Columns

Windshifts: Inflatable Combat

by Ray Jason, Posted September 20, 2012
After ten days of non-stop sailing from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I deserved a night of deep sleep. So why was my crew awakening me at an hour that even a bishop would find ungodly?
Like most sailors, I have accumulated a wide range of boat-related clothing over the years. And also—like most sailors, I suspect—I still possess almost all of it.
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.
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.
It was a beautiful afternoon for sailing out on the Chesapeake, and our non-sailing friends seemed delighted to be taking an active part.
When you dream about sailing off to far-flung destinations, do you picture tropical islands, palm trees nodding in a balmy trade wind, clouds brilliant white against an azure sky?

Gear Lust

by Peter Nielsen, Posted June 18, 2012
After writing last month’s note about minimalist cruisers Thies Matzen and Kicki Ericson and their exploits in the much-traveled 30-foot sloop Wanderer III, I was overcome by some uncharacteristic soul-searching.
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