Lazy Jacks for the Trailer Sailor

Lazy jacks can be one of the most complicated rigging systems on a trailerable sailboat but they have a simple function. That is, to cradle the mainsail when it’s lowered so that it doesn’t spill onto the cabin and cockpit. If you usually have another experienced crew member aboard, that person can gather and tie…

Quit Spending Setup Time on Turnbuckles

Turnbuckles are great for tuning your rig but they’re the least convenient way imaginable to loosen and detach the forestay and lower shrouds for unstepping the mast. I vowed long ago that I would quit wasting time on turnbuckles during setup and tear-down. This post is a companion to my previous post How to step a mast single-handed with or without…

15 Perished in US Sailing Tragedies in 2018

Every year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard, and the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety publish a report of statistics about recreational boating accidents. The 2018 report was just published and there were three fewer sailing deaths than last year and nine fewer than four years ago, definitely a…

Use Your Boat Hook to Sail Faster Downwind

In a previous article, I described How to rig a cruising spinnaker in 4 stingy stages. If you don’t have a spinnaker yet, or even if you do have one but you don’t want to raise it for short runs, one of your best options when sailing dead downwind is to set your sails “wing…

Make a Flag Halyard to Fly Your Favorite Colors

Did you take your family out on your sailboat this summer for Independence Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day? On those holidays, you probably saw more flags flying than usual. Sailboats flying flags evoke a different feeling than ones without. At least they do for me. Besides being patriotic, they add to a festive, nautical mood to the day….