by Charles J. Doane

Charles Doane is SAIL’s Executive Editor. He has raced, cruised and lived aboard a variety of boats in harbors around the world.

The ARC, which starts each November in the Canary Islands, is very much a European event and the Americans who run it are often a bit out of the ordinary. Without doubt, the least ordinary American boat in this last edition of the rally was the Gunboat 66 Phaedo.

Furl it Up

by Charles J. Doane, Posted January 6, 2012
After cruisers tested and perfected furler systems about 30 years ago,  they were widely adopted on certain types of raceboats. Since then, however, there’s been an interesting reverb effect, in which offshore racers have created ever more refined and versatile furling technologies that are now trickling back into the cruising community.
It used to be that sailors looking to keep their boats moving in light air had fairly limited options. A big overlapping genoa flown from a fixed headstay was the weapon of choice when trying to get upwind in a zephyr. Turning downwind, it was a question of setting a balky hard-to-handle symmetric spinnaker on a pole.
This quick cruiser from France was entered in last year’s Best Boats but never made it to the shows. It’s a handsome cat with twin wheels and a number of layout options to suit everyone from charter operators to world cruisers.
The twin rudders on this beamy cruiser ensure excellent helm control even when hard on the wind at an aggressive angle of heel. The wide transom incorporates an enormous flip-down swim platform that is raised and lowered with an electric motor and will undoubtedly make you the envy of the anchorage.

Figure-Eight Rope Coils

by Charles J. Doane, Posted November 15, 2011
Perfect O-shaped coils of rope look mighty nice when done up properly, and in many cases this is a fine way to make up and stow an idle line on a sailboat. But in some instances lines trained to coil down in ovals develop problems when working. This happens most often with lines that run through a multi-part tackle. If you coil the tail of a line that runs through a tackle in perfect ovals, you’ll soon find the line twists up in the tackle when you’re using it. Eventually you must unreeve the line from the tackle, untwist it so it runs fair again and then re-reeve it. To avoid this, you should coil the line in a figure-eight pattern when stowing it.
Near the end of the 2010 boating season I noticed that the old Profurl roller-furling unit on my Tanton 39 cutter Lunacy was no longer working properly. The furler, which probably dates back to the early 1990s, was getting increasingly difficult to use.

Nautor Swan 66 FD

by Charles J. Doane, Posted October 31, 2011
Back in 1998, when Finnish builder Nautor was acquired by Italian fashion magnate Leonardo Ferragamo, many Swan aficionados worried that the core values of this iconic breed of cruiser-racers would be lost in a blaze of Euro-finery. But the Italians have since done a superb job of injecting their own unique sense of style into the brand while also retaining Nautor’s strong
Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey 409 replaces the very successful Sun Odyssey 39i in the French builder’s fleet of performance cruising boats. With its angular styling and solid performance, the 409 won accolades as the 2011 European Yacht of the Year in the Family Cruisers category. 

The Rallying Kind

by Charles J. Doane, Posted October 31, 2011
I’ve been on both sides of the fence when it comes to cruising rallies. My very first transatlantic experiences, way back in 1992, were in two cruising rallies organized by Jimmy Cornell, the man who can rightfully lay claim to having invented the concept when he launched the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), from the Canaries to the West Indies, in 1986.
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