All posts by franksilver

With more than 35 years of maritime experience involving large and small sail and power boats, Captain Frank Silver has what it takes to make your day on the water fulfilling, fun, and safe. Captain Frank is a United States Coast Guard 100 Ton Master, endorsed to take excursions Near Shore (up to 200 nm off shore) by power or sail. In addition he holds endorsements for international travel and assisted towing. Furthermore he is current and certified in CPR and First-Aid. Captain Frank is an American Sailing Association Certified Sailing Instructor with teaching credentials in small boat, basic keel boat, coastal cruising, coastal navigation, bare-boat chartering, advanced coastal cruising, cruising catamaran sailing and docking instruction. Furthermore he is a certified powerboat instructor with credentials in close quarters maneuvering of all propulsion systems from single outboard through twin inboard. In addition he is a certified Instructor Examiner by the ASA to certify sailing instructors through all levels. Captain Frank is a certified SCUBA diver. He maintains a federal government certified TWIC as well. In addition to his maritime credentials the Captain also holds a single engine land IFR Pilots license. Having been a successful racing skipper has added a tremendous amount of experience to Captain Frank’s background. He has won many major regattas over the years including his class in the prestigious and highly competitive Key West Race Week, Charleston Race Week and numerous regional events. Captain Frank has cruised the waters of the East Coast, the Gulf Coast of Florida, the Eastern Shores of Mexico, the Bahamas, and Virgin Islands. Many trips have been taken both with power and sail boats. Captains Frank’s experience allows him to run his cruises with safety and professionalism yet his trips always have a easygoing light atmosphere. Whether it’s adventure, relaxing, or romantic private and discreet quite time, this captain can make your trip special in every way. All in all Captain Frank’s skills are exemplary. He communicates calmly and decisively, his navigation skills are honed, his boat handling is smooth and confident, his teaching skills are calm and methodical. He can get the job done for you. Edit

SAILING NAKED!!!! I have the guts, do you?

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Sailing Naked

Part 1 of 3 (I think)

Sailing Naked

For those of you that have actually met me you might be thinking; “Oh no Captain Frank please, you’re gonna make me go to therapy to get that image out of my mind. How could you”? So, before you dial the out-reach hotline let me assure you that I will remain fully clothed when I sail, most of the time anyhow.

What I’m talking about here is going sailing and leaving the electronics turned off. Actually turn them on but cover them all up except for the depth instrument. Whether you’re day sailing or taking a trip to destinations near or far, sailing naked will dramatically improve your technique, confidence and navigational skill. But it takes practice.

In this series we’ll take a look at our electronics and how we can get over our addiction to them. Let’s start with the anemometer.

Our anemometer:

The anemometer utilizes a weather vane to gather wind direction data and a series of cups or paddles that spin in a circle to relay to us the wind speed. We don’t need that digital windmill on top of the mast. We have everything we need to know where the wind is right next to (not under) our nose. If you turn your face very slowly you will know exactly when the pressure on both your cheeks is the same. If your hearing is good enough you will hear the wind in your ears. At that moment you are staring exactly into the wind. With practice you will learn to stand behind the helm with your face positioned so you know where the wind all the time. Anemometers are notoriously inaccurate and often incorrectly calibrated. Most of the time they are giving you bad info anyhow. Regarding wind speed, get familiar with the Beaufort scale so you can identify the wind speed by looking at the sea-state (the waves).

Close hauled:

If you are sailing close-hauled then depending on your boat and the tack you’re on you should be looking some where between 1 and 2 or 10 and 11 o’clock. Trim your sails in close. If you are heeled more than about 12 degrees, or if you have more than 4 degrees of rudder applied or if you can’t hold the helm with two loose fingers then you have either poor sail trim or to much sail up. Fix it! Less sail area trimmed well is way faster than too much. Keep those tell-tales flying and the main from luffing (unless you’re double reefed and still have to much power (what the hell are you doing out there anyway?)).

Close reach:

The wind is on your face from 1:30-3 or 9-10:30 o’clock. Trim the jib to make the tell-tales fly and trim main until it just starts to luff, then ease it slightly. It’s that simple. Close reaching is what God actually intended man to do. It’s just right.

Beam reach:

We all know what a beam reach is, right? The wind is blowing perpendicular to the centerline of the boat (right across the beam). If you turn your face to the 3 or 9 o’clock and your face is getting that “I’m in the wind” feeling then guess what. You’re on a beam reach. So, trim your sails silly.

Broad reach:

Okay, I’ll admit, it’s harder to tell where the wind is when it’s behind you. However, last time I checked my spine and neck were capable of rotating and while the wind pressure on your face is less apparent (because the apparent wind is less), it is still present. All sailboats with a jib have a built in alarm system forewarning of the dreaded accidental gybe. As we sail deeper off the wind we ease the main further and further out.

Eventually the main steals the wind from the jib (sneaky greedy man, shame on you) and the jib gets weak and finally collapses from lack of oxygen. This indicates that you are getting into the gybe zone. Turn the boat slightly upwind and jib flies proud again. So see, we don’t have to have a TV screen telling us what’s going on, our sails tell us. By the way here’s a great little tip. If you see that collapsed jib turn the wheel away from the boom to prevent the gybe. Wheel toward the boom to gybe, wheel away from the boom if you’re scared.

When we broad reach we are pretending to be a “square rigger”. It’s all about presenting sail area to the wind. Don’t let your jib billow out in front of the head-stay. We want to create a wall perpendicular to the boat centerline with the luff of the jib. If we let the jib billow in front then we have given away the largest area of the sail. The luff area is parallel to the wind (not very fast) rather than capturing the air (fast).


The jib tells you when you’re running. It’s trying to get to the other side of the boat. Let it go! If it loves you and you let it go it will stay with you.

Well there you have it. The anemometer is no longer holding you back from sailing naked.  We’re one step closer to sailing naked!

Till tomorrow when we get together again On the Water…With Captain Frank

Bits and Pieces

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Bits n Pieces 11/07/2014

Cheese Puffs are the perfect boat food. You can’t tell if they’re stale or not; If you aren’t very good with your chart-plotter you can drop them off the back of the boat and follow the trail home.

And finally, wait for it……if the boat starts to sink you can stuff them in your pocket for floatation.

bits and piecesLisa, my beautiful first mate and I are taking an excellent Thanksgiving adventure with a family of my students from Sailing Florida, to the Islands. We will be leaving on Nov 17 for Tortola and sailing for a week to St Martin, St. Kitts and back.

Then we’re off to visit my mom (Yeah for mom) for a few days. I’ll keep you posted by word and Lisa by photo throughout the trip. I will expand more on this wonderful family after we get back.

Great toast overheard at Latitude 18 bar in Red Hook St Thomas: To wives and sweethearts….may they never meet!

I’ve got a great ASA104 starting tomorrow, can’t wait!

Finally. Thanks to Captain Dave and all the crew at Sailing Florida for running such an awesome place. Great boats, great owners, great students, great charters and a great organization!!!I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. Fair winds to you all!

Gotta go for now. Don’t forget, do what ever you have to, but be sure to get On the Water…With Captain Frank