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Nuts over terminals

by Nigel Calder, Posted November 24, 2008
"I am curious why electrical connections that hold a terminal on a threaded post use a stainless-steel post, a nut, and a washer. If you assume that the post can’t be changed—because it comes with the equipment—wouldn’t it be better to use a bronze or brass nut and a copper washer? I’m asking because stainless steel is less conductive than bronze, brass, or copper. If there is room to do so, why

Silent Night

by Gordon West, Posted November 24, 2008
"My boat is the only one in the fleet that can’t hear Herb Hilgenberg’s Atlantic weather report on SSB. Even though I turn off my circuit breakers before I tune in, I still get noises that affect my reception. I had a technician come aboard, and when he disconnected my batteries from the circuit he could hear Herb’s transmissions loud and clear on his portable SSB. But when he reattached the DC

All Ground Up

by Don Casey, Posted November 21, 2008
"I am repairing an older 19-foot daysailer that has a slow but persistent drip from the bottom of the keel; the drip comes from an area about 6 inches square. The ballast is 400 pounds of iron, encapsulated in the fiberglass shell that is part of the outer hull. When I ground down the laminate, I could see that some of it had delaminated.I ground the surface as smooth as possible and

Snuff or Furl

by Win Fowler, Posted November 20, 2008
I usually sail with one other person, and I’m wondering how to choose between a continuous-line furler and a spinnaker sleeve for my asymmetric spinnaker. Which is easier to deploy, and is one better than the other for singlehanding?   -- Mark Trainor , Norwalk, Connecticut Win Fowler replies : Both a furler and a sleeve are effective ways to set and douse an

Powering Up

by Win Fowler, Posted October 20, 2008
"The mainsheet traveler on my boat is mounted on a bridgedeck at the forward end of the cockpit with the mainsheet itself running through a six-part tackle from the traveler up to the end of the boom. The mainsail is about 350 square feet. I’d like to run the mainsheet back to a winch near the helm. How should I proceed?"   -- Robert Elder , New York, New York Win

Loud and clear

by Gordon West, Posted October 20, 2008
How much VHF signal strength will I lose if I put a coaxial cable disconnect assembly at the base of my mast? I want to eliminate the hassle of having to pull out the cable every time I step or unstep the mast, and this seems like a good solution.-- Dennis Thompson , Annapolis, MarylandGordon West replies : If you can be sure the coax disconnect assembly

Cedar Ceiling

by Don Casey, Posted October 20, 2008
"I’ve taken out the cabin liner on my 1984 Beneteau 35 and have wire-brushed the glass surface underneath and painted it with EZPoxy. I now want to line the side walls with cedar paneling. How would you prep the painted glass surface, and what adhesive do you recommend?"-- Charlie Wetherill , Bayfield, WisconsinDon Casey replies : Many lockers that contain

Curious Zincs

by Nigel Calder, Posted September 22, 2008
"I’ve had my boat, which has a Volvo Penta saildrive engine, for eight years. For the first six years, when I hauled the boat for annual maintenance I found the zinc anode on the saildrive was slightly eroded but was still firmly attached. I changed the zinc annually.However, when I hauled the boat two years ago, I found the anode was loose and the erosion had occurred primarily around the

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

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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