Don’t Kill That New AGM Battery

By now, many sailors have enjoyed their first long weekend and the boat this year, and noticed that their new absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery isn't holding a charge like it did during the last cruise. There are many things that can lead to reduced battery capacity in an AGM battery, but most often the cause is due to poor maintenance and charging regimen. Here are some tips on making sure you get maximum life out of your AGM battery.

Antifouling Paint Prices Follow Copper Surge

The antifouling coating industry is dominated by copper-based paint, so as copper prices reach their highest levels in recent history, I was curious to...

Pondering Options for Varnishing a Mast

One of the most common questions we get regarding marine varnish is what kind of finish is best for a mast. Even though aluminum has long since replaced Sitka spruce as the material of choice for a sailboat mast, there is no shortage of boats that still have wooden masts. Many of the Taiwanese-built boats of the 70s and 80s had wooden masts, and of course, a wide range of U.S.-built classics still have their original wooden masts.

BoatUS: Beware of ‘Regular 88’ Gasoline

The way BoatUS sees it, the ethanol industry is trying create a new federal rule that would weaken or eliminate important warning labels designed to prevent boaters and consumers from misfueling with prohibited higher-ethanol fuels at roadside gas pumps.

Low Friction Rings for Sailing

Our recent PS Advisor article on barber haulers illustrated an arrangement that relied on a low friction ring to control tension on the sheet. Although you can buy pre-rigged control lines that terminate with low friction rings, sailors should be able to do this themselves.

Caring for Encapsulated Ballast Keels

If your boat has an encapsulated iron keel, don't get lulled into believing that you are completely free of keel worries. Although you are generally better off than sailors with exposed iron keels, you still have to carry out routine maintenance and inspection, and be aware of the warning signs of water intrusion, which could lead to bigger problems.We've written a lot about keels recently, and over the years, we've offered tips on repairs to common problems like the C&C "smile," when a lead keel pulls away from the keel stub, or how to deal with voids in lead keels. I've also written here about the effectiveness of rust converters such as Ospho when reviving an iron keel. And more recently we've looked at the spate of keel-ectomies among older cruising boats boats with high-aspect-ratio fin keel designs.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.

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.

More Boat Tips: Unsticking Stuck Nuts and Bolts

My friend Nick and I had a discussion the other day about which bolts were tougher to break free: shaft-coupling bolts or the lug nuts on an old trailer. Nick pointed out that lug nuts are usually torqued down a whole lot tighter than a shaft coupling screw. On the opposite side, I argued that shaft coupling bolts require you to assume the yoga pose Downward Pretzel just to see the bolts. The argument…

EPA to restrict bottom paint booster

The Environmental Protection Agency's on-again, off-again relationship with the antifouling agent Irgarol 1051 is on the rocks again. While most of the country was...

Overheating in Docklines and Rodes

With hurricane season hitting full stride, many of us are going over our rope inventory, making sure we have more than enough lines to secure the boat. Chafe gear fights external friction on our lines, but how do we combat internal heat build-up? Dock lines are particularly susceptible to overheating. If the boat is exposed to short-period chop from the side, the frequency can be high and the force can exceed the 10:1 safe working limit, and even with rain or spray to cool the rope there may be significant weakening due to internal friction.