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that will keep it safe in gale- to storm-
force winds on the beam.
To be of any use on these types of piers, fenders need to be at least 18 inches in diameter or used with a stout fender board that's at least 8 feet long. On many piers, bollards meant for big ships are too few and far between for sailboats, but a 6-foot length of chain can almost always be shackled to a beam or support. Lines can then be secured to the chain with a round turn to minimize chafe. Two-foot lengths of reinforced water hose with a diameter a bit larger than the dock line can be positioned anywhere along the line where chafe might be a problem. Snatch blocks attached to the toerail, stanchion bases, or the pier can be used to get a fair lead when lines must pass cleanly around sharp edges or other boats. When docking, we set up the bow line so it can be led to the rope gypsy of the windlass, and we lead the stern line to a primary winch. Once the bow or stern line is secured ashore, we use the winch or the windlass to help to position the boat.
Large cleats allow adequate lines to be taken ashore, whether mooring to a trawler dock or stern on to trees. Hawk's 16-inch cleats readily accommodate up to three of our 3/4-inch mooring lines. It would be well worth replacing undersized cleats with oversized ones before venturing into the high latitudes.
Hard Dinghy, RIB, and/or Inflatable?
In the tropics, if a dinghy gets stolen or goes missing, a quick swim will get you home again. In the high latitudes, where water temperatures rarely exceed 40 F, swimming is not an option. Dinghies, critical for deploying and retrieving shore lines, are essential to the safety of the boat and crew. In the tropics, cruisers have increasingly moved toward RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) with engines of 15 or more horsepower. While these may be ideal for exploring glacier fjords or river estuaries, they'll be cumbersome to deploy, difficult to maneuver in thick kelp, and almost impossible to beach on a boulder- and kelp-covered shore.
A dinghy for shore-line duty in the high latitudes needs to be lightweight and easy to handle and a craft that a shorthanded crew can get overboard in a matter of seconds and carry 50 feet up a rocky beach. Rowing or motoring through the thick kelp along the shoreline in most anchorages is virtually impossible; thus, the normal procedure is to row or motor in as close as possible, then ship the oars or tilt the engine up and pole in the last 20 or 30 feet through the thick mats of kelp. In most anchorages, the shore is steep-to with no beach, so the person in the dinghy must get hold of an outcropping or branch, toss a dinghy anchor ashore, then scramble onto the kelp-covered rocks. Lightweight hard dinghies or inflatables weighing less than 70 pounds proved most satisfactory for this task.
An underpowered dinghy can be dangerous. One singlehander, cruising aboard a 26-foot boat in Chile, became hypother-mic when the wind came up and he couldn't row his inflatable upwind in a 30-knot blow to return to his boat. I had a similar experience in a remote anchorage when I took the dinghy without the outboard and then couldn't get back to Hawk. After that, we never left the boat without the outboard, even if we didn't intend to use it.
Our 10-foot Zodiac inflatable with a high-pressure inflatable floor and 4-horsepower outboard has proven to be a good solution for high-latitude cruising. We can deploy the dinghy by hand without using a halyard, and it rows well enough that in small anchorages, we don't need to use the outboard. On some occasions, we felt vulnerable only having one dinghy—if we ever lost it in a willi-waw or damaged it beyond repair on the sharp mussels, we'd have had a serious problem securing Hawk. Several boats carried two dinghies—a larger RIB with a bigger outboard for "expeditions" and a small, easily deployed rowing dinghy for handling shore lines.
Finally, a hard dodger or pilothouse keeps crewmembers out of the hail, wind, and rain, and we've seen a variety of ingenious hard-dodger retrofits on the boats that spent more time than a season in high latitudes.
While anchors, lines, and dinghies aren't traditional "safety" equipment, all of it contributes to your security in the high latitudes and will help to ensure a less stressful, more enjoyable voyage.
Beth A. Leonard, Evans Starzinger, and Hawk are in British Columbia, Canada. This winter, while Evans starts a 50,000-mile refit of Hawk, Beth is making a speaking tour of New England.
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Superior performance in reverse
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Virtually no maintenance
No fouling of lines under sail
2 and 3-blade, saildrive and standard shaft
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