Category

Techniques & Tactics

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

From water level it is impossible to capture with a camera the visual cornucopia that is the anchorage at Gustavia, the main town on St. Bart's, when the New Year rolls around. Like a vast army come to camp on the outskirts of a tiny village, yachts of all description plunk down their hooks to...
{youtubejw width="500" height="350"}87xUt9oIfZI{/youtubejw} In case you had't noticed, the staff at the British sailing comic Yachting Monthly have been having some fun over the past year torturing a 40-foot Jeanneau Sun Fizz to death. The denouement, featured in this BBC news report, came earlier this month when they blew the boat up with propane gas.
Editor's note: Later this fall I'll be crewing on a boat in the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally, which departs from Hampton, Virginia, on November 7. The prospect has me recalling the last 1500 I sailed in, way back in 1998, when the rally fleet had a serious run-in with Hurricane Mitch. It was a very...
Perfect O-shaped coils of rope look mighty nice when done up properly, and in many instances this is a perfectly appropriate way to make up and stow an idle line on a sailboat. But rope needs to be trained to do this well, and in some instances the training will inhibit the rope's ability to...
I've been trying for a while to figure out exactly what it was that happened in Jolly Harbor, Antigua, back in March. Accounts are vague and somewhat contradictory. As is often the case, Dick Durham, news editor at Yachting Monthly, seems to have developed the best information. The magazine's most recent web post on the...
A rose is a rose, it is said, and smells just as sweet by any other name. Would that it were true of boats. In fact, it seems many boats these days have perfectly horrible names. Glancing around at transoms in marinas and mooring fields, I must blush and/or wince at half the names I...
I've seen parrotfish do this many times, and what comes out, of course, is sand. If you want to see what comes out when sharks do it, just check out this video here. When snorkeling or free-diving around anchored boats I always keep a close eye on any through-hulls I spy for exactly this reason.
There all sorts of ways to mark an anchor chain so that you know how much rode you've let out when anchoring. Some people sew tufts of fabric webbing to the chain links at appropriate intervals. Some people attach colored wire ties to the links. Others trot down to West Marine and buy packs of...
This is a common sight in marinas and mooring fields after some heavy weather blows through. Conscientious sailors either don't have time to strip their sails off their boats, or they figure the weather won't really be that bad. So they furl their headsails and take a few extra wraps around the clew to make...
Speaking of fouled anchors (see the last paragraph and photo of my last post), here's a neat little trick I learned while sailing with Don Street aboard his antique yawl Iolaire in the Fastnet Race. We were becalmed off the south coast of England, confronting a soon to be extremely contrary tide, and were wondering...
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