Battery Banter

(published November 2012) Chuck Hawley, West Marine’s Vice President of Product Development, recently bought an Alerion Express 38 Yawl and is learning how to be a cruiser all over again. Since Chuck is not only a gear expert for our industry, but also in the middle of doing upgrades for

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All Charged Up

Consider an alternator upgrade for increased efficiency  (published November 2012) Your engine’s alternator can be considered the battery bank’s primary charging device since you use the boat’s engine regularly—if not daily—and because the alternator is already there and ready to go to work. But most standard, factory-supplied alternators on marine

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Sail Off the Grid

Solar, wind and water power for independent cruising  (published November 2012) As I sit and write on a charging laptop, the refrigerator compressor kicks on nearby, music fills the background, and I look up at the stereo, chartplotter, VHF, SSB and modem nestled neatly at the nav station. Underneath my

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Avoid Boom Doom

Rigging a preventer or boom brake  (published November 2012) Warning: The only way to start this is with a dramatic, yet frightening reality.  “BOOM” isn’t exactly the noise it makes when it hits a crewmember. The sound is more akin to getting knocked in the head by a baseball bat.

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Replacing Sanitary Hoses

A cautionary tale  (published October 2012) In the year 2000, when Island Packet built my precious IP 380, MoDachaidh, apparently modern technology hadn’t yet perfected the “guaranteed impermeable” sanitation hose. Instead, Mo’ came equipped with a permeable rubber hose that began to lend the unmistakable aroma of “eau de sewer”

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Practice Makes Perfect

Refinishing Regina Oceani's middle-aged hull  (published October 2012) It takes a great deal of bravery, faith and endurance to refinish the hull of a 31-year-old, 42-foot sailboat. And it should be said now: “Caution: The photographs in this article may not be suitable for all boat owners.” But the rewards

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Year 5: What Worked, What Didn’t

(published October 2012) Setting off from Rhode Island five years ago to sail around the world, we installed a multi-page list of new equipment on our old Valiant 40. But nothing on a long range cruising sailboat stays new for long. Here is a short list of items that are

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The Experts Weigh In

BWS authors share their favorite safety and communication gear  (published September 2012) Without question, our most valuable and useful piece of electronics is an ICOM 802 SSB with Pactor modem. We use it for email, gathering WeatherFax and GRIB file data, chatting with friends and listening to weather forecasters like

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Fitting Out for Cruising

15 top upgrades that transform your boat into a liveaboard voyager  (published October 2012) Whether you are buying a new boat through a dealer or a used boat through a broker, you will have abundant help deciding just which model is right for you and your cruising plans. But once

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Adding Reef Points

(published September 2012) Any experienced cruising sailor knows the importance of being able to reef your sails in heavy weather to reduce power and heeling. As a safety feature, at least one, and preferably two reefs are critical. So when my husband and I replaced our mainsail a few years

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