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Boat Maintenance

DIY Desiccating Head Options

No standard dry toilet, even the CHead Shorty, would fit the available space on our Corsair F-24, so we decided to build our own. We considered building the base from plywood and fiberglass, but we found a pair of surplus fiberglass battery boxes we could cut and join for a perfect fit. Since the exterior […]

Get a Survey, Set Priorities

Here we go again. Apparently enough time (32 years) has passed since I last bought a 50-plus-year-old boat and began restoring it that I’ve forgotten the blood, sweat, and tears involved in such a project. The main point of this first installment in a new series that will follow the restoration of the 1971 S&S […]

Packing Extraction Tool Tested

The packing material encircling your shaft and tucked out of sight inside the packing nut is truly your boat’s Achilles heel. Installed improperly it can damage the prop shaft or even sink the boat. Getting it replaced at least biennially should be on your list. On a mid-size cruiser it’s a job that ranks just […]

Making Underwater Hull Repairs

In our recent test of waterproof epoxies for making underwater repairs, we also looked into making underwater patches. Obviously, your success in this effort depends a lot on the situation and the size of the repair. And luck. A common scenario is that only part of the damaged area is underwater. A boat that has […]

Remote Inspection Cameras

The most valuable inspection tool will always be 20/20 eyesight combined with experience. But there are times when you can’t lay eyes on the problem. Perhaps you need the rating of an electrical breaker, but you can’t get see through the bundles of wires. Or you’re inspecting seacocks and hose clamps, but you can’t see […]

Revisiting Odor & Tank Treatments

Sodium percarbonate (Na2H3CO6 ) is a hydrate formed between sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, and is more properly written 2 Na2CO3 + 3 H2O2 . When mixed with water it dissociates into sodium ions, carbonate ions, and hydrogen peroxide, which subsequently decomposes into oxygen and water through a series of intermediate steps. At concentrations above […]

Substitutes for Just in Case

We get a lot of chemistry questions, and a common thread lately seems to be the use of replacement solvents and green alternatives. While we’re all in favor of reducing the use of harmful chemicals, the problem with many products marketed as green alternatives is that they are not actually drop-in replacements. Although they can […]

Products and Tips to Stop Wood Rot

Wood has lot going for it. It is strong and stiff per unit weight, easy to work with, attractive, and economical. Teak decks provide classic good looks and superior non-skid. The downside is that without constant maintenance, wood rots, and even with maintenance it rots anyway, just slower. Yes, a few special woods, such as […]

Digital Diagnostic Tools

In addition to a considerable inventory of tools, materials, parts, and old test inventory, we’ve collected a variety of laboratory and field testing equipment. Much of it is of no interest to the average sailor, unless you enjoy testing equipment and exploring rabbit holes, but some is useful or at least entertaining, for those that […]

Even 2020 Yielded Some Great Gear

Once more, the bulk of the past year’s testing focused on maintenance products, safety essentials, and do-it-yourself substitutes for higher priced marine gear. Part of this was because COVID-19 derailed some of our more ambitious projects (don’t worry they are still on the slate). Part of this was because we continue to try to buck […]

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.