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Systems & Propulsion

Dissecting the Desiccating Head

Our first cruising boat had a conventional portable toilet. We didn’t like it, but we made peace with it, cruising for up to two weeks at a time. Using the best treatment helped (see PS September 2018, “Controlling Porta-potty Odor). Our next boat, a PDQ 32 cruising cat, had a holding tank system. We replaced […]

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 […]

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 […]

Rhumb Lines: The Diesel Engine Dilemma

As the threat of global warming is forcing policy makers around the world to explore ways to wean their economies off carbon based energy...

The Front Line in Filtration

Wire mesh screens are a pain to clean. Fibers push through neighboring holes, resulting in what is known in the industry as “stapling.” They jam in the corners and between the wires of the weave. Wiping, scraping, and even wire brushing only pushes the fibers farther into crevices, securing them ever more tightly. In the […]

Avoiding Kinks in Flexible Hose Plumbing

When plumbing a boat's pressure water system, flexible tubing, with all its imperfections, is inevitably part of the equation. It is simple to install, and the connecting hardware (hose clamps) and fittings are readily available. Before beginning any plumbing project, the do-it-yourself should be careful to use the right hose for the job. Correct hose and coupling methods should be carried out as outlined by EPA, ABYC, and other regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard. But which tubing best withstands the bending needed to lead the water lines through the torturous routes they often must take?

Reducing Engine Room Noise

If your sailing partner complains about a noise that doesn't really bother you, it might not necessarily something that they can just "get used to." You will have to address it through active sound reduction measures.

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...

Testing TruFuel Storage Option

Canned gasoline products like TruFuel formulated without ethanol and using more highly refined alkylate base stock offer the promise of improved storage stability. Could we replace our station-bought fuel before passage to keep our engine in “storage mode” but still ready to run if needed? Should we run it through our engine before storage to […]

PS Advisor: Grounding and bonding

A client sent me an excerpt from your eBook “Marine Electrical Systems,” and I was a surprised to see the following line of thought. Use...

Winterizing Your Boat’s Water System

Much of your winterizing success will depend on the initial condition of your existing water system. If it is nearly sterile (effectively chlorinated water), there may be too few bacteria and fungus present for infection to start. However, if you use less than 20 percent alcohol or glycol (after dilution with water left in the system) you are at risk of biological growth; the lower the concentration the greater the risk. This is the reason why vodka and other alcohol-based winterizing fluids should be avoided. In our testing these solutions acted like an invitation to a microbial feast.