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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

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

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,

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

Clear Channel

by Gordon West, Posted September 20, 2009
Henry Meyer of Chicago, Illinois asks:"I'm thinking about getting a satellite radio receiver so I can download all the marine weather products that are available these days. But I'm curious: Will I have to mount one of those softball-sized antennas above my deck?"Gordon West replies:Before you do anything about mounting the antenna, first

Circuit Breaker

by Don Casey, Posted September 20, 2009
Gene Cramer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, asks:"Where can I get a galvanic isolator of the sort you mentioned in your excellent piece on wiring a boat for shore power? Also, the circuit you described in that piece doesn't seem to provide ground-fault protection either for the battery charger or for other branch loads, such as the water heater, which would be hard-wired to the

Dirty Ground

by Nigel Calder, Posted September 14, 2009
Mark Karwowski of San Francisco, California, asks:"Recently we had trouble starting the diesel engine aboard our Nordic 40. Although all the lights and other electrical equipment aboard worked fine, whenever I touched the starter button, the starter motor hesitated at first then sped up. We checked the batteries and found that they were eight years old, so we decided to
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