Tag Archives | safety

downwind offshore ocean sailing sailboat

Safety on board: preventer setup on Totem

Boom preventer. Boom brake. Whatever you do, whatever you call it, having a way to prevent or dampen the force of the boom to prevent accidents while sailing deep downwind is important. A lot of cruising IS downwind, so thinking through a smart setup is critical! I’ll never forget learning about a boat some miles […]

catamaran beach bahamas dinghies

Offshore Communications: Satellite or SSB?

Cruisers anchored off a small beach in the Exumas dinghy in for cocktails and chat while the sun sinks behind a distant cay. Most evenings in this idyllic spot new cruisers and old salts alike meet over plans to go fishing in the sound, the best time to avoid day-trippers in the Thunderball grotto, when […]

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Guns and cruising

“What kind of guns do you have on board?” This was the opening question from a new acquaintance at a cocktail party. Loaded with assumptions from someone who doesn’t know us, and who has no intention of traveling the way we do. Walking down the dock the other day, a woman was overheard talking about […]

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Passage planning: the float plan

Writing a float plan is a simple thing to do, may be critical in the event of an emergency, and is all too easily set aside and left undone in the stack of tasks that precede going offshore. Provisioning. Checking the weather. Vessel integrity checks. Checking the weather again. What and why The bare minimum […]

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Mermaids are real: getting the kids swimming

Sitting around a worn wooden table in the open side of a thatch-roofed hut, looking out over the sparkling water of a lagoon in PNG’s Hermit Islands, we listened to tales of mermaids. Like the school teacher in the Louisiades, the subsistence fishermen we met here believed fervently in the (red-skinned, black-haired) sirens that hid […]

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Lessons from a dinghy crisis averted

“STAY AWAY FROM THE PROPELLER!” From below deck I heard Jamie shout from the cockpit, and froze. It was our last day in Comoros; our sixteen year old son, Niall, had just left with the dinghy– those words could only mean one thing, and it terrified me. Niall was in the water, and the outboard […]

Commercial ships in Singapore

Maritime industry and safety at sea: infographic

I’ve been thinking a lot about safety at sea lately, as we get ready for next year’s Indian Ocean transit- waters that have a well earned reputation as dangerous to mariners. So when Bracken Foam Fabricators sent me this infographic on maritime safety, it got  my attention. (Mum, I promise we will stay away from […]

Examining raft contents. <a href="http://svmomo.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Photo (c) Michelle Elvy</a>

Life raft: more than two four letter words

How do you choose a life raft? We looked for the best raft available. That wasn’t enough. As dewy-eyed gonna-be cruisers, we focused on choosing a superior product for that moment of (heaven forbid) dire need. We looked at independent research reports, read books and blogs about the life raft experiences of other cruisers, and met with all […]

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Engine trouble and kidnappings

There’s a Yiddish proverb: “Man plans, God laughs.” The cruiser’s equivalent is to say that our plans are written in the sand, at low tide. Yes, we still make plans. Usually, they’re weather driven: designed to avoid hurricane/cyclone/typhoon seasons on the grand scale, and pick days for optimal sailing on immediate front. The current “big […]

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Safe passagemaking in the Straits of Malacca

There’s a long history of piracy in the straits of Malacca, and plenty of modern bandits too- this area currently has more pirate activity than any other part of the world. But those aren’t our concerns as we sail south from Langkawi toward Singapore. Unlike the Gulf of Arabia, the piracy is focused entirely on commercial […]

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