Selecting a Stern Anchor

I have a 30-foot sailboat and I was considering keeping an emergency anchor ready to lower quickly as a temporary way to stop drifting in case the engine failed. I have limited mobility so it should be close at hand.

Mailport: Jack Russell is on watch

Regarding your recent Inside Practical Sailor blog post on ideal dogs for boats, I believe Jack Russell terrier, Parson Russell Terrier or many of the smaller terriers are ideally suited. Nimble, determined and easily adapt as long as their people are there. Easy to board the dinghy or back on the boat. Their food storage doesn't gobble up too much storage space and never will a rodent live for more than…

Stuffing Box Care

Only boats with inboard engines have stuffing boxes. To locate yours, trace the propeller shaft from the transmission to the point where it exits the hull. Thats where your stuffing box will be (unless you have a newer, dripless style shaft seal installed instead).

Mailport: Cold Weather Suits

Regarding your recent Inside Practical Sailor blog post Drysuits vs. Survival Suits, I raft the Colorado river in Grand Canyon where water temps are around 50 F, even in the summer. The whitewater down there is furious and sometimes dangerous. I wear a 3 millimeter neoprene wetsuit under a full drysuit. If the drysuit rips, the wetsuit should slow down thermal loss. The problem is heat buildup in the sun. The solution is to jump in the cold water now and then to keep from over heating. On a sailboat that would be harder to do. There have been a few times sailing solo when I wore both garments, but it was pretty clammy inside. There is no perfect solution, just reasonable compromises by which to stay alive. Something to remember is that once a drysuit rips, it will take on hundreds of pounds of water. A high flotation PFD is mandatory, at least 26 pounds I would think.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.