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GroupThink

by Don Casey, Posted October 21, 2010
John Green of Kemah, Texas, asks:"Many sailboats in my marina have “grouper” or “guppy” anodes that dangle in the water on a wire clamped to a shroud or backstay. I’ve asked a number of owners why they are doing this, and their answers range from grounding the standing rigging, to preventing galvanic corrosion of the rigging, to helping lightning find a route to the water

Fine Tuner

by Gordon West, Posted September 21, 2010
Ben Hathaway of Coos Bay, Oregon, asks:"My boat’s VHF and SSB both have the same Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number. I’ve recently purchased a new marine VHF handheld with DSC capability. Should this new handheld have the same, or a different MMSI number?" Gordon West replies:This is a great question, and it’s one that is

Green Machine

by Nigel Calder, Posted September 21, 2010
David Kampenga of Houston, Texas, asks:"I’m thinking about converting my Hunter to an electric motor propulsion system, which would involve installing a 6kW 48VDC motor. I would like to keep the fixed two-blade prop that’s on the boat. I would also like to retain the existing gear reduction, which is 2.14:1. I don’t quite understand the reduction gearing and am curious how

Chain Gang

by Don Casey, Posted September 21, 2010
Mark Gagyi of Vermilion, Ohio, asks:"Last year I converted from a manual to an electric windlass and replaced the rode. Now I wish I had more chain. Is it is safe to weld some more chain on to what I now have?"Don Casey replies:The answer is no and the reason is that the welds in every link of an anchor chain must be stronger than the rod

New Moves

by Win Fowler, Posted September 21, 2010
Joanne Rideout of Astoria, Oregon, asks:   "I’m a new crewmember racing on an Olson 30 and one of the jobs I’ve been assigned is going on the foredeck to skirt the genoa when we tack. I’ve nearly fallen overboard a couple of times trying to get the sail inside the lifeline after it gets caught outside. What’s the best way to skirt a genoa when it gets stuck? Also, how do I

Solar Switches

by Nigel Calder, Posted August 21, 2010
Jack Fyfe of Westerly, Rhode Island, asks:"I‘ve really enjoyed reading about Nigel Calder’s solar projects, because I am getting two 24-volt Sanyo 205 watt panels and two Morningstar MPPT controllers. I’m using AWG 2/10 wire for the 25–foot run from the dodger where the panels are located to the battery switch. I wonder whether connecting the charge controllers to the

Home Plate

by Don Casey, Posted August 21, 2010
John Manzano of Charlottesville, Virginia, asks:"I am planning to install a copper grounding plate on the hull of my Pearson 365 for lightning protection, but I’m not sure how to connect the mast and shrouds to that plate. The boat has no keelbolts. Do I drill a hole through the hull, and if so how big should the hole be? What should I use to seal the hole?"

Antenna Heaven

by Gordon West, Posted August 21, 2010
David Stiller of Miami, Florida, asks:"I’m getting a new Standard Horizon GX2100 marine VHF with integrated AIS receivers, and I’m curious whether it will work with my Shakespeare masthead antenna?"Gordon West replies:AIS frequencies are 4.6 MHz higher than normal VHF ship-to-ship channels. However, I’ve done some tests, and Don Henry at

Spinnaker Savvy

by Win Fowler, Posted August 21, 2010
David von Fruke of Ssen, Minnesota, asks:   "Last year I purchased a 202 ft2 asymmetrical spinnaker for my Hunter 170 along with a sock for dousing the sail. My goal is to set the spinnaker singlehanded, and while I can manage it, I do have trouble raising and lowering the sail. I have been thinking about putting the spinnaker on a roller furler. What do you

Wobbly Cells

by Gordon West, Posted July 21, 2010
Chet Sturgis of Chicago, Illinois, asks:"Recently, I installed a cell phone amplifier—I don’t recall the manufacturer’s name—to increase my range when I’m sailing off the coast. Although range has improved, when I’m back in my slip I can’t get good reception from someone who is calling me from just several hundred yards away until I turn off the amplifier. What am I doing
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