The capsize of WingNuts is not the first fatal accident that has put the spotlight on the harness-to-tether connection. Since 1986, several widely publicized fatal sailing accidents have prompted inquiries into the harnesses and safety tethers used by sailors.
There can be no overstating the importance of a good knife to a sailor. It does everything from routine maintenance to saving life and property. Not only should every sailor carry a knife on his belt or in his pocket, but sharp knives should be strategically located around the boat to grab in emergencies. Whether you prefer the speed of a sheath knife, the convenience of a folding pocket knife, or the versatility of a multi-tool, don't leave the dock without your own blade.
We all know the drill. A new arrival pulls toward an unfamiliar marina or fuel dock with a breeze blowing, and they cant quite get in. An inexperienced crew is rapidly dispatched to the bow and instructed to throw a line to a helper on the dock. They grab a coil of line, heave it . . . and it lands in a tangle in the water, scarcely halfway to the dock. Confusion erupts and the boat kisses a piling or nearby boat. If and when the line is successfully thrown, its a wet tangled mess aimed at your head.
In a moment of exasperation last month, I chipped in a few bucks to a charity group that promised to blow 100 vuvuzelas for a full day outside BPs corporate office. Four-foot-long African trumpets that produce an ear-piercing moan, vuvuzelas were responsible for that annoying buzz you might of heard on ESPN during the World Cup soccer action last month. My donation didn't save the planet, but I slept a little better. The scheme, dubbed the Experimental Vuvuzela Exhalation Procedure in London and organized through www.kickstarter.com, ended up raising more than $7,000 for the Gulf Disaster Fund.
No sailor can resist the temptation to look over another sailors work, and nothing draws the eye faster than your neighbors docklines. We like to know our boat and our neighbors boats will be where we left them when we return, not rubbing together or worse. Sometimes, however, a stroll down the dock makes us nervous. This gallery of rogue docklines represents only a taste of what PS tester Drew Frye found within a short walk of his slip. How many of these will come loose during the next storm?
If you're going to sail you'll be doing some stitching-no two ways about it. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard with sail repair tools. Don't jump into the $100 do-everything kit. Start with a modest kit, adding tools and materials only as your skills grow and projects require them. Chances are, you already have most of what you need in your other supply lockers or tool boxes.