Artist’s View: The Solitary Sandpiper

This article was originally published in the June 2022 issue of 48° North. Many species of sandpipers are common during fall, winter and spring as migrants passing through the Salish Sea, but one — the Solitary Sandpiper —…

Coast Guard FAQ Reminds Boaters of Cut-Off Switch Law

After several incidents in the Pacific Northwest and around the United States, the USCG is reminding boaters that wearing your boat's kill cord is the law. Though the federal law went into effect over a year ago (April 1,…

Beacon Background: Alki Point Lighthouse

Explore the history of the iconic lighthouse that has been guiding mariners through Puget Sound for more than 100 years. The following article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of 48° North. Seattle is a city best…

Introduction to Polar Diagrams and Optimum VMC

A polar diagram is a graphic presentation of a sailboat's sailing performance in various wind conditions. But how do you interpret it? The same information is also often presented in the form of a table or spreadsheet, which…

How-To: Stripping Your Boat’s Bottom

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of 48° North. It’s April and in the boatyard, the tide is beginning to shift. Just weeks ago, a whole day may have gone by before we spotted anyone else laboring…

Artist’s View: Hermit Crab

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of 48° North. Hermit crabs are found on most beaches, tide pools, and rocky shorelines of the Salish Sea — they’re pretty much everywhere you visit with your…

A Closer Look at Diesel Fuel

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of 48° North. In my last column (February 2022), we talked about oil’s function and filtration in a marine diesel engine, and noted that it is one of several…

Beacon Background: The Heceta Head Lighthouse

If you see one lighthouse in Oregon, let it be the beacon at Heceta Head. For more than a century, mariners have relied on its light for safe passage along Oregon’s central coast. This is a seascape dotted with rocky islands…

How to Print NOAA Custom Charts

Traditional paper charts are in the process of being replaced with electronic navigational charts (ENC) and a new form of paper chart called NOAA Custom Chart (NCC), based on these ENC. In this new system, the user designs…

The Springtime Shift: Making the Most of the Pre-Season

This article was originally published in the March 2022 issue of 48° North.  Every year, somewhere between a strong southerly wind blowing a hoolie through Puget Sound and daffodils pushing up through the ground outside the…