Archive for 2003

Collisions with Ships

Even though sailboats have right of way over powered vessels on the open ocean, it is always best to stay out of the way of ships. In areas with restricted maneuverability, the bigger ships often have a legal right of way.

With good visibility, it is easy to read the ship’s range lights at night (or its masts during the day), to figure out what they are doing, and plan accordingly. But if visibility is restricted, such as in fog, the situation becomes a lot more difficult.

On May 28, 2003, the sailing vessel Wahkuna collided with the container ship Nedlloyd in the English Channel. We’ve obtained a copy of the official report on the accident from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch. The report goes into fascinating detail about what happened on the ship, and the yacht, and what could have been done differently to avoid the problems in the first place.

To download a copy of this report, click here.

Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (December 29, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Memories of Our First Christmas Aboard

Linda recalls their first Christmas aboard Intermezzo, in Mexico.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 19, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Nav Instrument Integration

I’m building a 65′ Cruising Cat, and am at the beginning design stages with my designer. While he’s working on that, I’m doing the research for the nav functionality. I’m somewhat perplexed by the array of nav equipment available from the 6-10 major suppliers and how things will fit together along with the MaxSea software, so as to get maximum coverage AND integration. Should all the items come from a single source and, if so, which would you recommend in terms of reliability and repairablilty
considering the number of places one can find ones self while circumnavigating?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Hurricane Preparation

How would you prepare for a hurricane if no hurricane hole was available?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 23, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising Boat Choices

Dear Steve:

Thanks so much for your various books. I just finished devouring Practical Seamanship. I have gained greatly from reading and practicing the insights shared, particularly sail balancing and heavy weather techniques. When read in conjunction with the video’s, the books are even more informative.

I presently have a 461 Beneteau. I like it very much. My wife thinks it is a bit too sporty & light. We use it for coastal crusing (West coast). We are in the beginning process of evaluating boats which are better designed/ suited for passage making. Like most everyone, we would like to sail BEOWULF, or its equivilent, but it is not likely to ever be in reach of our budget. I personally would like a Sundeer 64, but it is uncertain whether one would become available, or be affordable. As with so many others who have written before me, I am seeking advice to help with my quest.

We are looking to spend $400-500,000. I had been thinking of the Amel Super Maramu 53, but after comparing its hull design to that of the Sundeers/Deerfoots, it appears more suited to light conditions. Others we have considered seemed a bit too beamy and/or had keel/rudder designs which were not conducive to surfing. Any thoughts on production/semi-custom boats that we should focus on? My inclination would be toward a ketch, but I’d be happy with a cutter rig.

Thanks again for sharing so much and considering my questions. Linda has been quite an inspiration for my wife, who really only likes warm days with the wind behind the beam.–Mark

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 10, 2003)    |    Comments (0)


Our approach to propane has been greatly affected by an experience we had many years ago crossing the South Pacific. We were enroute between Bora Bora and Suvaroff, and the compressed trades were kicking along with 30-45 knots of wind.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 2, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Stability & Comfort Design Factors

Stability and comfort characteristics with sailboats are relatively easy. The more stable the boat, the faster and more comfortable it is. Since a key component of this stability is the vertical center of gravity (VCG-the center of all of the weight which makes up the boat), designers and builders work really hard at keeping high structure light. The other component of stability is the hull shape when upright and at various angles of heel. More beam equals more stability, but also creates drag. So there is a lot of refinement that goes into how the hull interfaces with the water.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 28, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

The Next Boat #4

Surprising plans for the next boat finally revealed.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 14, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

The Next Boat #3

The design begins to come into focus.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 28, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

The Next Boat #2

More on their thought process as they sort out what they need "the next boat" to be.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 14, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

“End-Plating” the Main and Mizzen

You probably know that the induced drag on any foil (water or air) is proportional to the aspect ratio (actually, in some cases this is a logarithmic relationship-i.e., you get big changes in induced drag for small changes in aspect ratio).

mizzen deck seal

Both mizzen (shown here) and main on BEOWULF have “deck seals”. These are small sections of sail cloth which create an end plate effect between the underside of the sail and the deck.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 29, 2003)    |    Comments (4)

Email While World Cruising

I am seeking advice re the best choice for setting up an email account for use during my family’s upcoming sail around the world. My crew are my wife and two young daughters (5 and 8). We plan to depart in September 2003 from Groton CT aboard our Westsail 32. First of all, we plan to have a ham radio Winlink email address (if I can just carve out enough time to study for and take the tests!). But for sending and receiving photos and large attachments I gather that we should consider having an email address that we can access from Internet cafes and similar locations using our laptop. Do we need to have a subscription internet service provider that we would dial into from landlines at foreign ports? If so which is best? A free one like Hotmail (I think it’s free)? Or do we need to pay $10 to $20+ per month for an ISP like Earthlink or AOL? Do we simply need the email address and then plan to use the Internet cafe’s or other retail location’s internet service provider to gain access to the web. As you can tell, I am having trouble figuring all this out and would really appreciate your guidance as to whom we should contact for the best, most current advice. Thank you for whatever you can tell me to get us headed in the right direction.– Doug

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 28, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

Keeping the Water Out: Mast Boots & Chain Plates

Keeping the water out – now there’s a topic dear to any sailor’s heart! In the olden days, before each passage we’d put all our clothes and bedding (and anything else we wanted to keep dry) into plastic bags-double plastic bags if we wanted to be sure. But over the years we’ve learned how to make boats watertight.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 20, 2003)    |    Comments (0)

The Next Boat

What to do for "the next boat".

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 14, 2003)    |    Comments (0)