Bilge Pump Installation and Maintenance Tips

The best bilge pump in the world won't keep your boat dry if its not properly installed and maintained. While bilge pump installations are fairly straightforward-and definitely within the scope of DIY projects-there are several factors to consider (capacity, wire size, hose diameter, fuse size) before you begin, and there are some good rules of thumb to follow.

Advice on Buying a Pre-Owned Anchor

Since defects are usually obvious, anchors is one category of gear in which “what you see is what you get.” Certainly, there are counterfeits and home-welded one-offs that you’ll want to avoid, but the fakes and do-it-yourself anchors are usually easy to distinguish. Before you buy a used anchor, you should have a very clear picture of the size, type, and brand of anchor will best suit your needs. Depending on the specific anchor you seek, you can save 30 to 50-percent on cost by purchasing a pre-owned anchor instead of a new one.

Sailboat Stability Uncensored

It’s clear that the tools we use to measure stability, and to prevent future incidents are still imperfect instruments, as we saw in the fatal WingNuts capsize in 2011. And in the cruising community, where fully equipped ocean going boats hardly resemble the lightly loaded models used to calculate stability ratings, we worry that the picture of stability is again becoming blurred by design trends.

Sailboat Rig Inspection Tips

How frequently do you bother removing spreader boots and taping to check the condition of the spreaders and rigging? No matter how well the spreader ends are protected, and whether you use ready-made vinyl spreader boots or conventional rigging tape, water will get through to the fittings inside. On a boat used in salt water, the atmosphere's corrosive nature can cause rapid disintegration of aluminum fittings (nevermind the fact that the spreaders might be 25 feet or more off the water). The thorough taping job you did on the spreader ends may actually accelerate the problem by holding in water.

Keep it Simple Sail Repair Kit

If you're going to sail you'll be doing some stitching-no two ways about it. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard with sail repair tools. Don't jump into the $100 do-everything kit. Start with a modest kit, adding tools and materials only as your skills grow and projects require them. Chances are, you already have most of what you need in your other supply lockers or tool boxes.

Build Your Own Boot Dryer

The advantage of a home-built boot dryer is that you can make it fit any number of boots and gloves, and add extensions for drying foul weather gear, options that are not available on the retail market

Avoiding Kinks in Flexible Hose Plumbing

When plumbing a boat's pressure water system, flexible tubing, with all its imperfections, is inevitably part of the equation. It is simple to install, and the connecting hardware (hose clamps) and fittings are readily available. Before beginning any plumbing project, the do-it-yourself should be careful to use the right hose for the job. Correct hose and coupling methods should be carried out as outlined by EPA, ABYC, and other regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard. But which tubing best withstands the bending needed to lead the water lines through the torturous routes they often must take?

Fighting Off Marine Electrical System Corrosion

The boat's electrical system is often the most vexing for boat owners-but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools, quality materials, and a modest amount of preventative maintenance, you can ensure a flicker-free (or nearly so) existence on the water. If you've got a rewiring or electronics installation project ahead of you, or if just want to make sure nothing goes on the fritz once you're offshore, this information-packed blog post is for you.

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."

Lifesling Inspection Tips

For many in the northern hemisphere winter is the off-season, which means it's a great time inspect safety gear. Lifejackets and throwable rescue aids like the Lifesling which incorporate materials that degrade over time deserve particularly close attention. Even new safety equipment deserves close inspection. Probably the most startling safety equipment failure we've experienced was that of a newly bought child's safety harness with a polypropylene tether that immediately broke under very little load.

The Ins and Outs of Aftermarket Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.