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Combatting Onboard Toilet Odors

Odor control doesn't necessarily start at the marine head (hoses are often the chief culprit), but that seems like the logical place to start. A big step toward reducing head odors is to use fresh water for flushing. Salt water is alive with microscopic critters that add to the odor problem when they die and decay in your holding tank.

Jackline Installation Tips

One of the most startling conclusions from our jackline test was that despite the International Sailing Federations (ISAF) generalized approach to jackline standards, the ideal material for a jackline changes as boat length increases. But material selection is just one of many details regarding jacklines that deserves careful thought. If you are re-installing your jacklines or installing for them for the first time, be sure to read our complete test report online. In the meantime, here are some other details to consider.

Simple Tips on Servicing Your Sailboat Winches

This week we're moving onto hardware, winches in particular. If you haven't serviced your winches in a couple years, or you notice squeaks, groans or slips as you grind, it is high time to tackle this project. We like to inspect our jib-sheet winches every year, but we sail our boats hard and they are exposed to some pretty harsh freeze and thaw cycles. Fortunately, winch servicing is a pretty easy, and for the wanna-be watchmaker who marvels at moving parts, it's fun—until you start dropping parts overboard. Thus, our first bit of advice: make sure you have the right winch servicing kit, including pawls and springs, before you start pulling your winches apart.

Epoxy Versus Polyester Resin for Fiberglass Boat Repair Projects

If you’re contemplating some major build or repair projects involving fiberglass this winter, then you are probably trying to decide whether it is worth...

A South Pacific Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and the crew couldn't sleep. The waves were relentless, with troughs dark and deep. The windvane was holding a course straight and true, toward a spot on the chart that read: "isles inconnues."

Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness and Response

John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal of Mahina Expeditions bluewater voyaging school have weathered a few earthquakes and tsunamis in their decades of teaching others aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46 sailboat, Mahina Tiare III. In the wake of the 2009 tsunami on Samoa, they devised an earthquake/tsunami awareness and response system that they now include in the Mahina Expeditions curriculum. With the goal of helping other sailors, the Neals have allowed Practical Sailor to post this strategy here on Inside Practical Sailor.

Taking on Big Do-it-Yourself Boat Jobs

Last fall, I embarked on one of the most time-consuming boat projects I've done in years, one I hope never to repeat—remove six layers...

The Disappearing Do-it-Yourself Boatyard

The chance of a boat owner finding an affordable do-it-yourself boatyard is becoming less likely with each passing year. What's worse, in many places where we are required to use the yard's staff or a short list of outside contractors, there is dire need for skilled workers. So, not only are we paying through the nose to have our boats fixed, but the people doing the work lack the expertise we expect for that price.

Sailboat Winter Covers: What to Look For

The approach of winter in the northern hemisphere brings with it that age-old question: How best to protect the boat from snow and ice? Already boats on Lake Superior are being pulled from the water, and sailors as far south as the Chesapeake are beginning to think about buttoning up for winter. While many power boats choose shrink-wrapping over a more permanent solution, sailboats-with their masts stepped or unstepped-are perfectly suited for reusable, custom, or semi-custom covers.

Stay Warm, Stay Safe

About this time of year, sailors creeping southward are either accelerating their migration or looking for inexpensive ways to warm the cabin. You don't have to install an expensive, built-in heating system just to get you south of the Mason-Dixon line, but when opting for one of the less-expensive options, you do have to use commonsense.