One way to repair leaking (aluminum) fuel tanks

17 Jul

It’s a bit of a bummer but along with the past two weeks of daily rain I’ve been knocked low with some sort of summer flu and despite being so close to launch I’ve made little progress on the boat these past couple weeks. Looks like I may have to temper my expectations, yet again. I’m sure glad I don’t have a real deadline to work to! In the meantime, here is one of the projects I have been looking forward to writing about. It seems to have been not only an effective repair but one which I have not ...

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Summer Life in Puerto Vallarta

15 Jul

One of my favorite things about cruising Mexico is that during the summer, when it is insanely hot, there is relief to be had. We've got two babies onboard, and have found that trying to stay on the boat during the summer is just not doable. Maybe if it were just the two of us, but making kids hide indoors all day is no fun for anyone. 

For us the escape has been Puerto Vallarta. In the summer condo rental rates plummet. Gringos disappear from sight, and suddenly a two-bedroom condo that rents for $3200 a month in high season ...

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More On Electric Shock Drowning

14 Jul

For those interested in learning more about Electric Shock Drowning (ESD), Kevin Ritz, the Papa Bear of marine electrical safety, will be addressing the recent deaths in a free webinar  entitled Electric Shock Drowning…the Invisible Killer. Kevin is an engaging speaker, and speaks from both expertise and personal tragedy:

Event Type:  FREE Seminar

Presented by: Kevin Ritz
Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 
Time: 1:00 PM Eastern Time
Location: On your PC or MAC.  At your Desk, in your Office or in your Home!  Audio will be through your computer speakers.

Click here to register: 


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Rainy day winch surgey

13 Jul

As much as we might try to delude ourselves, there’s no getting around the weather on a sailboat, not even when it’s resting soundly on two inches of gravel. I’ve run out of in-the-boat jobs (for launching, that is) and am down to one epoxy job I can do in the shop for 20 minutes at a time. The rest of the items on the launch list are on the topsides where they have been intermittently soaked for the past week and a half. This, I suppose, is the natural compliment to the artificial lake that has been flowing under ...

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Electric Shock Drowning: three more dead this week

10 Jul

I wrote a draft of this post last week, and wanted Kevin Ritz, President of the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, to check its accuracy before going to press. In the interim three more children have died from Electric Shock Drowning (ESD).

I first became aware of ESD when I showed up for my first day at Kevin's ABYC Marine Electrical Certification course. After the first hour of class Kevin had us riveted, when we were all expecting a fairly dull week of electrical standards study. Kevin has dedicated his life to marine electrical safety because in 1999 his eight-year-old son ...

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Sailors Or Swimsuit Models?

9 Jul

Update: What is in the Gatorade? Now Anna Tunnicliffe, the 2008 Radial gold medallist, is sailing in the buff (see below).

Something strange is going on over at US Sailing. They are running a "Meet The Team" series, which makes sense with the Olympics approaching. But someone, somewhere,deep in the bowels of the US Sailing marketing machine has decided that the best way promote sailors like Paige Railey, Amanda Clark, and Sarah Lihan is to….feature them in bikinis. 

Who knows what Railey was thinking, or whether she was into the idea of showing some skin along with her ...

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Oh, no, not again! Mild steel rusting away in the mast support

8 Jul

Yesterday I was trying to run the cables from my mast down into the cabin when I discovered yet another problem! The existing hole was a bit small for the cables, and I was curious to see what was going on in the mast support member, so I drilled it out a bit larger. I hadn’t expected to run into any issues as there are no signs of water ingress or stress cracking around the mast step.

 Nonetheless as I drilled I started to get worried. I was expecting to pull out a solid plug of material and instead I ...

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And Over On Channel 2: The Singlehanded Transpac

2 Jul

Of course, the other ocean race drama you should be watching online (in addition to the Volvo), is the venerable STP. That reality show is about a group of half-sane, sailing-addled, misanthropes who are flogging a very diverse group of sailboats from San Francisco to Hawaii.

Live tracking is here. Updates from the boats are here.

Wishing you were out there, too? Here's a recent update. You have to ask yourself one question: 'Am I tough enough?'

It was a cold wet night. Stayed out driving till early am. Had to do a mid night headsail

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Installing the Chainplates

21 Jun
This is my friend Tony.

Well, there’s plenty to catch up with but it feels good to be writing in real time for a minute. So for now lets gloss over the whole putting the mast up thing and stick with these chainplates. This week we’ve been putting them on for good, removing them one by one to bed in polyurethane sealant before bolting to the hull and reattaching the halyard or stay. The chainplates for the lowers and the backstay need some bending at the top and in places the toerail needs to be chiseled to accept the Colligo ...

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Bilge Pump Nirvana

20 Jun

One of my most common electrical installations is Aqualarm's bilge pump monitoring and control system. Most recently I installed three each on all three of our family ferries in Newport Beach, so nine in total. Aqualarm made us the custom consoles (pictured above). Our ferries are double-ended, so we refer to the ends as Penninsula and Island, rather than bow and stern.

The system will work with any pump, but for full functionality you need to use the console in conjunction with their Smart Switch (float switch):

With the monitor and Smart Switch working together, you get four features that ...

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