Month: April 2016

Going aloft

Climbing the mast is not for the faint hearted but sometimes there is just no alternative. I don’t like heights but have become reasonably comfortable with being hoisted up the stick and I’ve done it at the dock, in the anchorage and under way. Here’s a check list for going aloft in a bosun’s chair …

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Plan ahead

A head in the sand attitude to potential disaster doesn’t work on a boat. You need to plan ahead. Think: What’s the worst that could happen? What if you lose the mast? You may have to cut the rigging and you’ll find this takes some doing with stainless wire – check that your cable cutters are …

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Waterfalls and pigs

Dominican Republic, 1991 Samaná is a pleasant place to while away the days but hurricane season was approaching and we would soon want to hoist the sails and be underway for the Mona Passage and Puerto Rico. Before leaving Samaná we wanted to visit the waterfalls about which other cruisers had spoken, so we boarded …

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Waves

It’s that time of year again, the threat of autumnal storms and the big waves that accompany them. Wind isn’t a direct threat to the small boat sailor; the problem comes when his assassin, the wave, gets in on the act.  I was once in a severe storm off the east coast of the USA in which …

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Rigging blocks

Rigging blocks are indispensable on board a sailing boat. They provide mechanical advantage to allow you to move large loads with modest effort and they also redirect the lead of a line to make it more convenient to pull on. A single block at the masthead with a halyard running through it is a simple …

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Fork handles

Damage to a gas main in our area has meant that we, along with 1000 other homes, are without gas for a couple of days. As we seek ways to warm the house I’m reminded of Dylan Winter’s short film about using tea candles and flower pots to warm a room: The film went viral …

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