Category

Techniques & Tactics

Tips and diatribes regarding boathandling, sailhandling, seamanship, navigation, and other realms of nautical expertise.

THE FIRST TIME I almost lost it on a boat was during my first job with a boat magazine more than 25 years ago. Soon after I was hired, I was sent out to test a Grand Banks trawler on Block Island Sound, and on the run back from Block Island to Mystic, Connecticut, I...
A LOT OF BLUEWATER SAILORS I know complain that they never catch fish while on passage. I once had this problem, too, but since perfecting my technique I've never once been skunked on a passage during which I have tried to catch fish. It's really not very hard and is a great way to vary...
QUIZ ANY CURMUDGEON these days on the subject of proper wayfinding and you'll soon find yourself reefed down in a gale of conventional wisdom about the importance of paper charts, compass bearings, dead reckoning, sextants, and the like. But what curmudgeons tend to forget, as they rail on about how modern nav tools are corrupting...
I WAS AMAZED TO LEARN that Bill King, one of the nine sailors who in 1968 joined in the famous Golden Globe Race, the very first singlehanded non-stop race around the world, died late last week. I had assumed he must have died many years ago, but no... he's been alive and kicking all this...
THIS IS A COMMON SIGHT at Dowling's fuel dock in St. Georges, Bermuda, both in the spring and the fall when the seasonal stampede of migrating yachts passes through. It never fails to amaze me how many jerry jugs of fuel some bluewater sailors are willing to carry. In this particular case I counted 16...
WHEN IT COMES TO AUTOPILOTS it is always best to divide your affections. No sense in being monogamously faithful to just one unit, giving it names and all, only to have it crap out on you in some less than sanguine circumstance. One reason I fell for Lunacy was because she came equipped with three...
FUNNY THING ABOUT SAILBOAT MASTS and bridges: no matter how much clearance you actually have, when you're standing in your cockpit looking up it always looks like you're not going to make it. Of course, the people who think to put bridges in our way do try to provide information on how much space is...
Many moons ago I blogged about a fellow I met in Bermuda, Rich Littauer, who was aboard a derelict 52-foot steel boat, Cha Cha, that had been towed into St. Georges after losing her engine and sails during a rough passage from Newport, Rhode Island. More recently I've been in touch with Drake Roberts, the...
If you're paranoid, anchoring out can be a validating experience. On the one hand, it seems rather simple. You walk up to the bow of your boat, drop a lump of metal overboard, let out some rode, and secure it somehow. Then you stroll back to your cockpit and admire your surroundings while enjoying a...
It wasn't until I first sailed on a boat with an engine that I understood precisely what is most seductive about sailing. Any who have cursed the din of a motor while afloat will know exactly what I mean. We feel it the very instant we switch our engines off, as the awful over-riding sound...
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