Upgrades

Friend or Faux?

by Adam Cort, Posted January 10, 2011
One of the most eye-catching boats at the Newport boat show last fall, the Scandinavian Cruiser 20, is a fast daysailer with a narrow hull and a traditional teak deck. At least it looked like teak. As I was checking out the SC20, something about those decks struck me as being a little off. Then it hit me: they looked too good, too clean to be real. The fact that I had to ask to make sure they
I’ve always liked the versatility that comes with a centerboard. The ability to vary your boat’s draft from deep to shallow greatly increases the options you have when cruising. The other side of the coin is maintenance.A centerboard can be made of anything from foam or plywood sheathed in epoxy to solid bronze or cast iron. The former will need fresh antifouling each year. The latter will

Light Work

by Peter Nielsen, Posted October 28, 2010
One of the best mini-projects I’ve done this year is to replace most of the halogen light bulbs on board with LEDs. I’ve always hated halogens; so much of the energy they consume is wasted as heat that they are models of inefficiency, and that same heat can actually be dangerous if something flammable is pressed up against a light fitting. The fact that I have scorched my bald spot countless
When we acquired our “new” boat I saw at a glance that the plastic-sheathed lifelines were junk. Not only were they too thin–she had been used only for racing, so I guess the wire was underspecified to save a few pounds – but they were all too obviously old and dangerously corroded. I once saw a friend fall overboard because a rusty lifeline gave way, so I knew I would replace them as soon as

Cockpit Control

by Peter Nielsen, Posted July 29, 2010
If you are one of the many thousands of sailors who own a boat built before lines-led-aft became ubiquitous, and you want to be able to sail your boat without leaving the cockpit, leading halyards and reefing lines aft can be a relatively easy upgrade

Cockpit Makeover

by Roger Marshall, Posted May 13, 2010
When my oldest son, David, told me about the J/24 he had just bought I had a pretty good idea what was coming next. “Dad, I’ve bought a J/24. It needs a lot of work, but the price was right.”“What are you going to do with it?” I asked.“Race it, eventually. Here’s what needs to be done,” he said and pulled out a two-page list of repairs and upgrades he wanted to make on the boat.

Keeping the Sea Out

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 28, 2010
Out of sight, out of mind…That adage is so old it creaks, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It was especially true of the cockpit drain hoses and gate valves on our 34ft project boat. Back when we acquired the boat, the surveyor looked at the ancient hoses and corroded gate valves in horror and suggested that we replace them “before long.” Three years later, “before long” still hadn’t

Backstay Tensioner

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 27, 2010
Easy Upgrades: #1 of a seriesEvery fractionally rigged boat will have (or should have) a means of adjusting backstay tension. Its main purpose is to flatten and depower the mainsail in stronger winds, putting off the time at which a reef will be required. Because very few masthead-rigged boats are provided with backstay adjusters, cruising sailors regard them with the

Bilge Pump Renewal

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 27, 2010
Before I laid the boat up, I had to replace a bilge pump that had mysteriously stopped working. This was a secondary pump, serving to keep the water out of a poorly drained part of the hull forward of the mast step. It was a good opportunity for a quick photo tutorial on connecting 12-volt wires together. Yes, this sounds remedial, but I have seen enough botched jobs on boats to know that you

Sailboat Centerboard Upgrade

by Mike Raleigh, Posted October 27, 2009
Using a popular airfoil analysis code (XFOIL, by M. Drela & H. Youngren, see http://web.mit.edu/drela/Public/xfoil/) we analyzed the performance of the stock centerboard of a San Juan 23. As this board was a thin flat plate, this performance was rather poor, consistent with the
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