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.

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

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

Do believe the hype: today’s radars really do require less power to achieve better resolution

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Ask SAIL: Better Radar, Less Power

Q: My new television is ultra-high definition, and I now see at boat shows that marine radars also offer UHD options, with dramatically fewer transmit power outputs. Have you seen this new gear in operation? D. Pritchard, Tampa, FL GORDON WEST REPLIES Indeed, the newer breed of marine high-definition radars—many with color displays—can reveal targets Read More


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Ask SAIL: What’s with Those Rings?

WHAT’S WITH THOSE RINGS? Q: I’ve been seeing a bunch of boats at boat shows where each jib sheet passes through an aluminum ring, which is then presumably used to pull the jib sheet inboard. What exactly is going on with this kind of arrangement? Is it like a barber-hauler? Taylor Higgins, San Diego, CA Read More

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Ask SAIL: Holding Tank Blockage

HOLDING TANK BLOCKAGE Q: I recently purchased a 34ft cruising boat that has been sitting unused for a couple of years. Everything is great except for one thing: the holding tank is about two-thirds full with, uh, material that has presumably been sitting there unattended the entire time and is now largely solid. What can Read More


Sailboat DIY And Repair Tips

Tools for Your Cruise

Cruisers who sail long distances typically carry a vast array of tools and spare parts, but weekend sailors tend to buy parts as needed and depend on tools normally kept at home, in the trunk of a car, or even hanging on the rack at a hardware store. But what happens when you take your Read More

Ask Sail

Ask SAIL: Time To Buy New Sails?

TIME TO BUY NEW SAILS? Q: I have a very old set of Dacron sails on my Catalina. Friends have told me I should have them replaced because it will make my boat sail better. But quite frankly, I’d prefer not to spend the money on sails that seem plenty sturdy enough for the kind of Read More



DIY: Replacing Track

Here is a sad truth relating to older boats: the more desirable the piece of equipment you want to install, the harder it is to remove its predecessor. Read More