Upgrades

Take the Load Off

by Peter Nielsen, Posted September 27, 2011
For several years we sailed our 34ft sloop without feeling the need for a windlass. The weight of the ground tackle—a 22-pound Delta anchor, 70 feet of 5/16in hi-test chain and 200 feet of nylon rode—was seldom an issue in the shallow anchorages we tend to frequent. But I’ve been involved in enough anchoring dramas to know that for more ambitious cruising, an electric windlass

Power from the Sun

by Ralph Naranjo, Posted August 24, 2011
In 1982, I mounted four ARCO Solar M-55 monocrystalline panels to a stainless steel frame above the dodger on my Ericson 41 sloop, Wind Shadow. On sunny days during the hours closest to noon, my amp meter indicated an 8 to 10 amp charge. Before and after the midday feast, the flow tapered to 2 to 6 amps.
As part of the gradual replacement of outdated systems on our Norlin 34 project boat, it was time to look at communications. As any radio manufacturer will tell you, the problem with VHF radios is twofold: they are inherently reliable, thus tend to be a long way down the list of essential upgrades for owners of older boats. As long as you can use Channel 16 in an emergency or call your launch

Light Fantastic

by Nigel Calder, Posted April 25, 2011
Not long ago I was bemoaning the fact that so many boatbuilders are still using highly inefficient incandescent and halogen lights, even though fluorescent lights have long been available and LEDs are now viable for most marine lighting applications. Since then, Neil Harrison, a reader from the UK, has pointed out that the next revolution in lighting may already be on the horizon—Organic

Lash Down Your Deck Gear

by Adam Cort, Posted April 12, 2011
Stainless steel tie-down fittings from Accon Marine ensure that loose gear on deck stays in place, keeping things safe and well organized when underway.The fittings are available in a large size (3.5in by 3.5in) and a small size (2in by 2in). These two sizes can be used for securing a wide range of items, including everything from scuba gear to fenders. Each tie-down is comprised of
Not all boats are created equal. Some are built to high standards by people who care about what they’re doing. Others are not. This is as true today as it was half a century ago, when boatbuilders took their first tentative steps along the untrodden path of fiberglass construction.Because their builders erred on the side of caution with this new and strange material, those early fiberglass

Paint Your Bottom

by Mark Corke, Posted April 11, 2011
Sailors early on recognized the importance of keeping the bottom of their craft free of fouling, as they discovered that a hull covered with barnacles and weeds performs poorly. They used sheets of copper to protect the underbellies of their boats, and this practice is still used on some large sailing vessels.Fortunately for modern sailors, we can now use paint with similar properties to

Murray Winches

by Charles J. Doane, Posted February 21, 2011
If putting new winches on your boat is one of the items on this year’s punch list, I urge you to check out these bottom-action Murray winches from New Zealand. I put a pair on my old Golden Hind 31 several years ago and absolutely fell in love with them.They look great on traditional boats, of course, but are also extremely functional. With the handle on the bottom of the winch, you never

A New Traveler

by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 17, 2011
I love the fact that an old boat can give you as much sailing pleasure as an expensive new one. The only proviso for me is that the sail handling systems be absolutely top-notch. Replacing hardware like mainsheet travelers, genoa lead cars, boom vangs and lead blocks with new, low-friction gear will repay you many times over in ease of handling and improved efficiency.A case in point was a

Blasting Your Hull

by Charles J. Doane, Posted February 17, 2011
Soon after I bought my aluminum cutter Lunacy it became apparent I needed to remove the heavy 20-year accumulation of hard antifouling paint from her hull. After I brought the boat from Florida to Maine all the old paint started flaking off in alarmingly huge chunks, presumably due to the dramatic change in water temperature.My initial plan was to soda-blast the boat down to its
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