Sailfeed
August 7th

Unfurled mainsail

I do a fair amount of singlehanded coastal cruising during the summer, usually just going out for a quick overnight whenever an opportunity presents itself. When departing my mooring at Portland Yacht Services (or any mooring for that matter), it has long been my practice to raise the mainsail before dropping the mooring pennant. That way I can get sailing ASAP, usually immediately. When anchoring or picking up a mooring, however, my habit for many years has been to douse and stow the mainsail first, then secure the boat.

But when you’re sailing singlehanded this is often stressful, particularly on the Maine coast during the summer, when there are lobster pots everywhere waiting to catch a turning propeller.…

Read More
July 7th

Canadian chart catalogue

Having decided that part of this summer’s cruising program on Lunacy will involve a two-week jaunt over to Nova Scotia and back, it dawned on me that I needed to make sure I actually have charts for Nova Scotia. In the previous century, which really wasn’t that long ago, this would have been a simple process. I would consult my ever-growing stack of paper charts, discover I had no relevant charts, and then call the Armchair Sailor in Newport. These people were personally known to me, and I was known to them. I would say: “Hi! Howzit going? I’m sailing to Nova Scotia.…

Read More
July 1st

350 NW of Bermuda…

‘Sleijride’ is nearly halfway back to Newport on the return delivery following the Bermuda Race last week. We’re in cruising mode again, down to four crew (from six), and enjoying single-handed watches steered by autopilot, 9 hours of rest, reading (!), and motor sailing through the calms.

Yesterday we had a very close encounter with a sperm whale that breached not 100 yards off our port bow, then proceeded to meander across the bow and dive off to starboard, showing us his big tail on the way down. Today we’re sailing fast off the wind, fair weather cumulus clouds dotting the blue sky and the hot sun baking the decks.…

Read More
June 26th

Lost halyard drawing

I wrote about this once in a print magazine, and some people were skeptical. But I’m telling you–it really does work. I’ve done it twice at sea successfully; no fuss, no muss. If you lose a halyard up your mast, this is how to get it back from deck level without having to climb the mast.

There is one prerequisite. You need a spare halyard with a shackle on it that is in reasonably close proximity to the one you were stupid enough to let fly up the mast. Given this, retrieving the lost halyard should be easy.

Step 1: Take a loose length of line that is long enough to reach the lost halyard from the deck and tie a noose in it with a slip knot, so that you can pull the noose shut.…

Read More
June 24th

No “new” episode this week, because Andy’s in Bermuda and has been sailing for several days to get here! Hope they did well! This is another lecture from Cruiser’s University that Andy gave in April in Annapolis. Sorry for the not-perfect quality (he recorded it on his phone), but hopefully the content makes up for it! Andy discusses six common problems you might encounter offshore, and how to deal with them. Indeed, whether some of them are even worth losing sleep over! Of the six, only two are what Andy calls ‘deal-breakers’ – meaning they can ruin, sometimes dangerously, an otherwise pleasant experience ocean sailing.…

Read More
June 2nd

Propane explosion

Those of you who don’t follow the British sailing comics may have missed the Crash Test Boat series of articles that ran in Yachting Monthly a few years back. It was a brilliant premise, cooked up by then-editor Paul Gelder: lay hands on an average plain-vanilla cruising boat and test it to death, carefully documenting everything that does and does not work when coping with various simulated emergencies. Over a period of eight months, YM systematically “tested to destruction” a 1982 Jeanneau Sun Fizz ketch and created an extremely useful series of articles and videos. All that material is now available in one book, appropriately titled The Crash Test Boat, published by Adlard Coles.…

Read More
May 21st

It’s billed as the first test/demonstration in the USA of towing one of the new crop of ultra-large ships. Here’s the word:

Posted May 21, 2014

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Coast Guard Sector San Francisco personnel and CMA CGM – the third-largest shipping group – along with other local industry partners tested the Bay Area’s capability to tow ultra-large container vessels during an exercise Wednesday.

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

The vessel used for this exercise was CMA CGM’s Centaurus, an 11400 TEU container ship measuring 365 meters, or approximately 1,200 feet.

The purpose of the towing demonstration was to test the capability of existing tug assets within San Francisco Bay to connect to and tow an ultra-large container vessel.…

Read More
May 20th

Cooking with a Solar Oven aboard

Posted by // May 20, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques, ,

Solar roasted chicken

We’re in the tropics. There is a lot of sun. We can cook with the sun. It makes sense, right? Still, you don’t see a lot of solar ovens on boats- and that’s too bad.

1. Your galley stays cool.

This is an excellent feature for retaining the sanity of the primary cook aboard (moi) because I don’t have get cranky while I drip sweat in a hot galley, or heat our boat while I’m cooking (it kills me that for the gold plated price they command, Force 10 – like most boat ovens – are not insulated. why, people? why?).…

Read More
May 19th

Ultra Large but Safe in Port?

Posted by // May 19, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Techniques,

From U.S. Coast Guard District 11 Public Affairs:

Posted May 19, 2014

Harbor Safety Committee to evaluate Bay Area emergency towing capabilities on an Ultra Large Container Ship

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The San Francisco Bay Harbor Safety Committee, in coordination with the Coast Guard and local industry partners, will be evaluating the region’s capability to respond to an emergency involving an Ultra Large Container Vessel on San Francisco Bay. The drill will be held Wednesday in South San Francisco Bay in the vicinity of Anchorage Nine, and will involve multiple tug boats simulating an emergency tow of one of the largest container ships currently calling on California ports.…

Read More
May 15th

By Kimball Livingston Posted May 15, 2014

Ready for electronic aids to navigation? They’re here, in beta, though you may not see them yourself, soon-type soon. And please understand them as supplements, not replacements, for your favorite bells and whistles. And lights. This is an experiment, but I’ll call it the beginning of an inevitable evolution. And it’s only natural for the first deployment to take place in the waters closest to Silicon Valley.

In a prepared statement, the commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, Capt. Gregory Stump, described these electronic aids to navigation—eATON—as an important initiative for the Coast Guard “as we explore the use of new technologies to enhance safety and protect the environment.…

Read More