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

Soft Step

by Don Casey, Posted February 19, 2010
Rick Conner of Southport, Florida, asks:"My 1982 sloop has a keel–stepped rig and the balsa-cored deck around the mast partners is saturated with water. Can I drill holes into the deck and replace the core from the top using WEST System epoxy to make the repair? Or should I remove the wet balsa core from around the mast and fill the area with solid fiberglass? What about

Frozen Out

by Don Casey, Posted January 19, 2010
Roy Labonte of San Bernardino, California, asks:"The main and jib halyard sheaves on my Islander Freeport 36 are corroded and frozen at the masthead. I freed the pins on the sheaves by knocking them back and forth with a rubber mallet. But I have had no luck freeing the sheaves themselves. Is there any way to get them away from the mast?"Don Casey

Smoky Surfaces

by Don Casey, Posted December 20, 2009
S.J. Byrus of Auburn, New Hampshire, asks:"My Bristol 32 was built in 1980 and its hatches are molded fiberglass with gelcoat on the outer edges. The center of the hatch is translucent, so light can pass through. After 30 years of it being exposed to the sun, I’m starting to see some fibers in the translucent portion of the hatch, although no fibers have come loose. What

Scruffy Smells

by Don Casey, Posted November 20, 2009
Cat Fraser of Colchester, Vermont, asks:"How do I get rid of what I call 'boat smell?' I’ve tried baking soda, a dish of vinegar and many commercial products. Somebody told me that coffee grounds are the way to go. A friend of mine made her husband change to stainless steel water tanks, but that’s not an option here." Don Casey replies:To

Ready on Deck

by Don Casey, Posted October 14, 2009
Steve Karas of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, asks:"My 1985 Catalina 27 is in good shape except for some tiny spider cracks in the foredeck gelcoat. The previous owner tried to repair the cracks by drizzling loose gelcoat into them, but the repaired deck looks worse than it did before.I had to sand it all down—losing the non-slip prism deck pattern in the process—and then I

Circuit Breaker

by Don Casey, Posted September 20, 2009
Gene Cramer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, asks:"Where can I get a galvanic isolator of the sort you mentioned in your excellent piece on wiring a boat for shore power? Also, the circuit you described in that piece doesn't seem to provide ground-fault protection either for the battery charger or for other branch loads, such as the water heater, which would be hard-wired to the

Wireless thermometer

by Don Casey, Posted August 5, 2009
If you know how cold it is inside your refrigerator, you can perhaps troubleshoot an electrical or mechanical failure in time to save the box’s contents from spoiling. A thermometer inside the box doesn’t tell you anything unless you open the box and check it. That’s why I like to use a wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer of the type that’s readily available in most hardware stores. I put the

Wired and Wonderful

by Don Casey, Posted July 14, 2009
Mike Montanaro of Cornelius, North Carolina, asks:"Don Casey’s thorough and very informative article on the proper way to install shorepower on a boat (Sail, January) clarified a lot of points for me. But he says that if you touch both wires in a 12-volt DC circuit it is unlikely to cause injury. This assumes your body is the only current draw. What would happen if there

Faded Glory

by Don Casey, Posted June 14, 2009
David Watkins of Parrish, Florida, asks:"I have a 15-year-old fiberglass boat that I bought new. It has spent most of its life either in Florida or the Caribbean and has suffered severe exposure to the sun. There is surface crazing or cracking on the deck, coach roof, and upper topsides. These are not stress cracks, but they are widespread. Do you have some thoughts on

All Decked Out

by Don Casey, Posted May 19, 2009
David Worden of Kemah, Texas, asks:"I’m thinking of buying an older Cheoy Lee pilothouse 32-footer with sections of teak deck on either side of the pilothouse that flexes when I walk on them. I can see signs of water damage when I look up from below. Do you have an opinion on the best way to repair the deck?Could I cut the fiberglass skin out from belowdecks and
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