Home / How-to
2018 July 1
 How do I fix a failed fiberglass repair? Dear Boat Doctor, I need some advice on a failing fiberglass repair at my keel stub joint. There is a crack that appears to be the result of repair tha
2018 June 1
Dear Boat Doctor, My winches desperately need to be lubricated, and it’s been more than a few years since I’ve done it. A friend told me to use wheel bearing grease but cautioned me not to use it
2018 May 31
Dear Boat Doctor, I just bought a new-to-me Beneteau 40 with a PSS dripless prop shaft seal. I appreciate the dry bilge, but those little set screws holding the sealing collar in place make me nervou
2018 April 1
I recently bought a Passport 47, and it’s in really good shape but a bit of the running rigging is tired. I need to replace the mainsheet and I have questions on the running backstays. First off, what type of line should I use for the mainsheet? It is just regular double braid now and the guy at the chandlery suggested Dyneema, so I am not sure what to use. Second, the boat has running backstays, do I need to use those all the time? They are made of wire and hard to handle, they tend to rub on my nice new mainsail too. Can you shed some light on this?
2018 January 1
I’d like to install some USB ports to charge phones and tablets on my boat. I have a J/35 built in 1986, so the entire interior has exactly one 12-volt receptacle built into the electrical panel next to the starboard quarterberth. I’m OK with that, but my kids seem to run their iPods all the time, so I need a way to charge them without fighting over the single receptacle. My thought was to install two USB ports, one going forward to the V-berth and one over to the port quarter berth. How do I connect them to the electrical system?
2017 October 1
Dear Boat Doctor, At the tail end of a recent cruise, I went to start the engine and heard the distinct thud of a dead battery. But when I checked the batteries, all was well. I tried the starter aga
2017 September 1
Dear Boat Doctor,I just got a new RIB, and I am looking for the best way to manage navigation lights on it. I’d like something mountable that won’t eat through batteries. Any ideas? Shane William
2017 September 1
Dear Boat Doctor, I am having a problem with a dock line. The distance between the cleat and the chock is about 4 feet, long enough that the elasticity in the dock line “works” enough at the choc
2017 June 1
Dear Boat Doctor,
I decided to upgrade my head to a new electric model. I chose a new model with the pump integrated into the base and it fits in the same spot as my old head. I followed the instructions to place a vented loop in the seawater inlet line to prevent the head from siphoning water and flooding the boat.
2017 May 1
Dear Boat Doctor, I recently had to connect some bare stripped wires to a terminal strip, the kind where you put the wire in the hole and tighten down the screw. 
2017 April 1
My 47-foot boat is 31 years old and is slowly showing her age. I have taken care of most of the systems, but I need to work on the main electrical panel. The panel is starting to mechanically fall apart, some of the breakers have failed and I ran out of capacity long ago. I have patched it over the years, but I think it’s time for a replacement. 
2017 March 1
Dear Boat Doctor,I would like to share a loss of power issue I had on my Atomic 4 powered Cal 2-27. I have owned the boat for more than 30 years, and several years ago noticed a loss of power in headwinds and at higher rpm. It turned out it was a slipping forward clutch, which was easily fixed by tightening the clutch one notch. The 42-year-old engine runs strong now.
2017 February 1
 I am planning to replace the freshwater hoses on my boat this spring. The lines are currently a combination of hose and soft copper tubing. The tubing I can see is pretty black, and I have to assume this is impacting my water quality. I’d like to replace it all, but I am not sure what to use.Schedule
2017 January 1
 I have a Yanmar 4JH2DTE in my boat and I don’t seem to be getting the power I am used to above 2,400 rpm. I checked the fuel filters and they seem OK. What else should I check?Schedule
2016 November 1
I’d like to start using an iPad as a backup navigation option. I am not sure what navigation application to use and I am a little confused about the GPS options for the tablet. What’s the best way to go?Schedule
2016 September 1
 We’ve used an Argonaut T-Flex marine monitor on our boat for more than 15 years. It worked great because it allowed us to keep the laptop running the navigation software safely in the nav desk and it operated with a wireless mouse. We could see it even with sun glare and we never had to worry about power spikes or water damage if a wave came down the companionway. Unfortunately it finally gave up and we’ve been told it’s beyond repair. 
2016 July 1
 My Tayana 48 came with wire and rope halyards and as part of my refitting efforts I replaced them with high-quality Dyneema double braid last summer. After wintering in the Caribbean on the boat and bringing the boat back this spring, I found that the cover on a couple halyards and the topping lift has worn through. I bought what I thought was good cordage, so why did this happen? I also broke the block on the mainsheet. It was an older block, but appears to have been made of plastic with metal strapping. I’d like to replace it with an all-metal block so I don’t risk breaking it again, but I’m not sure what kind I should look for.
2016 May 3
 I’m the kind of person who likes to know how things work and a few systems on my boat have me stymied. A few years ago I installed a Frigoboat keel-cooled refrigerator. It works great, but I am trying to figure how many times per day it runs and for how long. It’s so quiet that I can hardly tell when it is running. 
2016 March 1
 I am adding an AIS transceiver to my boat. After a few close calls, I decided that not only do I want to know where other boats are, I’d like them to be able to see me as well. It looks like the AIS will work well with my chartplotter but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with the antenna. I’d appreciate your guidance.
2016 January 1
Dear Boat Doctor, I am installing some new Harken winches on my boat, and I was told to clean the fasteners and use Loctite to prevent them from “galling.” I agreed, but I’m not entirely sure I

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