Sailing SKILLS

Aground! Now What?

There are few experienced sailors who have never run aground. The books tell you that careful navigation and good seamanship help avoid hitting the...

Anchoring Basics

There are few (if any) topics which generate as much discussion, and as much anxiety amongst sailors as anchoring. We used to spend many a...

Avoiding Frustration Onboard

If you’re a regular reader of the newsletter, you’ll know that over the past few months we’ve been taking part in a series of...

Choosing An Anchor

“What anchor do I need?” Unfortunately, there’s no one single answer to that question, as there’s no one anchor which performs well in all...

Clouds Demystified

How do clouds form? How can we tell one cloud from another? What might they be telling us about the type of weather to...

Coping With Fog

From novice crew to superyacht skipper, one of our biggest worries is getting caught out in bad weather. At some time in our sailing...

Dealing With A Squall

A sudden violent gust of wind or localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow, or sleet. The warning signs of an imminent squall are usually...

Direction: A Word With Many Meanings

On our way back around the Scilly Isles (03:00, in the dark, no moon, the watch all a bit sleepy) we had a rather...

Downwind Sailing

A lot of sailors say “running” downwind is their favourite point of sail. Why is that? It’s mostly because with the wind behind you the...

Flying A Spinnaker

During our training session last week we had a lot of practice hosting, flying and dropping the spinnaker. Although I’d say we’ve done it...

Good Skipper, Bad Skipper

I believe there’s a direct correlation between how much you enjoy your sail with how good you find the skipper to be. So what...

Helming Techniques

The first few times I took the helm, it reminded me of when I learnt to drive. Sat behind the wheel of a car...

How To Raft Up

Rafting up is the practice of mooring alongside another boat. There are usually two situations when you’d want to do this. First when you’re...

Lee Shore

Lee Shore, or shore lying on the leeward side of a ship (and on to which a ship could be blown in foul weather). These...

Lifejackets

BUOYANCY AIDS AND LIFEJACKETS - WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? A buoyancy aid simply keeps you afloat. They’re worn by people who expect to end up in the water regularly,...

Mooring Techniques

For many, the sailing season is starting to get underway (yippee!). If your boat handling skills have gotten a little rusty over the winter...

Mooring Under Sail

Whilst sailing onto, and away from a mooring might not be something you do every day, it’s a useful skill to have, and one...

Navigation: Paper, Pads and Plotters

Knowing where you are and how to get to where you need to be is a quintessential skill. Marine navigation used to require you...

Night Sailing

I remember our first night sail, it was awe-inspiring and terrifying all at the same time. We met friends after work on a Friday in...

Passage planning

Before you set sail for your next destination, it’s recommended you create a plan for your passage. As with any trip, a bit of...

Preparing To Come Into A Marina

One of the most daunting aspects, even for the most seasoned of sailors, is mooring up. You know the feeling. It’s a warm summer’s...

Reefing Masterclass

Reefing is a topic which is widely and well covered on the internet so there’s no shortage of great articles to help sharpen your...

Sail Trim Guide

Sail trimming is the delicate art of adjusting the sails to help your boat perform to the best of its ability in current wind...

Sailing In Light Air

During most of the races we did this summer, we experienced periods of little to no wind. The beauty about this whilst racing is...

Seasickness: Management Without Medicine

Most of us have at some point suffered the misery of being seasick; it can turn a relaxing day’s sail into a miserable experience. Why...

Storm Tactics – Part I

Heaving-To In its simplest form, you can think of heaving-to as parking a sailboat at sea. When successfully “hove-to” the boat will drift gently to...

Survival At Sea

Abandoning ship into a liferaft is really a last resort. Unless the boat is sinking or on fire, you stand a greater chance of...

The COLREGS Guide

The convention on the International Regulation for Preventing Collisions at Sea (known also as The COLREGS) are the “rules of the road” or the...

Thunderstorm!

If you’re caught out in a thunderstorm, here’s what to do: Have everyone stay in the center of the boat. If you have a...

Unfamiliar Marina At Night

Entering an unfamiliar marina at night. It’s what we’re told to avoid. Rightly so as it can be dangerous but sometimes you just can’t avoid...

Variation and deviation

You’re off sailing. You’ve plotted your course on the chart, so isn’t it now just a case of reading it off and asking the...

VHF Radios

Making a VHF call sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Figure out what you want to say, hold down the little button, talk, reply, done....

Victualing A Boat

Sailing can be a physically demanding activity. Depending on the nature of the sailing (cruise/race), the length of time at sea and the conditions,...

Weather – Part I

Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or...

Weather Apps And Websites

We’re probably all quite familiar with the traditional ways to get weather forecasts. If you’re sailing in UK waters, the Shipping Forecast is a useful resource,...

Weather Helm Cause And Remedy

What is weather helm? Wikipedia gives a nice definition: Weather helm is the tendency of sailing vessels to turn towards the source of wind, creating an unbalanced...

We’ve Lost Our Steering!

The story of Dove II (below) got us thinking about what we would do if our steering failed, resulting in either the helm doing...

What is an anchor snubber, and why should you have one?

In the past, we used to drop our anchor and simply leave the chain connected around the windlass. This setup was fine until one...