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Blue Water Sailing November - December 2018

Blue Water Sailing is the leading magazine for cruisers and offshore sailors. Every issue offers readers the dream of cruising under sail in the form of real stories from around the world and how to make that dream come true. Founded by circumnavigators George and Rosa Day, BWS offers valuable insights into what the cruising life is really like, what boats and gear work (and don’t work) and where to go for the best in cruising and sailing vacations. Plus, the digital version of BWS provides direct interactive access to dozens of great marine websites where you will find everything you need to make your sailing life safer and more fun.

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United States
Blue Water Sailing
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min
ode to otto piloto

WHEN I FIRST WENT TO SEA IN THE EARLY 1970S, AUTOPILOTS were only just appearing in the cruising fleet so we hand steered all the time. That was normal. Skippers had to take on an appropriate number of crew so there would be rested hands ready to steer. In the Sixties, Blondie Hasler invented a wind vane self-steering device that would steer a cruising boat fairly reliably. In the Seventies, new improved windvane devices appeared and soon most cruising boats that were headed offshore had one. These contraptions relieved us of what we used to call ”the tyranny of the tiller” which in turn meant that couples could make passages safely without extra crew. It wasn’t until the mid-Eighties that autopilots became reliable enough and cheap enough to be popular on cruising…

3 min
salty dawgs sail south

In the first week of November, the Salty Dawg Fall Rally fleet begin to trickle out of Hampton, VA on its way south. The fleet was aiming at three destinations: The Bahamas, BVI and Antigua and plenty of the boats were planning to sail to Bermuda first to avoid extended upwind sailing as they tried to get east from the start. This year, the weather in early November was changing rapidly so finding a good weather window was tough. Weather guru Chris Parker was updating the forecast daily and tracking the changing conditions in an effort to keep boats out of the Gulf Stream in bad weather. As it turned out, boats that left on November 4 got hammered in the stream while boats that either delayed for a day or…

1 min
sailing to the edge of time

John Kretschmer is a sailor’s sailor and an author’s author. He has sailed more miles at sea than just about any living human and visited all of the world’s most famous cruising grounds, often many times. He has been around the Horn and around the world, sailed into the high latitudes of Labrador, explored all of Europe and Scandinavia and has sailed in the Caribbean more days than he could count. Along the way he has learned a thing or two. Those long night watches at sea, the long days in the trade winds when he consumed books from all of the great writers and the dawn landfalls on magic new islands all accumulate into a kind of world view and perspective that many will enjoy but few will ever really…

1 min
the atlantic crossing guide

Having recently sailed across the North Atlantic, the new cruising guide from England’s Royal Cruising Club holds a special place on my book shelf. This is the guide’s seventh edition and includes a lot of new and useful material. The book is both a general guide to offshore sailing and passagemaking and s specific guide on routes in the North Atlantic and land falls all around the ocean. So, there is a lot covered that will be of use. The general guide to ocean sailing is fairly basic and will be a refresher course for veteran passagemakers. But, the book also offers excellent advice and underscores the essential elements of seamanship, boat handling, safety gear and practices and the care and feeding of the crew. The actual cruising guide sections are tailored for…

1 min
run the storm

In the modern age of seafaring, it is very rare for a ship to be “lost at Sea.” Satellite navigation, tracking and communications allow ship owners, the coast guard and the crew’s families to know where a ship is at any given second of any given day. We are all linked and all tracked in real time. So, on October 1, 2015 when the cargo ship El Faro, which was on a passage from Florida to Puerto Rico, vanished from the face of the earth in the height of a hurricane, everyone associated with ships, yachts and the sea was seriously taken aback. How could this have possible happened? And, where could the 790-foot freighter be? Run the Storm is the compelling and well-told tale of what happened to El Faro and…

9 min
time honored tools

Nav stations have changed, and they continue to change. We now have more means to gather positioning, performance and weather data than ever before. It wasn’t long ago that GPS, VHF, SSB, and weather fax seemed like cutting edge that put us in touch with the world outside of our boats. We now have satellite communications to connect us to the Internet via a broadband hook-up, computer displayed digital charts, plotters integrated with weather information devices, smartphones and various other gadgets to help gather an ever-increasing amount of information. But despite all of the new tools, the older, more traditional tools not only have their place in the modern nav station, they still provide the most reliable foundation for our work as navigators and onboard decision-makers. We still need the…