Mid-Atlantic Snag

Halfway across the ocean, their spinnaker came down and got tangled in the keel, rudder and prop. Here's how they got going again.  (published July 2013) So, this was a fine mess we’d gotten ourselves into. We were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean onboard Azure, a 40-foot cruising

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Performance Cruising Sails: Who Cares?

Upgrading to laminated, composite sails will improve your boat's performance for years to come...and will be more fun to use  (published June 2013) Ask any cruising sailor what he wants in a new sail and durability and reliability will inevitably be the first things mentioned. In fact, the next words

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Your Cruising Medical Kit

Well stocked first aid and medical kits are essential for safe, healthy cruising  (published May 2013) For cruising sailors, being able to cope with medical emergencies large and small may be the most significant factor in contributing to healthy, happy cruising. Your potential exposure, due to your distance from or

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Understanding Your Diesel Engine

How to become a more confident, anxiety free diesel mechanic  (published March 2013) I had departed the marina in Charleston, South Carolina bound for Florida, it was my first cruise on my cutter and there was no wind. But, as the two-cylinder diesel pushed my boat across the harbor towards

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The Five Stages of Crisis Management

How to deal with the unexpected and learn from your experience  (published March 2013) The day started off great. It was a gorgeous morning. My wife, Heidi, and I got up at a civil hour and readied things on our Shearwater 39 for a short hop from our beautiful anchorage

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Battery Banter

(published November 2012) Chuck Hawley, West Marine’s  Vice President of Product Development, recently bought an Alerion Express 38 Yawl and is learning how to be a cruiser all over again. Since Chuck is not only a gear expert for our industry, but also in the middle of doing upgrades for

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Maintaining a Weather Eye

Weather forecasts can be right or wrong, but the sooner you can recognize the difference, the sooner you can take appropriate action  (published July 2015) A couple of weeks ago we were tasked to move a Hinckley 64 from the Turks and Caicos to her home port in Martha’s Vineyard.

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Composites for Cruising Sails?

Why getting sails that hold their shape longer can make the most sense  (published June 2015) I know, I know, you just want a good, durable, reliable cruising sail, and it can’t cost an arm and a leg. You’re already carrying your house around with you, so how much faster

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The Core of the Matter

The principles of fiberglass construction, what to look for in buying an older boat and how to assess and repair any damage  (published May 2015) There are many types of materials used to build boats these days and have been for a long time—wood, steel, alloy and for a while,

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