Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips

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In a book that is sure to become a classic, internationally respected boatbuilder, yacht manager, and delivery skipper Bill Seifert shares his hard-won solutions to a host of boat design, construction, and equipment issues and seamanship dilemmas. Unlike other books on the subject, Offshore Sailing doesn’t just tell readers what to do for safe and comfortable passage making; it shows them how to do it with clear, step-by-step instructions and nearly 200 detailed drawings and ...
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Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips

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In a book that is sure to become a classic, internationally respected boatbuilder, yacht manager, and delivery skipper Bill Seifert shares his hard-won solutions to a host of boat design, construction, and equipment issues and seamanship dilemmas. Unlike other books on the subject, Offshore Sailing doesn’t just tell readers what to do for safe and comfortable passage making; it shows them how to do it with clear, step-by-step instructions and nearly 200 detailed drawings and photographs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071374248
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,039,059
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Seifert was a project engineer at Tartan Marine Company, materials manager at Tillotson Pearson Inc., and a project manager at Alden Yachts. In 1991, he started his own yacht management company. He does prerace seaworthiness inspections for the Marion - Bermuda Race.

Dan Spurr was the editor of Practical Sailor newsletter for twelve years. A former senior editor for Cruising World, he is the author of Heart of Glass: Fiberglass Boats and the Men Who Made Them, Spurr's Boatbook: Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat, and Yacht Style, among other books.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note on Origins


Introduction: Countdown to Offshore Sailing

Chapter 1. A Safe DeckCrew Safety
Jacklines and Cockpit Pad Eyes
Safety Harnesses
Cutting Lines Fouled Underwater

Securing the Deck

Lashing Gear on Deck
Cockpit Speakers and Other Holes
Easy to Flood
Leaking Deck Hatches and Portlights
Toilet Bumpers on Hatches
Duct Tape on Deck Fills
Closure of Deck Blower Vents
Closure of Chain Pipes Built into Windlasses
Bedding Deck Hardware
Anchors on Bow Rollers
All-Chain Anchor Rodes
Cleat Guards
Supports for Cockpit Structures

Yacht Defense Strategy

Clean Your Combination Lock
Replace Fasteners in Companionway Stiles
Replace Hatch Hinge Pins
Dinghy ID
Test-Fire Flares


Chapter 2. Rig and Sails

Running Rigging

Boom Preventer
Spinnaker Halyard
Right Side Up
Masthead Sheave Arrangement
Mainsheet Blocks
Roller Furling
Running Backstays
Securing a Halyard Tail
Whipping Lines
Reel Out Spools

Standing Rigging

Magnaflux Test Kit
Bolt or Wire Cutters
Tape on Turnbuckles
Cotter Pins in Clevis Pins


Storm Trysail and Storm Jib
Storing Spare Sails
Marking Sails
Measuring Sails
Sail Repair Materials
Mainsail Reefing

Other Tricks

Masthead Burgee
Spreader Flag Halyards
Rigging aRadar Reflector Hoisted to a Spreader
Dissimilar Metals


Chapter 3. Interior Modifications

Securing the Cabin

Locking the Companionway
Remotely Activated Lock
Berth Top Access Lids
Cabin Sole Floorboards
Holding Down Batteries
Construct Fiddles
Place Fiddles
Avoid the Toilet Seat Toss

Sea Berths

Removable Sea Berth
Root Berth
Lee Cloths
Berth Cushions

Climate Control

Washboard Vents
Carbon Monoxide Detector

What's What and Where

Yacht Inventory Database

Chapter 4. Electronic and Electrical Equipment


Interfacing Electronics
Electronic and Other Devices That Belong on Every Boat
Handheld VHF and Handheld GPS
Emergency Radio Antennas
Intelligible Boat Name
Emergency Use of Ham Nets (Amateur Radio Networks)
Other Useful Radio Services and Frequencies
Electronic Timer and Clock
Serial Numbers
Uninterruptible Power Source


Deep-Cycle versus Starting
Battery Bank Configurations
Charging Profiles


Running Lights
Anchor Light
Laser Pointer

Ghost in the Machine: Solving Weird Electrical Problems

Watertight Junction Box
Battery Charging
Shore Power Problems
Spontaneous Ignition
Engine Wiring

Playing It Safe

Making the Connection


Chapter 5. Engine, Mechanical, and Plumbing SystemsEngine and Fuel
Engine Education
Mechanical Oil Pressure Gauge
Changing Oil the Easy Way
Oil Analysis
Engine Water Flow Alarm
Removable Strainers
Alarm Annunciator
Electric Fuel Pump
Adding Tees to Tanks
Diesel Engine SAD Syndrome
Engine Space Ventilation
Miles per Gallon
Calibrating Tachometers
Runaway Diesel Engine
Fire Extinguishers
Charging Refrigeration
Engine Beds

Prop and Shaft

Propeller Type
Stopping Shaft Rotation
Correct Pitch
Removing the Prop Shaft from the Engine Coupling


Cleaning Hoses
Fouled Freshwater Tanks
Be Alert to Variations in Muriatic Acid Concentration
Softwood Plugs
Bilge Pump Strainers
Aluminum Bilge Pumps
Emergency Bilge Pump
Conserving Freshwater
Insecticide-Sprayer Shower
Copper Alloys

Tools and Maintenance

Large Tools
Maintenance Log


Chapter 6. At Sea

Safety First
Safety Video
Maintaining Night Vision
Drogues and Sea Anchors
Freeing Lines Under Load
Spinnaker Takedown
Evacuation by Helicopter

Design and Loading Considerations

Sailing and Center of Effort
Fore-and-Aft Weight Distribution
Overall Effect of Adding Weight to a Vessel

Personal Comfort

Sea Bag Checklist for Five-to Seven-Day Passage
Sea Bags
Foul-Weather Gear

Standing Watch Orders

Crew Overboard
Flooding Below Decks
Abandoning Ship
Deck Log Entries

Navigation and Weather

Polars on Passages
Altering Course
Making Best Time on Passages
Communication with Southbound II VAX 498, Herb Hilgenberg
Recording the Broadcast
Weather on the Web
Chart Copies
Length of Degree of Longitude
Chart Table Cover
On Closing with Ships

Ground Tackle

Anchor Chain
Shackles for Anchors and Chain
Bow Rollers and Chocks

Chapter 7. Galley Tips

The Beginning of My Cooking Career


Planning and Checklists
Provisioning Quantities

Food Storage

Cardboard Boxes
Plastic Containers
Preserving Fresh Vegetables
Cabbage and the Crunch

Outfitting the Galley

Bagging It
The $8,179.95 Bread-Baking Machine

Cooking in Rough Weather

Protective Apparel
Oven Width and Height Limits
Abdicating the Galley

Serving and Cleanup

Plates, Glasses, and Coffee Mugs
Washing Dishes


Salad Dressings

Appendix 1. Boat Selection


Stability Issues
You Can't Always Get What You Want

The Properly Built Yacht

Fiberglass Hull and Deck Construction
Deck Hardware and Fittings
Electrical Systems

Appendix 2. Cruising Paperwork

Essential Papers and Documentation

Proof of Yacht Ownership
Proof of Insurance
Customs Clearance
Crew List
Yellow Card
Driver's License
Ship Radio Station License and Operator's Licenses
Equipment List
Prescriptions for Medication

Upon Arrival

Dealing with Foreign Officals
Kwikpoint Cards
Mediterranean Market Basket
Flags and Country Identification
Boat Cards

Additional Precautions

Waiver of Liability
Release of Claim Against Vessel
Photographs of the Boat

Appendix 3. Foreign Adaptation

Power and Appliances

Television and VCRs
Cellular Telephones

Water and Plumbing


Paper Goods

Nuts and Bolts



Docking Equipment

Appendix 4. Generic Safety and Spare Parts Inventory

Main Propulsion Engine

Rigging and Deck Hardware


Bedding, Pipe Sealants, and Adhesives




Dinghy and Outboard Motor

Interior Hardware

In Vessel's Canned Goods Locker

Safety Gear List

Abandon-Ship Bag

Yacht Outfitting Safety Equipment

Appendix 5. Layup Afloat and Commissioning Checklists




Mechanical and Plumbing

Appendix 6. Maneuvering Under Power

Going Ahead

Making a Tight Turn


Backing Straight
Backing to Port
Backing to Starboard

Docking from Start to Finish

Spring Lines
Departing a Dock
Departing with Restricted Space Available Forward
Departing a Dock by Backing Out

Appendix 7. Contact Information for Suppliers and Associations

Appendix 8. Radio and Communications Tables

Ham Nets

BBC World News

WLO Radio Frequencies

U.S. Coast Guard High Seas Frequencies

USCG Coastal and High Seas Forecasts

SSB Frequencies

SSB Frequency Propagation

Voice of America, Caribbean

Appendix 9. Metric Equivalents

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    An absolute treasure trove of great offshore ideas. Siefert clea

    An absolute treasure trove of great offshore ideas. Siefert clearly has a ton of offshore miles under his belt and his practical, tested ideas and improvements are fantastic. VERY glad I bought the book. When is the next one coming?

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