The link below goes to Wind Check magazine. You may know I write a monthly column for them. For this winter, they wanted me to write about some simple easy things owners might do over the winter to improve their lot when sailing, as most boats are, Short Handed.
Well I started out to do the 2 x the regular column (which is about 1,000 words) that they asked for, so about 2,000 words. At about 5,000 words I hove to and thought about the subject for a bit. In order to get in all the simple cheap(ish) easy things AND do justice to the two most important aspects of any sailing, this whole idea needed to be bigger. I think that in any sailing but short handed in particular, one must be really comfortable with handling the sails. This includes, for the mainsail, hoisting, lowering, reefing, shaking out the reef, and putting the sail away and cover on. Then there is the issue of roller furling headsails and their part in the big picture, then smaller sails for use when the breeze is over about 15 knots, down wind sails, and well you see where this was going. Each sail and method of handling it might be its own stand alone piece in one edition of the magazine.
I sent Chris Gill, the Editor at WindCheck a note suggesting he/we make this into a 3 or 4 part series so we can really get into the meat of the matter. We volleyed emails back and forth for half an hour and ended up with at least three and maybe four part series on the subject.
So this first part is some of the simple things one can do. The other pieces will come along further into the winter, but early enough that you can still get a good deal on stuff at the boat shop if you find something you like.
I invite you to read it and study it. It is all from long experience, learned, often at 0230 on a cold raining dark and stormy night somewhere in the middle of nowhere blowing the blazes with something or another broke or looking to break.