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Window Goop

by Don Casey, Posted April 14, 2011
Tobby Litaker of Charleston, South Carolina, asks:"What’s the best sealant to use when reinstalling windows?"Don Casey replies:If you are talking about plastic windows, do not use polysulfide sealants, because the solvents they contain will cause the plastic to harden and crack. The adhesion of polyurethane sealants is compromised by the
Ed Douglass of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, asks:"My Westerbeke/Universal M-35 diesel engine came equipped with a Mando 51-amp alternator. From its appearance, I would say it is an automotive-type alternator. It puts out a constant 14.6 volts, which not surprisingly causes my wet-cell batteries to boil. It does this even after I have charged the batteries to capacity with my

A Dented Hull

by Don Casey, Posted March 8, 2011
Mark Neinast of Plano, Texas, asks:"I am restoring a 1970 Santana 21 and have noticed that the starboard side of the hull is indented around the trailer bunk. Can I jack up the boat, push out the hull (hoping it springs back into place), then strengthen the inside of the hull with epoxy?"Don Casey replies: You need to know if the hull is

Bowsprit Dreams

by Win Fowler, Posted March 8, 2011
Frank Fosse of Charleston, South Carolina, asks:   "I sail a 1983 Beneteau First 42, which I enjoy very much. I would like to fly an asymmetric spinnaker and/or a Code-O sail from a bowsprit, like on many of the more modern boats I see these days. I see there are some removable bowsprits on the market, but they look a bit light to me. Are they really strong enough for what I

A Reluctant Engine

by Nigel Calder, Posted March 8, 2011
Ted Klastorin of Seattle, Washington, asks:"I have a Universal XP25 diesel engine with approximately 2,200 hours on it. The engine runs well, but is difficult to start after it sits idle for a few days. To get it started, I have to bleed air out of the fuel system for several minutes. Once started, however, it runs smoothly.I have checked and replaced both fuel

Fridge Burnout Mystery

by Nigel Calder, Posted January 25, 2011
Lewis K. Redmond of Plainfield, Illinois, asks:"We have an Adler/Barbour cold machine refrigerator, which is air-cooled with a small vertical evaporator. The ground wire and its retaining screw on the PCB board somehow were burned black. The technician’s guess was that something must have been thrown across the terminals to have caused this burnout. What measures would you

VHF Frequency Confusion

by Gordon West, Posted January 25, 2011
Tom Kamlowsky of Salt Lake City, Utah, asks:"While sailing in San Francisco Bay last month, I contacted the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16. On receiving my call, the Coast Guard radio operator asked me to change frequency to channel 22. I changed both my Icom M304 and M34 radios to channel 22 and quickly found that I could not use the M34 because of interference from a

Soggy Screw-Hole Saga

by Don Casey, Posted January 25, 2011
Harold Simpson of Dallas, Texas, asks:"I was replacing the solar fan mounted in the front hatch of my 1987 Hunter 23, and when I removed the hinge screws, I found clear water in the screw holes in the cabintop. I also recently developed a leak in the cabin roof, which appears to be coming through the mounting screws of a block on the port side of the mast. The water is

Mainsail Reefing Protocol

by Win Fowler, Posted January 25, 2011
Elroy Schwartz of New Orleans, Louisiana, asks:   "When I was learning to sail I was taught when reefing a mainsail (with slab reefing, that is) to first tighten up the reef line securing the clew and then take full tension on the halyard to tighten the luff and tack. When I reef this way on my current boat, which I bought used a couple of years ago, the foot of the sail gets

Keel Bolt Anxiety

by Don Casey, Posted January 25, 2011
Doug Nicholson of Seattle, Washington, asks:"My 5-year-old, 37-foot sailboat has mild steel keel bolts, nuts, washers and channel spacers securing a cast iron keel. The bolts, nuts, etc. are all quite rusted. The shallow bilge has not been kept dry, and they’ve been sitting in water for some time. How worried should I be? My surveyor suggested I just “knock off all the
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