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The Sailboat Cruiser ~ Issue #13
October 16, 2014

The Sailboat Cruiser

The Sailboat Cruiser is the free monthly newsletter of and sets out to bring you the news, views and general musings of, well, me - a sailboat cruiser, and owner of the website.

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Newsletter #13 - October 2014

What's in This Issue:

It's not often you get something for nothing that's worth having. But browsing around the internet the other day, I came across a link to a website purporting to do just that. Being of an optimistic nature, I clicked on it - and I'm very pleased I did. It lured me with the words...

Free Cruising Guides

There are 9 of them so far, all for the Caribbean:~
They're all written by Frank Virgintino, and they're very, very good.

Clearly Frank has put a lot of time, resources and energy into producing these great guides for the Caribbean cruising community.

If you're planning to cruise among these wonderful islands - or just want to read and dream - then these cruising guides are essential reading.

Thanks, Frank.

Download them all here - For Free!

I must be getting old...

Just why are mundane, everyday events frequently described as either 'aaaawesome' or 'amaaaaaazing'?

Midway across the Atlantic, while standing her 4 hour night watch, Mary decided she had to wake up her slumbering skipper (me) to share in the experience.

"It's awesome" she said. And so it was.

On this clear but moonless night, the horizon was only discernible as the line at which the stars stopped. We felt very small, suspended under a dome of twinkling eternity on a black restless sea.

Truly awesome, and a very appropriate use of the word.

Words like awesome and amazing should be reserved for extraordinary events and experiences like these - definitely not for describing a marginally above-average bacon sandwich or the like.

Yeah, you're right - I am getting old.

Local Marine Weather Forecasts

It's easy to get distracted when you're working at a computer. There I was - supposedly putting together this newsletter - when I found myself browsing for a local marine weather forecast.

It wasn't long before I found a marine weather site I hadn't seen before - It's not yet worldwide, but if you cruise in one of the following areas you'll find it very useful:~

  • Channel Coasts of England and France
  • French Mediterranean
  • French Atlantic
  • Spanish Mediterranean
  • Greece
  • Turkey

Having selected your area you'll be taken to a subset of smaller areas, one of which will provide a local forecast for your particular area.

For instance, I clicked on Channel Coasts and found that Region UK7 covered my home port (Plymouth) within the inshore area from Dartmouth to Looe.

The forecast given for UK7 was:~

Today from 07:00 BST 10/10/2014 1009mb Steady to 1009mb Wind SW 4 Backing SSW 2 Fair, Max Temp 16C

Tonight from 19:00 BST 10/10/2014 1009mb Steady to 1009mb Wind S 2 Veering SW 1 Cloudy, Min Temp 13C

Tomorrow from 07:00 BST 11/10/2014 1010mb Steady to 1011mb Wind SW 2 to 3, easing to 2 later Brief Showers, Max Temp 16C

Clear, simple, concise and accurate information. Exactly what you need for a daysail along the coast or a longer passage across the English Channel to France.

But I didn't stop my web browsing there. Soon I found a site which dealt with...

Electronic Passage Planning

You can have hours of fun with this - even if you don't plan on going anywhere!

Most passage planning software comes in the form of a programme that you have to pay for and download to your computer. Not so this one; it's embedded on a website - and it's free! What's more, it includes weather routing.

Take a look at here...

How about a trip from Poole to Cherbourg this coming weekend?

Hmm, F8 on the nose. Perhaps not this weekend...

The wind arrows show the average strength and direction for the passage, but the tacks are calculated on the basis of the forecast strengths and direction at the time you'll be on that leg of the passage. Clever stuff.

What is currently missing from this programme is the effect of tidal streams, but I understand the website owner and developer, Yuri Zisman, is working on incorporating it in a future update.

With that additional functionality it will be, er, awesome...

This Month's Fishing Tip

The classic knots and hitches we all rely on to secure and operate our sailboats - the bowline, clove hitch, rolling hitch, reef knot, cleat hitch, round turn and two half-hitches, sheet bend, figure-of-eight stopper knot etc - all work well in rope - but are absolutely useless for nylon fishing line.

Sailing knots have two primary functions - they must be reliable, but easy to undo. But reliability is the only requirement for fishing knots - you don't untie them, you cut them off.

Unlike rope, nylon monofilament fishing line is smooth, slippery stuff. You need to use specialist knots if they're not going to slip under load.

Of all the fishing knots, the uni-knot is you'll find most useful. And here's how to tie it:~

So that's the Uni-Knot, but it's not the only fishing knot you need...

A Free eBook!

What you really need is my new Free eBook - 'All the Fishing Knots You Need!'
  1. Arbor knot - For attaching your line to the spool of your reel;
  2. Uni-knot - For attaching nylon line to straight-eyed hooks, swivels and other hardware;
  3. Braid knot - For attaching braid line to hooks, swivels and other hardware;
  4. Snood knot (or Snell knot) - For joining nylon line to hooks with cranked eyes;
  5. Dropper Loop - For forming a loop in nylon line which stands off at 90 degrees;
  6. Cow hitch - For attaching a hook to a dropper loop;
  7. Albright Knot - For connecting mono lines of different diameters, or connecting a nylon line to a single-strand wire leader;
  8. Haywire Twist - For attaching single-strand wire line to a hook, swivel or lure;
  9. Rapala Knot - The best knot to use for attaching a lure to mono line;
  10. Leader Knot - For connecting a light nylon line to a heavier nylon leader.
And thanks to the clear, fully illustrated instructions you'll be tying them in no time at all.

But 'Free'? Do I really mean free?

Well sort of, in a 'no such thing as a free lunch' sort of way.

Here's the catch...

Tell us the tale of one of your sailboat fishing exploits for publication on and I'll send you the eBook.

Do we have a deal? Yes? Excellent!

Tell us your sailboat fishing story here!

More 'Likes' Please... has a Facebook Page!

Clicking the image here will take you right to it, where you can browse through many more posts and articles.

Please take a look, and feel free to make a post - and don't forget to 'Like' us of course...


Visit's Facebook Page...

And finally...

If you know anyone who might be interested in the contents of this newsletter, feel free to email it to them. It's not secret!

And this newsletter can be a two-way thing. If you've read anything you'd like to comment on, or perhaps there's an event you'd like to see announced in a future newsletter, then please let me know.

See you next month!

Dick McClary

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