by David W. Shaw
The sun shone a milky white. Its weak rays were barely able to drive off the damp chill of the early afternoon as we made our way eastward in the Deer Isle Thorofare, a passage snaking between Deer Isle and the beautiful smaller islands of Merchant Row in Down East Maine. I carefully checked the chart against the red and green buoys marking the channel, mindful that straying off course could mean
I steered Sonata, my 1981 Pearson 36 cutter, out of the landcut linking Goose Creek to Bay River, in eastern North Carolina. Turning to my wife, Liz, I triumphantly announced, “We’re done! No more landcuts till next spring.”Liz smiled quizzically. “What?” she asked. “You mean you don’t like landcuts? Imagine that.”We’d navigated many landcuts along the

Barnegat Bay

by David W. Shaw, Posted August 18, 2009
A gentle west wind rippled the placid waters of Silver Bay, glistening in the light of a full moon that truly did make the bay look silvery. I was sitting alone in the cockpit, a cold beer in hand. Beads of condensation from the bottle dampened my palm. It was after Labor Day and the anchorage was deserted, except for me and my two Elizabeths.A flash of light caught my

The Gold Coast

by David W. Shaw, Posted June 15, 2009
The Throgs Neck Bridge cast a shadow over the East River off the bow of StewardShip, my friend Dave Steward’s C&C 29 MK II, a fast-yet-comfortable cruiser. A stiff southerly breeze bearing funky scents of the Big Apple filled the sails, speeding us along.Standing at the wheel, I glanced up at the underside of the span, experiencing the usual trick of the eye

Wi-Fi for Sailors

by David W. Shaw, Posted May 8, 2009
The term Wi-Fi gets bandied about plenty these days. After all, you probably use it to obtain high-speed Internet access at work, in airports and hotels, or at home, and you’ve probably used it on your boat, likely with varying degrees of success. Built-in Wi-Fi hardware in laptops, or PC Wi-Fi-card adapters (802.11 cards), such as those from Linksys, work fine if you’re close

Upgrade: Autopilots

by David W. Shaw, Posted January 7, 2009
Autopilots. These days, more sailors swear by them than at them, as they used to do in the bad old days when the technology wasn’t anywhere near as solid as it is today. Autopilots for small craft arrived after World War II, when Simrad introduced its first models for use on commercial fishing boats. The technology gradually found its way onto recreational boats, and the major manufacturers have

The Joy of Gunkholing

by David W. Shaw, Posted August 11, 2008
There's more to cruising than wide-open spacesI glanced to port at the anvil-shaped cloud rising high over the mainland to the west, then at the genoa eased to catch a southerly breeze blowing anemically up the Johns River off Elizabeth's stern. My heavy full-keel Bristol 24 barely moved. More to the point, I was losing the race with my friend's Tartan 27 as he glided toward

Go With The Flow

by David W. Shaw, Posted August 6, 2008
It isn’t always possible to sail to a plan; you need to look at the big picture.When I started cruising, in 1992, I jumped in with both feet, literally. I’d just bought a 1976 Bristol 24, and in early September I left my home in New Jersey, bound for the Great Lakes, where I’d leave the boat for the winter. I planned to head west the following spring, then south to the Gulf
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