Boatworks Most Commented

Sailboat Centerboard Upgrade

by Mike Raleigh, Posted October 27, 2009
Using a popular airfoil analysis code (XFOIL, by M. Drela & H. Youngren, see http://web.mit.edu/drela/Public/xfoil/) we analyzed the performance of the stock centerboard of a San Juan 23. As this board was a thin flat plate, this performance was rather poor, consistent with the
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Sparkling Spars

by Nigel Calder, Posted October 20, 2009
Janet Hartman of Beaufort, North Carolina, asks:

"Recently I contacted the National Ocean Survey (NOS) to ask whether the authorized clearances for overhead cables shown on their charts include the extra distance needed to avoid arcing. I received an email from nautical.charting@noaa.gov stating 'The ‘authorized clearance’ for an overhead power cable does not include the


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Hot Stick

by Tim Bartlett, Posted October 14, 2009
Jim Liggett of Cornish, New Hampshire, asks:

"I am installing a lightning- ground system and plan to use a 5/8in rod extending at least 6in above my VHF antenna. Does it matter whether the pointed rod is solid copper or can it be copper-coated steel, as is often used for grounding rods on shore? If the steel rod will work equally well, is there a good way to keep the tip


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Clear Eyes

by Gordon West, Posted October 14, 2009
Robert Miller of Port Isabelle, Texas, asks:

"If I don’t bother to clean my radome when it gets covered with dried salt spray, dirt and dust, will that have any effect on the efficiency of my marine radar antenna?"

Gordon West replies:

It could be significant, which is why you should always keep your radome as clean as possible. Soot, dust,


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Ready on Deck

by Don Casey, Posted October 14, 2009
Steve Karas of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, asks:

"My 1985 Catalina 27 is in good shape except for some tiny spider cracks in the foredeck gelcoat. The previous owner tried to repair the cracks by drizzling loose gelcoat into them, but the repaired deck looks worse than it did before.I had to sand it all down—losing the non-slip prism deck pattern in the process—and then I


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