Practical Tips for Survival at Sea

In the course of writing five books about accidents and survival at sea, Michael Tougias interviewed many survivors who shared with him the things they would have done differently, as well as what helped them survive. They did this to help prevent accidents and to help those who find themselves in trouble. Their tips and insights include decisions taken before the trip, actions taken when disaster strikes, and choices made during search and rescue. Add their insights to your survival-at-sea arsenal.

In the Perfect Position to Fail

For centuries, navigators have been coping with two key variables that convey major consequence. The first is the quest for an accurate position fix, and the second is the hope that the chart theyre using is an accurate representation of their surroundings. Up until a couple of decades ago, cartographers were winning out and chart accuracy trumped sextant-derived fix accuracy. The tide has turned.

Stocking Stuffers for Sailors: December 2016

The holidays are upon us, and if youve waited until the last minute to get your gift shopping done, fear not; weve got you covered. Here are some great stocking-stuffer ideas that any sailor would love to unwrap.

Garmin BlueCharts Mobile Sea Trial

Since we last looked at iPad navigation apps, there have-not surprisingly-been a number of new developments. One of the most interesting developments is Garmins introduction of the Garmin BlueChart Mobile nav app, which is proving to be an important addition to the field. The app is usable on iPads, iPhones, and iPods with the iOS 6 operating system. Testers also recently looked at the latest versions of iNavX, iSailor, and Navionics, which we previously reviewed.

Editors Picks: Winter Reading for Sailors

Practical Sailor editors have put together a roundup of marine-related books that we think are deserving of a spot in your library. Most are new titles, and they run the gamut from fiction to how-to guides. Enjoy.

New Marine Reads for a Salty Summer

From the roster of recent new releases, Practical Sailor editors have compiled a list of books fit for summer reading, whether youre relaxing in the cockpit, hanging in a hammock, or parked on the beach. The list includes several how-to books, a cookbook, and travel narratives, along with new titles in historical fiction, high-seas thrillers, and adventure.

Boating Books for Female Sailors

Sailing how-to and have-done books abound. But only in the last decade or so has the world of sailing literature taken an interest in women-specific resources and travel stories. Grateful to have our very own how-tos and have-dones that extend beyond the galley, the women of Practical Sailor picked up some new reads for summer. From tips on relationships aboard to tales of a White House aide turned cruiser, these books have much to offer the reader, be she the captain or the mate.

New Sailing Books for a New Year

There are approximately 32,000 species of fish, including 60 to 70 species of flying fish. Although our interactions with these flying wonders may be limited to deck-clearing duties on the sunrise shift or a thwack in the face during the dog watch, renowned naturalist Steve N.G. Howell dedicated several-hundred hours perched on the bows of boats in the sweltering tropics to capture the unique images featured in the informative The Amazing World of Flyingfish (Princeton University Press, 2014, $11). With 90 color photos shot mainly in the western tropical Pacific and in the Gulf Stream near Cape Hatteras (using a Canon 20D), Flyingfish differentiates two-winged and four-winged flyingfish from fish that merely jump; it outlines species, habitats, and sizes, analyzes flight methods and colors, and offers tools on identifying these butterflies on the water. Howell-author of a half-dozen books on birds, including Hummingbirds of North America and A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America-has been affiliated with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory for 20 years and is currently a senior birding tour leader for WINGS. Howells Flyingfish also addresses the environmental challenges our oceans face and encourages readers to promote environmental awareness and protection. Flyingfish is a good read for information hounds and marine biology buffs.

Reads for Summertime Relaxing

Summer arrives this month, and hopefully, the long, sunny days will include some time for summer reading. Practical Sailor editors have compiled our biannual list of worthwhile marine titles for just that purpose. This years summer reading list starts with a scientific look at something all sailors know-being on or in the water enhances life-but the book answers how and why. An entertaining new release on curious nautical knowledge and the strange history of nautical terms also grabbed a spot on our list, as did long-time sailing writer and editor Herb McCormicks book on the lives of Lin and Larry Pardey. The other titles range from a history of sailing warfare to a Scotland cruising guide; two distinctly different memoirs; a Matinicus, Maine-based fiction mystery; and a book on teamwork derived from lessons learned in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race tragedy.

EarthNC Software

On a recent boat delivery from Michigan to Florida, I had the opportunity to try out some new computer-based planning software from EarthNC. EarthNC uses Google Earth images to present marine chart data by overlaying the charts on Google Earth satellite images. For $50, EarthNC provided 757 vector-format charts (raster format charts and other packages are also available) for the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the Caribbean. These charts can be used online or offline. When combined with a USB-connected GPS-and the ooPs (www.goopstechnologies.com) GPS software for Google Earth-EarthNC provides a real-time, moving map experience similar to modern chartplotters. EarthNC also has automatically updating weather maps with data supplied by NOAA.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Stainless Steel

When applying a paste cleaner, a toothbrush is useful for buffing tight spots and working into the pores of welds; follow by buffing with a cotton cloth. A green 3M scrubby pad helps for removing more aggressive stains. Continued rusting in welded areas might indicate a developing failure, requiring replacement. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and mild soap when done buffing.