Projects

Charging Into the Future

by Nigel Calder, Posted August 22, 2008
For the past 30 years, lead-acid batteries have always been the principal limiting factor in the design of high-capacity DC systems for sailboats. Over the years a number of technologies have been developed that attempt to circumvent this roadblock—NiCad, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion (LiI), fuel cells—but none has had sufficient life expectancy at a price affordable enough to be

Get clear steering

by Don Casey, Posted April 15, 2009
I’ve seen it happen many times. A boat turns in to the channel between two piers at a marina but then begins to veer off line. The skipper makes a small steering adjustment, followed by a larger one, and then he realizes that the wheel is no longer connected to the rudder. What comes next is often not pleasant, and it is why you need to check your steering system at least once a

Mildew removal made easy

by Charles Mason, Posted August 24, 2009
If your sails are made from laminated materials there’s a good chance that you’ve struggled with ways to keep mildew from getting a toehold in the fabric."Many of the sails made today are constructed with laminated materials," says Jeff Andersen, President of the New Hampshire-based Sailmaking Support Systems. "Although a laminated sail will be lighter and potentially faster than a woven

Don't Get Zapped

by Gordon West, Posted April 14, 2011
John A. Moore of Punta Gorda, Florida, asks:"Is it true that putting portable electronics like GPS receivers, EPIRBs and handheld radios in the ship’s oven will protect their circuitry in the event of a direct lightning strike?"Gordon West replies:Your ship’s oven will, in fact, act like a Faraday cage, and if properly grounded, most anything
When my flexible solar panel gave up the ghost early last summer, I was surprised at how much motoring it took to replenish our Norlin 34’s two Group 27 house batteries after they’d been run down by a week of sporadic bilge-pumping (caused by a slow leak around the keelbolts, ahem).
If you own an older boat and are worried about osmosis problems, there are a number of cures and they do not need to be expensive. The first step is to get your boat's bottom clean of old paint. 

USB Electronics Charging Offshore

by Ben Ellison, Posted January 17, 2015
It was easy to gather a slew of devices on board Gizmo that hunger for a USB power supply at least occasionally. Heck, when the Verizon Android Galaxy phone is providing an LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and also streaming Bluetooth audio to the Fusion IP700 stereo as it is now—

Geezer Think Smart

by Chip Lawson, Posted August 25, 2008
Making sailboats easier to handle (“Sailing for Geezers,” September 2007) apparently touched a responsive chord. Here are more improvements I’ve made on my 30-year-old Pearson 40 to make it easier and safer for me to handle. Since I’m approaching 60 years of age, easier also equals fun. The Geezer mainsail reefStaying in the cockpit when the wind is building is a

AIS for Sailors

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 7, 2009
Any sailor who has made extended passages along coastlines or across oceans has had at least a few close callswith big ships whose course and intentions can be difficult to discern until the last minute. The introduction of AIS (Automatic Identification System) has taken a lot of the guesswork (not to mention terror) out of these close-quarters situations. For just a

Old-Boat Nightmares #2

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 23, 2010
I was watching our surveyor friend Norm Leblanc inspecting a 1970s Pearson. He was tapping the topsides with his trusty rubber-tipped hammer, sounding for all the world like a giant woodpecker. Suddenly, the sharp rap-rap-rap of the hammer changed to a hollow thud-thud-thud. “Uh-oh,” said Norm.He had been working along the bow sections, and when we looked closely, we could see a network of
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