From Here to There, And Home Again

With or without electricity, as a navigator your job is to find your way safely to port. At times, your best friend may be your compass. Treat it as such.  (published April 2013) Lia Ditton and I were delivering a boat from Antigua to Norfolk, Virginia. A week out of

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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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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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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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Sheet Lead

One of the easiest sail trimming mistakes to avoid is over-sheeting. Simply remember the phrase, “When in doubt, let it out.” Let the sheet out until the sail just begins to luff and then bring it in until it stops. But what happens if part of the sail is set

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Four Hours Away From a Nap

Keep your crew's awareness sharp by taking a disciplined approach to watchkeeping   (published August 2012) We’ve all seen it: the excitement of departure has everyone awake the first night until midnight. But, as the biorhythms start to slow down for everyone in the wee hours of the night, people start

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Heaving-To

The ocean is your parking lot  (published July 2012) For centuries, heaving-to has been the most reliable trick in a sailor’s arsenal for “parking” a sailboat at sea. Throughout that time, sailing vessels have changed and sailors have changed with them, but one fact remains—heaving-to is an important and necessary

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An Act of God

The doubled-up wave on the quarter immediately spun the 50-footer's stern down and the bow up to weather. But, the worst was to follow... I met the owner of the Grand Soleil 50 early on an October Saturday morning, and we quickly went through the boat, tied to a mooring

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