June 2019

Mailport: Pocket Cruisers

Featuring distinctive twin bilge keels, the Westerly Nomad 22 Quaker Lady, is a classic shoal-draft pocket cruiser. She’s pictured here cruising the light winds of her home waters Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho.

Regarding your recent Rhum Lines column regarding pocket cruisers (see “Four Types of Pocket Cruisers,” April 2019): Our boat, Quaker Lady, is at home in Bayview, Idaho, at the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille. I bought her in Seattle in 1985, and she came out of the Westerly Yard in 1965. Built for the English Channel, Irish and North Seas, she’s solid fiberglass and has a one-lung Volvo auxiliary.   More...

Air Conditioning at Anchor

Once you’ve planned out the installation of duct work, pumps, and compressor for your air conditioning system, the hard work begins. It is important not to compromise strength in any structural bulkheads when you begin routing ducts.

Subscribers Only — We often get this question. “My car has air conditioning when I’m running down the street so why can’t my boat?” First, your car only has air conditioning when the engine is running, which works out fine because we only need air conditioning when the engine is running. Second, the air-conditioning load for the car is a tiny parasitic load compared to the power required to drive the car down the road. It’s actually less than the increased drag caused by driving with the windows rolled down. Thus, it is more or less an engineering afterthought with regards to the energy balance of an automobile.   More...

Calculating the Right Air Conditioner Size

Detailed planning can greatly reduce installation headaches.

Estimating size has always been tricky, because it depends on the insulation value of the boat, climate, and how quick you want the boat to cool down. It also depends on window covers and awnings and how much window space you have. Houses, on the other hand, tend to have similar insulation values, and the rate at which they cool is not important because people leave the AC on all summer.   More...

Some Simple Tricks to Tensioning Lashings

Friction prevents lashings from matching the mechanical advantage of a traditional cascade system. Because of this friction, tensioning the lashing can require some creative measures, like using winches or block and tackle.

Subscribers Only — We’ve seen both turnbuckles and lashing, on matching boats nearly side by side. Why the difference in approach, since both designers are obviously comfortable with synthetic standing rigging?   More...

Lashing for Strength

The decision to go with turnbuckles or high-tech lashing varies greatly. The Outremer 51 (left) features carbon fiber rigging but uses conventional turnbuckles, while the carbon-fiber hull H55 uses dyneema lashing for tensioning.

Subscribers Only — Standing rigging, stays, and lifelines; these have always been steel cable, terminated with a shackle or ball at one end and a turnbuckle at the other. Steel fittings for steel rigging. For synthetic rigging, lashings seem like the logical replacement. They have a simple ruggedness that we think we understand, and like seems to fit with like.   More...

Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

Crowded mooring fields like this one on Chesapeake Bay stagger the positions of the boats to maximize their capacity.

Subscribers Only — Stagger while you anchor? It sounds like I’ve either been drinking too much or sailing too long. Bear with me.   More...

Synthetic Ice Test

The molded Cooler Insert container covers the bottom and one side of the cooler.

Subscribers Only — In “Making Ice Last” (PS August 2018) we explored cube ice, block ice, dry ice and frozen bottles. Of course, many of the cooler manufactures sell reusable icepacks, touting convenience, decreased mess, and in some cases, lower temperatures. Most are not much use on multi-day trips, since they can’t be re-frozen underway, but perhaps they are just the thing for the one- to three-day trips that make up our weekender reality, at least most of the year.   More...

Sailboat Accessory Hooks

Mounting the hooks on a removable bracket secured by thumb screws allows the ropes to be easily removed together, permitting easy access to the locker bottom.

Subscribers Only — Boats are always challenged by limited storage space. Many production boats share two common features: they have lockers that are either bottomless or wet at the bottom, and those lockers contained broken storage hooks installed by the previous owner. Over the years we’ve been on the lookout for storage hooks that won’t fail and reconsidered the places where they can best meet our needs.   More...

The DIY Hanger Hook

A drill press and a couple of dowls (1-4) is all you need to construct the hook. Glue on hooks (5) secure the mounting bracket to the inside of the hull.

It was a given that anything added to the cockpit locker of our F-24 test boat had to be quickly removable. All of the bolts for cockpit gear, fuel lines, and half of the wiring is accessed by worming through this narrow locker into the space under the cockpit, and any obstruction would render it inaccessible. Because the backside is the hull, through-bolting was not an option. The previous owner had epoxied on a few hooks, but gluing plastic to fiberglass is pretty hopeless and only the scars remained.   More...

Anchoring Legal Responsibility

The first boat in an anchorage retains certain rights, but those rights don’t relieve them of all obligations.

We often get questions about anchoring rights. While it is commonly understood that the first boat arriving in an anchorage has privileges, many see this as a matter of etiquette, but it is also a legal issue. The below citations are from the case Juniata 124 F. 861 US Admiralty Court, E.D. Virginia, 1903. Other rulings we reviewed generally agree.]   More...

Fiberglass Boat Strength

Several years ago I heard a story about a boatbuilder who was demonstrating the toughness of their hull at a boat show booth by allowing passersby to wack a hammer at a sample fiberglass sandwich core panel. Each time, the hammer would impressively bounce back, leaving only a small dent. But then one dubious volunteer (an engineer, one presumes) took a turn, but this time with the hammer claw at the business end. The claw quickly pierced the thin laminate and lodged in the core, thus puncturing the myth of the “indestructible hull.”   More...