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.

Upgrade to energy independence

by Sail Staff, Posted March 31, 2003
When we bought Sea Spell, our 38-foot sloop, we realized she needed a major power upgrade. The existing electrical system was adequate for a boat kept in a slip, plugged into shore power and used for occasional weekend trips, but we intended to live aboard and cruise to distant tropical islands.Far from land, there is no grid to plug into. Instead, we now generate power with a

Murray Winches

by Charles J. Doane, Posted February 21, 2011
If putting new winches on your boat is one of the items on this year’s punch list, I urge you to check out these bottom-action Murray winches from New Zealand. I put a pair on my old Golden Hind 31 several years ago and absolutely fell in love with them.They look great on traditional boats, of course, but are also extremely functional. With the handle on the bottom of the winch, you never

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
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