Bluewater Lessons

In sailing there are always old lessons to be learned (or relearned) and conventional wisdom to be challenged. When I took my 57-footer offshore from Mystic, Connecticut, to Miami, Florida, I learned again that following a cold front is not always a great idea. While a forecast may be upbeat and indicate improving conditions, cold fronts—particularly those that occur when the seasons are
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
bluewaterlessons

In sailing there are always old lessons to be learned (or relearned) and conventional wisdom to be challenged. When I took my 57-footer offshore from Mystic, Connecticut, to Miami, Florida, I learned again that following a cold front is not always a great idea. While a forecast may be upbeat and indicate improving conditions, cold fronts—particularly those that occur when the seasons are changing—often bring nasty stuff that is best avoided, like 50 knots of wind off Cape Hatteras.

Some aspects of my boat’s layout challenge conventional sailing wisdom. She is rigged for shorthanded heavy-weather sailing with a 135 percent North triradial Spectra headsail and an in-mast-furling triradial Spectra main. The main carries no battens, and the furling systems are powered. Purists may scoff at the lost sail area, poor sail shape, and reliance on powered equipment (I do have a manual backup), but when the wind is building during a night watch, the last thing I want to do is to head up and shorten down. Whatever the purists say, it’s reassuring to be able to put some light resistance on the outhaul and then pull in the mainsail, even if it involves dragging it across the spreaders. Equipment has changed, and modern boats and gear are remarkably seaworthy and tough. The weather, however, is the same as it has always been. Bob Lally

Related

Pestilence

Sailor-Punk and the State of Cruising

Back when I was a young man, sailing back and forth across the North Atlantic in an old fiberglass sailboat, it seemed fairly obvious to me how all that was wrong in the world might be set right. Everyone should be issued a boat at birth! Or so I declared to any who would listen ...read more

promoOnTheHorizon600x

Cats On The Horizon

Dragonfly 32 Evolution Denmark’s Quorning Boats has been systematically upgrading its line of folding, performance-cruiser trimarans in recent years as part of a long-term effort to incorporate the latest developments in yacht design, with the latest to receive this treatment ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The double range  Every skipper knows about ranging two objects in line to keep the boat on track in a cross-current. What’s less obvious is monitoring both sides of a gap such as a harbor entrance. ...read more

FamilyCruise

Bareboating on Puget Sound

Depending on where you are, Puget Sound can look no bigger than a mountainous version of the Intracoastal Waterway. That’s what I thought when I first laid eyes on it from the lighthouse at Mukilteo Park on a sunny day last July. Then I went to the top of the iconic Space Needle ...read more

Bali4point1

Boat Review: Bali 4.1

Coming fast on the heels of its predecessor, the Bali 4.0, the Bali 4.1 adds a number of improvements, many of them inspired by feedback from owners and charterers. She’s an evolution of a concept that has already proven popular and very many benefits from its builder’s ...read more

Headsail

Ask Sail: Silencing A Rattling Headsail

Q: Our Pearson 26 has a 110-percent jib that tends to rattle very noisily at the top hank. We only bought the old boat recently, but it must have been happening for a long time, since there’s a deep groove worn inside that bronze hank. The jib has an unusually large and wide ...read more

Alerion2048x

Alerion Yachts 33, the 90 Minute Get Away

Easy to sail, luxurious, and swift; the Alerion 33 is the solution to your busy life. The intuitive, simple rig design, easy set-up, and put-away mean there’s no need to wait for crew to enjoy a weekend, a day, or an hour out sailing. Her beauty and comfort are evident in the ...read more