Sailing Magazine - Boat Doctor http://sailingmagazine.net/articles.sec-126-1-boat-doctor.html Sun, 21 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0400 en hourly 1 Why does my bilge smell like the head? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-2011-why-does-my-bilge-smell-like-the-head.html Why does my bilge smell like the head?
Dear Boat Doctor,I am having a problem with a black water smell in the bilge. Well at least I am pretty sure it’s a black water smell, I don’t really know. Do you some ideas how I can diagnose my ...]]>
How do I fix a failed fiberglass repair? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1997-how-do-i-fix-a-failed-fiberglass-repair.html How do I fix a failed fiberglass repair?
 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...]]>
How should I lubricate winches? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1982-how-should-i-lubricate-winches.html How should I lubricate winches?
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...]]>
Is my shaft seal collar OK? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1983-is-my-shaft-seal-collar-ok.html Is my shaft seal collar OK?
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...]]>
What line should I use for the mainsheet? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1960-what-line-should-i-use-for-the-mainsheet.html What line should I use for the mainsheet?
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...]]>
How do I install USB ports onboard? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1943-how-do-i-install-usb-ports-onboard.html How do I install USB ports onboard?

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 singl...

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The Boat Doctor gets schooled http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1926-the-boat-doctor-gets-schooled.html The Boat Doctor gets schooled
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...]]>
How do I stop dock line chafe? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1912-how-do-i-stop-dock-line-chafe.html How do I stop dock line chafe?
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...]]>
What nav lights does my RIB need? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1913-what-nav-lights-does-my-rib-need.html What nav lights does my RIB need?
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...]]>
Why isn’t my new head pumping properly? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1891-why-isn%25E2%2580%2599t-my-new-head-pumping-properly.html Why isn’t my new head pumping properly?

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....

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How do I avoid wiring issues? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1880-how-do-i-avoid-wiring-issues.html How do I avoid wiring issues?
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. ...]]>
How do I replace my electrical panel? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1869-how-do-i-replace-my-electrical-panel.html How do I replace my electrical panel?

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. 

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How to fix a slipping clutch on an Atomic 4 http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1850-how-to-fix-a-slipping-clutch-on-an-atomic-4.html How to fix a slipping clutch on an Atomic 4

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 ...

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How do I replace freshwater hoses? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1840-how-do-i-replace-freshwater-hoses.html How do I replace freshwater hoses?

 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.

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What's causing my engine to underperform? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1825-whats-causing-my-engine-to-underperform.html What's causing my engine to underperform?

 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?

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Can I really navigate with an iPad? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1813-can-i-really-navigate-with-an-ipad.html Can I really navigate with an iPad?

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?

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Can I use a regular computer monitor? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1792-can-i-use-a-regular-computer-monitor.html Can I use a regular computer monitor?

 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 comp...

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Why are my halyards fraying? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1780-why-are-my-halyards-fraying.html Why are my halyards fraying?

 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,...

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How do I track my boat's systems? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1763-how-do-i-track-my-boats-systems.html How do I track my boat's systems?

 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....

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How do I install an AIS antenna? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1741-how-do-i-install-an-ais-antenna.html How do I install an AIS antenna?

 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.

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Why do I need to clean new fasteners? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1727-why-do-i-need-to-clean-new-fasteners.html Why do I need to clean new fasteners?
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...]]>
Why does the tachometer read high? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1714-why-does-the-tachometer-read-high.html Why does the tachometer read high?

 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 ...

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What features do I need in a PFD? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1688-what-features-do-i-need-in-a-pfd.html What features do I need in a PFD?

I am going offshore this winter and the skipper said I need a specific inflatable life jacket, one with crotch straps and a spray hood. The problem is that I’m finding it hard to find one that incorporates both of these. Any suggestions?

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How do I install a battery monitor? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1689-how-do-i-install-a-battery-monitor.html How do I install a battery monitor?

I would like to install a battery monitor that will show the state of the charge of my batteries. I have basic mechanical and electrical skills and would like to try to install it myself. What’s the best way of doing it?

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Avoid the dangers of poorly installed shaft seals http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1677-avoid-the-dangers-of-poorly-installed-shaft-seals.html Avoid the dangers of poorly installed shaft seals

 I recently had a scary experience on my boat when my PSS dripless prop shaft seal began to leak in a rather dramatic fashion.  The water rose above the floorboards. I was able to get it under control and later consulted with the boatyard, determining that the shaft co...

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What's a quick-drying filler for gouges? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1669-whats-a-quick-drying-filler-for-gouges.html What's a quick-drying filler for gouges?
Dear Boat Doctor, There are some deep gouges in the bottom of my boat that I need to fill when I pull the boat out. I have used epoxy in the past, but it was a pain to thicken and to...]]>
How do I connect solar panels? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1670-how-do-i-connect-solar-panels.html How do I connect solar panels?
 Dear Boat Doctor, I want to install two solar panels on top of my bimini and I am a little confused about how to hook them up. Each panel has two black plugs on it and my charg...]]>
How long should running rigging be? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1649-how-long-should-running-rigging-be.html How long should running rigging be?

My Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40 came with running rigging lines that all seemed needlessly long. The extra line adds to the difficulty of housekeeping, and in rough going sometimes creates a mess under foot that creates what I would call a hazard.  After a few years, I cut all lines to their longest useful length.

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Is it bad to sail with only a headsail? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1631-is-it-bad-to-sail-with-only-a-headsail.html Is it bad to sail with only a headsail?
Dear Boat Doctor, I sometimes get a little lazy when sailing my Catalina 36 and just use the roller furling genoa. I endure a bit of ribbing on the dock for this, but I’ve also been told that I’...]]>
What kind of batteries should I buy? http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1632-what-kind-of-batteries-should-i-buy.html What kind of batteries should I buy?
Dear Boat Doctor, I need to replace the batteries in my house bank. They are about 6 years old and just don’t seem to hold a charge as long as they used to. But how do I know what type to buy? ...]]>