John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal of Mahina Expeditions bluewater voyaging school have weathered a few earthquakes and tsunamis in their decades of teaching others aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46 sailboat, Mahina Tiare III. In the wake of the 2009 tsunami on Samoa, they devised an earthquake/tsunami awareness and response system that they now include in the Mahina Expeditions curriculum. With the goal of helping other sailors, the Neals have allowed Practical Sailor to post this strategy here on Inside Practical Sailor.
Last fall, I embarked on one of the most time-consuming boat projects I've done in years, one I hope never to repeat—remove six layers...
The chance of a boat owner finding an affordable do-it-yourself boatyard is becoming less likely with each passing year. What's worse, in many places where we are required to use the yard's staff or a short list of outside contractors, there is dire need for skilled workers. So, not only are we paying through the nose to have our boats fixed, but the people doing the work lack the expertise we expect for that price.
The approach of winter in the northern hemisphere brings with it that age-old question: How best to protect the boat from snow and ice? Already boats on Lake Superior are being pulled from the water, and sailors as far south as the Chesapeake are beginning to think about buttoning up for winter. While many power boats choose shrink-wrapping over a more permanent solution, sailboats-with their masts stepped or unstepped-are perfectly suited for reusable, custom, or semi-custom covers.
About this time of year, sailors creeping southward are either accelerating their migration or looking for inexpensive ways to warm the cabin. You don't have to install an expensive, built-in heating system just to get you south of the Mason-Dixon line, but when opting for one of the less-expensive options, you do have to use commonsense.
I know plenty of sailors who wouldnt hesitate to curse a J24. I should mention that these are mostly racing sailors, and they do a lot of cursing.
If you want your ropes to stay a bit lighter in the rain and spray, waterproofing treatments can definitely help. In our testing, Nikwax Rope Proof made a 39-percent difference in water-weight gain after a dunking—compared to untreated line—after eight months of use. It also gave a subtle, but unmistakable, improvement in handling and reduction in snarling. It seems like good stuff to use on all sheets and halyards.
When it takes longer to find the right tool for the job than to actually complete the job, consider creating your own doctors bag of boat tools. In this weeks Inside Practical Sailor blog, youll find great advice on taming your toolbox from veteran circumnavigator Evans Starzinger, as well as links to some of our most popular tests of hand tools and power tools-just in time for Father's Day.
For washing your sails, most sailmakers recommend using mild soap and water, and avoiding anything abrasive. Use a soft brush, if necessary, to loosen dirt. For dirt or stains that are more deeply embedded, you may need to soak the sail, so you'll have to locate some kind of large container, depending upon the size of the soiled area.
Southwest Florida is a risky place to keep a boat during hurricane season. Even very early in the Ian's development near the island of Grenada, the risk to Florida’s Gulf Coast was clear. Storms moving eastward at that latitude frequently enter the Gulf of Mexico and intensify, posing a threat to the southwest corner of the Florida peninsula, an area that is also vulnerable to storms approaching from the Atlantic. The area around Marco Island, just to the south of where Ian made landfall, has been criss-crossed by powerful storms so frequently from so many different direction that the NOAA historical map resembles that for airline flight paths into Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport.