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Sails, Rigging & Deck Gear

Solid Rings in Running Rigging

Ball bearing blocks are the low-friction answer for most tackle on board. However, racers and even cruisers, are increasingly making the switch to low friction rings for applications where compact size, low weight, and high strength are important: high load cascade tackles on Cunninghams, vangs, bobstays, and backstays, for example. We can also use them where […]

Solving the Dodger Dilemma

The phrase ‘cruising canvas’ has always had a sail inventory connotation, but today it’s even more descriptive of cockpit coverings that range from small spray hoods to full cockpit enclosures. There’s good reason to go sailing under cover. Spray protection and shielding from the sun’s harmful rays lead the list. And it’s no surprise that […]

Anchoring in Bad Bottoms

Seamanship is about big concepts and small skills. They work together, but we see them differently and they represent different types of learning. Big concepts involve passagemaking and piloting decisions, like knowing when it’s time to bear away from a lee shore even though it adds miles to the passage, or recognizing that you and […]

Do Cruisers Need Jib Leech Telltales?

Telltales on the body of the jib and leech of the main are commonplace, and most of us learned to sail using them. They tell us at a glance whether the air flow is attached or stalled at that location. Most commonly, they are placed at the forward third of the jib and the leech […]

PS Advisor: North-up Versus Heading-up Navigation

When a vigorous debate broke out recently at a local boat show over the ideal orientation of a chartplotter (north up vs. heading up), I held my tongue. Given that some collisions involving commercial ships have been partially blamed on the conflicting orientation of the radar and chartplotter displays, I assumed that there must be […]

Bungee Lanyards Take the Shock Out of Tools Dropped from the Mast

Iput a nice dent in the deck several decades ago when I dropped a wrench from the masthead. It scared the crew too. I haven’t dropped anything since. I’m more safety conscious, my toolbags are more secure, and all of my essential tools are connected to me with bungees. Even when there’s no one below […]

Shock Cord Hardware for Sailors

Every rope we have on board has its quirks when you’re trying to form a knot that won’t slip or come untied. Dyneema is a dicey proposition. All but a few knots slip and it’s hard to cram enough stitching in to match the incredible strength of the fiber. Polyester is easy to sew or […]

Stitching Awl vs. Leather Palm for Sail Repair

Got a small sail or canvas repair? “Get a Speedy Stitcher!” is common advice, though rarely from someone experienced in sail repair. Sure, it seems like a great solution. Every chandlery sells them. They can push through heavy cloth, doing work a common hand sewing needle and thread can’t touch. But sail making or sail […]

PS Advisor: Belaying Safety for Mast Climbing

Mast climbing accidents have occurred because the crew member either misunderstood or did not perform their duties attentively and properly. Belaying should be considered a precision job with zero tolerance for error. • Actively tail the winch. The tail can jump out of a self-tailing winch. Self-tailing with an electric winch is even riskier. • […]

Damage Control at Sea

For many boaters, damage control means a cell phone call to Sea Tow, Tow Boat US or another marine assistance provider. These are reliable support services akin to AAA afloat. But for those sailing offshore, or along less populated parts of the coastline, such options may not be available. This is one of the reasons […]