Online Book:

Maintaining a Cruising Boat

When we think of voyaging, we think of tradewind passages and beautiful landfalls. But what will really govern how much fun your cruise will be is much more mundane: It will come down to how good you are at maintaining your boat.

In this book, Colin and John share knowledge gained from a combined 100 years of maintaining offshore boats.

Table of Contents:

Three Tips to Make Your Cruising Boat More Reliable

Let’s face it, cruising boats are horribly unreliable, and gear failures are the most common cruise-ruiner. But we can reduce the problems a lot by thinking about fault tolerance. Here are three real world examples you can use right now to make your boat better.

Estimating The Cost of Maintaining a Cruising Boat

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 cruising boat. 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.

Priorities In Preparation

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.

The Unknown Unknowns

We sometimes write about cool new gear here at AAC, but now it’s time to take a step back and remind ourselves of the vital stuff that will actually get us out there voyaging.

Perfect or Good Enough?

We all want to maintain our boats at the highest possible level, but on the other hand if we do every job perfectly we will never go cruising. Here are some thoughts on maintaining a sane balance.

Spare Parts—Which To Buy and How To Keep Track Of Them

Having the right spare parts aboard is one of the biggest contributors to a fun and stress free voyage. But how do you decide what to buy and then keep track of what you have? John answers those questions and provides downloads of our parts list and the program we use to keep track of them on “Morgan’s Cloud”.

You Need More Than Money

Some thoughts from Colin on vital training for voyaging sailors. Taking the steps he suggests could save your cruise.

Don’t Get Stuck!—Tools and Techniques for Cruisers

When you have decades of experience running commercial research yachts where downtime is not an option, you learn how to make repairs while “out there”. Colin shares information that could save your cruise, and maybe even your boat.

Cool Gadget to Keep Your Frozen Food Frozen

Here’s a simple easy-to-build gadget that will make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your freezer, by circulating the air so the stuff at the top and farthest from the plates does not thaw, while the food at the bottom and against the plates remains frozen, particularly when the freezer is packed tight.

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 above our heads, nervous. In this chapter Matt, AAC Engineering Correspondent, will help you understand how lightning strikes happen and what you can do to reduce the associated risks.

27 Aluminum Boat Care Tips—Part 2

What started as a simple list post is now a care manual for aluminum boat owners. If you are an aluminum boat owner or are considering buying an aluminum boat, don’t miss this series, it could save you tens of thousands of dollars and untold heartache.

27 Aluminum Boat Care Tips—Part 3

The final chapter in John’s magnum opus on aluminum boat care. Includes some good news about how durable the material really is and some thoughts on why you might want to buy a boat built of it.

Surviving The Boatyard—Part 2

Managing a boatyard stay is all about good planning and getting the details right. Colin provides vital tips that will help from haul to re-launch.

Managing Boatyard Costs—Part 1

Many boat owners just shrug and say to themselves that all boatyards are a bunch of incompetent crooks and we are going to get screwed no matter what we do. But it does not have to be that way. John shares what he has learned over some forty years of managing boat projects, both large and small, about how to keep costs at least semi-reasonable and how to decide what tasks are best delegated to a boatyard.

Managing Boatyard Costs—Part 2

John provides specific tips, including a meeting script and scope of work outline, to help you get a quote or an estimate from a boat yard and then manage the project to stay at least close to that agreed price.

Over the years, John has written often about the importance of carefully planning and documenting the maintenance of our boats. In this chapter he shares the computer and hand held device software (apps) he and Phyllis use to do that.