Setting up for a successful boatyard experience

My 45-foot Morgan sloop, Tiger Beetle, is back in the water following a good haul out, bottom job, and replacement speedo through-hull at The Boatyard in Channel Islands Harbor, California. The yard was efficient, the travel lift had an excellent operator, the place was clean, and I was able to do my own work. Eight days from lift to launch and all went well. Below are some of my practices that help make a haul out an enjoyable event. Have all materials in hand before haul out It’s no fun to run out of materials in the middle of a…
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Remember your friend the engine raw water sea strainer

Remember your friend the engine raw water sea strainer

By Rob MacFarlane A raw-water cooled engine draws in sea water from the ocean, pumps it through the motor or heat exchanger to extract heat, then returns the water  overboard. On my boat, the cooling water is combined with engine exhaust gases through the exhaust elbow and wet-exhaust line. An issue with using sea water is there’s no control of what's in the sea water being pumped in — all sorts of detritus can be included, including small fish, sea weed, debris, bits and pieces. The engine cooling system's first line of defense is the lowly sea water strainer —…
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Nordhavn owner tests Starlink satellite system

Nordhavn owner tests Starlink satellite system

  For years we’ve seen satellite domes multiply on boats like so many plastic mushrooms. Now, a new player in the satellite market, Starlink, is making its way into the marine world. Even though Starlink is not officially for marine use, some enterprising boat owners have installed the system on their boats, with some undertaking informal testing of its effectiveness while underway. Among these is Alex Dickinson, the owner of the Nordhavn 60, Cherry, based in Dana Point, Calif. An electrical engineer by training, Dickinson has had two Starlink antennas installed on Cherry. They occupy mounts that once sported sat…
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Voyaging Tips, December 2021

Catching dinner from a sailboat on passage is completely unlike sport fishing from a stationary boat. The goal is to get a fish on board for the grill and dinner. On passage the sails are up and you're making the best possible speed, so stopping the boat to fight a fish is not much of an option. A rod and reel is one solution, though you're working with lightweight line, a rod that can break, and if the fish is large enough you'll have difficulty boating it without a net or gaff. Alternatively, a simple, strong, inexpensive handline pays big…
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Voyaging Tips, October 2021

Voyaging Tips, October 2021

When you head off on passage you leave behind access to stores, chandleries, and parts delivery; if you didn't bring it with you you're not going to find it at the mythical half-way barge. What you can do is plan ahead and bring repair materials along, including glues, tapes, adhesives and the like. Armed with these you can keep a fair bit of equipment operational. Note that there's little value in having materials without also understanding where and how to use them. Know where systems are located/routed on your boat and know how to use the materials at hand to…
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Voyaging Tips, August 2021

Voyaging Tips, August 2021

Good skippers don’t experiment with long-standing shipboard routines. They know how to delegate important duties to qualified people and then let them do their jobs without micromanaging them. Choose one cook to be in charge and one assistant cook to occasionally help out. Don’t make the cook stand watches and swab the decks too. Meals take time to prepare, cook, serve, and clean up. Multiply that by three meals per day, and that’s enough work right there for anyone. Don’t forget to give your cook some days off by using that assistant cook as an occasional relief. No one wants…
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A hole or break in your boat’s hull is among the worst situations you can face offshore. If your boat is sinking, sort out what to do immediately and what can wait. The first priority is to determine how much water is coming in the hole. Flooding means water is coming in faster than the bilge pump(s) can pump it out. Any lesser amount is leakage, not flooding. Though the difference may seem obvious, it is an important distinction. Leaks can be controlled by pumping alone — no other immediate action is required. Flooding, on the other hand, must be…
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Fire! It's a scary enough thought while ashore. Just imagine cowering in the cockpit of your boat, staring down the companionway as ugly black smoke starts to pour out. What do you do now? If you don't have an answer, think the problem through before you head offshore again. Aside from any knowledge of firefighting techniques, there are three basic steps that will make it much less likely to have to abandon a vessel because of fire. First and most important is to take all action possible to prevent a fire from starting. Second, prepare yourself for fighting the fire…
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