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 Voyaging Sailboat

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.

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.

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 [...]

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 on "Morgan's Cloud".

Q&A: Rod Rigging Replacement

Question: Our Swan 51 is at Morris Yachts for a mini refit this winter and my plan, in addition to everything else, is to start to replace some of the existing rod rigging. It turns out that the rod is 24 years old. Navtec says it should be replaced every 11 years or 30,000 miles. [...]

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.

A Sailor’s Cockpit Enclosure—Part 1

"Morgan's Cloud" with a cockpit enclosure? Can it be true? Yes it is, and here's the why and the how. This will help you decide if you want one too. Chapter will be complimentary for two days only.

The Unknown Unknowns

We have been deep into cool gear and stuff in the last few chapters of our Online Book, Maintaining a Cruising Boat. Now it's time to take a step back and remind ourselves of the vital stuff that will actually get us out there voyaging.