Short Tacks

Rule of thumb

Commercial fishing operations abound with heavily-loaded lines.

The Nautical Almanac online

I recall periodically gaining computer access to the Nautical Almanac’s daily pages by simply typing “Nautical Almanac online” into Google’s search engine.

The art of letting go

Our passages up the Pacific coast of Mexico have been hard going as they were mostly into wind and against current.

Discovering a voyaging classic

To the editor: In the summer of 2009 my son Christopher and I were spending a lazy afternoon wandering around our local boatyard in Port Jefferson, N.Y. We were in the “bone yard” section, investigating the old abandoned boats, when…

Nightly green fireworks

To the editor: The Americans we’ve met call it bioluminescence. When we crossed the Atlantic we talked about it as nightly green fireworks. Without doubt, one of the biggest changes we’ve felt since going from one ocean to the next…

The one that got away

To the editor: Telling this story I feel like a fisherman talking about a big fish that got off his hook. It was Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. We were on a non-stop trip from Huntington, N.Y., to St. Maarten. Joining…

First passage as captain

To the editor: In May I was in New Orleans frantically finishing a two-year refit of my 1975 Cape Dory 28. Then, just a few months later, I had put 2,000 miles under the keel on a passage north to…

Satellite phone a necessity offshore?

To the editor: As a long time subscriber I read with great interest the communications articles in the November/December 2013 issue. It had excellent coverage of the many devices and services available to sailors. I would like to add one comment, however. As…

A sailboat electric-energy system

To the editor: Many cruising sailboats have worked out an electric-energy system that works for them; too many others are continually trying to find the right mix. Kathy and I have done the same on our vintage Tartan 34.5 CB…

The outside route

It was about mid-day when I asked the dockmaster in Jersey City what she had been hearing about weather for the next few days.

Boatyard blues

Haul outs are de rigueur for big displacement boaters; the old fun machine must be pulled out regularly for a scrape and a fresh coat of ablative bottom paint.

Mainsail decisions

A sailmaker gave us some advice one time when asked how we should care for our mainsail: “Sail hard. Put it away wet. And come see me in a year.”

Voyager weighs in on tourist development for Yap

To the editor: The Pacific basin is an iconic tourist destination, and for good reason. Any voyager who has spent time there can attest to its beauty and diversity: the Tuamotus’ palm-fringed atolls, Fiji’s lush rainforests, and New Zealand’s vertiginous…

Young ocean racer hooked on sailing

Although my dad, Rick Higgins, had sailed in the previous two Marion Bermuda Races, participating in the race myself was the last thing I pictured doing. Then, I had a sudden change of heart.

More on the free surface effect

To the editor: I always enjoy reading articles by Ralph Naranjo, including his recent piece on bilge pumps (“Pumps and priorities,” Issue No. 209, Ocean Voyager 2013). I would like to offer some further explanation, however, on his remarks about…

Franklin’s Gulf Stream charts saved America

To the editor: With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, it became abundantly clear that a huge military advantage would belong to the side that knew how to faster navigate the Atlantic.

Adding a hull identification number

To the editor: I enjoyed the very informative and well-written article by John Kettlewell about the registration situation in Florida (“A fog of regulation,” Issue No. 210, May/June 2013). I would like to add two points.  1. If your boat…

Running the diesel engine in the yard

To the editor: Those of us who winter on our boats and leave them propped up on jack stands, where they soak up the hot Florida sun during the summer, always hope that the diesel runs when we go back…

Better bilge emergency strategy?

To the editor: Ralph Naranjo’s recent article is excellent in its coverage of bilge pump options and their pros and cons: the equipment to deal with flooding (see “Pumps and priorities,” Issue No. 209, Ocean Voyager 2013). I wish to…

A tale of two boats

To the editor: The recent article by Rich Feeley about a rigging problem he experienced aboard Lora Ann, an Express 37 (“Disaster averted,” Issue No. 208, March/April 2013), reminded me of trips I have made to and from Bermuda. One…