Learning the Ropes

Lines run here, there and everywhere on a sailboat. It's worth knowing what their properties are and how best to use them.  (September 2014) A few years ago, as I was wandering the docks and checking out the fleet of Open Class 60s, I noticed that there weren’t any shackles

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The Dark Art of Weather Anaylsis

How learning the basics of weather can keep you in the right spots while on passage  (published July 2014) I stood there, facing the seated crowd of sailors and asked,  “How many of you have a basic minimum or less understanding of how to read a weather map?” At least

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Solitude, Self-Reliance, Serenity

Wheter alone or in the company of one or two others, shorthanded sailing means spending time on deck, alone and responsible for the safety of everyone else aboard  (published June 2014) It’s not always easy. In fact, sailing single or shorthanded can be exhausting at times. When confronted by heavy

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Dressed to the Nines

(published May 2014) Thirty-five years passes in a blink when looking back. Cell phones were non-existent. Few beyond the Department of Defense had a computer—and those required a room-sized space to grind out a few relatively simple solutions. It’s little wonder that high tech sailing clothes for most people consisted

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Blowout!

Sail repairs at sea are not a matter of "if" but "when"...since sails that are used hard offshore will eventually need your tender loving care  (published April 2014) As a team, we had crossed the North Atlantic twice and sailed from England to South Africa without a serious equipment failure.

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When Your Steering Fails

The best way to avoid steering problems is to maintain the equipment. But you also need to have a Plan B if it does fail.  (published March 2104) Winds were brisk at 40 knots and the waves were large as we beam reached across the Southern Ocean on the Whitbread

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Herd Instinct

Deciding when to head offshore can be tricky, and subject to the opinions of those around you  (published February 2014) It had been a rough passage from England to Cape Town, South Africa. Drum had almost sunk— again! On that, then-most-recent trip in 1985, several of the flat panel composite

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North to South: Pointing the Way

How magnetic compasses work in the real world  (published January 2014) It was a bitter cold night. We left Newport, R.I. at 0300 that morning, and we were still about 60 miles north of the warm Gulf Stream. Fortunately, winds were WNW at about 25 and when we were to

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Bitter Winds

Cold weather sailing can be hard and dangerous. Or, it can be a rare pleasure.  (published December 2013) Christmas Eve. We had just tied up alongside the remaining floating dock behind The Newport Harbor Hotel in Newport, RI. Most of the other docks in town had been put away for

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Landfall Bermuda

Sailing to Bermuda isn't always the easiest passage, and stopping there can have surprises of its own  (published November 2013) The delivery out of the BVI aboard Alerre, a Swan 61, had gone smoothly. With plenty of sailing behind us and reserve jugs of diesel, we had enough fuel to

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