by Nigel Calder

Nigel Calder is an author and expert on boat systems and diesel engines

Energy Control

by Nigel Calder, Posted June 15, 2010
Recently, as part of my work on hybrid propulsion systems, I attended a demonstration where a large-scale lithium battery pack was deliberately pushed past the boundaries of existing experience. The intention was to run the system at 20 kW of output and 160 volts, creating a current flow of around 130 amps. Owing to a miscalculation, when we threw the switch and brought everything on line we

Prop Wash

by Nigel Calder, Posted May 17, 2010
In the April edition of Ask Sail, Nigel Calder asked readers to share ideas on how best to keep their props clean. The Q and A from the magazine sparked a discussion with readers chiming in from all corners of the country. Here are some of their ideas:Q: What do you recommend for keeping barnacles from growing on my prop, strut and shaft? For years, I've used metal

Starting Woes

by Nigel Calder, Posted May 12, 2010
This is the time of year when I receive emails like this: “My engine ran fine when I laid it up last fall, but now it won’t turn over…” It is also the time of year when that magical device, the digital multimeter, earns its keep.Please note, I wrote digital. If you have a cheap analog meter (the one with a swinging needle) do yourself a favor and replace it with a decent digital one. If

Twin Pipes

by Nigel Calder, Posted March 19, 2010
Stan Stockdale of Palm Coast, Florida, asks:"I am installing a generator on my Morgan 416. Space is at a premium in the engine room, and I’m curious to know whether you approve of combining the generator’s exhaust with the existing Perkins 4.154 exhaust line, perhaps by fabricating a Y-type device and putting an anti-siphon valve connector immediately in front of the

Power Outage

by Nigel Calder, Posted February 19, 2010
Bill Schoenherr of Midland, Michigan, asks:"My gelcell batteries are 8 years old and although they are showing no signs of age, I have abused them by discharging them below 50 percent of their capacity. I’m considering replacing them because we cruise the Great Lakes in the North Channel area and I would hate to have them fail up there. Are TPPL batteries (Odyssey) still

Just Slow Down

by Nigel Calder, Posted February 1, 2010
Many readers may be familiar with the hull-resistance curves associated with displacement boats, which include most sailing monohulls. These curves show the amount of energy needed (in kilowatts or horsepower) to move a boat at a given speed through smooth water in no wind.At slow speeds, the principal resistance to motion is friction between the wetted surface area of the hull and the

Silent Solenoid

by Nigel Calder, Posted January 19, 2010
Dave Smith of East Aurora, New York, asks:"When I hit the starter button to crank the engine on my 1984 C&C 35, I can hear the solenoid clicking, but it doesn’t normally activate the starter. Once in a while the engine will start on the first try. But usually I have to push the button a number of times before the starter engages. I did remove the starter and had it checked

Condensation Conundrum

by Nigel Calder, Posted December 15, 2009
Clyde Collins of Seneca Falls, New York, asks:"I’ve moved up from a Catalina 22 to a Bayfield 29 with a 20-gallon diesel fuel tank. I sail on the Finger Lakes of New York and only use about 5 gallons of fuel a summer. My understanding has always been that I should store the boat over winter with a full tank to minimize condensation. But that means I have 15 gallons that

In the Zincerator

by Nigel Calder, Posted November 20, 2009
Allen Judy of Whortonsville, North Carolina, asks:"My boatyard technician tells me that there is such a thing as being “over-zinc’d” and that there is an optimum amount of zinc anode to install on any a given boat. He says this has something to do with an electrical field imbalance and that it is best is to have just enough imbalance to sacrifice the zinc that is in place.

Best Boats 2010

by Nigel Calder, Posted November 19, 2009
SAIL scoured the fall boat shows for the shining stars among this year's crop of new boats. Here they areThere was a buzz around the docks at the Annapolis and Newport shows, and it wasn't the sound of the plague of locusts we were half expecting, given the disasters of recent months and years. No, the sun shone, the water sparkled, the brightwork gleamed, and you all came to the show.
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