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Inside Practical Sailor

Choosing a Boat Broker

In the upcoming December issue of Practical Sailor, we look at how a do-it-yourself boat sale can save thousands of dollars that would ordinarily go to a broker. However, for those who are looking to get the best sale price with the least amount of effort, a broker is usually a more sensible choice. If you're thinking about selling your boat soon, here are some inside tips on picking the right broker for you.

Doing ‘The Ditch’ Capt. Frank’s Way

Be aware that a less-experienced sailors report of a great anchorage with plenty of depth, or statements like We ran aground here! don't do you much good if they fail to include basic info such as their boat's draft, state of the tide, etc. Other sailors' facility reviews should also be taken with a grain of salt. For example: The dockmaster hates Algerian Snaggle-tooth Poodles (like our Fluffy), so were never coming back, and you shouldnt either!

Floating Through the Winter Season

As long as the water hasn't turned to ice (and even if it has, if you are an avid ice boater), sailors will find a way to get out on the water. Fortunately for Practical Sailor readers, we have our own Dr. Chill to inform us of ways to stay floating through the winter.

Is Your Marine Diesel Winterizing Routine Complete?

While many items of drive train maintenance can be done as easily in the spring as in the fall, the rush to get the boat back in commission frequently means that some items fall to the bottom of the priority list, and may never get done. Most sailors sadly neglect their boat’s mechanical components.

Tackling Fuel Tank Replacement

November is the time of year when the procrastinating catches up to us. The big projects we avoided all summer stare us in the face. Do nothing, and you risk a summer wasted pulling epoxy from your hair instead of sailing. If your boat is 20 years old or older, a fuel tank replacement-a bear of a project, even in ideal circumstances-might be that project youre postponing. If it is, well, youre in luck, because weve got a fair bit of information to help guide you through the process.

Can You Have Too Many Zincs?

Although it is unlikely in a typical installation, you can have too much anodic protection. This is more common with miscalibrated impressed current systems, where a transformer is used to provide the electrical potential, but too many zinc anodes or too reactive anodes can also have unintended consequences you should recognize. This is particularly important for owners of wood or steel boats.

Cutless (not Cutlass!) Bearing Care

To determine if your cutless bearing needs replacing, look for signs of wear or deterioration at both ends of the bearing. Rapid or unusual wear patterns (i.e. top wear on one end of the bearing, bottom wear on the other) are indications of significant shaft misalignment issues and should be addressed immediately.

Sizing Up the Autumn List

Some of the best sailing I ever had was September on Narragansett Bay, pretty close to heaven in my mind. But before we let a long September reach carry us away-and hopefully carry us through winter-its a good time to take out a pen and pad, and start to build the winter work list.

Going Aloft Sans Butterflies

When going aloft, you can save yourself a lot of worry and hassle by taking a few simple steps: Harnesses: Although not as comfortable as traditional chairs, harnesses bring you closer to the top of the mast and are more secure. Wear long pants and good shoes. Halyards: Use two halyards-one primary, one safety. One should be an external halyard on a ratchet block leading from your harness back to you, so that you can have control over your own safety and ascent/descent. Shackles and winches: Dont rely on snap shackles or self-tailing jaws on winches. To attach the halyard to the harness, use locking screw-pin shackles or a buntline knot, which brings you closer to the masthead sheave than a bowline.

Tips on Caring for Marine Canvas

Canvas dodgers and biminis are the hallmark of a cruising yacht, keeping the sun at bay and allowing the crew to dodge the worst of the weather. On board, canvas also protects sails, windows, and machinery. Collectively, these represent a substantial financial investment, and we wanted to find the best way to protect the investment and get the most life out of the canvas.