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The Errant Autopilot
A few minutes later, however, the familiar sound stopped, and the swing of the rudder and tiller came to a halt with perhaps 10 degrees of port rudder locked in. Before I could get to the tiller and lift the tiller pilot off its pin, the boat flew through an uncontrolled gybe ...
MOB Beacons: Getting Better and Better
One of the most exciting developments has been the progression of Man Overboard Beacons (or Crew Overboard Alarms or whatever you want to call them). Over the last 20 years or so, through about four generations of products and technology, these life-saving gizmos have evolved from being a bit iffy to being reliable and near-mandatory. Let’s briefly review the path that led to where we are now.
The Infallible Memory of Navigational Devices: Forgotten workarounds can be a problem
It would be prudent for all navigators on unfamiliar boats, or perhaps when returning after a period of time to a familiar boat, to ensure that the hidden, potentially helpful fudge factors buried in silicon memories are actually helping, not hurting, your navigational accuracy
Group DSC Primer for Fleets and Safety: Group Calls on your VHF and SSB
Not just for safety anymore, DSC can be used to contact another boat for purely non-emergency reasons, such as find other boats positions and automatically plot them on your chart-plotter Not only that, you can set your radio to be part of a “group” to send and receive alerts intended for a fleet of vessels. This capability may serve any fleet, be it yacht club, regatta, race or just a group of friends.
​​​​​​​Fire in the Boat – Lithium Batteries - Prevention: an Update
Lithium batteries are a fact of life in this day and age, and, like so many other things aboard, we must treat them with care. When I wrote the CCA article on Fire in the Boat – Prevention, I gently danced around the issue of fires in smaller Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Metal batteries. There I talked about the issues of charging them (don’t let that happen in a bunk or under a sail), and the high heat they generate when shorted.
Blind Reliance on Instruments

One of the requirements for the 1982 Singlehanded Transpac was to have sailed 300 NM, singlehanded, in the boat that