Know-How

Bailout Electronics

by Sail Staff, Posted August 26, 2008
As part of a major refit of our BoatWorks Bailout boat, a 1983 Ericson 34, we installed an up-to-the-minute electronics package. It was easier than expected.By Mark CorkeInstalling a new pedestal from Edson gave us space for a number of instruments, with the C80 display taking center stage. The C80 acts as a chartplotter, radar display, and, with optional modules, can be

Let It Flow

by David W. Shaw, Posted April 15, 2011
As I knelt beside the open cockpit locker of my 36-foot Pearson cutter Sonata, I could hear the gentle whir of my freshwater pump. It didn’t sound normal. I reached down and felt the pump housing. The pump was in constant-cycle mode and running hot. It could pump until it burned out and still fail to pressurize the freshwater system I thought I had just finished

Sails and Sailhandling Systems

by Sail Staff, Posted January 11, 2013
Six experts weigh in on the best ways to improve a boat’s sails and sailhandling systems.
I see wire nuts on boats all too often. Many times they are installed by an owner as a temporary measure, “just to make sure it’s working,” or by electricians more used to working on houses than boats. Just to be clear—wire nuts have no place afloat...

Busted!

by David Schmidt, Posted August 27, 2008
Sailors have been tying knots for millennia, and no doubt innovators have been trying just as long to invent both stronger rope and better knots. Yet the basic problem still remains: Every rope is weakened when its fibers are bent. Loading a knot with a large amount of weight creates a sheer force on the fibers; given enough force, the fibers break and the rope fails. Today’s
There are times when we find exactly what we aren’t looking for, and this was one of them.I was tired of technology and wanted to write a sailing story about the good old days, when a Windex was high-tech and real navigators dealt with celestial fixes and high-anxiety uncertainty. What better place to look for such things than at the annual Annapolis Classic Wooden Boat Regatta? Ambling
Most boats today have a single permanently hoisted headsail with a roller-reefing unit on the headstay. This arrangement works well, but becomes problematic when there is more wind than the sail on the furler can handle.
According to Boat US, boats sinking at docks account for a disproportionate number of insurance claims. Frankly, I’m not surprised. Even a modest boat often has six or seven through-hull fittings below the waterline. Should one of these fail, the inrush of water will swiftly sink the boat

Downwind Sails for Cruising

by Chip Lawson, Posted August 28, 2008
I’m a real fan of downwind sails because they add a lot of speed and fun. On my 40-footer I carry a 1.5-ounce symmetric spinnaker in a sock, a 75-ounce asymmetric, also in a sock, that I set on a collar around the headstay, and a 2.2-ounce Code 0 that I have mounted on a Harken furler. I use the symmetric when I have a good crew but leave it ashore when I’m sailing shorthanded. The Code 0 is

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
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