Surefire Survey Strategies

Getting the most out of every type of boat evaluation  (published December 2012) If only we knew then what we know now! In five years of owning our current boat, a 1981 Dufour 35, we’ve had three professional surveys of vastly differing qualities. Comparing our experiences taught us how to

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Barracuda!

A cruiser in Cuba experiences a close encounter of the predator kind  (published November 2012) We were anchored in a lovely spot in the lee of Cayo Sal on the south coast of Cuba. The islet, a mere rock about 50 nautical miles offshore, is no more than sharp limestone

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Avoid Boom Doom

Rigging a preventer or boom brake  (published November 2012) Warning: The only way to start this is with a dramatic, yet frightening reality.  “BOOM” isn’t exactly the noise it makes when it hits a crewmember. The sound is more akin to getting knocked in the head by a baseball bat.

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Year 5: What Worked, What Didn’t

(published October 2012) Setting off from Rhode Island five years ago to sail around the world, we installed a multi-page list of new equipment on our old Valiant 40. But nothing on a long range cruising sailboat stays new for long. Here is a short list of items that are

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Fitting Out for Cruising

15 top upgrades that transform your boat into a liveaboard voyager  (published October 2012) Whether you are buying a new boat through a dealer or a used boat through a broker, you will have abundant help deciding just which model is right for you and your cruising plans. But once

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A Harrowing Journey

Crossing the pirate-infested Indian Ocean can be a life-or-death guessing game  (published October 2012) There were times—many times—in the past few months when Chris and I asked ourselves, “How on earth did we end up in this situation?” Times like when we were caught in the spotlight of an unknown

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Overtaken

A sudden storm dampens a passage from Grays Harbor, WA to San Francisco  (published September 2012) When I tell the story of a recent storm encounter, most experienced sailors wonder how we got caught in the first place. Didn’t we listen to the forecasts before leaving and have NOAA weather

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Adding Reef Points

(published September 2012) Any experienced cruising sailor knows the importance of being able to reef your sails in heavy weather to reduce power and heeling. As a safety feature, at least one, and preferably two reefs are critical. So when my husband and I replaced our mainsail a few years

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A Dangerous Game

Weather routing is a bit of a chess game against the weather-at times, it can be more dangerous than you'd like  (published September 2012) It’s a chess game. You—or me—against the weather. It matters little whether I’m on a race or delivering a boat; trying to set a speed record

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