Active Interest Media

Boating & Aviation

SAIL February 2020

Editorial content covers the total sailing experience, featuring articles on coastal and blue-water cruising, trailer-sailing, racing, multihulls and monohulls, daysailing, one-design racing, and much more.

United States
Active Interest Media
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
50 years on

It was the winter of 1969-70, and up in snowy Boston a visionary publisher named Bernie Goldhirsh and his small team were putting the finishing touches to the first issue of a new magazine called SAIL. A couple of years earlier Goldhirsh, noting the increasing popularity of sailing, had started the Sailboat Directory, an annual compendium of “sailboats, sailboat equipment, sailing books.” His company, the Institute for the Advancement of Sailing, included in each copy a questionnaire asking about readers’ sailing experience and interests. The replies were distilled into the mission statement for the new monthly magazine, while the Sailboat Directory became the annual buyers guide we publish to this day. Goldhirsh, observing that a newly prosperous middle class had not only the desire for new leisure experiences but the wherewithal…

3 min.
the sailing scene/letters

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? Share your experiences with other readers. Send your photos to And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter, Under Sail, via our website I took this pic on a circumnavigation of the Delmarva peninsula. This was the morning view in the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. — Steve Smolenak, Nockamixon, PA I photographed the setting sun while our 425 Catalina, Esprit, was moored at Napatreet Point, near Watchill, Rhode Island. Although the digital HDR photograph is spectacular, the actual dynamic range of the colors was breathtaking. — Rita and Glenn Lau-Kee, Mystic, CT This photo is of a spectacular Galveston Bay sunset during the Waterford Yacht Club Peanut Regatta #36, which was not much of a race in the light wind. No…

2 min.
a farewell to paper

It’s goodbye to the paper chart, at least those produced by NOAA. The agency’s Office of Coast Survey is soliciting comments on plans to completely phase out the production of paper charts and associated products within five years Its tighter focus on ENCs (electronic navigation charts) means the agency’s cartographers will no longer produce its suite of more than 1,000 paper nautical charts, its raster charts (RNCs), its full-size chart PDFs and its small-size BookletCharts; although these are no longer printed by NOAA, they have been available as print-on-demand products through third parties. Although the raster charts use the same base data as the ENCs, they take a considerable amount of extra time to refine into the printable paper versions, time that could be spent on the ENC library. The demand for…

3 min.
gone with the floe

It was a dark and stormy night. Actually it was a cold and windy mid-February afternoon. We were into our fifth or sixth day of single-digit temperatures, our cove in Connecticut was covered with a layer of ice about half a foot thick, and the wind was howling out of the north-northwest—altogether, not a pleasant afternoon. As I sipped my tea and gazed out the window at my mooring ball, about 25 yards out from our dock, with visions of leisurely summer sails coursing through my brain, I had a funny feeling that the damn thing moved. I don’t mean up and down, because unfortunately it was fully encased in that same 6in of ice. I looked again but could not be sure, so I took a sight over the ball…

1 min.
one-pot wonders

James Barber Harbour Publishing, $14.95 I’ll bet a filet mignon against a can of Dinty Moore that almost every cruising cook has read and discarded a goodly number of seagoing recipe books. Some are so simple as to be insulting. Others require too many exotic and perishable ingredients. Still others call for equipment beyond the ken of sailors just hankering after something more inspiring than tuna casserole. This small book by Canadian sailor and TV chef James Barber might just earn a permanent spot on your bookshelf. For one thing, everything in it can be cooked in a single skillet or pot. For another, you’ll probably already have on board most of the ingredients he uses. And finally, it’s a pretty entertaining read. Go on, treat yourself—especially if you’re a peanut butter…

3 min.
cruising tips

LUCKY DIP One of the more disappointing features of sailboats is that, after a few honeymoon years, their fuel gauges suffer from a high mortality rate. That’s why you can’t beat an old-fashioned dipstick. Given a sensible allowance for fuel slopping around in the tank at sea, it is the most reliable measure you’ll get. A threaded hole on top of the tank with a piece of rod welded across the plug so it can be hand-tightened onto a rubber washer makes the ideal access point. If you can’t arrange this and the filler pipe has a bend, a flexible steel tab like an engine-oil dipstick will usually get you there. You can calibrate the stick in harbor by running the tank almost dry, then topping it right up, marking it…