We have written hundreds of articles. Here are a few that either answer most commonly asked questions or received particularly good reviews. Note/caution: some of these articles were written a while ago and our thinking and approach does evolve and change over time. Occasionally we even realize we made a mistake and later correct it J
Useful Material from other sources:
A set of excellent articles on sail trim and performance by Arvel Gentry: Checking Trim, Optimal Trim, Proper Balance, Sailing to Windward, How sails really work, How sails provide lift, The Slot Effect, More On The Slot Effect, The Double Head Rig, Modern Sail Theory, Performance Testing
Twin poles for downwind cruising, by Scott Kuhner (two-time circumnavigator)
A few of the less common knots we use:
We use a Halyard bend to tie reef lines to the boom. This is more secure modification of the common Timber Hitch. We do wrap the tail end over and under a couple more times than shown in this diagram and put a stopper knot on the end. Bunt Line Hitch A good knot to attach a line to a shackle (it's even better to splice). Icicle Hitch We use this to attach a bridle line to our drogue warp (and a slight modification that seems easier to tie). The gripping sailors hitch is claimed to hold even better and is simple to tie. I have been told that the Gripper Hitch holds even better but it is more complex and I have not tried it yet in real 'at sea' conditions. Fisherman's knot good for tying two Spectra single braid lines together (relatively permanently). Spectra is very slippery. While this knot is very slip resistant, it's still best to sew through it a couple times to lock the knot. Water knot makes a relatively permanent connection between two pieces of webbing (as in making a webbing loop). Tugboat hitch is good for putting a highly loaded line on a winch or bollard. Rolling Hitch When we get a jammed riding turn on a winch, we use this knot to tie a light line to the jammed line, in front of the winch, to take the load off and allow us to un-jam the line on the winch.
I wrote the following thoughts on best practices for using spectra single braid line (for life lines, sheets and halyards, etc). Here is an article on some knot and line testing for the climbing community.
Recommended Brait to chain splice (from Yale Ropes). Recommended 3-strand to chain splice (from New England Ropes). Spectra single braid bury splice (from Samson Ropes) and the harder but more secure (less likely to slip) Brummel splice. Two notes regarding the Brummel - (a) New England Ropes says their testing suggests it has a "higher risk of separation and failure under high tension" because it is more 'knot-like' (eg more sharp turns in the fibers) in its construction than the bury splice and (b) Lock stitching the tuck and bury splice will make it as secure at the Brummel. Single braid end-end splice, for making strops and loops. Double braid splice for Dacron core and core to core splice for high-tech cored line. Comprehensive splicing instructions (from New England Ropes - long 7mb pdf)
Some interesting Sail Stretch data from Quantum.
Collected information on the Twizzle Rig - a way to pole out twin jibs.
Boats & Systems & outfitting:
USGS SOLAR USGS report on solar panels and batteries
Radar reflector test & Reflector Test 2 provide useful info on the performance (or lack there of) of various radar reflectors. Related reports are the MAIB report on loss of S/V Ouzo, and IALA racon specifications which provides data on radar performance. And a quite vaulable and interesting report on radar reflectors conducted by the USCG and a kayaker group. AIS draft. Laser flares.
Various instructions for using Sailmail/Airmail, especially with sat phones:
http://saildocs.com/gribinfo Instructions for getting GRIBs from Saildocs
http://saildocs.com/internet Instructions for Sailmail's internet-gateway (Telnet)
http://saildocs.com/iridiumPPP Instructions for using Iridium
http://saildocs.com/pop3 Sailmail's POP3/SMTP gateway
http://saildocs.com/airmailPOP3client Airmail's POP3/SMTP client
http://www.airmail2000.com/rfi.htm Discussion of SSB grounding and RF noise issues
Simple guide to maintaining deep cycle batteries by Trojan
Refreshing your fresh water system by Peggie Hall
www.weather.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf Worldwide weatherfax schedules (pdf)
Hurricane Primer from NOAA (pdf)
How to use a barometer by Bob McDavitt (New Zealand Met service)
Sea Area Names & locations around the world
Gulf Stream tutorial (long 8mb pdf)
CCA Offshore Medical Recommendations, Navy First Aid notes (for Navy 44 sailboat), Bermuda 1-2 medical kit recommendations, MCA (commercial) first aid kit recommendations, World Health Organization (WHO) Medical guide for Ships (5mb), Open 40 transatlantic kit, Vendee Global Medical kit drug list
Navy Checklists (for Navy 44 sailboat) - Useful reminders of proper procedure for when you are tired
Two page summary of procedure for a USCG helo rescue
A few relevant documents from the UK boat scout library ( http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/library/hqdocs/facts/): lashings, knots, first aid, simple first aid, medical treatment abroad, weather forecasts, Criteria for offshore sailing leader
CCA Blue water medal winners an inspirational list of people making impressive voyages in mostly modest boats
The Unknown Shore
I shall slip my mooring and sail away
With no response to the friendly hail
Of kindred craft in the busy bay.
In the silent hush of the twilight pale
When the night stoops down to embrace the day
And the voices call in the water’s flow….
Sometime at eve when the tide is low
I shall slip my mooring and sail away.
Through the purple shadows that darkly trail
O’er the ebbing tide of the Unknown Sea,
I shall fare me away, with a dip of sail
And a ripple of waters to tell the tale
Of a lonely voyager, sailing away
To Mystic Isles where at anchor lay
The craft of those who have gone before
O’er the Unknown Sea to the Unknown Shore.
A few who have watched me sail away
Will miss my craft from the busy bay;
Some friendly barks that were anchored near,
Some loving souls that my heart held dear,
In silent sorrow will drop a tear—
But I shall have peacefully furled my sail
In moorings sheltered from storm or gale
And greeted friends who have gone before
O’er the Unknown Sea to the Unknown Shore.