Know-How

Too Hot to Handle

by Nigel Calder, Posted May 11, 2011
Anyone who has played with electrical gear for any length of time is familiar with the distinctive smell of burned windings. Unfortunately, this smell, wafting out of engine rooms from fried alternators, may soon become familiar to a much wider audience. Why might alternators, generally known for their reliability, become more likely to fail in the next few years?The answer lies in
A dinosaur of an engine that is over 70 years old can push a much larger boat than ours, weighing eight times as much, at similar speeds with more-or-less the same fuel consumption!
Why are so many cruising sailors scared of spinnakers? Today’s cruising A-sails are so forgiving and easy to deal with that there’s really no excuse for not having one on board.

Higher and Faster

by Kevin Montague, Posted August 28, 2008
Recently, a sailmaker called to inquire about upgrading the backstay system on his client’s mid-1980s 34-foot masthead-rigged sloop. The client was buying a slightly larger headsail that could cover a broader spectrum of wind ranges and thought that the standard backstay and turnbuckle just weren’t up to the task. The working range of the turnbuckle was 2 to 3 inches of length, and the time

Compass Truism

by Tim Bartlett, Posted September 14, 2009
Karl Westman of Ocean City, New Jersey, asks:"Is it all right to use magnetic headings on my chartplotter to adjust a new compass?"Tim Bartlett replies:In theory, definitely not. But in practice I'd have to give you a very guarded "maybe." The problem, of course, is that your heading is the direction your boat is pointing in. Your

Anchor Swivels: Keep Your Boat Safe by Using them Correctly

by Rudy and Jill Sechez, Posted October 27, 2014
The sound of shouting drew us up on deck, where we watched the crew on a nearby boat madly scurry about trying to get re-anchored. Next morning we dinghied over to ask what had happened.

Dream Electronics

by Sail Staff, Posted September 22, 2008
"We love to sail our older Hunter 34 and want to upgrade the navigation setup at the helm. We’d like to add a wind indicator and combine our existing speed and depth displays in a single unit, using the existing sensors if we can. We cruise on Lake Michigan and rarely leave the Wisconsin coast. Is there an economical solution for us, and can the new instruments talk to our laptop?"-- Peter

Hot Stick

by Tim Bartlett, Posted October 14, 2009
Jim Liggett of Cornish, New Hampshire, asks:"I am installing a lightning- ground system and plan to use a 5/8in rod extending at least 6in above my VHF antenna. Does it matter whether the pointed rod is solid copper or can it be copper-coated steel, as is often used for grounding rods on shore? If the steel rod will work equally well, is there a good way to keep the tip

Grey-Beard Pumps

by Adam Cort, Posted June 5, 2013
Oil changes are vital to keeping your engine running its best but oil transfer pumps can be tough to use. Grey Beard Pumps utilizes medical device technology to create a pump that claims to be trouble-free

Alternative Rigs

by David Schmidt, Posted December 8, 2008
Sailors are a conservative lot. The sea takes no prisoners, and most people don’t care to experiment when the cost of failure is potentially great. That’s why both futuristic and some older traditional sailing rigs struggle for acceptance and often receive little more than patronizing smiles from so-called modern mariners.Ironically, the conventional marconi rig that now dominates sailing
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