instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

HURRICANES: Don's stories, experience and advice

Clean your fuel fool

Another thing I do is load up the boat with spare fuel filters. I get a couple of 5-micron elements for the engine and at least half a dozen 30-micron elements for the Racor filter. You might run for years along the coast on the same filter, but once you get offshore and the seas start bouncing the boat around, any crud in the bottom of the fuel tank gets shaken up, and you’ll find yourself having to change filters until your tank is clean.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Tale of a Gale

In 1997 the 60th anniversary race of the Dragon Gold cup was being raced in Dunleary (theyacht harbor of Dublin). The Street family owned two old dragons Fafner built 1937 one of the 13 dragons Johannsen built to create the Belfast dragon fleet and Gypsy built by Anker and Jensen in1933. My son and namesake D111 had done a magnificent restoration of Fafner making her look like a modern Perttigrow. We trailed both dragons to Dunleary.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Spinnaker Poles on Cruising Boats

The majority of modern cruising boats do not carry spinnaker poles as cruising on the east and west coasts of the states and Canada there is seldom a dead down wind run of hundreds of miles. The cruising man feels that with the modern asymmetric spinnaker he can sail deep enough that he does not need a spinnaker pole. For short dead down wind runs, the smart skipper rigs a strong main boom fore guy/preventer. Then he takes the windward genoa sheet out of its normal lead and runs it as far aft as possible. He then sails slightly by the lee and genoa, or asymmetric sheeted the same way will fill on the opposite side from the main.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Setting up for Trade Wind Passages

Everyone dreams about the perfect trade-wind passage — 15 to 18 kts of wind, light puff- ball clouds overhead, long swells rolling up from astern, perfect sailing day after day, and little necessity to do anything more than make minor adjustments to sheets and halyards to minimize chafe by changing the nip.

 

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Removable Staysail and Heavy Weather Staysail

Any single headsail rigged boat with headsail on a roller furling/reefing system should have a removable staysail stay and a heavy weather staysail that can be EASILY AND RAPIDLY set up when it blows up and headsail sail area has to be reduced. This is essential if it is desired to preserve the windward going ability of the boat and keep the boat in balance .

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Proper Dorade Ventilators

The original Dorade ventilators were designed in 1932 a year of two after Dorade was built in order to bring in air when the spray was flying and the decks awash(Dorade and boats of her era, the freeboard is so low that from the modern RIB you step DOWN on to Dorade’s deck) and all hatches were dogged down. The ventilators (photo from Mat Brooks) stood a full 3’ above the deck. The dorade box only had to adsorb and get rid of rain and spray, no problem as the drain holes in the dorade box were adequately large.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Mast Steps

When entering harbours and exploring coves in any area where the water is clear rather than using GPS navigation, electronic charts using that wonderful navigational instrument given to us at birth eyeball mark one backed up with a hand bearing hockey puck compass and the chart of the area on deck will save the boat from many groundings. Eye ball navigation is greatly improved if there is a bow lookout whose range of visibility is greatly increased if the bow lookout is standing on top of the bow pulpit. If the lookout is on the lower spreaders everything becomes crystal clear.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Making Sails Last

This article is strictly for the cruising sailor who uses good old white Dacron or one of the long lasting off shoots of Dacron developed for classic yachts. It is often said experience is the best teacher, but lessons learned are often a painful and expensive. This article is based on my personal experience, of more than 70 years of maintaining sails often under difficult circumstances backed up by information from Graham Knight of Antigua Sails. He has been repairing sails in Antigua since 1970. He has probably repaired or supervised the repair of more sails than anyone else in the world. Staying on top of the situation, and moving with the times, as described below I extended the life of Iolaire's sails to the point that often sailmankers/repairers said to me "it is good that everyone does not take a good care of sails as you do because if they did it would really cut into our sail repair business!!"

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Loss Of Steering Loss Of Rudder

Tiller too short

On boats that have wheel steering there should be an emergency tiller that works. All too many emergency tillers are useless. Go out in heavy weather, test your emergency tiller, not only going to windward, but also on a broad reach and dead down wind, two points of sailing that require a lot of steering. Alternately install the emergency tiller, go out of harbour well clear of other boats, run in reverse at 5 or more kts and try steering a zig zag course for one hour using your emergency tiller.

 

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Inadequate Bilge Pumps In Modern Yachts

About twenty five years ago Peter Hayward, the inventor of the safety harness, who was considered by Llyods the top delivery skipper in the world, wrote a one page article in Yachting Monthly.

He stated that good delivery skippers seldom lost a wooden boat on delivery as if it was in poor condition the good delivery skipper would not deliver it. If the wooden boat hit something and began to leak, since all wooden boats tend to leak to some degree, they have pumps that are big and work.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Improving Reaching Performance

When sailing the Windwards and Leeward the majority of the time is spent on a close, beam or broad reach. To maximize the time on a beam reach the sailor should study the tidal information on the back of all Imray Iolaire charts.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Heavy Weather Staysail

The vast majority of boats sailing today are single headsail rigged with the headsail on a foil that the headsail can be reefed when it blows up without any member of the crew having to leave the cocpit. This has practically revolutionized sailing. No longer is it necessary to have a couple of young tigers on board that are willing and able to work on the foredeck in heavy weather changing hanked on headsails.

Now the geriatric ma and pa can sail a 45’ boat with little problem. It is possible to reef a headsail and preserve its shape if the headsail sheet is moved forward so that it is in the correct position for the reefed headsail. To take the guess work out of as to where to move the staysail lead, most sailmakers will put two stripes on the luff of the sail parallel to the luff. (see note side bar) The smart skipper will in moderate weather reef the headsail to the first stripe, ascertain and note the correct sheet lead then reef it to the second strip and do the same.

When reefing to the second stripe it is essential to not only move the sheet lead forward but also inboard as if the lead is left out on the rail cap once the lead is moved forward enough to make the sail efficient when reefed to the second stripe, making it into a G3 the sheet lead to the rail cap is too wide much wider than the normal 10 degree sheeting angle .

 Read More 

Be the first to comment

Double Opening Hatches

Back in the old days, from the late 70 back to the earliest days of ocean racing cruising boats often raced and ocean racers also extensively cruised. The best dual purpose cruiser racers were designed and built between the early 50’s thru to the late 70’. It is notable that In that period all hatches were almost all double opening (photo) sketch) that enabled them while in port to be opened facing forward gathering plenty of air. At sea they were opened facing aft, still gathering air. When the spray started flying, canvas dodgers were put over the hatches drawing OSY 1 pg 282.To prevent water from driving up under the dodger, it was secured to a breakwater that extended across the forward side of the hatch, and down both sides, by any one of three attachments OSY 1pg 245. The aluminium extrusion that will take a luff rope sewn to the dodger and turnbuttons can both be bought from Sailrite, www.sailrite2.com. Read More 

Be the first to comment

Bricking Her

Putting the bricks to a boat, to really push her hard in heavy weather, was an expression used by ocean racers in the 50’ and 60’s when describing pushing a boat to its ultimate. The expression comes from geologist who were exploring for oil in the Mideast desert areas. The geologist did not go out into the desert with land rovers and trucks they assembled camel caravans and rode camels. They always wanted nine day camels not the standard six day camel.

 Read More 

Be the first to comment