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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.

Shaping the Cruising Spinnaker

In designing an asymmetrical cruising spinnaker, most sailmakers begin with the boats fore-triangle rig dimensions (I and J), and combine those with information about the intended use of the sail (tight reaching, reaching, or running) and information regarding where the sail will be used.

Check Chafe Before Switching to Fiber Lifelines

Fiber lifelines exhibit two kinds of chafe. There is visible chafe that occurs when lifelines are used as handholds (a bad habit), or where sails and sheets bear on them. More troublesome is the chafe that occurs in the stanchion holes. Clearly, if youre considering switching to a fiber lifeline, youll want to closely inspect any possible chafe points, and deburr and polish (with 600 grit sandpaper) any places where the line makes contact with stanchions.

Preparing Your Boat for a Tropical Storm

Hurricane season is off to an early start this year. Tropical storm Elsa, the first tropical storm of the season to make U.S. landfall this season reminds us it's never too early to have a plan in place. If you haven't given storm preparation a thought yet, a good start would be our report, Lines, Snubbers, and Other Gear for Battening Down Ahead of Storms (PS July 2008). Safety expert Ralph Naranjo's first-hand account of his storm preparations Tropical Storm Dos and Donts and How to Help Your Boat Survive A Major Storm should also be required reading.

The Pesky Problems of Boat Pests

Ever since I fell under the spell of E.B. White’s classic tale “Charlotte’s Web,” I’ve been more than reluctant to stomp on every bug we see on deck—especially spiders. I know my arachnid empathy might come back to bite me, literally. Nevertheless, when someone on board shouts, "Spider!" I still reach for a clear plastic container (to trap the uninvited guest) and sheet of notebook paper (to slip under the plastic dome, for extraction). Each time I do, I imagine prominent American philosopher and famous bug lover E.O. Wilson nodding with approval.

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.

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.