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.

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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

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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

shelter is key


Know How: Refit Tips

Military strategist Helmuth von Moltke said, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” This is also true for a boat refit plan I started the refit of my boat, Passion, with a simple plan. Just as my geezerly body has needed a few parts replaced and some other repairs to keep me going strong, so Read More



Know How: Deck hardware

Whether you enjoy cruising or racing, friction is never your friend. Fortunately, the marine industry offers an incredible variety of low-friction hardware to make your time afloat more enjoyable. Blocks—the age-old friend to sailors the world over—are one of the most important pieces of sailing equipment and have greatly benefited from the advent of ball Read More



Know How: Making a Fuel Polishing System-Parts List

Parts List: Click to print a PDF McMaster Carr Stainless Steel 3/8″ MNPT Nipple Quantity: 22 $1.79/each   Brass 3/8″ FNPT to 3/8″ hose barb Quantity: 22 $11.12/packs of 5   Brass 1/2″ MNPT to 3/8″ hose barb Quantity: 4 $3.29/packs of 2   Brass 3/8″ MNPT to 3/8″ hose barb Quantity: 3 $8.73/packs of Read More


Sailboat DIY And Repair Tips

Know How: Chartplotters

When it comes to accurately keeping track of your whereabouts, modern chartplotters and multi-function displays (MFDs) are virtually indispensable. Provided they are properly networked to other onboard instrumentation (including AIS, GPS and radar), typically via a NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 data backbone, chartplotters/MFDs provide a wealth of real-time data that can dramatically simplify your Read More


Sailboat DIY And Repair Tips

Know How: Batteries

Given the ongoing proliferation of electronic equipment and gadgets like watermakers, autopilots and electric winches on modern sailboats, it’s little surprise that batteries have become increasingly important. Typically speaking, marine batteries are 6- or 12-volts and are used as cranking batteries to start an engine, as deep-cycle batteries for house loads or as dual-purpose cells. Read More

Beware the siren call of the bargain boat


How to: Pick a Fixer-upper That’s Worth Fixing Up

It seems that every time I walk into a boatyard I inevitably find myself smitten by some under-loved (read derelict) classic beauty sitting forlornly off in a corner. Hmmm, I think, I could buy her for a song and with a little elbow grease and some TLC, she will be ready to go. Of course, Read More


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Ask SAIL: Smoking Diesel Engine

SMOKING DIESEL Q: I have noticed black smoke from my diesel under high rpm, over 2,000, and suspect unburned fuel to be the cause. I have checked the air intake and fuel filler gauge, made sure of good flow from the exhaust and use a bio-additive in my fuel. The oil level has not dropped. Read More