YouTube channels can be credited with generating excitement about sailing and bringing people into the sport, but those of us who have lived aboard cruising boats for extended spells know that they also paint an unrealistically rosy picture of what the cruising lifestyle is really about. We also know that in many cases YouTubers set bad examples – for example by choosing to cross the Atlantic in a cruising catamaran dangerously late in the season as a publicity stunt, or filming themselves offshore prancing around on deck on the ocean with no jacklines, let along tethers or PFDs. Continue reading Lessons From a YouTube Casualty
Rover is hauled out for the winter here in Annapolis and I’ve spent essentially every free moment for the last two weeks getting her winterized. The process has been about what I expected, which is to say confirmation of why it’s easier to sail these boats 1,000 or more miles south to somewhere warm than to winterize them! Here’s a short list of the task list with some details on the methods I chose: Continue reading Winterizing The Hylas 54 Is a BEAR
After the gale passed yesterday, we found the breeze shifting to the west and easing somewhat, blowing around 20 with gusts to the upper 20s. With the right shift we found a terrible problem with swells bending around the northern corner of the island and coming to violently roll us on the beam. Some months ago Brian send me a link to a YouTube video showing how to rig a “swell bridle” for this situation. The technique involves tying a long line to the anchor chain with a rolling hitch, running it aft to the transom, and then easing out the chain enough that effectively you wind up a gigantic bridle that will hold the boat in the direction you choose (based on how much chain you let out from the bow). We decided to try it out, and it worked great! We were able to point the bow straight into the waves and be far more comfortable even though the waves coming off the Sound were so big they actually caused the boat to pound lightly on occasion! Check out the results in these videos:
Continue reading We Anchored Beam-To After The Gale
We are currently on a slow cruise back from Maine to Annapolis via Long Island Sound, and after dropping anchor in Stonington, Connecticut this past Sunday (September 27) we checked the forecast and saw this rather ominous graphical representation of the winds for Tuesday (September 29) night / early Wednesday (September 30) morning:
Continue reading Riding Out a Gale At Anchor!
Literally. It was s**tty.
It all started when the seals on our windlass decided to pack it in over the weekend, leaking gear oil over the decks and into the anchor locker. Wanting to avoid getting water in the gear oil and fearing we could damage the windlass further if the oil level got too low, we motored to Southwest Harbor to see if we could get a marine shop to take the windlass in for a rebuild. Monday morning I took on the huge job getting it taken apart and removed from the boat. Continue reading My August Week Off From Work Was S**tty. Plain S**tty.
Our WordPress website data shows that over the last six years of blogging my yacht reviews are the most popular posts with our readers by a considerable margin. The data surprised me somewhat, since I am neither an industry nor sailing professional. No matter – I love writing them and people seem to love reading them so I’m going to keep them coming! Having covered thousands of miles aboard our own 2006 Hylas 54, Rover, and as crew aboard the 2015 Hylas 56 Odette, I thought it was high time I put my reflections on these yachts down on paper for the benefit of anyone who might be interested. Moving forward, I plan to segment my yacht reviews into the following sections:
- Designer’s Intended Use (to put the review in context)
- Design Characteristics
- Performance Under Sail
- Sailing Dynamics & Handling
- Performance Under Power
- Handling When Docking
- Ground Tackle Fittings
- Quality / Fit & Finish
Continue reading Hylas 54 Yacht Review!
We bet a lot of you wonder how it’s going with three of the four of us working day jobs from the boat. It’s an interesting question because while I have been working from boats for long periods full time for several seasons between Rover and our prior boat, Le Saberage, those experiences were very different in that the boats tended to stay in one marina for weeks at a time, most often at a slip. That meant marina-supplied WiFi, electrical power supplied from the marina, and a known cell phone signal strength.
Continue reading “You Work From The Boat Full Time? How’s That Going?”
Alright readers! If you’ve ever anchored out in Annapolis for Blue Angels, the 4th of July, or Bands in the Sands, or if you’ve ever anchored … ummm …. anytime in the BVI, then you’ve no doubt seen some pretty heroically hair-brained stupidity by fellow captains trying to set or retrieve an anchor. Use the comments selection below (or PM me and I can post) and let’s see if we can select the winning story!
Just to kick things off, I’ll start with two stories: one I witnessed and one (because if you can’t laugh at yourself, you shouldn’t laugh at others) that I starred in! Continue reading Reader Poll! What Is The Dumbest Thing You’ve Seen A Crew Do When Anchoring?
Fortunately for each member of Team Rover, we are all aligned on preferring to be at anchor by far over moorings or slips. That’s a really good thing because the experience is considerably different for each of the three options. Slips and (in particular) moorings are more or less tie-up-and-forget-it affairs, whereas anchoring requires more diligence and skill in choosing the right spot and monitoring to be sure swing radiuses are appropriate and the boat is not dragging in stiff breezes. So far we’ve been anchored more than half or 3+ week trip and I have the following reflections to share about the experience so far: Continue reading Hylas 54: Reflections On Ground Tackle