Waterboot Mast/Deck Seal


No leaks down the exterior of the mast below the partners. Period. That’s what Waterboot promises and what it delivers. The Waterboot is computer cut to your measurements (based on their instructions) from a durable, lightweight, 100% UV resistant, rubbery material with a Velcro closure. You fit the boot around the mast, close the Velcro, [...]

Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 13 of 27

A Different View—Hank-On sails


It's rare these days to see a cruising boat with hank-on headsails. But are such sails only for the traditionalists stuck in the stone age of offshore sailing? Maybe not. Here is a convincing case for hank-on sails, at least on smaller boats.

Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 14 of 27

Making Life Easier—Roller Reefing/Furling

Reducing friction always makes life easier

The old saying that ‘if a job is easy, you’ll do it’, is a good one that we have tried to bring to bear at all times when improving our Ovni 435 Pelerin. If the job’s difficult, you’ll delay it until it’s beyond inevitable and then it can become a hardship. And nowhere is that [...]

Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 15 of 27

Making Life Easier—Storm Jib

Will it soon be time to go for the storm jib? A windy day, Ria de Muros

Once a year we like to entertain our neighbours by hoisting our storm jib whilst we’re alongside. Not much new to be learned from it, but it does force us to get it out of the bag and give it a thorough check over for any signs of chafe or other damage. We have a [...]

Reefing On All Points of Sail

Phyllis hoists the mainsail on aluminum expedition sailboat Morgan's Cloud.

Morgan’s Cloud is the only boat I have ever sailed on (I only started sailing after meeting John) and so I generally assume that the way we do things on our boat is the way it is done. Which suits John just fine—he’s been able to brainwash, I mean, teach me how he likes to [...]

Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 17 of 27

Gennaker Furlers Come Of Age

Bartels gennaker furling drum.

There was an interesting piece in a recent edition of French sailing magazine Voiles et Voiliers on gennaker furlers. These gears are very popular in France, and through their extensive use aboard racing multihulls and Vendee Globe boats have undergone real battlefield testing over the last ten years, to the extent that they must now [...]

How We Buy Sails

Hallett sails in action: Wednesday night beercan racing on Casco Bay. The red boat is Richard’s, built to his design.

Why do we give so much thought to our sails? Well, first, as we talked about in this post, good sails equal good speed and good speed equals more fun. Speed also contributes to safety because you are vulnerable to bad weather for less time. Finally, if your sails are slow in normal weather, they [...]

Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 2 of 27

Don’t Forget About The Sails

Our friends Kim and Erling use good sails, combined with careful tuning and trimming, to make some surprisingly fast passages.

These days, with all the focus on the latest whiz-bang gadgets, many sailors are forgetting to think about and spend money on their boat's primary means of locomotion. In this post we look at why spending time and money on good sails is vital. Not only is a boat that sails well more fun, it's also a lot safer.

Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 18 of 27

Swept-Back Spreaders—We Just Don’t Get It!

A cruising sailboat with swept-back spreaders

We are all for many of the advances in sail handling systems that have appeared in recent years: roller furling, low stretch exotic fiber rope halyards, solid vangs, and clutches. All these and more have made sail handling on cruising boats easier and, in many cases, safer. However, every so often we see a trend [...]

Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 19 of 27

Spinnakers—Not Getting In A Twist

Spinnaker bowsprit on OVNI 435

Whilst the rest of Northern Europe has been enduring yet another ghastly summer with high winds and inundations, the Western Isles of Scotland have had a memorably warm and sunny season, with long spells of light winds. And as a result we’ve used our new asymmetric spinnaker on a regular basis. You either love or [...]