Projects

Keep it simple

by Sail Staff, Posted June 17, 2009
The decks on Horizon, our Hans Christian 38, are 20 years old and have seen the full spectrum of weather conditions—cold and rain for weeks on end in Alaska and constant sun and heat in the tropics. No matter where we are, our maintenance strategy is the same: keep it simple and keep it silver. As with anything boat-related, proper maintenance now is always much easier than an extensive

The Price of Power

by Nigel Calder, Posted June 17, 2009
As part of my hybrid propulsion research I have been looking carefully at large-capacity litihum-ion batteries as a possible energy source on modern cruising sailboats. Lithium-ion batteries are common in cell phones and laptops, but they are rarely used in higher capacity applications. This may rapidly change, because the hybrid automotive and electric vehicle markets are in desperate need of

GPS system questions

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 20, 2009
The Government Accountability Office’s report last week on the parlous state of the Global Positioning Satellite system should set alarm bells ringing. When a body like the GAO warns that the GPS system is in crisis, all of us – not just sailors – need to take notice. GPS technology is so omnipresent in modern life that few areas of transportation remain unaffected by it.The GAO report

Two speed propeller

by Nigel Calder, Posted May 18, 2009
Black clouds bearing cold rain showers are racing across the sky. The VHF radio is broadcasting gale warnings. This is not the day to be testing propellers, but nevertheless we are headed out of a marina near Aarhus, in Denmark, on a Bavaria 42 equipped with a Gori three-bladed folding propeller.The three- and four-bladed Goris are unique in the propeller world. They look much like any

Wi-Fi for Sailors

by David W. Shaw, Posted May 8, 2009
The term Wi-Fi gets bandied about plenty these days. After all, you probably use it to obtain high-speed Internet access at work, in airports and hotels, or at home, and you’ve probably used it on your boat, likely with varying degrees of success. Built-in Wi-Fi hardware in laptops, or PC Wi-Fi-card adapters (802.11 cards), such as those from Linksys, work fine if you’re close

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
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