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Essential Knots: Sheet bend

Use: Joining two ropes together. A sheet bend is particularly useful for joining two ropes of different thicknesses together and is very secure.

Step 1. Make a bight in the end of one rope (the thicker one if the two are different thicknesses).

Step 2. Pass the other rope through the bight…

Step 3 .…then around and under, leaving both ends on the same side.

Step 4. Pass the end of the second (thinner) rope under its own standing part. Pull tight.

Tip: Make sure that the two free ends end up on the same side of the knot. If they are on opposite sides then the knot is more likely to come undone.

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

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.

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 1

Boats that are kept afloat can very quickly become a home for small marine organisms such as barnacles, weed and slime. Applying an antifouling paint to your hull is necessary to protect it from these micro-organisms, as a fouled hull can cause problems and will slow down a boat’s maximum speed considerably if left unchecked.

A simple guide to understanding tides when passage planning

Understanding tides when passage planning When planning a trip in tidal waters, check the tides before going afloat. Use...

Marine diesel exhaust checks

You should inspect the exhaust system for corrosion damage regularly, especially around the injection bend. If you have noticed the engine exhaust smoking a lot during the sailing season this can also indicate a number of potential problems.

Navigation safety: a quick-reference mobile app to learn the ColRegs NavLights and Shapes

 Safety at SeaSafety at sea will always remains a topical and important subject that will no doubt dominate the syllabuses of nautical...

Safe Skipper – crew management tips

Effective crew briefings are a vital part of the good on-board communication that helps everything to run smoothly on a sailing vessel at sea, whether it is cruising or racing.

Points of Sailing

The course on which a boat is sailing can be described by its angle to the wind, not to be confused with its compass...

Common medical emergencies at sea

A medical emergency aboard a boat at sea requires immediate attention to ensure the safety of the casualty and the crew in general. The skipper needs to know which crew members, if any, have had medical training or have a first aid qualification. All boats should carry first aid handbooks to help an untrained crew cope with a medical emergency.

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...

Sailboat rig checks – Part 2

In part two of Sail boat rig checks we run through some useful rig maintenance tips and then finish with a brief look at what a professional rig check involves.

Cleaning & polishing gelcoat topsides

The gelcoat topsides of a GRP boat can be pampered and restored to their former glory relatively easily when it is ashore. Gelcoat is only a very thin outer layer of the hull, often less than 1mm thick, so you should avoid cleaning it with highly abrasive cleaners, or an-ything that could potentially damage its surface.

Understanding your boat’s compass

Article submitted by Mike Rossiter, Certificated Compass Adjuster. Since the magnetic compass was first used by the Chinese...

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

Yachting Safety Briefing   Down below Lifejackets and harnesses - fitting, when to wear, clipping on Gas - risks,...

Safety at sea principles

Safety at sea is not as simple as just spending money adding shiny new emergency equipment such as liferafts, danbuoys, distress flares, EPIRBs and so on.

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...

Boat Engine Safety Checks

  Boat Engine Safety Checks Every skipper needs to make regular essential boat engine safety checks. Below you will...

Boat maintenance below decks

While most interior maintenance work can be done when a boat is afloat, some jobs such as servicing the seacocks have to be done ashore. It makes sense to do any major interior repairs and improvements with the boat hauled out in the boatyard.

Repairing a leaking hull-to-deck joint

If you suspect a hull-to-deck joint has failed, then being absolutely sure where the actual leak is occurring is of prime...

Galvanic and electrolytic corrosion

Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical reaction between two or more different metals, in the presence of an electrolyte (note salt water is a good electrolyte).

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.

Medical Emergency at Sea

How to deal with a medical emergency afloat   If you are planning a boating trip, it is important to have at least one...

Boat Handling – anchoring

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

Safety Equipment Checklist for Boats

Safety Equipment Checklist for Boats   Liferaft line attached The liferaft will not work unless the trigger line is...

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 boat engine checklist

Boat engine checklist Engine oil level check Even if you have checked it previously, confirming the engine oil level is up...