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Soundings October 2019

Soundings is the news and feature publication for recreational boaters. Award-winning coverage of the people, issues, events -- and the fun -- of recreational boating. Check out our generous boats-for-sale section and our gunkholing destinations.

United States
Active Interest Media
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
happy place

I was hanging on a line someone had thrown over the side of the boat, tugging at it to stay close to the side of the hull, even as a muscular current conspired to sweep me away. Armed with a large sponge and plenty of enthusiasm, I set to work gussying up that waterline, bobbing along in the cool water of the anchorage and humming a tune while making my way down the length of the 46-foot cruiser. Some people might call that work. For me, it was nothing but play. The boat was a Prestige 46 Flybridge. The anchorage was Vineyard Haven in Martha’s Vineyard. And the cleaning effort was easy and entertaining because I was doing it on a beautiful summer afternoon with the help of my colleague Pim…

2 min

FAMILY TIME I enjoyed the story “Boats Create Bonds” (August). Do I believe boating can make a family closer? Absolutely! I grew up with boats. My father, a skilled carpenter, built me a delightful 5-foot sailboat for my sixth birthday and taught me how to sail. As I grew, so did my boats. We took our bigger sailboat cruising every weekend and for summer vacations. I did my homework aboard on many days and had my 8th grade graduation party on the boat. I felt more at home aboard than ashore. I have such fond memories of cooking, swimming and laughing with my brother and parents, of being responsible and independent. I wouldn’t trade that experience for all the money in the world. -HOPE WRIGHT A boat offers a great way for a…

5 min
history for sale

As more and more of the nation’s historic lighthouses have moved from government to private hands, leading preservationists, lighthouse enthusiasts and coastal boaters are wondering whether this will save these landmarks or allow them to crumble and be swept away by the sea. “There’s no way to know, when somebody buys one, what they’re going to do with it,” says Dave Waller, who in 2013 bought Graves Light Station off the coast of Boston. “It’s out of the government’s control, once they sell it. They can’t take it back, really. It’s a sale, and it’s done.” The trend of selling lighthouses into private hands has its roots in the year 2000. The expense of maintaining lighthouses was weighing down the U.S. Coast Guard’s budget, so the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act was…

3 min
the joy of joysticks

If there’s one maneuver that gives even qualified skippers the shivers, it’s docking a boat. Whether you’re performing in front of an audience at the fuel dock or pulling into your home slip against a cross-current or gusty winds—or both—chances are pretty good the procedure has upped your anxiety more than once. Joystick control systems have helped to alleviate these jitters for an ever-growing number of boat owners, but there’s more to these systems than just making docking easier. (Listen up, anglers: This means you.) Yamaha’s Helm Master is a joystick system that works like others: Toggle the joystick to port or starboard, and the outboard engines move the boat sideways. Nudge the joystick forward or aft, and the Helm Master makes those motions happen. Twisting the joystick pivots the boat on…

5 min
storm strategy

Storm-force winds are Force 10 winds or greater on the Beaufort scale. That’s sustained winds of at least 48 knots, or 55 mph—sobering conditions, even in port. Buildings may sustain structural damage. Deck gear—such as Bimini tops, dodgers, sails and covers, hatch screens, jerry jugs and dinghies—might carry away. Last fall in Greenport, New York, a violent frontal passage blew a steeple and roof section off a church in 65 knots of wind. Bimini tops split at the seams, genoas unfurled and flogged themselves to shreds, and dinghies blew around like toys. Storm-force winds are brutal, but if you have a storm strategy, then you can prepare your boat and protect against damages—a task that is your responsibility as a boat owner. Leaving the boat as-is on your mooring with high…

1 min

1. DECK GENERAL: When moored to a dock, what line will prevent sideways motion of the vessel? A. The line from the bow to the dock (bow line) B. The line from the stern to the dock (stern line) C. Bow spring line D. The lines running at right angles to the vessel (breast lines) 2. DECK GENERAL: What is a spring line? A. A mooring line from a ship to a pier at 90-degree angle to the keel B. A small line used as a messenger C. A mooring line from a ship to a pier at 45-degree angle to the keel D. It is used on staging 3. NAVIGATION GENERAL: What are the signals for storms, day and night? A. One square flag; red over white lights B. Two red pennants; white over red lights C. One square flag; red over…