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Essential Knots: Reef knot

Use: Tying two ends of rope together, often used for tying up a bundle of loose sail around the boom.

Step 1. Take two ends of a rope. Use one as the working end.

Step 2. Right over left. Then under.

Step 3. Then left over right and under.

Step 4. Pull tight.

Tip: Practice tying a reef knot by using your shoelaces.

A one stop guide to tying and understanding all of the 50 most useful nautical knots!

Boat engine fuel system

If engines are installed and serviced correctly then most marine engines are very reliable, but one of the most important parts of the engine to check and service is the fuel system.

Wooden Hull Repairs

While wooden boat hull maintenance is mostly straightforward, it is always a good idea to take expert advice on any repair job needed doing to a wooden boat, unless you have done the job before and know what you are doing.

How to predict wind direction and strength by reading a weather chart

Weather charts, also known as surface pressure or synoptic charts, contain a lot of information that helps weather...

Sailing to windward – how to take advantage of wind shifts

For most sailors, sailing upwind is the most exhilarating point of sail as you tack your way to your destination. Sailing to windward is a bit like zig-zagging your way up a mountain road through a series of hairpin bends – great fun but also calling for concentration and hard work.

Essential Knots: Clove hitch

Essential Knots: Clove hitch Use: Tying a rope to posts, bollards, rings or a guardrail. Step 1. Make a turn around the object and lay...

How diesel engines work

The basic principle of a diesel engine is less complex than that of a petrol engine. No spark plug or ignition system is needed, making the basic diesel engine a comparatively straightforward system that results in fewer faults and has lower maintenance costs than a petrol engine.

Preparing for sailboat cruising

Preparing for a sailing trip entails a lot of planning. In this blog, we take a look at some of the many safety aspects that a skipper needs to consider before heading off on a cruise.

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches Use: Tying a rope to a pole or a ring. Step 1. Pass the end around the object. Step 2....

Avoiding collisions at sea – how to stay safe on the water

Boats have many blind spots, including the headsails of sailing boats. Always keep a lookout, stay safe and remember that...

Sector lights, directional lights, leading lights – how do they differ?

Sector lights, directional lights and leading lights guide vessels safely through hazardous waters or narrow channels at...

Stern gear maintenance

The stern gear of a boat needs to be checked carefully when the boat is ashore as this is something that can only be done when it is out of the water. The same applies for any maintenance and repairs that may need doing, so it is best to check it all over as soon after an end of season lift out as possible.

How to trim a genoa sail

I recently had two new sails made by Sanders Sails, based in Lymington UK. The first to arrive was the new genoa and it took me a little while to get to know it and learn how to adjust it correctly. Here is an aide memoire for getting to know how to trim a genoa so that it will deliver the best performance.

Essential Boat Buying Tips for First-Time Boat Owners

The first question that comes to mind when thinking about buying a boat is: what type of boat? There are more than 20 different kinds, of different sizes, for different purposes, and different pockets. So, your first step is to decide your boat type.

Steel and Aluminium Hulls

The two metals used for hull construction are steel and aluminium. These are both very strong materials and will last a long time as long as they are cared for, which primarily means protecting steel boats from rust and aluminium boats from electrolytic action.

How to use tides and currents to your advantage

If you are contemplating a cruise through tidal waters and strong currents, then planning your trip carefully in advance is essential to enable you to take advantage of favourable tides rather than constantly fighting against them.

Boat engine cooling systems

Some boat engine breakdowns are unavoidable but those caused by lack of maintenance or regular checks can be avoided. Failure to maintain an engine’s cooling system is a well known example of this, so it is well worth spending time checking over the cooling system both when the boat is ashore and afloat.

How a propeller works

Have a look around any boatyard and you will notice quite a variety of propellers – some have two blades, some have three and others have four or more. While most propellers are completely rigid some have blades that fold.

Essential Knots: Bowline

Essential Knots: Bowline Use: Making a secure eye or loop in the end of a rope. Bowlines have many uses on a boat, for example to make a...

Steel hull maintenance

A steel boat owner’s biggest enemy is corrosion. You don’t have to worry about osmosis or rotting timbers, instead rust is the number one issue that will keep you awake at night.

Rudders and steering systems – Part 2

One thing all rudders have in common is that they have three main parts that need to be checked: the rudder, or a steerable drive leg in the case of many power boats; the system that joins the rudder to the steering; the steering control itself.

Sail trimming for cruisers

Sail trimming tips for cruisers. Whether racing or cruising, a well tuned boat will sail faster and tend to heel less than a boat with badly adjusted sails.

How to operate a winch

Winches are drum shaped mechanical devices used to handle halyards, sheets and control lines. One of the important crew...

Boat Handling – anchoring

Anchoring your yacht or motorboat Anchoring is one of the most important boat handling skills. If you can set an anchor...

Man Overboard Drill

How to respond to crew overboard under sail • Keep the MOB in sight • Tack into the heave-to position, do not adjust the...

VHF DSC radio – how best to communicate at sea

There are many ways to communicate with others at sea. What makes the VHF DSC radio the best form of short range...