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 [...]

Before any long passage I conduct a careful examination of all of our standing and running rigging, checking particularly for chafe and any sign of corrosion – better to do it well in advance than wait until the last minute when there’s no time to effect repairs. So before we left the Canaries I went [...]

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 [...]

A Propane Tank Gotcha

This is a small FYI post about a big pain in the butt! The gotcha started innocently enough with me blithely loading our propane tanks into the back of the car and driving to our local Canadian Tire to get them filled—as I had done with no problems in the past—prior to our heading south [...]

A Tale Of Two Water Heaters

Last year our venerable and functional 9 gallon Allcraft water heater (on the right) finally bit the big one after 15 years of faithful service. And, wouldn't you know it, Allcraft had gone out of business. So, after some fairly perfunctory research—how big a deal could a water heater be?—we ordered a new stainless steel [...]

Cummins Diesel Engine, Problems, Take Two

Chapter 1 of 8 in the Online Book Auxiliary Power For Sailboats

We are in the throes of re-powering Morgan’s Cloud, and as far as we are concerned, this unpleasant and expensive task has come about 4000 engine hours too early. A couple of years ago we started to notice that we were getting much more soot on the transom from the exhaust than we liked. Then [...]

Force10 Stove (Cooker), Problems, Take Two

During our recent refit we replaced Morgan’s Cloud ’s old, and much hated stove (cooker) with a three burner model from Force10. Getting the new stove working properly and safely has not been easy. But before we get into this I should explain that Phyllis and I love food, cook a lot, and push our [...]

Force10 Stove (Cooker), Problems

After much agonizing, we finally made the decision to replace our Broadwater stove (cooker) that has given us so much trouble since we bought it seven years ago; mainly because the manufacturer seems to be, after several fits and starts, well and truly defunct (more on the Broadwater). To replace it we ordered a Force10. [...]

Replace A CQR Anchor With A SPADE

Chapter 3 of 15 in the Online Book Anchoring Made Easy—Vol 1, Gear

The single most important thing you can do in your quest to get reliably anchored is replace your old style anchor with one of the newer designs. This assertion is not theory or forum hype, but based on our own real world testing, which we detail in this chapter, while anchoring all over the north Atlantic.

Broadwater Stove (Cooker), Problems

This is a beautifully fabricated four burner stainless steel stove (cooker) that, when we bought it in 1996, was billed as the best money could buy; supposedly even better than the New Zealand-fabricated Princess stove, which really was the best stove money could buy (unfortunately, our Princess stove was on our old boat, which we [...]

Simrad Autopilot, Problems

During the winter of 1996/97 I was single handing in the Caribbean and our trusty old Neco autopilot bit the big one. Gear always dies when you need it most! I replaced it with a Simrad autopilot controlling the old Neco rotary drive. After a few hundred miles of sailing, the Neco drive died. I [...]

GMT Carbon Mast, Problems

Okay, this is a big one and to fully understand it will take you a lot of reading. But, if you are contemplating a major custom project, such as a new mast or even a new boat, the time expended here may save you a lot of money and aggravation. We made a lot of [...]

When doing a scrupulous 50 hour check of our then brand new engine, I (John) found a bolt in the bilge. After much twisting of myself into awkward positions with a trouble light and a mirror, I finally found where it had come from: the oil pan. Things only got worse. When I reinstalled the [...]

In 2005, KVH abruptly stopped supporting the Quadra system, which had served us well for many years, albeit after its own set of teething problems. After considering most of the options and nearly settling on B&G, but finally being put off by a sudden and substantial increase to their already, in our opinion, ridiculously high [...]

Northstar GPS, Problems

In 1999 we installed a new Northstar GPS. At the time we could have bought a perfectly functional GPS for one quarter the cost but we went with the Northstar because of its reputation for quality and reliability and its easy to use software. Also, Nick Nicholson had given the Northstar a ringing endorsement in [...]