Sailing Charter in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and the Gulf of Mexico

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Check out some of our random thoughts while we were out sailing…

Steering a Boat…Easy. Docking…Not So Easy!

Posted by on 2:24 pm in Blog | 0 comments

How good are you at docking your boat? Capt. Bo shared this video with me, and it helped validate what I learned from Skipper J’s “School of Single Engine Docking”. Steering a boat is easy, but getting it in and out of the slip, especially with cross winds and currents, not so easy. Takes a plan and lots of practice. Should you commit an hour and a half to watching this, just ask yourself this question: Do you think that’s too much time to cover something this simple? Then you need to watch. If you’re wondering how something so complicated be cover in that little time? Then you’ll want to watch!! Or…come sailing with Attitude Sailing, and we’ll do it for real! Docking Techniques...

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SOG Flash II Knife Review

Posted by on 9:24 am in Blog | 0 comments

As a charter sailboat captain, I’m on the water daily and need a knife I can depend on.  Light weight, durable, open one-handed, surrated edge, reasonably priced. I’ve been carrying this knife for 3 years now, and am very impressed.  I’m not particularly hard on a knife, but I do give it a workout. Earlier this year, I’m not sure what happened, but the Release Button broke in my pocket. I hoped this was a warranty item, and that SOG would honor it.  You never know what “Lifetime Warranty” really means.  I found a Warranty Form online , sent in my knife as instructed, and in less than a month it was returned repaired, cleaned, and sharpened.  It looked like new!  No hassle!! Things I like about my SOG Flash II -The patented S.A.T. system makes this knife so effortless to use, and so well designed you can easily open and close the knive with one hand. -The clip keeps it safe in my pocket without being obvious. -Light weight, but durable. -Reasonably priced. -Solid company, customer service, and warranty. I highly recommend SOG knives, and I carry mine with me at all times while sailing.  Thanks, SOG!!...

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Our Shakedown Cruise for L’Attitude…and Bo!

Posted by on 10:40 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Capt. Bo is planning to sail L’Attitude around the world.  So the least I could do beforehand is deckhand a trip to try to “break” her and prepare them both for the upcoming adventure.  As it turned out, we picked the perfect time to cross the Gulf of Mexico to put them to the test. L’Attitude is a 1984 Brewer 42 cutter ketch.  She’s had a lot of blue water under her keel, but only a crossing from Clearwater to Pensacola with Bo at the helm. And as Capt. Ron reminds us, “If its goin’ happen, its goin’ happen out there!”  So, it was time to get her “out there”. We prudently checked the forecasts for a trip from Bear Point Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, out the Pensacola Pass, and straight to Charlotte Harbor in southwestern Florida.  The forecasts showed four days of northeast winds around 15 knots, with 3-5 foot seas.  That’s common for the Gulf this time of year, and comfortable in a heavy boat like L’Attitude.  But things can change rapidly! We untied the last dock line at sunrise on Saturday morning, and out onto the GIWW for the short two hour run to the Pensacola Pass and the Gulf.  The wind was light, and perfect for the spinnaker.  The wind began to freshen after lunch, we doused the spinnaker and loaded up all the sails on the cutter ketch.  The forecast called for northeast winds on our beam, but we had a westerly at 10-12 kts pushing us at 6 kts.  Perfect!! Having been on the Gulf in the winter at night on my boat, Attitude, the decision to reef at dusk was an easy one.  The boat was doing great, but this wasn’t a race, so we slowed her down a little by reefing the main and jib.  And sure enough, around 2100, the winds clocked to the northeast and gusting over 20 kts.  By dawn, we were sailing at 5 kts with staysail only, in 10+ foot seas and gusts over 35 kts.  We strapped ourselves in the cockpit and watched L’Attitude take wave after wave.  She loved it!! Bo reefed the mizzen to balance the staysail, which made the auto pilot’s job much easier.  We average over 5 kts the remainder of Sunday and into the night. Taking two hour watches, particularly through the Tampa Bay shipping channel, we lived in the cockpit…helmsman strapped on windward, and the other strapped to leeward, sleeping.  L’Attitude’s weight and full keel actually made for comfortable naps! We projected our arrival time to be late Monday night.  Not wanting to navigate the Boca Grande Pass in the dark, and not feeling it was realistic to speed up enough to make it during daylight Monday, we made the decision to slow down, make the ride more comfortable, and come in after daybreak on Tuesday. The winds and waves began to sit down during the early morning on Tuesday, and made for an easy passage into Charlotte Harbor and to our anchorage in Pelican Pass.  The sky was clear, the weather warm, and the anchor secure.  Both Bo and L’Attitude handled the conditions successfully and they completed their first blue water test together. We finished the 350 nautical mile journey in 78 hours, averaged 4.9 knots, and...

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100 Days of Boat Rides

Posted by on 7:53 pm in Blog | 0 comments

I’m not sure if Skipper J directly challenged Bo and I to get our sailboats out of the marina more often, or if he was just inferring that sailboats seldom leave their slips compared to their power boat neighbors, but Bo and I took the challenge to heart to defend all past, present and future sailors!   Our primary goal was to find time for a boat ride every day.  Living in a marina certainly helps! The secondary goal was to learn to use our own boats better, safer, and with more confidence.  So that meant going out when we’d rather not…weather, work, life…insert excuse.   The rules were simple: 1. Untie the dock lines and leave the marina on a boat. 2. On anything motorized.  3. As many days as possible.   What we started 100 days ago, has me amazed, excited and better prepared for anything that might happen on the water.  And the help from friends and the diversity of boats has been incredible.   My sailboat, Bo’s sailboat, Skipper J’s sport fisher, Michael’s motor yacht and rentals, Attitude Sailing adventures, Sail Perdido excursions, Cold Mil Fleet’s dolphin cruises, dinner cruises, a Hudson’s paddle wheel, Capt. Gary’s tug boat to New Orleans, a sailboat delivery from Key West, a folding dinghy, an inflatable dinghy, red snapper fishing on the Gulf…all were directly involved in reaching my century mark.   As of today, I reached the milestone of 100 consecutive days on the water- from Memorial Day past Labor Day-rain or shine. Skipper J was with me as we sailed out of the marina under wind power alone.  I think he was a little proud of the accomplishment he helped start and finish…even if it was on a “darn old sailboat!”   PS. Bo sailed everyday he was in town this summer.  Quite an accomplishment in itself.  And Kim was with me the entire time…I appreciate her encouragement and support. I’m glad she spent the summer on the boat sailing with me.  That’s probably the biggest achievement of all!  ...

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Dragging A Safety Line Behind Your Sailboat: Good Idea or Waste of Time?

Posted by on 1:19 pm in Blog | 0 comments

-Capt. Randy & Capt. Bo Imagine the nightmare of falling off your sailboat and watching it sail away without you…  Could a line dragging behind the boat save your life? While underway on long cruises, particularly when including overnighters and single-handing, we run a 100’ safety line off the stern of my sailboat.  The theory has always been that if someone fell off the boat while underway, they would have approx. 15 seconds to gather their senses and grab the line, then leisurely pull themselves to safety. But will this work in the real world?  Captain Bo and I decided to put it to a controlled test.  First, we donned appropriate PFDs, checked the wind, and headed for the Gulf of Mexico.  Conditions were ideal for sailing, but admittedly, probably not the conditions that would cause someone to fall overboard.  Wind was averaging 10 kts, seas were 1-2’, and sails were trimmed to hold a speed around 4 kts with autopilot. First, with Capt. Randy at the helm, Capt. Bo descended the swim ladder to see if was possible to hang on while underway.  After that successful test, we took turns sliding away from the boat while holding onto the safety line, then pulling ourselves back in.  Third was to jump off the bow, watch the boat “fly” by, grab the safety line and return safely to the boat. In true “MythBusters” style, we confirmed our hypothesis.  At 4 kts, under sail, it is not only possible to grab the safety line and pull yourself back in, but more importantly, by just hanging on for a minute or two, you actually act as a sea anchor!  By resting on the safety line, the sailboat quickly slowed down to 1.5 kts…very easy to pull yourself back in, even if you weren’t feeling 100%. We now continue to drag a safety line of 100’ of brightly-colored polypropylene line (it floats, old halyards sink!) with a white float attached.   But only for peace-of-mind.  The ultimate result of the test was to remind us to use jack lines, tethers, PFDs, and a lot of prudence and common sense!...

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What Percentage of the Roller Furling Main Sail is Out?

Posted by on 1:28 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Have you ever wondered how much to retract a roller furling main to reduce the sail area by a specific percentage? Say, how far to leave exactly 50% working?  We can all agree this would be very important to know in a storm situation.  And obviously, if it is pulled in half the length of the foot, the remaining sail area would be much less than half of the total.  So, how can we determine how much to retract? Let’s start with Total Sail Area = ½ base x height.  But rather than show you three pages of notes made while remembering my high school math classes, let’s jump right to the simplified formula reduced down to: X = A ( 1 – square root of Z ) “X” equals the distance the main sail needs to be retracted.   “A” equals the length of the foot of my roller furling main.    “Z” equals the percentage of sail you want to remain working, ie. 0.25, 0.50, etc.   Amazingly, we only need to know this one sail measurement “A” to find the reduction of the sail area. As an example, let’s say the foot of the roller furling main is 15’, and we want to know how far to pull in the drum line to leave 50% sail area: A = 15’     Z = 50% X = A ( 1 – square root of Z ) = 15 (1 – 0.71) = 15 (0.29) = 4.35’ You will need to pull the mainsail in 4.35’ to halve the sail area. I think most of us will be surprised how little we need to retract the main to halve the main sail area.  We can all agree, it is certainly good information to know.  I plan to mark my roller furling drum line so I can easily see when I’ve reduced the main by 50%! This formula will also work for conventional mainsails by changing “A” to equal the length of the luff of your main. Please contact me at info@AttitudeSailing.com  if you are interested in seeing how I came to this mathematical...

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2014 Was A Great Year!

Posted by on 1:05 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Thank you to all who helped Attitude Sailing have a great 2014!  This was our first full year as a sailing charter company in Orange Beach, AL, and y’all made it a wonderful success!  Kim & I appreciate your contributions, from our sailing crews to our supportive friends, we couldn’t have done it without you.  Every trip was an adventure that netted us new friends…and all of our old friends were always encouraging!  Y’all know who you are!! So, from Captain Randy and Kim of the sailing vessel, Attitude … Merry Christmas and Happy...

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2013- Thank You!!

Posted by on 4:40 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Orange Beach, Alabama-We at Attitude Sailing are starting our first full season operating as a sailboat charter company at Bear Point Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama. Thank you to all that sailed with us in 2013…we enjoyed meeting all of you!!  And thank you for helping us have a busy spring break in March, and are a fast start to the summer 2014.   Attitude had a very busy Fall and Winter, visiting Key West, the West Coast of Florida, Pensacola, and Biloxi, Mississippi.  We plan to share our experiences in future posts.     We look forward to seeing you and sharing our sailing experiences on s/v Attitude. Please contact us at info@attitudesailing.com or at...

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Welcome to Attitude Sailing

Posted by on 9:08 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Thank you to so many people who have encouraged and helped me get to the point of chartering s/vAttitude.  She’s my dream boat, and I’m excited to share her with sailing enthusiasts and landlubbers alike! Special thanks to Bo for pushing me past the daily hurdles. And especially Kim for reminding me of the “big picture”. Arrggh, let’s go sailing!!

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