Blog July 2020


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Posted On: July 29, 2020

Surveys and Sea Trials

A survey inspection of the boat prior to purchase can either make or break a deal.

A professional marine surveyor is an expert who should be well versed in boat construction, as well as safety and manufacturing laws, requirements and practices. Surveys cost an average of $10-$15 per foot, depending upon the size of the boat and region. The boat should be inspected in and out of the water. Although hiring a surveyor is an added cost, consider it a good investment against buying an unsafe boat or one that needs expensive repairs.

If you spend $1000 on a survey that reveals $3500 worth of damages to the boat, you can decide whether the boat is worth owning.

A surveyor's report can be a bargaining chip when it comes to negotiating with the seller. You can use the problems identified in the report as a way to lower the price or get certain items taken care of before purchase.

Remember, though, a surveyor's report is not a guarantee against defects in the boat but the opinion of a professional.

If you do renegotiate the sales price or if the seller agrees to make repairs following the surveyors inspection, make sure these changes and a detailed list of the repairs are written into the purchase agreement.



Posted On: July 22, 2020

Stainless steel can and does rust.

Whoever named stainless steel must have been an optimist. Stainless steel certainly can and does rust, though if you know why, you can avoid using it in places where it's less suitable. Most marine-grade stainless used on production boats is from the 300 series. Type 304 is a good multipurpose steel. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is clad with 304. Types 316 and 316L have a slightly higher nickel content and added molybdenum to improve their corrosion resistance over 304 — especially with regard to pitting and corrosion in saltwater environments. There are higher grades as well, such as the type used in dental implants. Most boaters will opt for Type 316 and 316L.

The key to stainless steel is that the chromium in the steel combines with oxygen to form an invisible surface layer of chromium oxide that prevents further corrosion from spreading into the metal's internal structure. Stainless steel actually protects and repairs itself, except in areas where there is a low level of oxygen, such as a stainless-steel screw in a damp deck core. This kind of corrosion is referred to as "crevice corrosion." It can eat into the stainless, causing great weakening. In some cases, cheap plated steel or zinc fasteners are mistaken for stainless steel and then cursed when they begin to rust or crumble. Use stainless steel where it won't be starved of oxygen, and get high-grade stainless fittings from a known supplier. Stainless steel that is attracted by a magnet is not what you want to use on a boat.



Posted On: July 15, 2020

Using A Kedge To Stop The Boat

Using a kedge to stop the boat illustration

An anchor deployed from the stern is the obvious choice if we have to come alongside under sail with the wind or tide behind us and can't slow or stop the boat by any other means. Provided the anchor is big enough to dig in easily and the bottom will provide adequate holding, just drop it a couple of boat lengths from the dock, and surge out the line until you come to a stop beside the dock. Take care to control the line safely around your bollard or cleat and to avoid rope burns and hands and limbs becoming caught in the line.

Use The Main Anchor To Turn The Boat Around

Turn on anchor illustration

If you don't carry a kedge, you'll have to use the primary anchor from the bow, but the technique is a little more complicated. After dropping the anchor, give a quick bust of forward power if needed, then put the engine in neutral so you don't foul the prop with the anchor rode. As the boat continues forward you'll continue sailing over it until the cable snubs to swing the boat around, assisted by a touch on the helm — hopefully she should end up lying gently against the wall or dock if this tactic is well executed. An old sailing barge skipper told me how he did this on a regular basis, but he had years of experience and the barge had massive hull timbers to absorb the occasional bump.

But I have seen a modern boat do the same trick when a very experienced captain turned the boat around in its own length. The water was quite shallow, so he took the main anchor aft, secured it there, and ran the cable outside everything before securing the anchor rode at the bow. The length of the boat gave him the correct scope for the chain, so when he kicked the anchor off the stern, it went down, bit in, and the boat slowly turned around and lay alongside. It was a beautiful bit of seamanship. But if you don't quite get alongside and there's enough tide running, you can often sheer across the current by putting the helm over.



Posted On: July 08, 2020

Choppy Water

How you handle choppy water is a skill that you need to develop if you want to enjoy boating. This article covers the basics of boating safely through chop.

Many boats handle choppy water different, so know your boat type.

Power boats are designed with rough water in mind. Hull designs such as the deep V and even double hulls have made choppy waters less of a problem, but the burden is on the captain, that's you, to get it right. Well designed boats are half the equation; the other half is you.

Choppy Water Basics:

1. Batten down. No matter how skillfully you maneuver your boat, if loose equipment and just plain stuff litters the boat you may be in for an expensive experience, not to mention danger. Debris flying around a boat can damage the vessel and injure the people aboard. Simply stowing things into compartments is a good first step. Some experienced boaters keep a few old towels aboard as stuffing material to keep things in place. Of course there are some Items that you need to keep handy such as binoculars. Velcro fasteners are a great way to keep these things in place. It almost seems that the Velcro people make this stuff for boating.

Good seamanship dictates that you prepare your vessel for rough water even when things are calm. Boats should be ready for the water to turn to chop.

2. Watch your speed. Power boats can go very fast, but sea conditions may dictate the you go slowly. Handling power boats in chop requires careful use of the throttle—and a lot of common sense. There is no clear cut definition of when water turns from chop to just plain rough. In a choppy sea you may not encounter waves that come in regular intervals, just a mess of little waves that don't seem to go anywhere. In a chop you want to add speed; in a rough sea with large waves you want to go slow. If you have a planing hull, that is one that enables your boat to skip or plane across the surface of the water, you should "get up on plane." Planing enables the boat to avoid the worst effects of the chop and can deliver a smoother ride than going slow. Boats without planing hulls, such as trawlers, have it a little tougher. If your boat doesn't plane you handle chop by just gutting through it. This isn't as bad as it sounds because a displacement hull is designed for stability.

If the chop turns to heavy waves, slow down. You can't plane along the surface of eight foot waves at 20 foot intervals. You can kill yourself.

Boating through chop, like most things in boating, requires a strong dose of common sense.



Posted On: July 01, 2020

So we don't lose track of it, here's a brief overview of why we celebrate the 4th.

We have had differences over the years, we are free and able to work out our differences.

The Story of the Fourth of July

The Declaration of Independence

We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

But July 4, 1776 wasn't the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).

It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).

And it wasn't the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn't happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).


So what did happen on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They'd been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.

July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.

In contrast, we celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year, the anniversary of the date the Constitution was signed, not the anniversary of the date it was approved. If we’d followed this same approach for the Declaration of Independence we’d being celebrating Independence Day on August 2nd of each year, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed!