Systems+Engines

Fifteen years of sailing around the English Channel, North Sea, Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean taught me many things, not the least of which was the importance of good ground tackle and a means to handle it.

Make A Portable Pump

by Paul Esterle, Posted August 20, 2008
The cockpit lockers on my 20-foot trailersailer leak because the lid destroys any seal that is attached to it. I’ve resigned myself to needing a waterproof container for anything I store there, but I still have to deal with the water that has leaked in. My solution was to attach a small electric bilgepump (with a hose) to a handle. I used 1/8" by 1" aluminum bar stock, which is easy to

Easy controls

by Peter Nielsen, Posted July 22, 2009
The twin-lever engine control on our Norlin 34, Ostara, had been annoying me for as long as we’d had the boat. The detent was so worn that it was sometimes not possible to tell if you were in neutral or reverse gear. More than once I had been alerted by yells from the neighboring boats as Ostara sidled crablike around her mooring, pulled by the prop walk of

In Hot Water

by Peter Nielsen, Posted June 25, 2013
Isotemp’s new line of SPA water heaters are a cost-effective way to upgrade to the sensuous pleasures of hot and cold running water.

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

Silence on the hook

by Nigel Calder, Posted August 3, 2009
As part of my hybrid-propulsion research I have been looking carefully at large-capacity Litihum-Ion batteries as a possible energy source on modern cruising sailboats. Lithium-ion batteries are common in cell phones and laptops, but they are rarely used in higher capacity applications. This may rapidly change, because the hybrid automotive and electric vehicle markets are in

Fuel and Water Don't Mix

by Sail Staff, Posted August 27, 2008
This wasn’t the first VHF call I had taken from someone seeking advice for an onboard problem, and the caller was clearly distraught. He had accidentally filled his diesel tank with fresh water. To make matters worse, when he tried to start the engine, fresh water had been sucked through the fuel system. Always interested in a challenge, I went over to his boat. Together we fixed the problem

Fresh air below

by Warwick M. Tompkins, Posted August 4, 2009
Despite all the progress in sailing gear and equipment certain aspects of life at sea never change. Keeping water out, maintaining good boatspeed, preserving and conserving food stores, and carrying adequate spares for the inevitable failures that occur are all perennial priorities. Plus one more thing; having a good supply of fresh air below.Someone once observed that

Spare-Parts Counter

by Sail Staff, Posted August 28, 2008
Carry the spares that keep critical systems runningBy Don CaseyOur multi-year cruise was still mostly in front of us when our Yanmar diesel engine uncharacteristically refused to answer my call for more revolutions. We reached our next port on reduced rpm, and the following morning the engine would start, but not keep running. When an otherwise mechanically sound

Anti-siphon valves

by Dick Everett, Posted August 4, 2009
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