Boatworks Most Commented

Charge It Up

by Nigel Calder, Posted August 18, 2008
Gray R. Riddick of Chocowinity, North Carolina, asks:

"I know you have discussed using a multimeter to check a battery’s voltage. What does the reading mean? Will it tell me whether or not a battery should be replaced? My two house batteries, for example, read 12.82 and 12.36 volts."

Nigel Calder replies:

A specific voltage reading won’t tell


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Big piece or small?

by Don Casey, Posted July 22, 2008
"Many books on fiberglass repair, including one of yours, have drawings showing how to lay up cloth and mat over a tapered repair area, like a hole. The repair always begins with a small piece of cloth at the bottom, and as the layup continues, the pieces get larger. This makes sense to me, because a layup schedule doesn’t depend on just one interface bonding. Going from smaller to larger would
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Better to be seen

by Gordon West, Posted July 20, 2008
"I have a 28-foot boat with a fractional rig. I’m thinking about mounting a radar reflector on the leading edge of the mast between the forestay and the masthead. Is this a good idea?"

-- Dave Adams, Newington, Connecticut

Gordon West replies: Having a radar reflector is always a good idea; it can increase your boat’s target visibility by up to 6 miles.


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Wilting waypoints

by Gordon West, Posted July 16, 2008
"Starting my engine often wipes out some waypoints in my charting program. My multimeter tells me that the voltage to the charting system drops only .5 volt when the starter is cranking, but that seems to be enough to cause the problem. Everything else still works fine with the lower voltage. Any ideas?"

-- Janet Margelli, Marina del Rey, California

Gordon West


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Mast lines

by Win Fowler, Posted July 16, 2008

"I’m building a 42-foot cutter that I hope to launch this year, and my present sailplan is a fractional rig with running backstays. I plan to use a carbon-fiber mast, but I want to do away with the runners. Can a rigger redesign the standing rigging—particularly the chainplate locations—or will I have to redo the whole sailplan? And if that’s what’s required, where should I go to get a new


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