Some of our best performing antifouling paints in our past tests have been hard, modified epoxy paints. One of the drawbacks of these paints is that they can lose their effectiveness after being hauled out and stored ashore for more than 30 days. Even newly painted hulls can lose their effectiveness if the launch is delayed too long. Fortunately, there are ways to reactivate a hard paint on a newly painted boat that has been stored ashore for less than a year.
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.
The best bilge pump in the world wont 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.
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.
In keeping with this blog's theme of offering a glimpse of what's going on "inside" Practical Sailor, this post-our second since we've revamped the new website-will offer a brief introduction to who is behind these missives. Most of the posts from the old Inside Practical Sailor blog have been transferred over here, but a few entries, including biographies of other crew at Practical Sailor have not. We'll find a home for these at the Practical-sailor.com soon.
If you are in the market for a used boat and live where winter storage is the norm, now is probably one of the best times to bargain. The owner is looking at another year of storage bills for a boat he no longer wants, and he knows that trying to sell a boat thats buttoned down for the winter is like trying to sell a house thats under a circus tent. However, if you are anywhere near the pathway of last years Hurricane Matthew, that bargain boat might well turn out to be your worst nightmare.
Sometimes it is not what has been added to your fuel that matters, but what is missing. Anywhere between 5 to 20 percent of the contents of a portable or installed polyethylene tank can vanish during the course of a year, the result of breathing losses and permeation. The remaining fuel is lower in octane, contains fewer of the volatiles that are so essential for easy starting, and has reduced solvency for gum and varnish. It often looks perfectly good, but is perfectly rotten and potentially harmful as fuel.
In recent years it seems as if not a fall sailing season goes by without at least one presumably sound vessel and experienced crew running into trouble off Cape Hatteras. It is almost as if todays sailors are suffering a severe case of amnesia, causing them to forget that this stretch of water has rightly earned the moniker Graveyard of the Atlantic. Or perhaps this is just another example of how improved weather forecasting and state-of-the-art navigation and communication systems (not to mention distress signaling) has led us to become complacent?