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Shoal Keel Aground

by Don Casey, Posted June 22, 2011
Peter Burke of Fredericksburg, Virginia, asks:"We recently went aground in a creek off the Potomac River in my Hunter 28, which has a shoal keel that draws 3 feet 6 inches. We were unsuccessful in our attempts to break free, but fortunately a marine police boat and a rescue boat came along within minutes to assist. Surprisingly, the rescue boat had to pull hard with its

Fuel Cell Dreams

by Nigel Calder, Posted May 22, 2011
Pete Econ of Columbia, Maryland, asks:"How long before we see fuel cells replacing generators on sailboats? They make a lot of sense in that they are smaller, lighter and quieter than generators. I see one yacht manufacturer is already installing SFC methanol fuel cells, and I know the military is using fuel cells to replace and supplement batteries."Nigel

High-Modulus Upgrade

by Win Fowler, Posted May 22, 2011
Ben Cantor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, asks:   "I’ve been cruising on a 1973 Pearson 36 for the past 10 years, and this year I plan to splurge and buy all new sails and running rigging. I expect I will order high-quality Dacron sails. I’ve read a lot about high-modulus line and would like to try it out, but I wonder if it is worthwhile using it on a cruising boat. I like

One MMSI For All?

by Gordon West, Posted May 22, 2011
Ben Hatheway of Coos Bay, Oregon, asks:"The VHF and SSB radios on my boat share the same Maritime Mobile Service Identity number. I recently purchased a new marine VHF handheld with DSC capability, and I’m wondering if my new handheld, which is sometimes off the boat, should have a different MMSI number."Gordon West replies:This very

Outboard Sheeting Angles

by Win Fowler, Posted April 14, 2011
James Caven of San Diego, California, asks:   "I’ve been reading some older “how-to” sailing books and one describes a technique for taking a jib or genoa sheet out to the end of the main boom when reaching. Is this worth the trouble? Is it a commonly used method today? I assume it is to open up the sheeting angle. Is there an easier way to achieve the same

Window Goop

by Don Casey, Posted April 14, 2011
Tobby Litaker of Charleston, South Carolina, asks:"What’s the best sealant to use when reinstalling windows?"Don Casey replies:If you are talking about plastic windows, do not use polysulfide sealants, because the solvents they contain will cause the plastic to harden and crack. The adhesion of polyurethane sealants is compromised by the
Ed Douglass of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, asks:"My Westerbeke/Universal M-35 diesel engine came equipped with a Mando 51-amp alternator. From its appearance, I would say it is an automotive-type alternator. It puts out a constant 14.6 volts, which not surprisingly causes my wet-cell batteries to boil. It does this even after I have charged the batteries to capacity with my

A Dented Hull

by Don Casey, Posted March 8, 2011
Mark Neinast of Plano, Texas, asks:"I am restoring a 1970 Santana 21 and have noticed that the starboard side of the hull is indented around the trailer bunk. Can I jack up the boat, push out the hull (hoping it springs back into place), then strengthen the inside of the hull with epoxy?"Don Casey replies: You need to know if the hull is

Bowsprit Dreams

by Win Fowler, Posted March 8, 2011
Frank Fosse of Charleston, South Carolina, asks:   "I sail a 1983 Beneteau First 42, which I enjoy very much. I would like to fly an asymmetric spinnaker and/or a Code-O sail from a bowsprit, like on many of the more modern boats I see these days. I see there are some removable bowsprits on the market, but they look a bit light to me. Are they really strong enough for what I

A Reluctant Engine

by Nigel Calder, Posted March 8, 2011
Ted Klastorin of Seattle, Washington, asks:"I have a Universal XP25 diesel engine with approximately 2,200 hours on it. The engine runs well, but is difficult to start after it sits idle for a few days. To get it started, I have to bleed air out of the fuel system for several minutes. Once started, however, it runs smoothly.I have checked and replaced both fuel
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