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Ask SAIL: In-mast or Full-batten Main

by Sail Staff, Posted September 16, 2013
My sailing buddy and I are thinking about moving to a bigger boat. I now have a 31ft Pearson with a full-batten main. It is a reasonably high-performance boat, and I love to sail it. My buddy wants to go to an in-mast furling mainsail. I would like some information on how much performance is lost when switching from a full-batten to in-mast main.
I'm trying to figure out why my paddlewheel knot log is registering incorrectly. The plug is clean, and the wheel turns freely. Yesterday my GPS showed my speed over the ground was 5 to 7 knots, and the speedo registered 0 to 0.8 knot. It does this periodically to irritate me.  
I have a 2006 Najad 440 center-cockpit sloop with a 75hp Volvo saildrive. Last summer I kept the boat at a marina in Harpswell, Maine, and as the season progressed, I noticed it was slower under power. When I hauled her in the fall, the bottom was clean as a whistle (thanks to Sea Hawk AF-33 paint), but the bronze propeller blades and hub were completely covered with barnacles. I would like to put antifouling paint on the propeller. I’ve researched the topic, but have found no definitive answers as to whether it’s a good idea.

Create Power from Tides?

by Nigel Calder, Posted August 12, 2013
The government has, for a decade, studied the possibility of generating electric power from the tides. Because a sailboat on a mooring is subject to tidal flow, why can’t we use this method to help generate power? Sailboats sit on moorings for long periods, sometimes for weeks, and even a trickle charge would be beneficial.
My pre-sail checklist is pretty basic. Bilge sump empty? Phew. Mainsail cover off, halyard on? Yep. Battery switched on? Check. Engine intake seacock open? Check. Engine starts? Yippee. 

Fix a Misleading Sonar

by Gordon West, Posted July 1, 2013
We just returned from cruising the Bahamas and were intrigued to see that our new Si-Tex CBS-128 color sounder/sonar unit regularly showed a thin orange blanket of fish hanging above a sandy bottom about 50 feet down. My kids kept trying, but couldn’t catch a thing! This happened regularly throughout our trip.

DIY Storm Damage Repairs

by Don Casey, Posted July 1, 2013
The after effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt here in the Northeast in that competent fiberglass repairmen are all booked up with jobs through the upcoming boating season. Many boatowners have therefore been forced to contemplate repairing their storm-damaged boats themselves.

Ask SAIL: Frayed Mic Cables

by Sail Staff, Posted June 24, 2013
Dozens of us cruising sailors have experienced problems with the black cable jackets on VHF and SSB radio microphones from ICOM. I, along with many other cruisers, have discovered our cables are mysteriously disintegrating!
 I’m planning on replacing all the running rigging on my 1978 Tartan 37 this spring for the first time since I bought the boat over 10 years ago. 
One thing I need to install is a liferaft, and I may want to put it on the coachroof right behind the mast, but the solid boom vang prevents this.
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