Perfect or Good Enough?

One of the many things I enjoy about the high quality comments we get here at AAC is that I draw pretty much endless inspiration for new posts from them. In fact, if I wrote a full post every time a comment inspired me, I would be posting twice a day...and have no life. The [...]

There is not a lot of point in writing about maintenance without addressing the 800 pound gorilla in the room: what it really costs to maintain a voyaging sailboat. Get this wrong and your cruise will be miserable and short.

In this chapter we give you a simple, but surprisingly accurate tool to estimate what maintenance is going to cost.

While we were on holiday (vacation) we stopped by to check on Morgan’s Cloud all tucked up in a shed at Billings Diesel and Marine and discovered that her steering was seized solid because the new type of dripless packing that we tried out for the first time had dried out and frozen to the [...]

You Pays Your Money…

Just made for the job One refreshing thing about Spain is that it is still a country where people carry out many of their own repairs. Evidence of this can be seen in the number of ironmongers (ferreterias) that still exist in even relatively minor towns, Aladdin’s caves filled with every conceivable item for some [...]

Saving The Day

It’s a fact of life that even in our throw away world of ‘service by replacement’ equipment there are times when good old fashioned improvisation can save the day, especially when you’re thousands of miles from the nearest service centre. As a result, part of any spares kit should comprise of a mix of wire, [...]

We joined our friends Dave and Shelly, who live and voyage on their beautiful, and beautifully maintained, Able Apogee 50, Cadence, for dinner the other night. I knew that they had spent the day on maintenance tasks on Cadence and I could sense that it might have been a tough go. (It’s a sure sign [...]

Are Refits Worth It?

Chapter 3 of 20 in the Online Book How To Buy an Offshore Voyaging Boat

It seems like a logical way to own a good offshore sailboat. Buy an older and a bit rundown but fundamentally decent boat and refit it. But does it really work? To explore that important question, I have a true story to tell you.

Experts Worth Their Weight In Gold

Back afloat at last, and it’s so good to feel Pèlerin swing to the wind and tide at anchor once more, after what seemed an endless winter. The last few weeks in the boatyard have been exhausting, as we’ve slogged through the work getting her ready for the long haul after a series of false [...]

It’s Painting Time Again

As the old saying goes, you pay for your pleasures, and that’s certainly true when it comes round to the annual re-fit. The many little jobs that were just too awkward afloat, added to the big ones like antifouling, can all back up and lead to a formidable worklist. And to top it all, there’s [...]

A Great Resource

Practical Sailor is one of the two magazines we still subscribe to. We have been getting their great information on all things boating gear for over 25 years. In that time the magazine has saved us untold amounts of money, not to speak of frustration and wasted time, by helping us to source the best [...]

Priorities In Preparation

Chapter 4 of 6 in the Online Book How To Maintain an Offshore Voyaging Boat

You will never get everything done on your boat. This we guarantee. So one of the most important skills you can have as a boat maintenance technician is prioritization. In this chapter John tells a story of when he got his priorities wrong, and what he learned from that.

We Can’t Do It All

Part of the engine installation project on Morgan’s Cloud was the fitting of new engine mounts—which meant welding, which meant sparks flew, which meant the paint in the engine room got speckled. (Morgan’s Cloud’s builder did a wonderful job of most things, but painting the bilge in the engine room was not one of his [...]

Laying-Up, A Break From Vigilence

Phyllis and I just finished laying-up Morgan’s Cloud for the winter at Billings Diesel and Marine in Maine, where we will be replacing the engine. As always, we are sad to move off the boat, which, over the last 18 years, has become more our home than any place else. But you know, there is [...]