Category

Techniques & Tactics

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

Thousands of vessels sneak past Cape Hatteras each year without mishap, but you should never assume its reputation as the Graveyard of the North Atlantic is undeserved. To get an idea of how dodgy a place it can be, you need only contemplate the fate of the various nav aids that have been stationed at...
  Funny thing about sailboat masts and bridges: no matter how much clearance you actually have, when you're standing in the 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...
  This is my Omega Speedmaster, a fancy mechanical chronograph that my wife gave me for my birthday a couple of years back. It is, in fact, a special 50th anniversary edition of this legendary time piece, released back in 2007, when I myself turned 50. Watch fanatics will at once remember the Speedmaster as...
You may recall I threatened to abuse you with knowledge of celestial navigation back when they shut down the Loran system in February. I have long preached the wisdom of learning and practicing a bit of celestial nav, and once upon a time I actually practiced what I preached (as you can see in the...
Lunacy is the first boat I've ever had that is equipped with radar. Initially I didn't use it much. I know some curmudgeons who still swear it's their first choice when it comes to navigation electronics, but in the age of GPS this just seems perverse to me. Interpreting glowing globular clusters for clues as...
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...
A lot of bluewater sailors I know complain that they never catch fish while on passage. Once upon a time I had this same problem, but since perfecting my technique I've never once been skunked on a passage during which I have tried to catch a fish. It's really not very hard and is great...
  I am a huge fan of self-steering windvanes. They work extremely well, are perfectly energy efficient (i.e., they draw ZERO power), and are easy to service and maintain. They truly are as simple as bicycles, and as you may have gathered from my recent Zen of DIY post I like simple gear. I also like bicycles....
  This is a Perry 43 catamaran named Saltonay coming in over the bar at the Southport Seaway entrance to Queensland's Gold Coast in Australia. If you watch the whole video you'll see these guys had one hell of an exciting ride. Bulletin boards on the net have been crackling with critiques of the skipper's...
  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 case I counted 16...
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