Testing VHF Coaxial

The loss in RF coaxial cable increases substantially and quickly, when there is water intrusion. Coax that uses foam dielectric, like RG8X and LMR type coax, is particularly prone to this problem because the water can quickly propagate along the foam dielectric used in these type coaxes.

Antenna Gain and VHF Transmission Range

Recreational marine VHF antennas are usually broken down into three categories: 3- and 4-foot sailboat antennas (3dB gain), 8-foot powerboat antennas (6 dB gain) and 16-plus-foot, long-stick antennas (9+ dB gain) that are popular on larger, long-range craft. Antenna gain is a ratio related to an antennas effective radiated power (ERP) instead of a fixed quantitative value.

Seacocks for Thin Hulls

A proper below-the-water line sea cock consists of three parts: the outside portion or mushroom, which threads into the flanged valve, the flanged valve, and the backing plate.

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).

Prop and Shaft Check

A vessels drive train is typically defined as the components between the engine transmission coupling and the bitter end of the propeller shaft. For traditional drive trains, this includes the propeller, shaft, cutless bearing and packing gland, although the list could also be expanded to encompass ancillary items such as the rudder, engine mounts, and engine bedworks. Heres a look at two major drive train components you should know and what to look for when inspecting each. Next month well look at the components inside the boat-stuffing box, shaft, and coupler.

Sailing Gifts for 2018

No one really wants just practical gifts, so weve tried to locate a few items that go beyond pure utility for this holiday season.

Steering Equipment Inspection

They were off the coast of Bequia in the Grenadines, near the end of a breezy passage on a 34-foot cruising sloop. Just as the boat reached past a rocky point, trouble struck. The steering wheel suddenly turned freely in the skippers hand.

Mailport: Marelon Seacocks

Regarding your recent report on Seacocks (Beneteau Responds to Seacock Query, PS August 2018) I owned a 1987 Catalina 30, Mark II. It had four gate valves instead of seacocks.

The Ins and Outs of Aftermarket Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.