SailorBags aren’t only useful on the boat – they’re a great way to transport all your beach gear and keep it dry and sand free, which is especially important when it comes to your snack food (try a CoolerBag to keep your snacks and drinks cold all day). Here are some great ideas for on-the-beach snacks that are both refreshing and flavorful:
Fruit Salad – this is one snack that will never get old and will help you stay hydrated under the hot sun. For a beach mix, try pineapple, kiwi, mango, cantaloupe, and peach. Strawberries are a great addition to any fruit salad and star fruit will make it even more visually appealing. Keep cold until ready to eat, and don’t forget a spoon!
Parmesan Pita Chips and Hummus – for those of us who can’t stay away from the chips but want to mix it up from good ol’ Lays. Simply bake pita chips with some Pamesan on top in the oven at 350 degrees for about a minute (or until the cheese melts) and pack your favorite kind of hummus (roasted red pepper- yum!).
Frozen Yogurt Dots – Take your favorite yogurt (without chunks of fruit) and cut the tip off the corner of a plastic baggie. Then make small (1 cm diameter) dots on a baking sheet and freeze overnight. The next day, collect in a small baggie to bring to the beach – keep cold!
Cucumber/Apple Sandwiches – While we recommend cucumber (so refreshing), apples can be substituted for the ‘bread’ of this sandwich. Simply take two thick slices of cucumber and cover generously with peanut butter. Put raisins, chopped up pieces of celery, or sunflower seeds in the middle (or all three!) and then close your sandwich to eat. For the apple variation you can add blueberries, raisins, or chocolate chips to the mix.
There are tons of different recipes online but try to stay away from those that have too much salt because you’re already likely to be thirsty. Seal all your snacks in baggies to prevent them from getting sandy before you even get a taste, and enjoy the sun!
Do you have a favorite snack you always take to the beach? Tell us here in the comments or on our Facebook page!
Packing has always been a daunting experience for me. Now that I have a family of four being a “pack-rat” is no longer an option. Choosing the essentials and carrying them in a light, comfortable and organized way can help ease travel stress—and in my case, free an extra arm to carry a tired toddler—or two!
Have the day bag ready. Preparing one bag with everything you need (for everyone) for the first day is helpful, especially if your hotel room isn’t ready upon arrival. Use the Medium Tote for easy access to swimsuits, a light change of clothes, sunglasses and sun hats. This travels well as a carry-on in conjunction with the Large Duffel.
The Man Overboard App, created for iPhones and iPads from Intelligent Maintenance, costs $1.99, is simple to use and pretty effective during both emergency situations and when practicing MOB procedures. To use it, open the app before leaving the harbor and leave the GPS running in the background. When someone falls overboard, simply press the large Man Over Board button on the center of your I-phone screen as soon as possible.
The app will use the GPS to record the latitude and longitude of the man over board and will show you the direction to follow to get back to the spot where the MOB was last seen. It also tells you the distance you have to go and the time elapsed since the button was pressed. When you reclaim your lost sailor, simply press the button again and you’re back to the start screen.
Windward is another great app for sailors (or anyone who’s interested, as they claim). Windward tells you the air and water temperature, the current wind speed and direction, and includes some maps and tide data. For only $.99, all the relevant weather information you need could be right at your fingertips. Aye Tides is another app that also provides tide and current information for any location in the world.
Finally, SailMaster is another app that has received good reviews for its performance at sea. Whether you’re sailing or racing, SailMaster can provide you with useful information about your boat speed, the direction you’re headed, the angle of heel, and the tides to help maximize your sailing experience. SailMaster also has plenty of other options like Waypoints/Course, Lift/Header, Count Down Timer, and Course Plotting for your sailing pleasure.
If you start using your iPad or iPhone on the ship make sure to tie it down or have it resting securely in a dock to prevent it from flying through the air or slipping from your pocket into the ocean. A waterproof case might be handy to protect your fancy gizmo from spray coming over the side of your ship.
Do you have a favorite app that you use while sailing? Let us know here, in the comments, or on our facebook page!
Engine oil has a few different, important jobs. It lubricates metal surfaces, removes heat during the combustion cycle, limits contact with oxygen, and collects silicon oxide, acids, and other after-effects of combustion. Those collected particles are what make the oil darker in color when you change it than when you put it in.
Many of us boaters use automotive oil when it comes time to do that messy oil change because it’s cheaper and more convenient. We may not even know that there’s a difference between the two kinds of oil (marine and automotive). But, because marine and automotive engines run differently, it makes sense that they would need different oils.
Marine engines run at higher RPMs than automobiles and there’s a much higher risk of rusting. This means that your oil needs to be thicker and have special rust inhibitors added to prevent damage to your engine. Marine engine oil is formulated with additives that prevent oil from thinning at high RPMs and, generally, include those rust inhibitors, too.
There are many kinds of marine engine oil but it’s pretty easy to know which one to buy for your engine type. If you need help, the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) has created a certification program for most marine engines, so that consumers can buy approved marine engine oils. Simply choose an oil that carries the certification (and is made for your engine type) and you’re set to go.
Oil is incredibly important to your engine’s longevity, so changing it regularly should be a chief concern. ‘Regularly’ is recommended to mean every 100 hours, but annually at a minimum (note: diesel engines should have their oil changed every 50 hours). Also, change oil before a long layup, so it’s a clean engine sitting around during storage rather than one full of dirty, grimy, acidic oil.
Do you use marine or automotive oil in your boat’s engine? If you’ve used both, have you noticed any particular difference? Comment here or on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear what you think!
Anyone who has sailed in fog knows the panic that particular disorientation can bring about. While fog is considered more likely in some areas of the US, fog can occur anywhere along the coastline – whenever the dew point and air temperature are within three degrees (Fahrenheit) of one another. In fog you have to rely on hearing (which can be difficult, as sounds seem to echo from all around you on the water) and good communication between boats. Here are a few tips for safer sailing in fog, to help you escape this nasty weather event unscathed.
Be prepared for fog whether you know its coming or not. Carry with you a few basic items that will increase your awareness (and other boaters’ awareness of you) in fog. Have a ‘fog kit’ that includes: a compass, a VHF radio, a detailed chart of your area, a radar reflector, and some loud, sound-producing device such as an air horn. If you’re in a sailboat, the radar reflector is even more important – sailboats don’t naturally reflect radar very easily and so you can easily be a blind spot on another boat’s map.
Try to confirm your location before you lose sight of land. At reduced speed head for the easiest to navigate port (either your homeport or your destination) or, if you’re not out at sea or in a busy channel, drop anchor.
The compass can be helpful to both chart your location on paper and to determine if there’s been a wind shift. Without the compass, if you experience a wind shift in fog, you won’t know – and your sailboat could be headed a completely different direction than anticipated. By keeping a compass on board you can assure yourself that your boat isn’t headed straight for the other side of the channel.
Using your VHF radio is very important – making broadcasts to let other boats know of your location (or just your existence) can be very helpful. Tune in to channel 16 and let other boaters know your speed and location (as best you’re able to tell). Commercial vessels also use this channel, so you can listen in on their positions and adjust accordingly.
Do any of you have exciting fog stories, or tips to share about sailing in fog? Tell us here in the comments or on our facebook page! Thanks for stopping by!
Small Business Saturday, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year, is coming up soon. The holiday created in 2010 by American Express is meant to promote small businesses as a counterpoint to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sprees that feature big box retail and e-commerce stores. The holiday is meant to encourage consumers to patronize the smaller businesses in their area that frequently can’t garner as much attention as their larger competitors.
Small Business Saturday was incredibly successful during both the 2010 and 2011 shopping seasons. In 2011 there was a 23% increase in American Express transactions at small business merchants with over 103,000,000 Americans shopping that day.
The continued success of this program, which is still in its infancy, depends completely on consumer awareness and support. Consumers need to be aware that small businesses collectively create lots of American jobs. The people who own and operate these small businesses are your friends, family, and neighbors – people in your immediate community that count on your business and loyalty, and people who you know and trust.
Here at SailorBags, we’d like to thank all of you for supporting us, as a small business, all year long. Your enthusiasm and love for our brand has helped us grow and expand our business greatly over the past few years. Your stories, retweets, and facebook comments, likes, and shares show how much you care for us and we try our very best to live up to that trust.
We hope you’ll support all your favorite small businesses this coming Small Business Saturday, November 24th, and help give the small business community a great start to the 2012 holiday shopping season!
Many of us have children, grandchildren, or other small, sticky relatives that we’d like to share the experience of sailing with. Kids that are old enough to sail safely tend to love the experience! Inquisitive minds love learning about the boat, the physics behind sailing, how to rig, etc. Children also love speed, water, wind, and sun so sailing is generally a great hobby to share with them. But we all have our worries about sailing with kids – the biggest being boredom and safety. While each situation is unique (we won’t tell you how to handle your kids!) here are some suggestions for relieving those worries.
Boredom on board usually isn’t a problem, but if one of the kids doesn’t like sailing there are lots of possible fixes. A book is great for kids who don’t get seasick, but coloring books and crayons work for those feel a little queasy. DVDs/movies, cuddly objects for smaller children (i.e. stuffed animals), handheld electronic games, or even giving the kids tasks around the boat can keep their hands and minds busy. Understand that young children tend to sleep when you’re under way so, if you can, have a warm, safe, dry napping place for them. Snacks and juice can often help ease a child’s displeasure as well, so keep those well stocked below!
Safety is generally a bigger issue – at what age can I bring my children safely aboard the boat? We’ve heard all answers for this question and can really only say it’s up to you, your comfort level, and your boat’s features. Here are some safety guidelines to help you be a little more comfortable when you do bring children aboard. Lifejackets are a must no matter where the kid is onboard – it should be sized properly for the child’s weight and tied (or snapped) tightly and completely. Lifelines can be a great safety idea and one sailor I know recommends stringing netting through the lifelines so that no one, especially small people, goes tumbling overboard. Explaining the dangers (water, boom, etc) of sailing to kids old enough to understand before getting on board can also reassure you that you’re doing all you can to make the experience both safe and fun.
Have any more tips? Have any kid-sailors horror or glory stories? Tell us here in the comments or post on our ‘Facebook’ page!
Waves are everywhere – sunlight, cell phones, microwaves, radios – but the most important waves for a sailor to understand are those waves on the ocean. Ocean waves have varying strengths and can lap gently at our feet during low tide on the beach or cause a destructive Tsunami that floods entire cities. Understanding how waves move, and transfer energy, is an important part of knowing the water, and how best to sail on it.
So let’s start with the basics. Waves move through media, substances that allows for the transport of energy from one location to another, and in the case of ocean waves, the medium is water. The way the wave moves is therefore dependent on how two adjacent water molecules interact with one another to transfer energy. Water waves have two kinds of motion – longitudinal (below the surface) and surface. On the surface, the motion is circular, creating those big bumps and curls. Longitudinal waves are a bit more complex.
In a longitudinal wave, each individual particle moves parallel to the motion of the overall wave, but inevitably returns to its original place once the energy/wave has passed through. That’s why a water wave isn’t actually the transfer of water – very little water actually moves from the place where the wave originated to the shore – but the transfer of the wave’s energy.
Let’s talk for a minute about steering in large, steep waves. We’ve all had that unpleasant experience going over a wave where the boat drops out from under us, then slams into the water. That level of shock is bad for the boat, and none too pleasant for the crew – but what can you do about it? Steering over big waves, according to Ed Mapes from SailingMagazine, doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Maintain course as you drive the boat up the wave, then as you approach the crest (before reaching the apex) steer a few degrees leeward. This will stop the boat from plunging and slamming into the water. On your way down the back of the wave, steer back toward course – this can give you a brief increase in speed, if you’re a small boat racer.
What experiences, good or bad, have you had with ocean waves? Do you find your experiences different with ocean waves versus lake waves? Let us know here or on our Facebook page!
Anyone who has fished, or knows a fisherman, knows how that big catch turns into a bigger catch, and then an even bigger catch, at every social gathering you attend. But not all ‘big catch’ stories are too fishy to be true – we thought we’d share our favorite story, and two of our favorite fishing spots, with you today!
Hayden McDowell was sitting on a beach in South Carolina, one of his friend’s dogs playing in the water, when a fin (that McDowell first believed was a shark fin) appeared in the water, heading straight for the dog. McDowell headed straight into the water, hoping to get to the dog first. Yet, as he waded deeper into the water and the fin swam closer, he realized it wasn’t a shark. Seeing the bill, he figured it was a sailfish, and grabbed the fish by the tail. The fish fought immediately, but McDowell was able to slowly back toward the shore until the fish was fully out of the water.
He held what he thought was a small white marlin - what he had actually caught was a 7-foot-long, 38-pound billfish. McDowell had caught the first longbill spearfish ever in South Carolina waters.
There are tons of incredible fishing stories, and a lot take place on the Atlantic coast of Flordia where you can catch more species of fish than just about anywhere else. Redfish, trout, pompano, tripletail, sheepshead (a great species for young fishers), sailfish, and yellowtail snapper abound in this area. Both sailfishing and yellowtailing are very popular here, especially during the winter. Alabama also has some great fishing, due to an artificial reef program. If you’re looking for great snapper or grouper fishing, head to Alabama where they can boast some of the finest of each.
What’s your favorite fishing spot? Do you, or any of your fishing friends, have some ‘big catches’ to boast of? We’d love to hear about your fishing stories and favorite spots here – or on our Facebook page!