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Tension Tool

by Win Fowler, Posted January 19, 2010
Paul Derby of Cadillac, Michigan, asks:   "My 1976 Pearson 30 has a hydraulic backstay tensioner and I am wondering what the optimum backstay tension should be when cruising. I’m also thinking about replacing the hydraulic system with something else. Any suggestions?" Win Fowler replies: I can’t give you exact advice on your backstay tension

Silent Solenoid

by Nigel Calder, Posted January 19, 2010
Dave Smith of East Aurora, New York, asks:"When I hit the starter button to crank the engine on my 1984 C&C 35, I can hear the solenoid clicking, but it doesn’t normally activate the starter. Once in a while the engine will start on the first try. But usually I have to push the button a number of times before the starter engages. I did remove the starter and had it checked

Frozen Out

by Don Casey, Posted January 19, 2010
Roy Labonte of San Bernardino, California, asks:"The main and jib halyard sheaves on my Islander Freeport 36 are corroded and frozen at the masthead. I freed the pins on the sheaves by knocking them back and forth with a rubber mallet. But I have had no luck freeing the sheaves themselves. Is there any way to get them away from the mast?"Don Casey

Tracking Cool

by Gordon West, Posted January 19, 2010
Ralph Furman of Newport Beach, California, asks:"I use wireless sensors aboard my Hunter 45DS to monitor temperatures for my refrigerator, freezer, engine compartment, engine-cooling system and air conditioning. My system works fine except for two hours a day when the engine compartment and refrigerator readings go blank. But during the other 22 hours everything is fine.

Smoky Surfaces

by Don Casey, Posted December 20, 2009
S.J. Byrus of Auburn, New Hampshire, asks:"My Bristol 32 was built in 1980 and its hatches are molded fiberglass with gelcoat on the outer edges. The center of the hatch is translucent, so light can pass through. After 30 years of it being exposed to the sun, I’m starting to see some fibers in the translucent portion of the hatch, although no fibers have come loose. What

AIS Anxiety

by Tim Bartlett, Posted December 20, 2009
William Solberg of Los Angeles, California, asks:"You have done a great job keeping us up to date on the new AIS technology, but I’m wondering whether it is better to use a masthead antenna with a splitter or a dedicated antenna mounted aft on the rail. Your suggestions regarding the installation of a secondary dedicated AIS antenna seem to put it on the aft rail or on

Mozart Mumbles

by Gordon West, Posted December 15, 2009
Robert Hall of Stuart, Florida, asks:"My stereo system works perfectly, but at a certain time in the afternoon, when the volume is set low, I can hear an annoying tic-tic-tic sound in the speakers when I’m listening to my classical-music station. When I turn the volume up a little the sound goes away. Someone told me it was because I had a cheap audio system so I went out

Scruffy Smells

by Don Casey, Posted November 20, 2009
Cat Fraser of Colchester, Vermont, asks:"How do I get rid of what I call 'boat smell?' I’ve tried baking soda, a dish of vinegar and many commercial products. Somebody told me that coffee grounds are the way to go. A friend of mine made her husband change to stainless steel water tanks, but that’s not an option here." Don Casey replies:To

In the Zincerator

by Nigel Calder, Posted November 20, 2009
Allen Judy of Whortonsville, North Carolina, asks:"My boatyard technician tells me that there is such a thing as being “over-zinc’d” and that there is an optimum amount of zinc anode to install on any a given boat. He says this has something to do with an electrical field imbalance and that it is best is to have just enough imbalance to sacrifice the zinc that is in place.

Luff Considerations

by Win Fowler, Posted November 15, 2009
Bob Boller of Benicia, Califonia, asks:   "I have three headsails for my 1980 Catalina 30 and their LPs are 85, 110 and 150. As it does on many cruising boats, the bow pulpit interferes with the lower portion of the sails, especially the smaller two. What do you think about slightly raising the tacks of the sails up the forestay? What effect will that have on the performance
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