Know-How

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

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

Signal Fade

by Tim Bartlett, Posted March 19, 2010
Jose Viegas of Lagos, Portugal, asks:"I have a Navman DSC VHF radio, and last summer I began noticing that when I transmit in bad weather, only boats close by can hear me. But I can always clearly receive transmissions from others, near and far. How can I test to see whether the problem is with the antenna, the connection or possibly the radio itself?" Tim
When you inspect your inflatable lifejackets, hope you don’t find any surprises. They say you should never take anything for granted in life, and I reckon that applies to lifejackets too. While exhuming my inflatable lifejackets— one manually actuated, one auto-inflating—from their basement crypt last spring, it struck me that I had never once inspected them or serviced them since they were new—and that, I realized guiltily, was many years ago.

Ten things diesel mechanics think every boatowner should know

by Capt. Bernie Weiss, Posted December 23, 2008
Diesel mechanics is not a difficult subject. In fact, all owners of diesel-powered boats can—and should—learn the fundamentals of operating and maintaining their engines. To run well, a diesel engine requires clean fuel, clean oil, and a lot of air. Routine maintenance will virtually guarantee years of trouble-free service and will keep your busy mechanic at bay.How a diesel engine works,
Inflatable life jackets are effective, reliable and comfortable. However, unlike traditional foam-filled life jackets, they must be properly maintained if they are to function correctly. This goes double for a life jacket with an integral safety harness and/or automatic inflation. Inflatable life jackets include a number of parts that must all work properly if the life jacket is to function at
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