May 2019

Assessing the Anchor Kellet

You can make a simple kellet using spare chain. A webbing loop allows you to place it where it is most effective.

Subscribers Only — One of all-chain rode’s most popular features among cruising sailors has little to do with anchoring—and everything to do with stowing. With a well-designed bow roller, windlass, hawse hole, and chain locker, your rode and anchor will deploy and stow belowdecks faster and with far less effort than nylon rode requires. But for a smaller boat without a windlass or deep chain locker, an all-chain rode is often impractical. Even cruising sailors who are perfectly equipped for all-chain anchoring often find that their nylon secondary anchor better is suited for some anchoring situations.   More...

Selecting the Right Anchor Size

Retrieving an anchor during rough conditions can be trouble enough with an appropriately sized anchor.

Over the years Practical Sailor has conducted dozens of anchor tests, and like many publications, we’ve repeated the common guidance that cruising sailors should buy an anchor that is at least one size larger than what the maker recommends for your size vessel.   More...

Fixing Laminate Sails Part II

We had high hopes for our laminate sail repairs, but the more fragile substrate foiled fixes that worked with Dacron.

Subscribers Only — If this were a follow-up article on polyester sail repair, we would have waited two years at least. We’d have added a few stitches during our annual inspection, but major sewn repairs in sound cloth are expected to last for years. Our test boat is sailed frequently, vigorously, and with a lot of tacking, but we’re not crossing oceans. Polyester would have held up.   More...

Stowing Bicycles on Boats

The conversion of a conventional bicycle rack for cars into one for boats didn’t take too much tinkering.

One of the blessings of a multihull is its wide expanse of deck space that opens up possibilities that you might not consider on a monohull—like a bike rack. No, you don’t want to cross the Atlantic with a ye ol’ Raleigh strapped to the pulpit, but for bay cruising, a rack will work—especially on a multihull.   More...

Ditch Kit for Small Sailboats

Subscribers Only — When we had a larger boat and made offshore hops, conventional ditch bag thinking made sense. But when I downsized to a 24-foot trimaran, it dawned on me that with just a little adjustment, my day bag could ably serve my near-shore sailing needs. (See “What to Pack in a Ditch Kit,” PS May 2014, “Abandon Ship Bags: Don’t Leave the Boat Without Them,” PS March 2001, and “Bags Fit for Sea Life,” PS December 2012, and “The Get Home Toolkit,” October 2018.)   More...

Ditch Bag for the Daysailer

Where ever you keep your grab bag, it should be easily accessible and well-secured. Avoid stowing in a locker with other gear, as items can get thrown about in a rough conditions.

Subscribers Only — A closer look inside a ditch bag for the coastal daysailer   More...

Shedding Weight on Sailboats

Dual-purpose cruiser/racers like the Sabre 34 can benefit significantly from some careful dieting.

Subscribers Only — Balsa and rigid foam cores. Aluminum, magnesium, and titanium alloys. Epoxy resins. Unidirectional glass, carbon fiber , and Kevlar. Builders have the most fantastic tools at their disposal to build light, durable boats … and then we weigh them down with all manner of stuff.   More...

Mailport: Testing VHF Coaxial

Eric Wommack’s Columbia 31, Winsom feels the breeze on Chesapeake Bay.

There’s nothing quite like undefined acronyms and other jargon to alienate readers. What do SW or SWR mean? Defining these acronyms would go a long way to interpreting this important information to a wider audience of non-electronics savvy readers. Defining the difference RG8X and LMR type coax could also be helpful.   More...

Lightening Up the Sailing Load

Haulout is a great time to shed stuff. Here, the editor’s former boat Tosca, an Atkin Thistle, gets a bottom job in Bali.

Still trying to find a place to stow everything for that big summer cruise? Here are a few organizing accessories that we've found handy in the past few years:   More...

Leaving Your Boat Abroad Part II

Make sure your boat is well secured, in case a freak storm blows through while you are away— as it did the Greek Island of Lefkas in 2012.

In addition to the usual steps you take before a seasonal haul out at home (decommissioning the engine, storing sails, “pickling” systems, etc.), hauling out and leaving your boat in a new yard, especially a foreign port, involves some extra measures.   More...