Silence of the Engines

The Westerbeke 4-107 had been through three owners by the time I got it. It had plenty of hours on it, and somewhere along...

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.

Morgan 41 – Used Boat Test:

The Morgan 41 sloop is arguably one of the best looking of many lovely dual-purpose sailboats that the Cruising Club of America handicap rating system engendered. One owner described his boat as a Bermuda 40 for a regular Joe, only prettier. Designer Charley Morgan traces the cruiser-racers heritage, particularly below the waterline, back to Olin Stephens famous Finisterre, and Comanche, a 40-foot centerboarder built by Wirth Munroe, son of famed sharpie designer and South Florida pioneer Commodore Ralph Munroe.

Polishing Solar Panels

After years in the sun, even the best quality plastic begins to take on some surface roughness and hazing. The diligent boat owner immediately reaches for his buffer and compound, certain that a shiny panel is a happy panel. In fact, panels are often ruined by attempts to restore the plastic.

Where Credit Is Due: July 2013

After reading your article, A Sailor's Guide to Marine Insurance, I wanted to give a shout-out to Progressive Insurance (, which has insured our Stiletto catamaran and our dinghy, outboard motors, and trailers. Customer service is extremely friendly and efficient on the phone any time we want to check or change our policy. And when lightning struck the mast of our catamaran, they sent an adjuster out within two days, took care of the paper work, and had a payment sent to us within two weeks. Thats an incredible turn-around time.

Fuel Filtering Systems

I am the new owner of a 1979 Tayana Vancouver 42 with a Volvo D2-55B diesel engine installed in 2004. Fuel is held in two 80-gallon fiberglass tanks and filtered via a Racor 500 utilizing No. 2010 filters. I use 2-micron filters and Biobor JF Anti-Fungal additive. Despite fuel scrubbings, I continue to have to change primary fuel filters with each fueling. I have been told that I don't need as fine a filter as the 2-micron, but I don't want to risk increased maintenance of the diesel. What do you recommend?

12-Volt Booster Packs

Wal-Mart's EverStart booster delivers a lot of cold cranking amps for the money, but lacks a light. The versatile Xantrex Powerpack 300 Plus, is a do-it-all booster and a good choice for smaller boats.

Adding or Replacing… Tanks

Tankage is a subject about which there are probably more opinions than there are hard and fast rules. Materials that are generally accepted as suitable for keeping water out of the hull are often considered unsuitable for keeping it in. The differences are not limited to various types of metal and plastic tanks and various types of plastic and metal boats. Much of the controversy centers around the practice of building tanks integral with the hull.

Marine Fuel Filter Test

Diesel engines have evolved into incredibly reliable power sources. Change the oil, mind the charging system and batteries, and most importantly, always give them clean fuel. First there is diesel bug. Bacteria and fungus (not algae-that is incorrect nomenclature) can infect the tank, feeding on the diesel and producing volumes of tank-, line-, and filter-clogging biomass with the consistency of snot. It can be prevented by the regular use of biocides (see PS August 2013), but…

Steady at the Helm

A sailboat’s steering system also plays a vital role in safety at sea. The failure of any key component can jeopardize boat handling and...

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.