Close to the Water: Becoming a Sailor

From the June 2022 issue of 48° North. At the helm on a beautiful day in the PNW. Recently, a reader reached out for advice on getting the necessary skills and knowledge for a small boat journey. His questions made me…

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…

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…

Two-Day Class Will Give Whidbey and Fidalgo Boaters Washington State Boater Education Card

A pair of Saturdays is all it takes to get started in boating and earn the required Boater Education Card. You'll meet some great folks, too. As a new boater, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start... Well, one…

Collision Avoidance Using AIS

As AIS becomes ubiquitous amongst boats of various sizes, it's important to know how to use it to avoid a collision. David Burch of Starpath Navigation offers a good tutorial here. Most navigation programs (electronic…

What Puget Sound Pilots Want You to Know

Note: This post was originally published on RainshadowNorthwest.com and is republished unaltered here with their permission. It may sound counterintuitive, but when a big ship leaves the high seas and enters the restricted…

Three Sheets Northwest: After Nearly A Decade, A Boat Is Reborn

This article was originally published in the September 2021 issue of 48° North. Some things just can’t be rushed. So it was with the renaming of our boat, the vessel formerly known as Meridian. We knew when we bought our…