Know Your Life Raft Inspection Requirements

The experience of the owners of the 14-year-old, six-man, valise-stored Avon liferaft pictured here reminds us of the importance of following the manufacturers inspection schedule. With air leaking from the seams and through the fabric itself, the raft is a graphic example of how even a professionally serviced liferaft that remains dry in its hard canister can deteriorate to the point of becoming worthless.

Simple Tips to Improve Boat Ventilation

As ventilation experts explore ways to make indoor spaces safer during the COVID-19 pandemic, we became curious about ventilation in our boats. As it turns out, where we install our exhaust or intake vents (portlight, hatch, or cowl) is just as important as what type of vent we use. Just as we can use the suction on the leeward side of a sail to pull the boat forward, we can use pressure differentials in the air surrounding the cabin to maximize the ventilation. Understanding the pressure differentials created by the flow of air over our boat’s deck is vital to the success of any passive ventilation scheme.

Overheating in Docklines and Rodes

With hurricane season ramping up, 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.

Painting Your Boat Like a Pro

In a few months, we'll be publishing what will likely be our final update on our ongoing test of marine topside finishes - a project now in its fifth year. It will be interesting to see which hull paints have stood the test of time. If you can't wait until this spring to get your paint project rolling (and tipping), here is a rundown of free articles that will offer expert guidance on getting a good do-it-yourself finish for your sailboat.

International Sailing During COVID-19

The Valiant 40 on the cover of the September issue is named Brick House and belongs to longtime contributor the late Patrick Childress and...

Don’t Kill That New AGM Battery

Battery manufacturers want their batteries recharged to 100-percent state of charge after each discharge. In reality, few cruising boats (or any boats kept on a mooring) return their batteries to 100-percent state of charge after each cycle. If this partial state of charge operation continues, your very expensive AGM battery will soon perform no better, if not worse, than a common deep-cycle flooded battery bank. To keep that from happening, we have a few tips.

Epoxy Versus Polyester Resin for Fiberglass Boat Repair Projects

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

Marine Toilet Maintenance Tips

Early in the sailing season, the things we overlooked during winter storage can come back to haunt us. And with regard to our boat's...

Sailboat Do-it-Yourself Rig Survey

Several subscribers who read my recent blog post regarding stainless steel corrosion, “Detecting and Dealing with Stainless Steel Corrosion” asked if we had any...

Detecting and Dealing with Stainless-steel Corrosion

Our upcoming report on lifelines, stanchions, and stanchion bases brought to mind several past articles we've run on stainless steel failures. Although high-quality stainless can provide years of reliable service, sailors need to be aware of its limitations. Owners of used boats with hardware of an unknown age should be particularly scrupulous when carrying out routine inspection of stainless-steel rigging and hardware.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Stainless Steel

When applying a paste cleaner, a toothbrush is useful for buffing tight spots and working into the pores of welds; follow by buffing with a cotton cloth. A green 3M scrubby pad helps for removing more aggressive stains. Continued rusting in welded areas might indicate a developing failure, requiring replacement. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and mild soap when done buffing.