Herd Instinct

Deciding when to head offshore can be tricky, and subject to the opinions of those around you  (published February 2014) It had been a rough passage from England to Cape Town, South Africa. Drum had almost sunk— again! On that, then-most-recent trip in 1985, several of the flat panel composite

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North to South: Pointing the Way

How magnetic compasses work in the real world  (published January 2014) It was a bitter cold night. We left Newport, R.I. at 0300 that morning, and we were still about 60 miles north of the warm Gulf Stream. Fortunately, winds were WNW at about 25 and when we were to

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Bitter Winds

Cold weather sailing can be hard and dangerous. Or, it can be a rare pleasure.  (published December 2013) Christmas Eve. We had just tied up alongside the remaining floating dock behind The Newport Harbor Hotel in Newport, RI. Most of the other docks in town had been put away for

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Landfall Bermuda

Sailing to Bermuda isn't always the easiest passage, and stopping there can have surprises of its own  (published November 2013) The delivery out of the BVI aboard Alerre, a Swan 61, had gone smoothly. With plenty of sailing behind us and reserve jugs of diesel, we had enough fuel to

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Snowbird Migrations

The leaves turn color and drop. The Canada Geese head south. The warm allure of the tropics beckons. But getting there may or may not be so alluring.  (published October 2013) The days are getting shorter. The cooler air foretells of a shift, not only in the weather, but also

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Wicked Bad News!

Hurricanes aren't as entertaining in real life as they may appear on TV  (published September 2013) The warm September morning started out peacefully enough. As dawn approached, seawater was lapping up over the normally-dry parts of the low lying coastal land.  Later in the morning, as everyone went on about

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It’s Time for Your Watch

There are as many ways to parse time as there are readers of this article, but there is more to a watch schedule than time  (published august 2013) Lia Ditton and I were a couple of days into another delivery, this passage double handing a 48-foot catamaran from Antigua to

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The Fickle Finger of Fate

Lightning, electrical failure, computer crashes all happen on a whim of the gods. Safety and lives may hang in the balance and navigation's basics can tilt the odds in your favor  (published July 2013) She was a tired but still-fast sloop out of the Med. Charging along through the trade

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Free Online Weather Tools

The difference between success and failure in racing or cruising is often determined by the thoroughness of the preparation-often by just getting the weather right  (published June 2013) It’s almost time to start your cruising rally, and some time ago, you noticed that getting hammered by unexpected cold fronts wasn’t

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Weather Routing Software

The good, the bad and the ugly truth of it all  (published May 2013) As night settles on the deck of the boat, a glow emanates from the nav station. It used to be red to protect the night vision of the deck watch. For years, it has increasingly become

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