Projects

AIS for Sailors

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 7, 2009
Any sailor who has made extended passages along coastlines or across oceans has had at least a few close callswith big ships whose course and intentions can be difficult to discern until the last minute. The introduction of AIS (Automatic Identification System) has taken a lot of the guesswork (not to mention terror) out of these close-quarters situations. For just a

Get clear steering

by Don Casey, Posted April 15, 2009
I’ve seen it happen many times. A boat turns in to the channel between two piers at a marina but then begins to veer off line. The skipper makes a small steering adjustment, followed by a larger one, and then he realizes that the wheel is no longer connected to the rudder. What comes next is often not pleasant, and it is why you need to check your steering system at least once a

Blister repair

by Rosie Burr, Posted April 15, 2009
We know that every other year our annual haulout will involve a little more than just sanding and painting the bottom of Alianna, our 1983 Corbin 39. While some might call our problem osmosis, we like to say that we just have a few blisters. Simeon and I knew there might be blister problems when we bought the boat five years ago, but we didn’t have time to wait for the hull to dry out so we could

The forgotten details

by Nigel Calder, Posted April 15, 2009
I often hear from people who, after years of preparation, have set out on their first ocean crossing with a high degree of confidence in their boats. Then something really disconcerting happens—say, the propeller shaft disappears out of the back of the boat. It’s quite a confidence shaker. I’ve heard enough of these stories to be able to identify several easily prevented but potentially

Deck makeover

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 12, 2009
As part of the refit of our project boat, Ostara, a 1973 Norlin 34, I decided to scrap its vintage hydraulic system for tensioning the backstay, boomvang, and babystay, along with the control panel in the cockpit. In its new role as a coastal cruiser and occasional racer, the boat had no need for such powerful trimming gear or for hoses full of hydraulic oil leading

Project: Tool rack

by Sail Staff, Posted March 11, 2009
When something on board needs to be fixed, one of my secret weapons for getting the job done correctly is having—and being able to locate—the right tools for the job. Over the years I’ve accumulated hundreds of tools appropriate for any conceivable problem. The problem is how to stow them in an organized way. The tools I use most often need to be within easy reach; the rest

Outboard rebuild

by Sail Staff, Posted February 16, 2009
ChecklistTools
  • Basic tool kit
  • Wrenches and sockets (metric if you’re working on a European or Japanese engine)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Propane blowtorch
  • Rubber mallet
  • Hammer
  • Razor blade
  • Pliers
  • Vise-Grips
  • Vise
  • 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Brush for applying grease and lubricating
  • In hot water

    by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 16, 2009
    ChecklistTools
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Cordless drill
  • Tube cutter
  • Materials
  • Water heater
  • 5/8" heavy-duty water hose
  • NPT fittings
  • Fasteners, as needed
  • After upgrading the mostly original fresh-water plumbing system on our 1973 Norlin 34 project boat with new hoses,

    Let there be water

    by Peter Nielsen, Posted December 22, 2008
    Of all the upgrades you can lavish on an older boat, few will give you more bang for your buck than a complete overhaul of the fresh-water plumbing system. An improvement in water quality should be immediately apparent; any of the new breed of water pumps will be quieter and less power-hungry than their predecessors, and with a little planning, you can make your boat much more user-friendly both

    Quiet Connector

    by Sail Staff, Posted December 9, 2008
    My wife, Gail, and I recently installed a new radar antenna on the keel-stepped mast of our Bristol 38.8. The first part of the installation was easy. We mounted the receiver and then, using a weighted string as a messenger, pulled the cables through a small hole in the mast near the unit all the way down to the bottom, The difficult part—figuring out a way to keep the cables from slapping
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