Our Published Articles

We have had dozens of articles published over the years, many of which are accessible online. To make them easier to find, we have separated them into the three categories shown below. You can scroll down this page to browse through them all or click on any of the links below to access the articles by category. We are continually writing new articles, and we'll be adding our older articles as we can, so check back frequently.

Our e-books

We've also written two e-books that you may find interesting.

Destination Articles

Coast-hopping Long Skinny Chile

Long, skinny Chile stretches 2,650 miles along the Pacific coast of South America from its border with Peru in the north to the bottom of the world at Tierra del Fuego. Our planned itinerary would take us...

Blown Away in the Chathams

The Chatham Islands are a group of ten islands located about 500 nautical miles east of New Zealand's South Island. They sit close enough to the International Dateline that they tout themselves as being the first folks in the world to welcome each new day ...

Cruising the Guianas

After an uneventful passage from St. Helena, we made landfall at Iles du Salut, better known as Devil's Island, the infamous French Guiana penal colony at which Papillon was incarcerated. We anchored off Ile St. Joseph for three days ...

Sail Repairs in Suwarrow

We had entered the Cook Islands from French Polynesia at the northernmost island of Penrhyn and then headed south to visit the island of Manihiki with subsequent planned stops at Suwarrow Atoll and Palmerston.  After a long, sleepless night, we were off at first light to legendary Suwarrow Atoll ...

 
 

Taking the Bite out of the Bight

Whenever we've read articles about crossing the Great Australian Bight, the advice has universally been “wait for a weather window and get across as quickly as you can.” Then we happened to meet a fisherman who ...        

 

Technical and How-to Articles

Troubleshooting Engine Instruments

The next time one of your engine instruments starts misbehaving, pull out your trusty digital multimeter instead of calling an electrician or technician. Finding the problem and fixing it yourself isn't all that difficult.

Coachwhipping a Wheel

Coachwhipping is a very traditional decorative ropework that results in a beautiful herringbone pattern. While a four strand coachwhipping is the most common, a six triple-strand pattern looks even better ...

Climbing the Mast

Friction knots such as the Prusik knot, as well as mechanical devices called ascenders, are often used by arborists to climb vertical ropes. I could see no reason why this technique couldn't be used to climb a halyard.

 

Adding a Day Tank

A gravity-fed day tank has much to be said for it. It sits higher than the engine, and as the name suggests, uses gravity to supply fuel to the engine. Any leaks in the fuel line downstream of the day tank tend to leak fuel out rather than draw air in, ...

Making an Emergency Day Tank

On a passage from Ecuador to Patagonia, we developed an air leak somewhere in the engine fuel feed that caused the engine to die unpredictably. To get us into port, I built a temporary day tank ...

Choosing the Right Coax Cable

There are dozens of different types of coax cable, but for a marine VHF application, the choices are narrowed down considerably. Still, choosing the right coax for your boat requires some research ...

 

Insulation Testing

When we were in Patagonia a few years back, we tied up at a marina in Puerto Montt for several weeks. We dug out our power cables and connected to shore power at the nearest power box. All was good for awhile, but every few hours the breaker would trip ...

Building a Fuel Polishing System

In our early years of cruising, we learned the hard way about how important clean fuel is. I didn't worry about the fuel as long as the primary fuel filter looked clean...                        

Making a Lanyard

We use this knot to make lanyards for pelican hooks, zippers, key rings and flashlights. We have used it with very fine line to make jewelry, and once we even used it to make a belt when a friend on a passage to Easter Island discovered he had forgotten his ...

Making Courtesy Flags

It is proper sailboat etiquette and customary in foreign ports to fly a miniature version of the host country's national maritime ensign …

Making New Lifelines

Our lifelines were beginning to show a few broken strands and “meathooks” and it was time to replace them.  ...

Making a Mast Boot

Over the years we've tried several methods to create a watertight mast boot. At the suggestion of a local rigger, I decided to …

Fun and General Interest Articles

A Bonafide Circumnavigation

It seems there are some strict criteria for actually completing a bonafide circumnavigation … and we thought it just entailed sailing around the world and “tying the knot”, i.e. crossing your track. It seems it's much more complicated than that ...

Delivering Cookies

We arrived at Tahanea Atoll in French Polynesia's Tuomotu island group, and because we were planning to sand and generally make noise, we anchored on the east side of the pass in order not to bother the five boats anchored on the west side. I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to deliver to the boats ...

The Many Uses of a Digital Camera

When I first bought a digital camera more than a decade ago, the photo results were mediocre. It's no secret that digital cameras have come a long way since then. In addition, we've found that digital cameras have many more uses than just taking great sailing photos to show our friends ...

   

Jelly's Hero

 

 

 

It was May and we were docked at the Charleston Maritime Center. Jelly, our year old sea cat, had the run of the place. Everyone knew her and she roamed at liberty along the wharf, jumping on this boat or that one for a visit, a nap or a snack.