Discovering hidden boosts to cruising speed - Welcome to the October 2019 issue of Yachting Monthly, on sale 12 September

We were sailing beautifully, Gipsy Moth IV running sweetly and at speed, the bow wave rolling out across the calm sea. Then the tide turned. The evening remained tranquil, our progress through the water unabated, but on the horizon landmarks that had been slipping astern began to reappear, and Hurst lighthouse, for which we were aiming, grew ever more distant (p60).

The frustration of slamming into a foul tide is matched only by the euphoria of hurtling along with it at speeds quite unimaginable in non-tidal waters. Sailing is like a game of snakes and ladders. The key difference, however, is that we as sailors, are not victims of fate. Not, at least, if we understand our environment and how to take advantage of it.

Over many years of cruising, Ken Endean has often found the tide doing strange things at odds with what the textbooks teach. Ever the analytical engineer, he put his mind to what was actually going on and what he discovered turns what I thought I knew about tides on its head, revealing a world of hidden ‘ladders’ to take advantage of, or ‘snakes’ to slip on (p42).

Similarly, the instruments on our boats are even cleverer than we give them credit for. Their hidden functions contain a world of performance-boosting options and it seems crazy not to make the most of the tools we already own (p48).

While we might want to arrive at our destination quickly, life isn’t all about going fast. Thom D’Arcy’s account this month (p32) of his three-year solo circumnavigation in his Vancouver 28, revels in the joy of stepping out of the flow and slowing down.