Seamanship

Read on for dialogue about seamanship tactics and issues.

To add a question, click on “Cruisers Q&A” in the sidebar, and use the question form.

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4books

For decades, Linda and Steve Dashew’s books have been considered essential references for any serious cruiser. Having been blessed with the support of the yachting community for many years, they’d like to return the favor. Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (May 9, 2016)    |    Comments (7)

Masthead TV Camera

Steve have you ever used a masthead tv camera with pan and tilt to con the boat through coral heads, etc. Thanks Jerry, Venice, CA

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Learning Seamanship Skills on 30′ Sailboat

Hello, I was hoping to get your opinion on the S2 9.2 center cockpit…My plan is to liveaboard the boat in the Seattle and/or Portland areas, cruise the Sound, and at the maximum cruise up and down the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America and cross the Atlantic to Bermuda and back. All this sailing will be done “in season” – I have no intention of tackling the North Pacific in the middle of winter, for instance. My sailing skills are minimal so I don’t really want to get in over my head when it comes to waterline/size…figured the 30′ S2 with its aft stateroom and center cockpit would be a good compromise…? Thanks…

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Heaving To

Hi Steve, Regarding heavy weather sailing, I would appreciate your input regarding my boat. I have a 20-meter aluminum cutter-rigged sloop. The staysail is on a self-tacking track and I have a fin keel with a small wing. How would you best heave to with this set up? So far I’ve been able to manage with just the staysail in bad conditions but think it’s time that I learn other options. Thanks, Alan "Evolution"

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Dinghy Sailor Wants to Go Cruising

Hi Steve- I read a question in the Q&A section of cruising central. It was the one where you said that getting into sailing dinghies for a summer would be comparable to sailing a larger boat for a few years. I already know how to sail and I sailed a dinghy as a youngster. Now I’d like to get into cruising 30-40 footers long distances. Would dinghy racing also benefit me as far as learning and experience in sailing? There are many dinghy fleets here in San Diego that I could readily join. I’m a 50-year-old guy and I’d like to become a capable cruiser before I’m too old. Thank you very very much for your valued guidance. Kevin

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sail Draft–Definition

Dear Dashews, Got your book. great reading. But it lacks one thing: a glossary. I suspect some terms are US conventions and not European (e.g. dink). What is meant by draft (in respect of sails) for example. Best Wishes, Malcolm S

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Rigging Drogues

Aloha Folks: I am, like too many new cruisers, spending money adding things I MIGHT need…I am thinking about prep for the day at sea when not smart enough to avoid heavy weather, and I need a drogue.

AVALON, TPI hull #5 has at the stern port and starb an open chalk on the rail thru which in a tie up to a dock leads fair to the cleat mounted thwartship on the stern.

I am wondering how to secure drogue lines considering their strain and the stern line cleat set at right angles to the pull of the drogue line.

What would you say to leading the drogue bridle thru the hole between the cleat “feet”, then a single turn around a heavy winch then secured to the midship cleat on the rail? The winch turn to facilitate retrieval, the stern cleat to provide a fairlead, and the midship cleat to provide a fair securing place.

Thanks, Scott

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (2)

Learning Offshore Skills

Dear Dashews: I saw your ad for the Beowulf in Latitude 38. I fell in love. Can’t afford it quite yet but am vigorously trying. Been a fond admirer of your work since seeing one of your designs tied up in Emeryville. The couple had been cruising for almost a year. I would like to become an expert sailor. Currently I have only limited experience in the SF bay and Caribbean. Is there a route of training you recommend, or is there a school you might suggest? Of course these would be in addition to your books which I will purchase. Your ideas would be most appreciated. Best regards, Eric.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Determining Size of Drogue or Parachute Anchor

I read your articles about drogues etc. and would ask you, (being newly baked at sea things), how does one determine the size of a drogue or sea-parachute ancher? I hve a 36 foot Malo 50 with 8 tons laden weight. Sincerely, Richard Dixon, Copenhagen

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

“Cruise and Learn” Courses

Dear SetSail, Can you recommend a good "cruise and learn" course that my husband and I could take with our two children, ages 12 and 8, this summer? We live in Massachusetts, but were thinking of exploring a new area like the Pacific NW. However, we are open to any area. Thank you. Sincerely, Andrea

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Multihull Seamanship

Hi, I own a Voyage 430 catamaran, I need an instructional DVD on how to sail a large cat. Can you help? Thank you,
Keith

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Handling Schooners

I am currently reading your book entitled Surviving the Storm and want you to know I think it is one of the most comprehensive books I’ve read thus far–more like a textbook than the typical books on rough weather sailing. It’s possible that I may be asking you something you’re not able to answer. If so, accept my apologies for the inconvenience, but I thought you may be able to help me on finding a book on another related subject. I am looking for any book that discusses the differences in sailing techniques for schooners versus sloops. I have a fair amount of experience both in racing and cruising sloops but don’t know anyone knowledgeable about schooners. I just sold my boat (sloop) and am toying with the idea of possibly buying a schooner if I can find one in my price range. I am nearing 70 years old and would like to find a boat that has a normal amount of sails but would be less strenuous on my tired muscles. (And beside, I always liked the looks of a schooner over simple sloops or ketches.) I already have a zillion books on sailing etc. but have not been able to find any about sailing schooners. If you can give me any info about this I would appreciate it.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Minimizing Discomfort of a Rough Passage

I have enjoyed your site very much for a long time. Into the Light (by Dave & Jaja Martin) has been "the book" for me. Both have been a major help in turning me from dreamer to setting the goals and schedules to make it come true. An amazing content of worthwhile reading from all authors.

My wife and I are contemplating a charter from Puerto Vallarta to Cabo San Lucas April 15-21 and the Captain has been straightforward in saying it will be an upwind and uncomfortable passage. He adds that it is only 300 miles. He has now departed Natal and will be out of touch for a time. We are left wondering about how long the actual passage might be. We are willing to endure a bash for a few days but wish to be up for enjoying Cabo to the fullest also. As we don’t personally know anyone to ask I thought maybe SetSail could help. Any advice or even general opinions will be greatly appreciated. Till my next order, Thanks, Everett

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Towing a Rib Inflatable

I am familiar with your suggested method of towing a regular inflatable by running lines from eyes on transom, forward and down through the lifting handle. Now I have just bought a new RIB and wondered how you recommend towing one of these babies! It has a D-ring glassed in the bow, near the waterline. Would this be the best place to tow from??

Thanks so much for your response!–Rodd

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Pacific Routing

I am supporting a friend on his sailing trip though the Pacific Ocean. He is trying to find a way from Tuamotu Islands to Hawaii. Actually he planned to go via Marquesas Islands, however, easterly winds (in gusts up to 45 knots) still make it impossible to sail this route. I fea, the only way to reach Hawaii is to go the long way right north.

I have been told that you have some experience in travelling to Hawaii "the wrong way" – against trade winds. Is there a possibility to get some usefull information from you? Maybe he could call you directly via his satellite phone?

Thanks in advance for your reply. Manfed Ziegler

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Singlehanded Sailing

Please tell me the maximum feet of trimaran a single sailor can handle. Thanks.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Singlehanding a Catamaran

Do you have a good book on singlehanding? Singlehanding a catamaran? I have my bareboat certificate, recognize that there is much I must learn before undertaking a long solo cruise, am inclined to get a cat. And go from Med across Atlantic, through Panama Canal, up Mexico coast, anchor somewhere for some months. Please advise. Thank you, Jeff P

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Motorsailing

Greetings, I have purchased two of your books, with CDs, and they are excellent. I refer to them regularly to solve specific problems and for general learning (random open and read).

One area I want more information on, and cannot find in either of the books (Surviving and Offshore) is motorsailing. In addition to your two books, I have done quite a bit of research on the web, looked for magazine articles (current and archive), etc., and still cannot find any information. All I can find is the occasional reference to motorsailing in some trip logs.

I am interested in the theory and practice of motorsailing, and the pros and cons, cautions (re: sails, motor) etc. Can you provide this information and/or refer me to a qualified source of information on this.

By the way, another item I couldn’t find in your books was on the matter of what gear/or neutral to leave the engine in when sailing (I recently switch from a folding to three-blade fixed prop). Thanks, Howard

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sail Combination for Heaving To

Hi: Some time ago, I purchased your book Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia. Recently I have been searching in it for a reference for heaving to or laying to. I can find none. Here is my problem: I am having difficulty in getting my 48 ft Mayflower ketch to heave to or lay to the wind. I tried placing the headsail to windward, the main amidship, and the rudder hard to leeward. It does not work. I have placed the main to windward, the mizzen amidships, and the rudder hard to leeward. This causes the boat to head about 120° apparent. Placing the full mizzen amid ship with about a yard of main amidship results in movement from about 0° to 90°. The movement without the main is slightly more violent. I would appreciate any ideas that you could give me on how to solve this problem in all kinds of weather, but of course, heavy weather is the condition that bothers me the most. Thank you, John.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Life Raft Inspection

I currently have a six man Switlick offshore life raft. My boat is in West Palm Beach Florida and I would like to find a reliable inspection station to inspect and service my life raft in preparation for an offshore passage. Can you recommend any stations that do this in that area?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)