Mailport & PS Advisor

Free Online Nav Course

Vanderbilt University is offering a free online course in celestial navigation fundamentals. The course-developed in collaboration with PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo, made possible by the Blended & Online Learning Design (BOLD) Fellows Program, and hosted by Vanderbilt-covers the basics for completing a sight reduction form to obtain a line of position (LOP). Using videos and an online worksheet, the course includes an overview of celestial navigation (astronav) concepts, the mechanics of plotting an LOP, and examples of using a sight reduction forms to obtain values to plot the LOP of a celestial body. According to Vanderbilt, this course serves to address the lack of widely available instruction in celestial navigation.

The Hassles of Hockles

Taking the advice of a PS review, I installed a Lewmar V2 windlass on my boat in 2008. I went with the installers recommendation of 100 feet of galvanized chain and 100 feet of eight-part braid, connected with a rope-to-chain splice, and I have a Delta 35 anchor. I found that a chain hockle (a twist in the chain that jams the windlass) will terribly mangle the vertical windlass. I have just completed my second mangling and ordered replacement parts-but these parts will not save me from the next mangling. The Lewmar distributor told me to install a chain swivel, but PS has warned about this (PS Advisor, May 2010). Is an all-chain rode a dumb idea? Is there some solution?

Mailport: February 2010

The February 2010 issue of Practical Sailor has letters on the following topics: requests for more used boat reviews, foggy electronics, hard varnishes, propane fridges and Iphone apps.

The Birth of the Cable Tamer

These high-tech times present a whole new challenge for us cruising folks. How does one cope with the multitude of cords, chargers, headphones, and adaptors that accompany every new device that comes on board? Add two gadget-hungry teenagers, a few Kindles, several cameras, and you have cable mayhem. Reader Jessica Rice Johnson wrote us with her solution to the cord chaos aboard her familys 62-foot catamaran.

PS Advisor: 08/01/05

Jackline OptionsMy wife and I recently traded up to a new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 35. It's beautiful, fast, comfortable, and comes with nearly everything...

Weather & Navigation Seminars Set for October 2018

On October 9-10, hell be conducting a 2-day introduction to celestial navigation. The course covers introduction to the basic skills required for celestial navigation. Topics include introduction to taking a sun sights with a sextant, reading time and arc, using sight reduction tables (Publication 229), reducing sights by calculator, and identifying celestial bodies.

Seeking Input on Color-blind-friendly Design

Reader Harry Grossman recently wrote Practical Sailor with an interesting question that we had never really considered before. Grossman wrote, I am red-green color blind, as are a fair number of other males. Am I the only one who has difficulty seeing your Value Guide marks when they are placed in the colored background?

Do I Need a Life Raft?

Im planning to take our Catalina 36 from our Chesapeake Bay homeport to Newport/Narragansett Bay. The trip may include offshore runs between Cape May, N.J., and Block Island, N.Y.-a distance of about 200 nautical miles, maximum offshore about 30 nautical miles. Im deliberating what, if any, life raft I should have aboard for the trip, mainly for the offshore runs. Life-raft options that Im considering are: none; inflatable dingy lashed to the foredeck; coastal life raft (like the Revere coastal cruiser); full-spec offshore life raft. I have the usual VHF communication gear, as well as a radar, AIS, and a new Class 2 EPIRB. I would like your thoughts.

Mailport: 04/01/04

Furler Follow-UpRegarding the discussion on Alado furlers in the February 1, 2004issue, Aladocanada, the Canadian agent, has a separate website. The contact is

Sizing Up the Autumn List

Some of the best sailing I ever had was September on Narragansett Bay, pretty close to heaven in my mind. But before we let a long September reach carry us away-and hopefully carry us through winter-its a good time to take out a pen and pad, and start to build the winter work list.