Cruising Tips - April 2006

This month: rafting safety; making a chain collar; waxing your dinghy; and the Flemish coil.SeamanshipAvoid Damage AloftOne potential danger when sailboats lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash together and suffer catastrophic damage. Always look aloft
Author:
Updated:
Original:

This month: rafting safety; making a chain collar; waxing your dinghy; and the Flemish coil.

Seamanship

Avoid Damage Aloft


One potential danger when sailboats lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash together and suffer catastrophic damage. Always look aloft when rafting up and make sure the masts are well out of line. Rafting bow to stern is a good way to prevent spars from clashing. T.C.

Boatcraft

Wax your bottom


We sail in the Pacific Northwest and use our inflatable dinghy year round. We had a real problem with marine growth on the dinghy’s bottom until we tried waxing it. We’ve found that waxing the bottom lets us keep the dinghy in the water for up to four weeks without problems. Then all we need to do is lift it out, wash it clean, and, after it dries, rewax the bottom. I prefer to wax the bottom of my inflatable, in case I need to patch it, rather than paint it with antifouling. For longer-term wet storage, though, you might have to consider painting the bottom. J.K.

Seamanship

Cut the cheese


A line end that’s neatly done up into a Flemish coil, or “cheese,” looks very salty, especially on the gleaming cabintop of a classic boat, but it’s not a good way to treat a line that might have to run free in a hurry. Cheesed lines are prone to kinking and need to be thoroughly shaken out before you get under way, or there’s a good chance they’ll snarl up just when you least want them to. Cheesed lines are also great dirt traps, as you’ll find out if you’ve left one on your cabintop for a few days. P.N.

Anchoring

Chain collar


If your anchor is hooked on an underwater cable or snagged under a rock, you may be able to free it with a chain collar. Loop a piece of chain about 12 inches long around the anchor rode and join the ends with a shackle. Harden up on the anchor cable until it’s vertical and then slide the chain collar down it on a length of line. The aim is to get it over the shank of the anchor and down near the crown. If you ease off the anchor cable and heave up and down on the collar line, you may be able to pull the anchor clear of the obstruction. If it proves stubborn, try pulling on the retrieval line from the dinghy as the boat settles back on the rode; the change in angle may be all that’s needed to coax the anchor free. P.N.

Words from the Wise

On the matter of keeping dry I remain, perforce, a skeptic. My brother-in-law Firpo, who believes in tackling problems head-on, designed his own foul-weather gear for our first race to Bermuda. It was the grandest and most elaborate piece of gear I ever saw, not less imposing for its responsibility to keep dry 250 pounds of human flesh. It had rubber gloves with shock-cord belts, all-directional zippers, seamless balaclavas—everything except perhaps a catheter tube. The first hard wave that tore into The Panic’s cockpit left Firpo totally drenched, and, on top of that, facing twenty minutes of disassembly before he could dry his bare skin. Van, who had observed with awe the design and engineering of the ultimate foul-weather suit, comforted Firpo with a practical suggestion for the next trip. “You must go to a garage, strip, and have yourself vulcanized.”—William F. Buckley Jr.,Airborne—A Sentimental Journey (1976)

Contributors this month: Tom Cunliffe, Capt. Jim Karch, Peter Nielsen

Click here for the Cruising Tips Archive

Related

IMG_8287GR16Mykonos

Cultural Charters: Mykonos

In last month’s column, I covered the amazing mix of cultures that have called the Dalmatian Coast home over the centuries. Croatia cruising is like a smorgasbord of intertwined centuries, and the islands are a movie set. A little farther south, though, you’ve also got Greece, ...read more

cookinglead

Cruising: No Oven? No Worries

Many cruising boats, especially smaller ones, don’t have a conventional oven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the baked foods you want, from bread to brownies to breakfast rolls to casseroles and even a roast chicken. All it takes is the right bit of gear and a ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Take no chances  This is my stern with the engine running slowly in gear against the lines. We all know that when we’re charging batteries this lets the engine warm up thoroughly. However, I have a ...read more

ZK-Seaboot-900

Gear: Zhik’s Seaboot 900

A Better Sea Boot Following up on its successful ZK Seaboot 800, Zhik’s Seaboot 900 was created in partnership with team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng Race Team, the latter the overall winner of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. Designed for serious, long-distance offshore racers and ...read more

01-LEAD-FP-Astrea-42-Gilles-martin-rajet---Navigation

Switching to Solar Offshore

No sensible bluewater sailor would consider setting off on a long cruise these days without some means of generating power other than by burning fossil fuels. The good news is that solar energy is becoming less expensive by the day, making it an obvious answer for providing the ...read more

190812-Tiwal-Video-600x

Video: Tiwal Cup 2019

Who says you need a superyacht to have fun? It would be hard to imagine having a better time on the water than these sailors recently did racing aboard a fleet of Tiwal inflatable sloops. ...read more

GEMINI-BATTERY-PASSAGE

Experience: No Batteries, Big Problems

After sailing on Puget Sound and in British Columbia for over 30 years, my wife, Jeri, and I retired to Florida, bought a house on Punta Gorda and worked hard to get it straight. The walls had been painted, furniture bought and assembled, belongings packed, transported and ...read more