Upgrades

When we acquired our “new” boat I saw at a glance that the plastic-sheathed lifelines were junk. Not only were they too thin–she had been used only for racing, so I guess the wire was underspecified to save a few pounds – but they were all too obviously old and dangerously corroded. I once saw a friend fall overboard because a rusty lifeline gave way, so I knew I would replace them as soon as

Simpler is Better

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 15, 2012
Sometimes you have to pass through complexity on the road to simplicity, as one sailor found while rethinking his sail-handling systems.

Keeping Cool

by Paul Esterle, Posted August 25, 2008
A covered foredeck helps keep the noon sun at bayBy Paul EsterleSpending a Tennessee summer on my 35-footer taught me that surviving the sun and heat calls for proper sunshades and awnings. I quickly learned that if I didn’t put up adequate shades, the noon sun would heat the cabin to such high temperatures that even air conditioning could not cool the space down until

Light Work

by Peter Nielsen, Posted October 28, 2010
One of the best mini-projects I’ve done this year is to replace most of the halogen light bulbs on board with LEDs. I’ve always hated halogens; so much of the energy they consume is wasted as heat that they are models of inefficiency, and that same heat can actually be dangerous if something flammable is pressed up against a light fitting. The fact that I have scorched my bald spot countless

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.

Build a Boarding Step

by Sail Staff, Posted August 27, 2008
As you get older, you usually discover it’s a little harder to climb on and off a boat. At least, that’s what’s happened to me. Attempting to improve my lot, I tried out several commercially available boarding steps. Some had good features, but I wasn’t really happy with any of them. Then one day Vince and Dianne Purcell stopped by aboard Finn MacCool, their classic Bill Tripp–designed
I’ve always liked the versatility that comes with a centerboard. The ability to vary your boat’s draft from deep to shallow greatly increases the options you have when cruising. The other side of the coin is maintenance.A centerboard can be made of anything from foam or plywood sheathed in epoxy to solid bronze or cast iron. The former will need fresh antifouling each year. The latter will

Update Your Reefing

by Duncan Kent, Posted January 30, 2013
Traditionally, all sailboat mainsails were reefed by simply pulling down the reefing lines through cringles in the luff and leech of the mainsail, then securing the reefing pennants—often permanently attached to the mainsail—to the boom to tidy the sail up.

Galley Upgrades

by Sail Staff, Posted August 28, 2008
Thinking hard about the little things increases efficiencyBy Rob LuceyMost production galleys are fine for a weekend cruise, but if you’re thinking about a longer time frame for the galley’s use—extended cruising or living aboard—any shortcomings will quickly become apparent. Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for what you are given. For example, my wife and I

Friend or Faux?

by Adam Cort, Posted January 10, 2011
One of the most eye-catching boats at the Newport boat show last fall, the Scandinavian Cruiser 20, is a fast daysailer with a narrow hull and a traditional teak deck. At least it looked like teak. As I was checking out the SC20, something about those decks struck me as being a little off. Then it hit me: they looked too good, too clean to be real. The fact that I had to ask to make sure they
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