John's Tips, Tricks & Thoughts

Version 2.2, 9th August, Getting better


  • You can turn on a weekly digest in your email preferences.
  • I finally got posting to our Twitter and FaceBook accounts working right. Sorry for the malformed posts while I did that.
  • This page also has an RSS feed.

Let us know what you like, and don't like in the comments to this article. All suggestions gratefully received.

Dean Barker is Back

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Nice to see that one of the best, and arguably most unlucky sailors, in Americas Cup modern history is back with a team. I’m a huge fan of the quiet Kiwi. The man is a class act. He will be a great coach, I’m sure. Might end up back on the wheel too, I’m guessing.

Most “Drop In” Lithium Batteries Not ABYC Compliant

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The way I read this, batteries with BMSs that do not communicate are now obsolete:

If a shutdown condition is approaching a battery system should notify the operator with a visual and/or audible alarm before disconnecting the battery from the DC system.

ABYC E13-7

I think ABYC should have required all BMS to be able to communicate with charging sources. This could be as simple as a set of contacts, but CANBus is better. More here on why. And here on ways to do that.

Stupid Mast Errors

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After just three day sails our main halyard is mangled. Turns out @sparcraft jammed the wiring conduit right up under the sheave on our brand new mast so it deflects the halyard and chafes it. Looked like end of season. We were gutted. No way to fix without unstep, but see next tip.

No Position


We were out sailing our new-to-us J/109 when I realized that neither of the default screens on the plotter or TZiBoat showed position. Pretty standard these days…and oh so wrong. Imagine a person overboard and we need to radio for help but first have to dig though a bunch of screens to find position. Two minutes to fix (above photo), but worth thinking about.

White Paint Is Our Friend


Before and after shots of a small locker in our J-109. Way better to paint the water damaged ply than mess around with varnish trying to fix it. Brightens the boat up too. We like semi-gloss, not gloss. White is brighter inside the locker too.