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November 13, 2015
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Lulls and Puffs As you sail along you may suddenly feel a dramatic drop in wind strength. You have sailed into a lull, and the apparent wind has gone forward and decreased because your boat speed is now a greater factor than the wind speed, until the boat slows down.

October 15, 2015
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Rudderless Drill Reprinted from “Fundamentals of Sailing, Cruising, & Racing” by Steve Colgate; published by W.W. Norton & Co. Another drill one hopes never to have to use is sailing without a rudder. Though you may sail 20 years without losing your rudder at sea, it could happen your first time out.

September 28, 2015
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Grounding Tips for Sailors A slight miscalculation can lead to sudden stops. Use these tips for a speedy recovery back to safe water. As with any aspect of sailing, a little forethought can prevent a grounding. When sailing near a shallow windward shore, always keep one eye on the depth sounder.

August 20, 2015
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Sailing trivia is a great way to get your non-sailing friends interested in sailing. It’s also fun to challenge experienced sailors when you’re relaxing on deck or enjoying a beer at the club. There are books around that list tons of sailing trivia facts, and while you are learning to sail, cruise or race at

August 17, 2015
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As the velocity of the wind increases or decreases, you need to adjust the draft of your sails for the best efficiency. For instance, you set sail in a 10-knot wind and the shape of your sails looks good. Soon the wind increases to 20 knots and now you are overpowered.

August 14, 2015
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Sailing Miles Out at Sea Requires Special Safety Considerations! Sailing in the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race, when an unforecast storm with 85 knots demolished the fleet and caused 15 deaths, a number of safety factors relating to personnel came into focus for me.

July 18, 2015
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Convenience, ease of operation and safety make roller-furling headsails popular with cruising sailors. Most cruising sailboats use roller-furling headsails. In this roller furling system, the jib is hoisted in a groove, but when not in use is furled around the headstay, rather than lowered.

June 24, 2015
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Using the Wind: Other Options for Depowering You might be out there alone or with inexperienced crew. Or you might be sailing a boat that doesn’t have sails you can reef. In this case you can ease your mainsail to avoid excessive heeling, or you can take down your main and sail under jib alone.