April 2019

Marking Lines for Safe Sailing

Paint pattern on rode to track scope

Subscribers Only — Boats sail better when rode, docklines, running rigging, and sail control lines are properly adjusted, and many lines are easier to adjust if common positions are marked.   More...

Spring Inspection Checklist for Boats

The final touch to any haulout, a careful application of antifouling to the bottom of the keel.

Subscribers Only — Spring is here. Time to step back, put on your inspector hat, and approach the boat as an independent hired inspector would.   More...

Rescue Safety Lights & Strobes II

PS tester Ann Hoffner stands with the tested lights from left: Weems&Plath Personal Rescue Strobe, NASS EF-30A-1, and the ACR C-Strobe.

Subscribers Only — A personal rescue strobe is a small signaling light intended to be attached to a PFD so if a boat crew member goes overboard, their position will be visible to those left on board. Since we last looked at personal rescue strobes there’s been some new developments in the intensity of the light that can be generated from a small handheld strobe (see PS February 2016). Strobes can be manual or automatic (water activated) and…   More...

How To Connect Small Wires

We prefer “barrier” blocks (aka terminal strips, third row above) for connections, but when joining tiny wires, some other—albeit less robust—options are available.

Subscribers Only — The popularity of micro-electronics and LEDs has greatly increased the number of small wires on board, and whether the added eyestrain is a fair trade-off for a lighter, more energy efficient boat depends upon your perspective. Fortunately, some welcome accessories are relieving the headaches associated with joining two wires of tiny diameters—at times as small as button thread.   More...

Wireless Boat Monitoring

Subscribers Only — Most of us spend a great deal of time away from our boat. Whether she’s on the hard, moored in our home harbor or anchored in a foreign port, we want to know what’s going on with critical systems. Is my vessel where it should be? Has someone disconnected a power source or tried to gain access? Is the bilge pump cycling more frequently? Is the house bank okay? Is the freezer holding its set-point? If your boat was struck by another vessel, wouldn’t it be helpful to have photos?   More...

Boat Gas Detectors and False Alarms

Batteries being charged can give off hydrogen gas that can be the cause of false alarms in CO sensors.

Gas detectors are not magic gadgets, quantifying specific chemicals and then alarming when they reach a precise level. Because of the simplicity of the detection algorithm, sensors are subject to interferences from other gases, some harmless and some that are themselves a problem.   More...

4 Types of Pocket Cruisers

Robert Manry captured the world’s imagination when he sailed his tiny 13.5-foot sloop Tinkerbell across the Atlantic.

The recent release of Steve Wystrach’s outstanding documentary film Manry at Sea about Robert Manry, the former copy editor who sailed across the Atlantic in a 13-foot sailboat, got me thinking again about the virtues of small cruising boats. In my view, there are at least four main types of pocket cruisers. Manry’s modified lake boat fits somewhere in between the first two.   More...

Leaving Your Boat in a Foreign Port

When choosing a marina for haulout, you don’t want to be the biggest boat the yard has ever hauled.

A high percentage of cruisers we meet each year plan on leaving their boats in a safe place and flying home, often once a year. If you’re leaving your boat for less than four weeks, it may be most convenient to leave it in the water, providing you can find a secure marina slip or mooring. For longer periods of time, it may be cost effective and attractive to combine dry storage in a secure boat yard with your annual haul out. We’ve left Mahina Tiare 1, II & III on the hard or in the water in Portugal, the Azores, Sweden, Panama, Chile, Hawaii, Canada and New Zealand and over the past 35 years and have learned quite a bit about the process, from choosing a place to keep the boat.   More...