The Case of the Misidentified Tows

The second vessel’s AIS broadcast showed the length at 200 feet, but the overall length of the vessel and its 40-barge tow was 1,600 feet. Without the information regarding the total length of the other vessel and its tow, the operators did not have a full understanding of the pending passing situation. As the vessels rounded the bend and completed their turns, they collided, causing the down bound towing vessel to capsize and sink with several fatalities.

What is the Best Keel for A Shoal Draft Boat?

We think the best bet is the modern keel/centerboard. Unlike centerboards of 20 years ago, the new ones are very efficient going to windward with the boards down and not all that bad with the boards partially raised or withdrawn into a stub keel.

The Ego-trap of Riding the Storm Out

The truth is, many of the practices followed by some of the most widely roaming sailors would be heresy to publish widely, and there is a good reason for this. Some of these practices are inherently risky, and these are good people who don’t want to risk someone misunderstanding their advice, or applying it to situations where it isn’t valid.

Do-It-Yourself Chafe Protection

Being a team of diehard do-it-yourselfers, we decided to try our own hand at devising a workable solution to defeating line chafe. After fiddling with canvas, old fire hose, and even messing around with some Kevlar, we settled on leather—an old riggers standby.

Stay Warm, Stay Safe

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.

Bargain-priced Sailing Clothes for Cold Weather

The first breath of autumn rolled across the North American continent this month, reminding us all that summer’s end is fast upon us. And since this summer was such a bust for many sailors who had the season cut short by the COVID-19 restrictions, you are probably not the only one who looked across the harbor last week and thought, “I better put on another layer.”

Stay Safe While Saving a Storm-damaged Boat

When people are hurt and homes and precious possessions are destroyed or lost forever, a wrecked recreational sailboat seems wholly unimportant. But for many people, the boat is their home or is connected to their livelihood. In the coming days and weeks, more people will be returning to their vessels after Hurricane Laura and doing what they can to keep them safe. Boat owners should be aware of steps they can take to prevent further loss to their boats. And more importantly, they should be aware of the precautions they can take to keep themselves safe during the period when most storm-related injuries and deaths occur.

The Penny Pincher’s Guide to Discount Sailmakers

There are a number of details to consider when ordering a sail. Cloth types and weights should correspond to the kind of sailing you do as well as your expectations for the sail's longevity. For the mainsail, there are questions regarding the number of reefs you want, and where to put them. Genoas will need to have the appropriately-sized luff tape to fit an existing roller furling unit (or the right size hanks). Another option specific to furling units is whether to have a foam luff sewn into the sail.

Old Books About Shallow-draft Boats

A good sea story can hardly replace the experience of being at on the water, but for many of us it is an effective balm for the sea-starved soul. While putting together our recent report exploring the pros and cons of shoal-draft boats, I was reminded of two books I'd written about in connection with our review of the Presto 30, Rodger Martin's revival of of a 19th century design.

Know Your Life Raft Inspection Requirements

The experience of the owners of the 14-year-old, six-man, valise-stored Avon liferaft pictured here reminds us of the importance of following the manufacturers inspection schedule. With air leaking from the seams and through the fabric itself, the raft is a graphic example of how even a professionally serviced liferaft that remains dry in its hard canister can deteriorate to the point of becoming worthless.

Bilge Pump Installation and Maintenance Tips

The best bilge pump in the world won't keep your boat dry if its not properly installed and maintained. While bilge pump installations are fairly straightforward-and definitely within the scope of DIY projects-there are several factors to consider (capacity, wire size, hose diameter, fuse size) before you begin, and there are some good rules of thumb to follow.