Why Are Saildrives Even A Thing?

Saildrives are becoming ever more common on cruising boats. But are they a good idea, or just yet another way to make the builder’s life easier while making the owner’s harder? John has some thoughts.


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 chapter 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.


Filter Boss Fuel Protection System

Regular readers of this site will know that I take a more than passing interest in fuel quality and our dependence on engine reliability. I believe that these are matters that go to the heart of modern cruising. Therefore, I also believe that anything that can offer improvements in terms of engine reliability has got to [...]


The Best Days Of Our Lives?

Will we get there on time? Those of us with a few years under our belt have seen extraordinary changes in the world of sailing during our lifetimes, not just in terms of the sailing performance of the boats we sail, but also in their comfort and safety, which in turn generates the confidence for [...]


The Bug Is Taking Over

Following our arrival in the Canary Islands last autumn we watched an endless stream of yachts line up at the pontoon alongside the boatyard, all of them with fuel contamination problems. In my experience, it’s usual to find that in cases like this the outbreak can be isolated to one or two suppliers who have [...]


Feathering Propeller Review

When we took delivery of our new OVNI 435 in 2008, we decided to stick with the standard 3 bladed propeller, partly for reasons of cost (we were running out of cash!). But on all of my previous boats I’d had either a folding or feathering prop, and fully intended to fit one to Pèlerin [...]


Q&A: Propeller Shaft Rope Cutters

Question: Do you have a rope cutter? I ask because we are thinking of fitting an Ambassador Stripper (stainless) to a new build alloy [aluminum] yacht with an alloy sterntube, and we wonder if it is possible to get the two to live happily together. Answer: Some twenty years ago we picked up a ball [...]


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 Engine—Rebuild Or Replace?

Initially we were firmly in the rebuild camp, as were most of the experts we consulted. After all, at 6000 hours our engine is, in the words of David in his comment, “[a] baby and has many hours running [still] available”. Rebuilding would also save all the expense and aggravation of changing all kinds of [...]


Cummins Diesel Engine, Problems, Take Two

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 [...]


Basement (Cellar) Sump Pumps

Many offshore boats are fitted with some kind of high capacity emergency bilge pump, sometimes known as crash pumps. We have long considered one for Morgan’s Cloud but have shied away because we don’t like cluttering up the main engine with belted devices and we have yet to find a pump that is compact enough [...]


Q&A: Have You Ever Looked Into Diesel Outboards?

Question: Have you ever looked into diesel outboards? Answer: No, we have not. I would expect them to be both very heavy and expensive for a given power. However, even if those two issues turned out not to be the case, our general policy on Morgan’s Cloud is not to install gear that is not [...]


Kerosene (Paraffin) Cooker

Back in the day, many offshore voyaging pioneers like the Pyes, Smeatons, and Hiscocks cooked on Primus stoves: Peculiar machines that relied on hand pumped air pressure to force kerosene (paraffin) into a burner that was preheated with metholated spirit (industrial alcohol). Tales abounded of flare-ups, singed eyebrows and sea-cooks totally traumatized by the unpredictable [...]


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