Special Report: Dissecting the Art of Staying Upright
Dinghy racing offers a concrete example of how crew ballast impacts stability.

Special Report: Dissecting the Art of Staying Upright


When the King of Sweden ordered the newly launched warship Vasa to sea in 1628, he gave little thought to the stability implications of the bronze canons perched on two upper decks. Just 1,500 yards into her maiden voyage, the Vasa capsized and sank, relegating the fire power intended to be pointed at Poland to ignominiously sink in Stockholm Harbor. This was neither the first nor last case of poorly calculated vessel stability, and today’s sailors, boat designers, naval architects, and boat builders continue to debate just how much stability is enough.

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  • Paints

    Exterior Wood Finishes

    After a brief—and for testers, much needed—hiatus from testing wood finishes, we recently launched a new long-term evaluation of exterior wood coatings. Our last round of tests, a two-year death match, wrapped up in 2011. Although the test field this go-around is smaller...

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  • Systems & Propulsion

    Water Tank Filters

    You would think that with all the emphasis cruising sailors put on their boats and equipment, we would pay a little more attention to ensuring a clean and safe supply of water. This is less a concern in developed countries, where dockside water is safely treated or bottled water is...

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  • Sails, Rigging & Deck Gear

    Screw-on Rigging Terminals

    Standing rigging has been evolving ever since natural fiber lines were lashed, knotted, or spliced to wooden spars, and led down to crudely fashioned, iron deck hardware. The challenge has always been the transition point where the straight-line pull (tension) changes direction,...

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