The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Tips, Tricks & Thoughts:


  • Gales at Anchor Are Not That Scary

    I don’t watch a lot of videos, in fact hardly any, but I was searching for something else when I stumbled on this video over at S/V Delos.

    Now, there is no question that hurricanes are scary. You don’t have to tell a guy from Bermuda, who cruised the western North Atlantic for over 50 years, and now lives in an area of Canada sticking out into the frequent path of hurricanes, that.

    And the couple on Delos were seamanlike in moving quickly to find a good place to ride the blow out, as well as being flexible in changing their plans when the storm wobbled.

    All good.

    But the majority of the video is about riding out the storm and is filled with drama.


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  • Cool Supplemental Anchor Light

    Some years ago Phyllis and I found out the hard way, when another yacht hit us, that sometimes boaters don’t look up and see anchor lights at the top of masts.

    After that accident, we fitted a supplemental all-around white light on top of the radar on our McCurdy and Rhodes 56, as is allowed under COLREGS. Definitely the best solution.

    I was just thinking about doing the same on our new-to-us J/109 when I remembered that our new B&G radar can display a blue light.

    I have to confess that when I first saw that in the installation manual I thought “well, that’s the silliest feature I have ever seen on marine electronics, and that’s saying something”.

    But now I have tried it, I take it back. And having the radar on standby with the light on medium intensity only uses 0.2 A at 12 volts.

    And since it’s blue, a colour that is not used for any lights prescribed by the COLREGS, I’m pretty sure it’s perfectly legal under Rule 30.

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  • eWincher as a Windlass

    Our J/109 has a great anchor locker as well as a removable anchor roller, but no windlass, and there is no way in hell we are adding all that weight up forward on this boat.

    No worries. Our eWincher, driving a two-speed primary cockpit winch, hauls the rode as fast, or maybe a bit faster, than the massive windlass on our last boat, and there is plenty of power, to the point that I would be confident of hauling the boat up to the anchor in say 25 knots of wind.

    One small fly in the ointment: our anchor rode is 8-strand braid and catches on the stripper on the self-tailing winch, so someone must tail the line off the winch.

    Read our three-part in-depth review of eWincher to see if it’s right for you, before you blow a bunch of money on electric winches.

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  • Mooring Check Hack

    With hurricane Fiona heading our way I have just checked our mooring bridle attachment and swivel.

    To make this easy, even though the chain is quite heavy because it was sized for our last boat, I attach a spinnaker halyard to the bridle and hoist it up while it runs over the bow roller, as shown.

    Way easier and less messy than attaching a line to the bridle and running back to a sheet winch.

    Note that this only works in winds under about 8 knots since more breeze will blow the boat back and cause the bridle to jump out of the roller.

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  • Getting Ready for a Hurricane

    The North Atlantic heating up in the last week got me working on preparing our new-to-us J/109 for a strike.

    We have always added a backup pendant before expected winds of storm force or over, but in the past it was chain. Now, with a smaller boat and the availability of high-modulus rope, we are going with 1/2″ Dyneema 12-strand single braid. Spliced it up yesterday.

    Given that the break load is three times more than the boat weighs, it should be strong enough, but of course chafe is always the issue, more than strength.

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  • Nylon Line In Europe 2

    The plot thickens. I came across this product page at RobLine an Austrian rope maker and they have a bunch of lines for mooring, docking, that will be good for anchor snubbers.

    Interesting quote from that page:

    Robline caters to the trend toward using different fibers for mooring and anchor lines, depending on the specific use, and introduces cordage made of polyamide (known as nylon) in order to utilize the high elasticity of this fiber to cope with critical shock loads.

    These lines are available from, in Germany, who ship everywhere, among others.

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  • Nylon Rope in Europe

    A member was having a heck of a time finding Nylon rope for a snubber, as we recommend, in Europe. After some research I think I have found out why:

    What we call Nylon in North America, and the UK, is known as H.T. Polyester in Europe and staff in stores sometimes refer to it as “polyester with stretch”.

    Check out this page at Gottifredi Maffioli. One of their mooring line products has a heading of “Nylon Braid” but the detail says H.T. Polyester on the English language page.

    Also claims “Elasticity, ease of handling” for this rope, so I think that is a Nylon equivalent.

    Anyone have specialized knowledge on this? If so, please leave a comment.

    Also see this tip for a source of Nylon in Europe.

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