by Don Casey

Contributing editor Don Casey is the author of several books on boat maintenance, including This Old Boat, published by International Marine/McGraw-Hill

Ask Sail: A Warped Fixer-Upper

by Don Casey, Posted February 1, 2012
A recent survey states that a 41-foot Morgon Out Island I am considering buying has hull deflections.  These were discovered when the boat was hauled.  Should I be concerned?

Flying Free

by Don Casey, Posted November 15, 2011
On our Allied Seawind ketch we fly the national ensign from our mizzen topping lift, rather than flying it from a short staff on the rail under the mizzen boom where it would be at odds with the mizzen sheet.

A Head Start

by Don Casey, Posted September 27, 2011
When your boat spends the winter on the hard, relaunching in the spring will go easier, and perhaps happen sooner, if you tackle a few of your pre-launch tasks during the fall and winter months. Some of these are jobs you might otherwise neglect or skip in the rush to launch. And the nice part is you get to mess about doing boat things during the off-season.

Epoxy in Water Tanks

by Don Casey, Posted August 24, 2011
Bob Meier of Mount Vernon, Ohio, asks:"I need to repair an 80-gal fiberglass water tank that is leaking. What food-grade material would you recommend for this purpose? I’d like to use an inert substance that will seal the tank and reinforce the weak area without contaminating my drinking water."Don Casey replies:There are plenty of food-grade

Tools for your Cruise

by Don Casey, Posted August 22, 2011
Cruisers who sail long distances typically carry a vast array of tools and spare parts, but weekend sailors tend to buy parts as needed and depend on tools normally kept at home, in the trunk of a car, or even hanging on the rack at a hardware store. But what happens when you take your boat out of home waters, with house, car, hardware store and chandlery left behind? This is a good question to

A Moveable Feast

by Don Casey, Posted August 17, 2011
Say “link” to a cruising sailor today and anchor chain is probably not what comes to mind. Reliable Internet access has become a Holy Grail for most cruisers. We are so anxious to be connected that Wi-Fi hotspots now trump most other harbor attractions.Virtually all new laptop computers have wireless capability, but their range is limited by their antennas and the power of the internal

Compost Complexities

by Don Casey, Posted July 22, 2011
Wayne Steinhauser of Hartford, South Dakota, asks:"We sail on an impounded Missouri river lake with only one pump-out station within 100 miles. We find returning to the pump-out station is troublesome when we spend a week or more exploring and sailing. We’re thinking of installing a composting toilet. What is your opinion of these?"Don Casey

Shoal Keel Aground

by Don Casey, Posted June 22, 2011
Peter Burke of Fredericksburg, Virginia, asks:"We recently went aground in a creek off the Potomac River in my Hunter 28, which has a shoal keel that draws 3 feet 6 inches. We were unsuccessful in our attempts to break free, but fortunately a marine police boat and a rescue boat came along within minutes to assist. Surprisingly, the rescue boat had to pull hard with its

Window Goop

by Don Casey, Posted April 14, 2011
Tobby Litaker of Charleston, South Carolina, asks:"What’s the best sealant to use when reinstalling windows?"Don Casey replies:If you are talking about plastic windows, do not use polysulfide sealants, because the solvents they contain will cause the plastic to harden and crack. The adhesion of polyurethane sealants is compromised by the

To Varnish or Not?

by Don Casey, Posted April 13, 2011
Dorothy Parker once famously remarked: “I hate writing; I love having written.” I feel the same way about varnishing. Nothing flatters a boat more than the glow of well-varnished wood, but to bask in that glow, someone must suffer through the process of preparing the wood and applying the varnish.Almost all woods other than teak will weather and eventually rot if not
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