My definition of “boat” entails three essential capabilities—flotation, propulsion and steering. If you lose one of these, things are going to get difficult. We all know about keeping the water out, the rig up, and engine working, but we tend to take steering for granted. I have had a wheel go loose in my hands, and I can attest to the helpless feeling that accompanies it.
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.
Some of the best adventures happen on trailersailers. On what other kind of sailboat can you explore far-off inland lakes, wide rivers or obscure bits of estuaries all in the same weekend? In fact, one of the only drawbacks to being a trailersailor is that you’ve just doubled your maintenance requirements: not only do you have to take care of the boat, you must take care of the trailer, so that it will take care of you.
Basics knots, like a bowline or Figure 8, are the foundation of sailboat knots and have been since the beginning of time. These knots are used to terminate control lines, prevent the loss of lines and perform other important tasks. Lesser known “fancy knots,” such as monkey’s fists or different braids, can be useful or just nice to have around from a decorative perspective. Fancy knotwork can be a lifelong pursuit, getting as complex as you like, but there are a few knots that are easy to learn and are still useful. And practicing these less-than-everyday knots can up your knot-tying game.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
When a marine head goes bad there is usually a story to tell, and it’s never a good one. A clog or a leak can ruin a weekend. Even a properly working head can be awkward to explain to guests, “Well, you do your business, flip this lever, pump this lever and then don’t forget to flip that lever back or you can sink the boat!” Invariably, the guest has a problem. Often they ask for assistance that is neither fun to request or give. Or worse, they don’t ask.
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.
I just bought a used Catalina 36 MkII. I’m thrilled with the boat but I have an issue that came up during the survey that I’d like to resolve. The tachometer appears to read high. The boat idles at the proper speed, but the tachometer reads more than 1,000 rpm. A similar problem occurs at cruising speed as well. I discussed it with the surveyor and he suggested it was related to the alternator. What’s the issue here and how do I fix it?