Systems+Engines

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
  • facebook
  • twitter