Upgrades

What does it take to turn an old boat into an ocean-ready passagemaker? That was the question facing my father, Dennis, when he decided to fulfill a decades-old dream of crossing an ocean aboard his own boat.

Free and clear

by David Schmidt, Posted August 3, 2009
If you sail in Maine, you’ve likely heard the one about the best way to cross a channel (Answer: walk across on the lobster-pot buoys). This isn’t hyperbole; visit many harbors in Maine and you’ll find them choked with pot buoys, some of them in working channels. For sailors, a wrapped prop in a tight channel flanked by rock ledges is a serious predicament: not to mention the potential damage to

Paint Your Bottom

by Mark Corke, Posted April 11, 2011
Sailors early on recognized the importance of keeping the bottom of their craft free of fouling, as they discovered that a hull covered with barnacles and weeds performs poorly. They used sheets of copper to protect the underbellies of their boats, and this practice is still used on some large sailing vessels.Fortunately for modern sailors, we can now use paint with similar properties to
Just like life ashore, the modern cruising life comes with its share of encumbrances, a.k.a. essentials. Navigation and communications devices have antennas that must be placed somewhere...

Tension aloft

by Chip Lawson, Posted August 18, 2009
Whether you’re cruising or racing, an adjustable backstay is a helpful device for changing sail shape and controlling forestay tension for improved upwind and downwind performance. By dialing in the right backstay tension you can increase boatspeed. Regardless of whether you have a masthead or fractional rig, using an adjustable backstay is essential to good sail shape. While
Not all boats are created equal. Some are built to high standards by people who care about what they’re doing. Others are not. This is as true today as it was half a century ago, when boatbuilders took their first tentative steps along the untrodden path of fiberglass construction.Because their builders erred on the side of caution with this new and strange material, those early fiberglass
Dragonfly is a sweet 1983 Bristol 35.5, based in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She still sports most of her original deck gear and the old Merriman genoa lead cars and tracks, while still functional, had seen better days. Owner Tim Sheehy sails shorthanded and wants to get the best performance out of his new suit of North sails, so he decided to upgrade to Lewmar sliding bolt track and

Lash Down Your Deck Gear

by Adam Cort, Posted April 12, 2011
Stainless steel tie-down fittings from Accon Marine ensure that loose gear on deck stays in place, keeping things safe and well organized when underway.The fittings are available in a large size (3.5in by 3.5in) and a small size (2in by 2in). These two sizes can be used for securing a wide range of items, including everything from scuba gear to fenders. Each tie-down is comprised of

Sailboat Centerboard Upgrade

by Mike Raleigh, Posted October 27, 2009
Using a popular airfoil analysis code (XFOIL, by M. Drela & H. Youngren, see http://web.mit.edu/drela/Public/xfoil/) we analyzed the performance of the stock centerboard of a San Juan 23. As this board was a thin flat plate, this performance was rather poor, consistent with the

Light Fantastic

by Nigel Calder, Posted April 25, 2011
Not long ago I was bemoaning the fact that so many boatbuilders are still using highly inefficient incandescent and halogen lights, even though fluorescent lights have long been available and LEDs are now viable for most marine lighting applications. Since then, Neil Harrison, a reader from the UK, has pointed out that the next revolution in lighting may already be on the horizon—Organic
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