An Electric Bilge Pump For The Ages

Chapter 5 of 6 in the Online Book Watertight Integrity

In the last chapter in this Online Book, in reaction to a members's tale of frustration, I recommended a bilge pump switch. But what about the bilge pump itself? When we bought Morgan's Cloud she had a Jabsco 36600 bilge pump that was installed when she was built 27 years ago. And we still have [...]

Protecting Against Lightning Strikes

Lightning strike! Just the words can make us cruising sailors, who sail around the ocean with the highest thing in hundreds of square miles sticking up, nervous.

This post by Matt, AAC Engineering Correspondent, will help you understand how lighting strikes happen and what you can do to reduce the associated risks.

Lithium Ion Batteries

Chapter 11 of 12 in the Online Book Battery Installation & Maintenance (Second Edition)

There's a good chance that you are currently sharing the room with a half-dozen or more lithium ion batteries. The computer in front of you has one, your camera has one, your phone has one, the R/C car your kid is racing around your ankles has one. Lithium battery technology is almost everywhere. And, soon, [...]

Anything learned from battery use on a boat that is not really out there cruising is…well, not very useful. Cruising is different, and much harder on batteries than most other uses. And so much of what you read about sailboat battery life is theory based on…well, not a lot. So it was great to get [...]

On a cruising sailboat the batteries will likely be charged most often by an alternator on the main engine, particularly if the boat does not have a generator. And if you live aboard, the alternator that came with the engine is simply not going to cut it. In this chapter we share how to buy and install a real cruiser's alternator.

Electric or Diesel-Electric Drives for Voyaging Boats

Chapter 11 of 21 in the Online Book How To Buy an Offshore Voyaging Boat

Electric and diesel electric (hybrid) drives have become all the rage in recent years. But are they really a more efficient option for offshore cruising sailboats? In this post we take a solid and arithmetically rigorous approach, based on advice from two professional engineers with substantial experience of electric drive use on land, to cut through the hype and answer that question.

There’s nothing like a good long voyage to sort out a boat, for better or for worse. That much I learned running a working charter boat for so many years. Every season we’d cover around 8000 hard miles between the English Channel and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. On our return to Falmouth at the [...]

Staying In Charge—Part IV, Hydro Power

Chapter 4 of 5 in the Online Book Alternative Energy For Voyaging Sailboats

So far we’ve looked at how to deliver supplementary power when at rest, a difficult enough challenge with today's complicated boats, but one which pales into insignificance when underway 24 hours a day, when many other ‘hungry’ devices are factored in – the autopilot, navigation lights, instruments, etc. This was our stumbling block, as whilst [...]

Staying In Charge—Part III, Solar Power

Chapter 3 of 5 in the Online Book Alternative Energy For Voyaging Sailboats

There are very few cruising boats that we see these days that don’t have a solar panel fitted somewhere, and many have some pretty substantial arrays. Our experience over the last five years has been largely positive, and we’re convinced that solar has played a valuable part in our supplementary power installation, wherever we have [...]

Let’s face it, there is never enough time to keep a boat that is actively out there voyaging in perfect condition: to do all the routine maintenance; to repair what’s broken; to replace what’s too old to be trusted. Or at least, there is never enough time if we actually want to see the places [...]