Exposed in the Tropics

A cruising couple benefit from a little shade  (published Dec/Jan 2016-17) We admire intrepid cruisers, captains and crew intent on sailing high latitudes, enduring chilly challenges around distant windswept capes. But my wife, Catherine, and I have little interest in exploring regions that require anything more than board shorts and

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Reaching Into Your Bag of Tricks

With enough time and miles at sea, encountering problems and equipment failures is inevitable. Having the original equipment manufacturers' authorized spares and repair kits onboard is not. Regardless of those mutually exclusive constraints, getting home safely is still your responsibility  (published May 2016) After years of rigorous training and practice,

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Choosing the Right Fabric For Your Sails: part one

For many years the only choice sailors had for fabric and engineering for their sails was cross-cut Dacron sails and for many years cross-cut Dacron sails suited them just fine. They were durable, aesthetically pleasing and not too costly, all good attributes in a sail. Things, however, have changed and

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Water Power

Let your boat's speed through the water charge your battery bank  (published November 2015) Water powered the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when inventors and entrepreneurs discovered that a turning water wheel could be used to drive the machines that can mill lumber, weave cloth and turn lathes. Water power

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Fuel Cell Basics

The future of onboard energy production is here  (published November 2015) Alternative energy sources used to keep our batteries topped up and our amenities running have long been a hot topic amongst cruisers—with almost everyone staunchly defending their own version of what works for them. But as we all know,

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What Worked

After having spent the past eight years crossing oceans on our 40 year old Valiant 40, we have discovered what equipment has given us the best service and lasted the longest  (published October 2015) STEERING PEDESTAL [caption id="attachment_8637" align="alignleft" width="360"] Looking towards the future: Cricket Edson steering[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8636" align="alignleft"

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Get A Grip!

Stronger deck handles and no varnishing  (published September 2015) A wise sailor once said to me, “sand or sail”.  All his topside teak was unvarnished, gray, but functional. (He on the other hand was varnished, gray, and moderately functional).  Having invested the time and effort of a full paint job,

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