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:
Publish date:

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

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more