings much anticipated preparations for the start of the sailing season. In my case, this includes trailering Windseeker south to Island Heights in New Jersey where I have a yard commission the boat.
We at SAIL don’t tend to dwell on the darker side of the sailing life—boats lost, sailors drowned. The monthly “Voice of Experience” column has its share of drama, but it’s the kind in which, to channel the radio cliché, “luckily, no one was hurt.” Quite honestly we’d rather focus on reasons to go sailing rather give anyone a reason not to.
The news that NOAA was going to stop offering printed nautical charts was hardly a surprise, but all the same it hurts to see the end of an era. All we boomer types who spent our formative cruising years frowning over dog-eared paper charts, stamped with coffee cup rings, crisscrossed by part-erased pencil lines and dotted with semi-legible scribblings, will feel a warm fuzzy pang of sentimentality at the news.
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