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

Rusty Water

by Don Casey, Posted December 13, 2010
Rick Conner of Panama City, Florida, asks:"I made the mistake of filling my water tanks without first filtering the water. Normally I put a filter on the end of the hose, but this time I didn’t. Because the town water pipes are fairly old, I’m thinking perhaps some rust might have gotten into my tanks. Is there a way to get rid of the orange-colored water now coming out of

Tracking Trickles

by Don Casey, Posted November 23, 2010
Finding a big leak is relatively easy, but a small one can be a major challenge because a boat’s interior is a bit like a room in a funhouse, where water flow often seems to defy gravity. A trickle in the cabin, for example, may be coming from a leak in the deck half a boat length away. Conventional search techniques include 1) flooding the deck by sections with a hose, and 2) building a dike of

GroupThink

by Don Casey, Posted October 21, 2010
John Green of Kemah, Texas, asks:"Many sailboats in my marina have “grouper” or “guppy” anodes that dangle in the water on a wire clamped to a shroud or backstay. I’ve asked a number of owners why they are doing this, and their answers range from grounding the standing rigging, to preventing galvanic corrosion of the rigging, to helping lightning find a route to the water

Chain Gang

by Don Casey, Posted September 21, 2010
Mark Gagyi of Vermilion, Ohio, asks:"Last year I converted from a manual to an electric windlass and replaced the rode. Now I wish I had more chain. Is it is safe to weld some more chain on to what I now have?"Don Casey replies:The answer is no and the reason is that the welds in every link of an anchor chain must be stronger than the rod

Home Plate

by Don Casey, Posted August 21, 2010
John Manzano of Charlottesville, Virginia, asks:"I am planning to install a copper grounding plate on the hull of my Pearson 365 for lightning protection, but I’m not sure how to connect the mast and shrouds to that plate. The boat has no keelbolts. Do I drill a hole through the hull, and if so how big should the hole be? What should I use to seal the hole?"

All Stuffed Up

by Don Casey, Posted July 21, 2010
Pete Ward of Wilmington, North Carolina, asks:"The packing in my stuffing box has become so tightly compressed on the shaft that when I put the transmission in gear, the whole thing turns in the rubber hose that’s connected to the pipe going through the hull. I’ve tried to get all the old packing out with a hook, but it’s still there. I don’t want to use a hammer. Can I

Ask Sail: Twist and Shout

by Don Casey, Posted June 19, 2010
Don Glynn of Westlake Village, California, asks:"My ground tackle consists of 30ft of 5/16in galvanized chain, 270ft of 5/8 in three-strand nylon and a 22-pound Danforth anchor. Recently I discovered a 20ft hockle in the middle of the 10-year-old nylon rode and assumed that the kinks occurred after being coiled many times, and the boat circling around the anchor. I am

Smooth Talk

by Don Casey, Posted May 12, 2010
Although the technique of using sand as an abrasive goes back to the stone age, the first recorded example comes from the 13th century, when Chinese craftsmen bonded sand, crushed shells and sharp seeds onto parchment with natural gum. In the western world, abrasive paper was being used in France by the 18th century and “glasspaper,” which consisted of glass particles glued to paper, was

Water Babies

by Don Casey, Posted April 19, 2010
Olene Boyko of Urbanna, Virginia, asks:"On removing the inspection plates on the welded steel water tanks aboard my 48–foot boat, I could see they were painted on the inside with a blue high-gloss rubber-like paint. I also saw quite a bit of corrosion around the edges of the opening for the inspection plates and a considerable amount of scum and algae growth. Bleach has

Dry and Nice

by Don Casey, Posted March 19, 2010
Rocky Hill of Canyon Lake, Texas, asks:"What’s the best way to repair my leaking foredeck hatch? I don’t want to replace the entire unit, because it isn’t cracked. It just leaks." Don Casey replies:There are three types of hatch leaks: around the frame, past the gasket and around the lens. To fix a leak around the mounting frame or past the
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