It doesn't matter how much you read and who you talk to, your first multi-day (and night) passage at sea will be nothing like what you imagine. And your first experience of a gale at sea will be ten times as intense as you think it will be. I’m not saying this to put you [...]

Sure, diesel electric drives, lithium ion batteries, unstayed carbon masts, and composting toilets are fun technology and interesting too. But if your goal is to actually get out there cruising as soon as you can for a relatively reasonable amount of money, we recommend that you only use gear that has been in wide general use for at least 20 years. Here’s why:

Are you struggling to get out there cruising? Do there seem to be a million obstacles between you and your dream? We have 10 sure fire tips that will help you get out there sooner and have more fun and be safer when you do.

Crash Testing a Relationship—Part 1

Chapter 5 of 6 in the Online Book Getting Along With Your Crew

Going cruising with your partner may sound romantic, and it is. But there are also few activities that are more stressful on a relationship. Colin tells the story of his first tough passage with Lou. One that they took on intentionally to see how they would manage as a team at sea. It's an example that all couples considering the voyaging life should emulate--Crash Test the Relationship before committing everything to a new life on the ocean.

We Should Focus On Staying Aboard, Not Recovery

Chapter 1 of 8 in the Online Book Person Overboard Prevention

Free Introductory Chapter There are countless articles, books and courses that focus on recovering a person overboard but what really matters to the short-handed crew offshore is making as sure as humanly possible that a person overboard situation never happens in the first place—we need prevention, not cure. This chapter introduces this book and that basic concept.

Broken Skipper—Part II, What We Did Right

Chapter 6 of 8 in the Online Book Medical Emergencies

In the last post I covered the story of my accident. In this one I'm going to go over some of the things we did correctly, both before and after the accident: As is our habit whenever we hike, we were both dressed right, not only for the prevailing conditions but for any deterioration in [...]

Broken Skipper—Part I, What Happened

Chapter 5 of 8 in the Online Book Medical Emergencies

Like most voyaging couples, I suspect, Phyllis and I have long feared one of us getting seriously injured as the ultimate risk, short of death, facing us. This fear has always been especially prevalent during our Arctic voyages; who knew that it would be realized so close to home. As many of you know, I [...]

Getting Along With Your Crew—Part III

Chapter 4 of 6 in the Online Book Getting Along With Your Crew

Once your crew are safely aboard it’s time to brief them on the boat and life on board. We always believe that this is best carried out once they have had some rest and settled in, as this allows us to go through things methodically—even a simple boat with basic safety equipment can be a [...]

Crew Briefing Document–Our Sample

Chapter 3 of 6 in the Online Book Getting Along With Your Crew

As promised, here is an example of our briefing document. As I outlined in Part II of this series of posts, it comes in two sections, the first two sides being for our guest, the third side to be copied and distributed to family and friends as necessary. Obviously this is only a rough example, [...]

Getting Along With Your Crew–Part II

Chapter 2 of 6 in the Online Book Getting Along With Your Crew

Welcoming friends or family to join you on a long leg is something we all look forward to, but in order to make sure that the reality matches the expectation, it pays to plan ahead. Oversights at this stage can lead to delays later, upset good relations, and even compromise safety, so it’s only sensible [...]

Getting Along With Your Crew—Part I

Chapter 1 of 6 in the Online Book Getting Along With Your Crew

For the best part of twenty years I sailed with boats full of people (up to 22 at times), and like most commercial skippers discovered that man management in such circumstances is of vital importance, in terms of safety and harmony aboard. Getting everyone to turn up on time in a remote place, with all [...]

Nobody’s Perfect

One of the strangest exchanges I have ever had occurred in my days as a sailing instructor. My manager sidled up to me one day and asked ‘do you demonstrate all of the manoeuvres to your students in advance, before asking them to do it?’. Thinking this might be some kind of trick question, I [...]

A Reluctant Voyager?

Lane Finley’s comment on John’s post, A Model T Offshore Voyaging Boat, got me thinking. I agree that some of the reasons women are reluctant to go cruising are those that Lane posits: seasickness, loneliness, inconvenience, discomfort…not to mention separation from children/grandchildren…But I’m wondering if there isn’t more to the issue than that. And, as [...]

A Science Project, The Crew’s Role

[Written on July 24th] The science project we are engaged in has pushed Phyllis and me hard. For us, 12 hour days have been the norm and several have stretched to 18 hours. Yesterday was typical. The morning starts early for me, as usual, with analyzing the weather (more on how in a future post), [...]