If all good things must come to an end, then it had to happen sooner or later. After 7 years and nearly 400 tips, DIY projects, yarns, and wordy expressions of opinion, we have decided to end our Monday posts and shut down the website. We will still be sharing tips and great information on our facebook page, and pictures of both the practical and eye candy variety on Instagram. So as we and technology move along, please move with us and like and follow us at either or both of those locations. And as always, feel free to swing by and say hi when you share an anchorage with Eurisko. Thanks for all the support. See you out there.

Clothes Pin Navigation

January 23, 2017

Last week when I wrote about the dangers of AIS, I mentioned our clothes pin on the lifeline trick as if it were common knowledge. When a reader asked if I had ever posted that trick my first response was, "Of course I have. Let me get you a link." But after much searching I realized that while I DID write the tip, and it WAS published in Sail Magazine, I have never shared it on the site or in any of my books. So, thanks to Yvonne's inquiry, here it is, written about 6 years before our AIS purchase.

The geometry behind the method

One of the scariest sights aboard Eurisko on a night watch is a light on the horizon. We do not have AIS or RADAR; ships rarely come back to us on VHF; and even if they have running lights, they are often not visible until the ship is far too close for comfort. Therefore, we are left with only our eyes to determine whether the ship will pass forward or aft of us, or we are on a collision course. On a long passage, we are often so tired that our eyes are not always reliable, so we use clothes pins to assist. We put a clothes pin on the life line where the ship's light crosses it, noting our heading and our position in the cockpit. After a minute or so, we make sure we are in the same spot and when our heading is the same as when we marked the ship on the life line, we compare the ship with the clothes pin. If the light is now aft of the pin, the ship will pass behind us; if it is forward, the ship will pass in front of us. If there is not change, we either need to give it more time or we are on a collision course. This method gives us ample time to form a plan of how to steer clear of the ship, depending on our point of sail, weather, and sea conditions. Though when we are sailing we are the stand-on vessel according to the Rules of the Road, we always assume the responsibility of altering course. Clothes pin navigation lets us know what we are dealing with while the ship is still far enough away for us to avoid it.

MONDAY we'll share one of our deck repair projects.


Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?

It's here! My latest book, Years of Ideas from a Simple Sailor is now available on Amazon.

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