Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

What We Learned While Escaping Hurricane Irma

By Rich

Let me start off this article by saying that those of us with property and / or lives we love in Fort Lauderdale got lucky that Irma’s track brought her eye well west of us. As such we really only got a punch in the nose as opposed to the comprehensive beating those in the Caribbean and western Florida and the Keys got. Our thoughts go out to all of those who were more gravely affected than we were. Continue reading What We Learned While Escaping Hurricane Irma

Games To Play While On Watch Overnight

By Rich

Ever had trouble staying alert while on those long overnight watches during a race or a delivery? Here are some games we made up to keep ourselves entertained during the Annapolis to Newport race:

  • Try to name every state and each state’s capital. We tried to remember them all by starting in alphabetical order
  • The same but for European countries
  • The same but for African countries. We didn’t make much progress on this one despite the fact that yours truly took a History of Modern Africa class in college that required memorization of precisely these items. Sigh.
  • Does anyone know a language the others don’t? Teach them common daily phrases. We chose Norwegian.

We also made up a new game we called “superlatives.” Although the idea isn’t all that novel and on further reflection a game called “superlatives” almost certainly is already a thing, the game seemed novel through the fog of sleep depravation. We’d ask questions like the following and then go in a circle so that each crew member could give his / her own answer:

  • What’s the most scared you’ve ever been in your life?
  • What’s the most drunk?
  • Name an alcoholic beverage with which you’ve “had a falling out” and tell the story
  • What’s the best movie ever made?
  • What’s the most beautiful boat ever made?

…and so on. We entertained ourselves for hours, day and night. Try it on your next passage!

Adventures In Varnishing: The Cabin Sole


By Rich

Between age and the wear and tear we inflicted upon it after two winters of intense restoration work in the interior, our cabin sole was in need of a new coat of varnish this spring. We tried hiring a contractor to the work, but as we detailed in this post, that turned out to be a disaster. So we took the project on ourselves. Here is what we learned about the process. Continue reading Adventures In Varnishing: The Cabin Sole

Leaking Deck Hatches? Here Are Some Troubleshooting Tips


By Rich

There’s nothing more cozy and peaceful on earth than sitting below decks on a boat and listening to a steady rain drum overhead. By a country mile my fondest childhood memories of cruising on our family Pearson 40 were of such moments.

As an adult responsible for maintaining our boat, there’s nothing that can obliterate the magic of those same moments more comprehensively than indignity of having to strategically place one or more salad bowls to protect nice cushions or teak from a leak. Between this past summer living aboard in Newport and this winter working down the resulting “to do” list, I can provide our dear readers with a comprehensive troubleshooting guide for deck hatch leaks. Continue reading Leaking Deck Hatches? Here Are Some Troubleshooting Tips

How Not To Install A Holding Tank


By Rich

Among the rules of installing water, fuel, or waste tanks on a boat is the Golden Rule: marine tanks must be installed in such a manner that no significant forces act upon the tanks’ fittings. Let me say that again, in case it wasn’t entirely clear:

Marine tanks must be installed in such a manner that no significant forces act upon the tanks’ fittings. Continue reading How Not To Install A Holding Tank

Centerboard Boat? How To Prevent Potentially Dangerous Leaks


By Rich

It’s vital for centerboard boat owners and crews to be fully aware of the location and nature of all components below the waterline – and for these components to be inspected regularly. Last summer when we hauled out to replace our broken centerboard cable, we got a look for the first time at the sheave box for the cable in the lazarette (pictured above) when it was removed as part of the cable replacement. Those brown streaks mean that some parts of the box had rusted completely through and begun to leak through pinholes – not good news given that this component lives below the water line! The rust wasn’t serious enough to be a risk to the boat in the immediate future, so we re installed it and made a note to remove it and have it repaired over the winter. I also noticed that a small section of rubber hose served as a coupler between the sheave box and the rest of the cable conduit, which is stainless steel. Though it was certainly due for replacement, the coupler didn’t look to be unsafe. Still, having seen both lazarette components I made a mental note for the coming winter to inspect the second (forward) sheave box where the cable exits the hull and its rubber coupler.  Continue reading Centerboard Boat? How To Prevent Potentially Dangerous Leaks

Considering A Battery Upgrade? Factor In The Change In Weight

Version 2

By Rich

Our 1989 Sabre 42 originally came with 3 Group 27 marine batteries weighing +/- 67 pounds each for a total of 200 pounds or so. They provided 180 amp hours of house capacity (from two batteries) or 270 total if you factor in the third engine battery as well (I am assuming one of the three was originally dedicated to the engine). A prior owner upgraded our boat to one Group 27 engine battery and two 4D House batteries. The upgrade was well meaning, bumping the dedicated house battery capacity to 420 amp hours while still reserving a dedicated Group 27 for the engine. The downside was that the upgrade increased the total battery weight from 200 pounds to 331.

Continue reading Considering A Battery Upgrade? Factor In The Change In Weight

Lesson Number 5,000(?) In How Not To Repair A Boat


By Rich

It’s pushing 7PM on Tuesday night, and I’m lying on my side, on the sole of the Sabre, with my arm submerged halfway in cold, smelly, oily bilge water and extended to its limits under the flooring as I work to fasten a new bilge pump float switch to the hull using only feel and instinct. My fingers work in the darkness while I stare up at the headliner and reflect on the percentage of fix-it projects we’ve had to take on aboard the Sabre through no fault of the factory but as a result of past over-confident / under-skilled do-it-yourselfers or lousy “professional” yard work. It’s got to be the vast majority. Two of last winter’s biggest projects, in fact, were taken on for just this reason: replacing one of the cracked holding tanks and re-bedding the poorly installed stainless opening portholes. Those projects are still only half complete; this winter the aft holding tank gets replaced and two of the six portholes are left to go.  Continue reading Lesson Number 5,000(?) In How Not To Repair A Boat