Sailboat DIY And Repair Tips

There’s a never-ending list of projects to be done on any sailboat, and SAIL’s experts can show you the best way to go about completing them: whether it’s applying new antifouling, re-rigging your boat, servicing a winch, upgrading your electronics or overhauling your auxiliary engine and plumbing.

Ask Sail

Ask Sail

Ask Sail: Stove Troubles

STOVE TROUBLES Q: I have a Broadwater two-burner propane stove with an oven and broiler. It’s from 2003 but still looks new. When I acquired the boat in 2015 all four burners worked. But after I had the boat transported to Wisconsin and then back to Florida, it went from four working burners to one Read More

Drilling stainless


Know How: Drilling Stainless Steel

For many years I hated drilling stainless steel. It’s hard, it requires expensive cobalt or carbide bits and it takes a long time to drill. In other words, I had many good reasons for feeling this way. However, as it turns out, all of them were based on incorrect information. First and foremost was the Read More


Ask Sail

Ask SAIL: A Crack in the Keel

Q: I am the owner of a 1985 Cal 22 sailboat that is moored during the season in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The boat is in very good condition; however, when I pulled it out of the water at the end of the season in early October this year I noticed a slight crack in the Read More

The new genoa lead in action—a successful upgrade (left); The low-friction ring sheet lead in action (middle); Two new genoa cars had to be purchased (right)


Sail Trim: Rigging Adjustable Sheet Leads

I’ve always been less than enthusiastic about changing my genoa sheet leads on different points of sail. I know I should move the lead forward to improve its shape when I’m reefing or sailing off the wind. However, when I’m sailing singlehanded it is a bind to release the genoa sheet, go forward, kneel on Read More

Engine-driven refrigeration


How to Keep Your Engine-driven Reefer at Peak Performance

Over the last 25 years, there has been a dramatic shift in the types of refrigeration systems carried aboard cruising boats. Today, 12-volt systems prevail, but the systems most often installed up to the late ‘90s were driven by the main engine. Engine-driven refrigerators function just like the air-conditioner in your car, with a belt-driven Read More

fuel filtering system


How to Put Together a Homegrown Fuel Filtering System

Keeping your diesel fuel clean should be one of your highest priorities, and you can avoid a lot of trouble by adding extra filtration. During the 2015-16 winter aboard Eclipse, our Tayana Vancouver 42, we pulled out our old Perkins 4-108 for a rebuild. With the engine out of the way, I also took the opportunity Read More

Downwind sailing is hard on mainsails


Know how: Sail Care

Look after your sails, and they’ll look after you Dacron sailcloth has two natural enemies—sunlight and chafe, both of which are found in abundance on the typical sailboat. There is not much you can do to stave off damage from ultraviolet light except to keep the mainsail covered between excursions and make sure the sacrificial Read More

Ask Sail

Ask SAIL: Ready About!

Q: Is it common that transmitting on marine single sideband will cause an automatic pilot to abruptly change course?  This could be dangerous for those on deck when the boom suddenly swings.  Vincent Andrews, Aberdeen, MD GORDON WEST REPLIES All too common! Your long-range single sideband radio emits radio frequency interference that couples to the Read More

prop walk

Ask Sail

Ask SAIL: Walking the Prop Walk

Q: I have an old 35ft, full-keel CCA-era sloop, and I love everything about it save one thing: the serious prop walk whenever I try to back up or even bring the boat to a stop. Over the years I’ve developed various strategies to compensate. But I was wondering if there’s anything that can be Read More