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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Speed Isn’t Everything

Whether you’re dealing with heavy weather or just taking a break, there are times when slowing the boat makes all the sense in the world  (published August 2014) As I came up on deck I could see the wide-eyed look in everyone’s faces. The catamaran was going too fast, and

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Tricky Terms in Navigation

Learning the proper meanings and uses of navigational terms will put us all on the same page, and just might teach us some history, too  (published July 2014) Good navigation calls for clear communications. We would like to think, then, that the terms we use have precise meanings. Most do,

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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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Get the Most from the Sun and Wind

A quick guide to maximizing your energy independence  (published June 2014) For decades now, solar and wind power have reliably provided inexpensive energy to cruisers. It’s not simply that the concept of harnessing power from the elements is inherent to the concept of cruising on a sailboat, it’s that these

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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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Hawaii by Sextant

How to learn and practice celestial navigation using data from a 2,800 mile ocean passage  (published May 2014) Most blue water sailors think about learning celestial navigation (cel nav) at some point. Many pursue it so they can navigate on their own if they need to. They do, after all,

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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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Getting the Best Wi-Fi on the Water

Understanding Wi-Fi boosters and antennas  (published April 2014) Along with GPS, satellite phones, and SSB radios with PACTOR modems, Wi-Fi boosters are another miracle of communications that are of tremendous benefit to sailors. Most recreational vessels, even those inhabited year-round, are not at sea anywhere close to the majority of

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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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