Being seen is critical to being rescued. Even if you are equipped with a modern EPIRB that can get rescuers very close to your position, the rescuers still must see you to pick you up. This can be challenging when weather conditions are extreme, it’s nighttime, or if a rescue aircraft or ship has limited on-scene loiter time.  A person overboard faces a rescue dilemma similar to that of a crew of a sinking boat, even if it occurs from a slow-moving vessel. At six knots a boat covers 200 yards, or 600 feet, every minute. If it takes a…
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Any sailor who ventures out on the ocean will very quickly find himself standing on deck with a length of line in his hand facing the need to fix, adjust, repair or lash some crucial item of equipment. No matter how much gadgetry is aboard, the harsh environment of the open ocean will soon reduce things to the lowest common denominators: a sailor, the sails and the rope. A sailor needs to be able to tie a variety of knots, perform a simple eye splice and be capable of intelligently lashing one item to another. The Ashley Book of Knots…
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After a second reef is tied in to a yacht's mainsail, the next step in sail reduction is a storm trysail. Many offshore sailors feel that a triple-reefed main is not effective, inducing too much distortion and stress to the sail and not providing sufficient support to the boom. While not all modern yachts carry a storm trysail, those undertaking ocean passages should have one in their inventory. In truly heavy weather conditions, a storm trysail not only offers an opportunity to fly a still smaller sail but it also will help reduce unnecessary wear and tear on the vessel's mainsail which has already been buffeted and battered enough withstanding the wind and stresses of…
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