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

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

Get clear steering

by Don Casey, Posted April 15, 2009
I’ve seen it happen many times. A boat turns in to the channel between two piers at a marina but then begins to veer off line. The skipper makes a small steering adjustment, followed by a larger one, and then he realizes that the wheel is no longer connected to the rudder. What comes next is often not pleasant, and it is why you need to check your steering system at least once a

Stripped for action

by Don Casey, Posted April 15, 2009
Dave Storch, of Long Beach, California, asks:"The former owner of my Ericson 39 installed a teak cabin sole with grooves for holly strips. The strips were never installed, and the sole was never sealed or finished. It remains unfinished, but now has a number of stains in the teak, including engine oil that escaped when the engine was removed to replace the transmission.

Leaking Lexan

by Don Casey, Posted March 11, 2009
Bob Eischen of Toledo, Ohio asks:"The metal and Lexan hatches on our Slocum cutter are leaking. I’ve tried a BoatLife sealant and 3M’s 4200, but without success. What kind of sealant will stop the leaks?"Don Casey replies: BoatLife shouldn’t be used with Lexan because the polysulfide and solvents it contains will leach out the plasticizers

Daisy chain

by Don Casey, Posted January 20, 2009
Howard Lennox of Lexington Park, Maryland, asks:"I'd like to know how to inspect (for corrosion) a chainplate that is encapsulated inside a bulkhead. Are there any nondestructive tests I can perform to determine a chainplate's condition without having to cut into the bulkhead?"Don Casey replies:When a through-the-deck chainplate begins to

Cool Stuff

by Don Casey, Posted December 15, 2008
Henry Reents of Boise, Idaho, asks:"The box of our top-loading refrigerator has a large lower compartment that is separated from the main upper section by a three-piece plastic shelf. We don’t use the lower compartment very much. Would our compressor run less if we put large blocks of foam in that lower space? This would reduce the size of the refrigerator box by about a

Fittings out

by Don Casey, Posted December 4, 2008
Mike Hatch, of Trinidad, West Indies, asks:"My 36-year-old Pearson 390 has bronze through-hull fittings, which are starting to have a lot of surface corrosion. What’s the best way to keep them clean and bright?"Don Casey replies: Normally bronze seacocks and through-hulls turn green because the valves are weeping. If this is the case, you
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