Category Archives: Cruising World

Tips for New Cruisers

Congratulations! You have conquered one of the strongest forces on earth: the iron grip of the land.

Your first cruising season will come with an array of adjectives: exhilarating, exhausting, energizing, confusing, exquisite, terrifying and life-altering, but it will also leave you with a mental scrapbook so beautiful and intense, your imagination will seem lackluster by comparison.

By now you’ve read it all; you’re jacked up, topped off and tanked up with anchoring tips, navigation principles and entire volumes of sailing advice, but take a deep breath and read this one last thing. My hope is that these hard-earned lessons will help ease the transition into your extraordinary new world.
Fair winds to you, and send me a postcard.

Trust yourself. You have great instincts. They’ve just been buried under a heavy coating of civilization, a little self-doubt and years of neglect. Learn to listen to your own body, that small, wise voice in your head, the telling feeling in your gut. Nobody, no matter how experienced, is wiser than your own instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Just wave as the other boats leave, pour a cup of coffee and enjoy your day.

Listen respectfully. You will get an overwhelming amount of advice from armchair sailors, from blog readers, from landlubbers and from seasoned sailors, a lot of it welcome and most of it well-meaning. Be respectful, pay attention and take it all in. Then go below, shut it all out and make your own decisions. Learning to be a good listener will serve you well in all aspects of cruising. Learning to make good decisions will save your life.

Pay attention. Retrospect will always tell you there were signs that something was about to go wrong. Be on guard when somebody says, “That’s strange,” like when the engine makes an unusual noise, or when the boat ahead of you going out the inlet is being tossed around like a child’s toy. Don’t hesitate to hesitate. If possible, slow down, turn around, question, regroup. Pay attention, process the information you have and then act on it.

Be open. You are going to meet hundreds of kindred spirits, more than you imagine, and many will become lifelong friends. Engage with people. Ask fellow cruisers about their lives, their families, their boats, their stories. Work on telling your own story, because you’ll be called upon to tell it over and over and over. (You’ll be so happy the next time you see an old friend who already knows your history.)

Reach out. Talk to the locals at every port, including the ports in your own country. The friendly sailing community can distract from the real reason you are out sailing: to experience other parts of the world, the people, the culture and the places. It’s not always easy to make an arc from the water to land, but with good intentions, a little practice and a kind heart, you can leave a trail of friends in your wake.

Ask questions. Know what you don’t know — and it will be a lot. The sailing community is not judgmental or critical. On the contrary, it will embrace you and offer advice, encouragement and a helping hand. We’re all in this together. Your fellow sailors will not only warm your heart and entertain you; they will be your best resource. Don’t be afraid to ask, in person or on the radio, and watch the dinghies come zooming.

One of the hardest lessons in breaking away from land is this: no more being all goal-oriented and get there, get there! You’re already there. Now is the time to slow down and drink it all in. If you allow it, cruising will teach you to live completely in the moment. It offers you the freedom to stay where you are until it’s not fun anymore, then meander to the next spot, sometimes only 5 miles away.

Go alone. Make your own decisions, even when you don’t feel confident, because that’s the only way to learn. Some will want to lead and others follow, but don’t let anybody’s plans or decisions interfere with your own. This will be incredibly difficult your first season, but every boat and crew has unique strengths, limitations and comfort zones. Meet up with friends at the next stop, but make your own choices and movements.

Embrace everything. Cruising isn’t going to be fun all the time. That pristine anchorage with turquoise water off a deserted island comes with a price. You are going to have moments when you hate your life choices, your boat, the ocean. You’ll abhor the wind, the waves, the swell, your spouse, yourself, and sometimes you’ll detest them all at once. It’s OK. It happens to everyone. It will pass — and make a great story.

Savor it. You’ll never have another first year of cruising, where everything is crackling with newness, where you learn something every waking moment (damn it!), where nature electrifies you with its beauty and its power, where you are overprepared, overstimulated, overwhelmed and overjoyed.

You have done an amazing thing. You had a dream, and you made it happen. You are the elite — when you leave the dock the first day, when you sail into your first foreign port, when you raise that brand-new Q flag and even when you’re yakking over the rail. You are awesome. Enjoy every single second of it.
Every single second.

Tammy Kennon is a writer, sailor and traveler, now enjoying the bounty of the land with her husband in California’s Napa Valley. Follow her on Twitter

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2015 Cruisers University Fall Series

Courtesy of Annapolis Boat Show

October 12 – 15, 2015

Learn all you need for living aboard a boat. Plan your cruise, equip and maintain your boat, and feel at ease heading out. Select from one to four day programs best suited to your cruising needs. Cruisers University offers the most comprehensive curriculum on cruising available anywhere.

All Packages Include:

  • Comprehensive Educational Materials
  • Instruction by Renowned Cruising Experts
  • All Classes Held at the Beautiful Historic Inns of Annapolis
  • Continental Breakfast, Lunch, and Evening Social Activities
  • Admission to United States Sailboat Show or United States Powerboat Show​​
  • Complimentary One Year Basic Boat U.S. Membership – $30 Value

Customize Your Curriculum

Register for intensive one-day courses and/or choose from more than 40 electives.

Full Day Courses

  • Marine Weather
  • Collision Avoidance – Radar and AIS
  • Outfitting For Blue Water Cruising

More than 40 Electives Offered

  • Anchoring – the Art of Staying Put
  • Docking and Line Handling
  • Planning Your Passage
  • Money and Cruising
  • Sailing in Heavy Weather
  • Cruising the ICW
  • Communications Systems
  • Exploring the Chesapeake
  • Cruising the Bahamas
  • Destination: Florida Keys
  • Safety Through Seamanship
  • Crossing the Gulf stream
  • Marine Weather
  • Modern Navigation
  • Boat Systems
  • More than 40 courses to choose from

To find out more about Cruisers University and to see the full course schedule, visit

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American Sailing Association joins Mega Expedition

This coming August the American Sailing Association will be providing exclusive documentary-style content from the infamous Pacific Garbage Patch off the islands of Hawaii. ASA certified instructor Bob Solliday will be in regular satellite communication with the ASA shore team as he participates in the Mega Expedition, a research component of The Ocean Cleanup project. As part of the fleet of boats that will be surveying the ocean, Solliday and his crew will be collecting samples that will aid in the research about the amount of harmful plastics that are in our oceans.

The Beneteau 523, Transformer, is first taking part in the famous Transpac race from Los Angeles to Hawaii before Solliday takes the helm and brings the boat back through this notorious debris field. The skipper and his crew will be managing purpose-built equipment to collect and store the samples as they make their way through the area they are assigned to cover.

“We’re all sailors and we love the ocean,” said Solliday of his motivation to be part of the Expedition. “We all understand that the health of the ocean directly affects every living thing on the planet.”

The American Sailing Association feels the same way and is pleased to be part of The Ocean Cleanup in this capacity. As an organization that has introduced millions to the sport of sailing and has certified almost half a million sailors, the health of the oceans is on the top of the priority list.

“Protecting and caring for the oceans is extremely important to us,” said Lenny Shabes, Founder of the American Sailing Association. “We’re choking ourselves with all this plastic and it’s great that The Ocean Cleanup is providing some hope for cleaner oceans moving forward.”

The Pacific Garbage Patch is one of five gyres that, through the forces of particular ocean currents, cause trash to collect and accumulate. At least one million seabirds, and one-hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution and the survival of at least 100+ species is in jeopardy because of plastic debris. Plastic pollution is also a carrier of invasive species that threaten native ecosystems.

As the Transformer team participates in the research, the ASA shore team will be maintaining close contact and reporting the progress via social media. Expect to see interesting videos, with satellite phone interviews from the garbage patch, that detail what’s happening in these incredibly unique and troubling areas of our oceans at

You can find out more by visiting

About ASA
The American Sailing Association (ASA) has been the leader in U.S. sailing education for over three decades. The Association has grown to include an international network of more than 300 professionally accredited sailing schools. Nearly one million certifications have been awarded to almost half a million people who have been introduced to sailing through ASA schools and clubs since 1983.

About The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup develops technologies to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution. The Ocean Cleanup’s goal is to fuel the world’s fight against oceanic plastic pollution, by initiating the largest cleanup in history. Instead of going after the plastic – which would take many thousands of years and billions of dollars to complete – The Ocean Cleanup uses long floating barriers to let the ocean currents concentrate the plastic itself. After having worked with a team of 100 volunteering scientists and engineers, a 2014 study confirmed the passive system is indeed likely a feasible and cost-effective method to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years’ time.

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Ocean’s State

This fish sculpture, created by South ­African surfers during a Volvo Ocean Race stopover, is fetching, until you realize it was crafted from discarded garbage that washed up on the beach.

In May, my hometown of Newport, Rhode Island, hosted the latest edition of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race. We once were the site of a little sailboat regatta called the America’s Cup, so there was high confidence that Sail Newport, our treasured local community sailing operation, and the race organizers, state politicians, corporate sponsors and other stakeholders could pull off a world-class event. But nobody was quite prepared for the sensational two-week festival of yachting that ultimately transpired.

When the spray had settled and the crowds had vanished, however, what I’ll remember most about the fortnight wasn’t the race village or the spectacle on Narragansett Bay, but a conference called the Ocean Summit, held just prior to the restart. Little Rhody’s second nickname is the Ocean State — it says so right there on the license plates — but this gathering was all about the state of the world’s oceans. It was, in a word, sobering.

Two moments in particular stand out. The first was a clip from a video montage featuring Bouwe Bekking, the Dutch skipper of Team Brunel and a seven-time veteran of the race, taken while the fleet negotiated the Malacca Strait, the waterway linking the Andaman Sea and the South China Sea. Gazing forlornly at the seaway littered with man-made trash and other detritus, his voice thick with disgust, ­Bekking says, “Look at all the shit in the water.” I once raced through the strait myself, and he’s correct. It’s a fetid, revolting cesspool. Never fall overboard in the Malacca Strait. Drowning would be the humane way to go.

In stark contrast, the other standout instance from the conference, a photograph in race director Knut Frostad’s PowerPoint presentation, was bright and colorful. Which actually made it equally devastating, because the pretty fish sculpture pictured, created by South African surfers and artists during a Volvo stopover, was fashioned from the dozens and dozens of discarded flip-flops they’d gathered on coastal beaches — a microcosm of the tens of thousands of pounds of plastic, garbage, sewage and junk that wash up on shorelines around the world on a daily basis.

Such lovely artwork. Such an awful statement.

So what in the world can we do?

The impressive roster of speakers, a cross-section of politicians, scientists and mariners, had plenty of cogent observations and long lists of statistics, but few hard answers. But it’s worthwhile to pay heed to some of their thoughts and numbers.

Philanthropist Wendy Schmidt, wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, is an avid sailor who has launched an ocean sustainability and awareness program called 11th Hour Racing.

She spoke of mankind’s dirty, not-so-little secret, the one nobody really wishes to dwell too long upon: There are now over 7 billion humans wandering about the planet, and population growth continues to skyrocket. What, exactly, are the effects of this boom on our environment and resources? Is there a limit to the Earth’s natural bounty and the number of people it can support, and if so, who can or will address it? Hard questions. But when it comes to conspicuous consumption, we Americans are surely the worst offenders. Alluding to Annie Leonard’s book, The Story of Stuff, Schmidt said, “If everyone on Earth lived like Americans, we’d need 4.6 planets.”

Citing a changing climate, unsustainable fishing practices and polluted waterways, Dennis Nixon, a professor at the University of Rhode Island’s School of Oceanography, said, “These are problems we’ve created on our own in the last 50 years. We’re making a mess of this planet, and it’s up to us to do something, starting today.”

Finally, noting rising water temperatures and the spread of plastic pollution, among other issues, Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who moors his classic Herreshoff sloop in Newport Harbor, said, “Those of us who enjoy the privilege of living lives on the ocean have a responsibility to bear witness to what the oceans are telling us.”
As a fellow sailor with a shared affinity for the deep blue sea, he’s right. It’s up to us to lead this charge.

“Think globally, act locally” sounds simplistic, even trite, but it’s true. We cruisers have already chosen a vehicle powered largely by the pure, clean wind, but we can do better. Sail more, motor less. Embrace solar. Ashore, drive smaller, more fuel-efficient cars; better still, dust off the bike. Ditch the plastic shopping bags and water bottles. These are small things, sure, but they do add up. Yes — start today.

After all, if we don’t care — and act — forcefully and passionately, who the hell will?

Herb McCormick is CW’s executive editor.

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Transatlantic Blog

We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties and are not up to date. Please check back soon to see the newest posts from the Transatlantic voyage.

Cruising World editor, Herb McCormick, is headed across the pond on board the Sailing Yacht Eleanor. Follow along on the journey with updates from the crew here.

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Sailing Industry Icon William Mosher Passes Away

Longtime sailing industry professional, William Mosher, unexpectedly passed away July 3rd due to complications from sleep apnea. A passionate boater, Bill became a beloved figure within the marine industry during his lifetime. He held several high-profile positions within the industry and became a true icon through his dedication and generosity to the people and sport he loved.

His lifelong career in the marine industry began in 1979 when he became the first Executive Director of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. A fledgling community outreach project at the time, Bill helped turn it into a model community program that is nationally recognized for creating unique sailing programs and fundraisers that benefit youth, physically challenged, and financially disadvantaged sailors. After he left this day-to-day position in 1985, he continued to dedicate his time to MCSC by serving on the Board of Directors, including a term as President.

From 1987 to 1995, Bill became well known throughout the marine industry as National Sales Director for Harken. During his time with them, he serviced the sales needs of their distribution network as well and helped introduce numerous product innovations to the market. In 1995, Bill became the Midwest Wholesale/Store Manager for Boat US in Milwaukee. Bill joined Forespar as Sales & Marketing Director in 2000 to oversee their nationwide sales force of independent reps and to coordinate all advertising, media, promotions and shows. He also served as a Board of Director member for Sail America from 2008 to 2010.

During his time in the marine industry, Bill became well known for his extensive network of friends and contacts. According to Forespar President, Scott Foresman, “Bill’s extensive experience and knowledge of the marine market will be truly missed. He was an integral part of the Forespar team and a true friend to us all. It’s often said that the man with the most friends wins. If that is the case, Bill was truly a winner.”

Bill is survived by his partner, Patty Matheson, his children Morgan (Megan) and Brandy Mosher and Patty’s children, Andrea (Ryan) Benson, Jena (Jesse) Rutherford and Susie. Proud grandpa of Katelyn, Rory and Kiera Mosher. Dear brother of Val (Bob) Kluver and Mary Owens. He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Albertin Mosher.

Memorial Service – A Sailor’s Memorial Service will take place at MCSC on Sunday, August 2nd, followed by a boat flotilla sail.

Donations in Bill’s Honor – In honor of Bill, donations may be made to the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, an approved not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 agency. Donations can be sent to Forespar at Bill Mosher Memorial, c/o Forespar, 22322 Gilberto, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 or made online at

Cards – Cards can be sent to Patty Matheson at 507 College Ave, South Milwaukee, WI 53172, or emailed to [](mailto:

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Restoring History

Two commanding historical organizations are uniting with one goal: Restore Mayflower II in time for the 400th anniversary celebration commemorating the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock.

In 1957 Mayflower II, an exact replica of the ship that brought the pilgrims to America, was sailed from Brixham, England, across the Atlantic to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where it has lived ever since. In five years, the ship is slated to be the centerpiece for the quadricentennial celebration of that historic voyage. The problem is, she’s getting old and needs quite a bit of restoration. But how does a major refit take place on a 236-ton vessel if it needs to be in its home port of Plymouth each summer and the shipwrights doing the work are down the coast a ways?

To solve this dilemma, last fall Plimoth Plantation, the owner of the ship, teamed with Mystic Seaport and came up with a four-phase restoration strategy that is to take place each winter. It began with the winter of 2014-2015. Because Thanksgiving is an important day for Mayflower II and the plantation, each phase will begin immediately afterward, and the ship will be towed south annually to Mystic’s Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard. There, each phase of the work will need to be completed before spring so the ship can return to its dock in Plymouth. The shipwrights will have their work cut out to complete every stage in a short amount of time.

Whit Perry, Plimoth Plantations’s associate director for Maritime Preservation and Operations, says currently only a rough plan is in place for the following years. Phase one, which they are in now, is best described as their Discovery Phase. Once the little ship was on the hard, the team began the demanding task of removing 130 tons of iron and cobblestone ballast from the bilge so both the U.S. Coast Guard and marine surveyor Paul Haley could inspect the vessel. Haley’s detailed report is critical because it will help map the next several phases of the restoration strategy. While plans are being laid out, the shipwrights will keep busy replanking, repairing frames, rebuilding knees and caulking — lots of caulking!

Gradually, without missing the beat of the summer trade, Mayflower II will be restored to its former self.

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Sail: Majesty at Sea

Searching for rarely seen subjects, award-winning fine art photographer Drew Doggett has traveled to remote corners of the world to chronicle people and places that are truly remarkable. The recipient of two gold titles at the 2014 Px3
competition and recent inductee to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of AfricanArt archives, Drew is now releasing his latest collection and large-format book Sail: Majesty at Sea, an intimate look into the world of J-Class and 12-Meter sailboats
and their enduring beauty, power and speed as they navigate the open ocean.

The hardbound 230-page, limited edition coffee table book was born from Drew’s passion for the sport of sailing and desire to affect change in the lives of those most in need. This led to collaboration with sailing legend Gary Jobson, who wrote the foreword for Sail: Majesty at Sea, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, to which all of the artist’s proceeds from book sales will be donated.

To view full galleries of Drew’s work, visit his website,

Drew Doggett

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Celebrate Summer Sailstice with SailTime, June 20th 2015

On Saturday, June 20, 2015, head over to any SailTime base and learn about fractional sailing during their Open House and Fractional Sailing Expo! All registered attendees will be entered for a chance to be in the prize pool for the Summer Sailstice drawing, which includes the one-week BVI charter with Sunsail.For more information and base locations, visit:

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Seafaring History: Shackleton Traverses South Georgia Island

On this day in 1916, Ernest Shackleton arrived on foot at the Stromness whaling station, signifying the end of the ill-fated journey of the Endurance.

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Call for New Marine Products

Have you been tinkering over the winter, developing the next big (or small) thing for the marine industry? The Newport for New Products Awards could be your big break.

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Summer Sailstice 2015

Wherever you are, get yourself on the water Saturday, June 20, to celebrate the Summer Sailstice!

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