Carrying night vision on your boat offers great utility, and is great fun. It makes night travel a lot safer, providing you with the tools to see in the dark. Highly recommended equipment, more affordable than ever before.
The question of single engine versus twin engines has been beaten to death many times over, in my opinion. It really doesn’t matter which you choose, as a single engine with a bow thruster can perform as well as a boat with twin engines. But given how the marketplace has evolved, many buyers are looking at older trawlers, and the age factor somewhat changes the discussion.
The best way to have a trouble-free cruising season is to perform a thorough sea trial after you launch the boat. And be sure to run the boat at full throttle, which will surface equipment and components that are ready to break, clog, or disintegrate.
Here is my version of a traditional chain hook with locking gate, custom made of 3/8-inch stainless steel plate. It is super strong and will never separate from the anchor chain, so I can sleep soundly, knowing the snubber/bridle will do its job even if we are in shallow water.
Installing these MTU engines is not your everyday boat yard scene, so everyone came to watch it happen. Rent a crane, hire some professionals to oversee the operation, and we're done by lunchtime. Of course, hooking it all together takes weeks.
Brian Calvert is still enjoying life in the Philippines aboard his Selene trawler, Further. His adventures continue, but after so many miles and eight years of wandering adventure, it's time to take care of business on the boat and its systems. His experience is worth reading as you plan your own passage to paradise.
Adding a second, remote fuel filter vacuum gauge at your helm is another tool worth considering as you plan for extended cruising. It takes some of the guesswork out of running your boat, and you will feel more confident that things are well in your engine room.
Do you know about Sea Tow's Automated Radio Check service? It should be part of your normal operations routine, and used often to ensure your radios and antennas are working as well as you hope they are. Far better than the traditional radio check of throwing out a call and hoping someone will respond. And let's leave "10-4, Good Buddy" ashore, please.
Conversation with industry specialists often drifts into other related topics. In this case, we talked about how best to size a propulsion engine for a new boat, and then selecting the right size generator for the boat's electrical demands.
Reviewing some notes from my travels, and finding the comments are as relevant today as they were a few years ago. It is refreshing when engine guys speak the truth even if it goes slightly against the company party line.
The value of an engine survey can't be overstressed when looking for your ideal cruising boat. A separate effort from a general boat survey, an experienced mechanic's skill at judging the overall health of a boat's engine(s) and generator gives you the ability to decide if the boat is right for you, or if you should keep looking. More so than any other element of a cruising motorboat or trawler, the engine room is the most important space on the boat.
Rather than guess what speed you should run your boat, it is important to develop real-world numbers of the speed and burn consumption your boat reaches at various engine speeds in open water. Depending on how your boat is equipped and loaded, and the propeller(s) you have, it is a straightforward process to develop a speed/fuel burn performance curve that will identify the sweet spot for running your boat at cruising speed.
Along the way of determining this ideal speed envelope, you will also get an sixth sense of when the hull and engine is in harmony as she glides through the water with maximum efficiency and reasonable fuel burn. This is a satisfying project every boat owner should create for his or her boat.
Knowing how to properly run your propulsion engine is the key to long term health care in your engine room. I share great advice from Alaska Diesel that relates to all pre-ECM diesel engines, both power and sail.
Finding ways to make your trawler or sailboat better capable of traveling offshore. All of these efforts result in a better seaboat, even if you are not planning to cross oceans. And these upgrades will better familiarize you with the many systems on a cruising boat. And that brings confidence.
We continue our look at how to prepare your boat for going offshore in a powerboat or trawler, and what you should address to make sure things go as planned. The stresses of offshore travel are different from running in protected waters and preventative effort can help ensure a trouble-free passage, which is what we all aim for.
Rapid advances in many technologies provides opportunities we have not seen before. While recreational boat lags behind other industries in adoption, we will see future boat choices that have a significantly lower carbon footprint, and allow us to enjoy cruising without impact on the environment.
Putting together a fuel delivery system is best done by taking a high level view and making it as simple, as accessible, and as futureproof as possible. Eliminate unnecessary fittings, use fire rated, CG-approved fuel hoses and high pressure fittings, and your system should be reliable and trouble free for the life of the boat.
So much has happened in our lifetime, so why should anyone be surprised that paper charts are going away? Modern electronic charting and navigation systems at so much better in all ways, whether you are a commercial, government, or recreational mariner. Change is coming...
Everyone has a tolerance for a certain amount of clutter. On the sometimes limited space of cruising boats, having spares for every contingency must be balanced with knowing where everything is while not sinking the boat with tons of spares, consumables, and items that somehow find their way aboard. I’m as guilty as the next person, but I’m working on finding the balance.
Being on the water sometimes means being in the water. It happened to me recently, and reminded me of a clever technique to get back aboard one’s dinghy, especially suited to older boaters. Practice it a couple of times and you’ll have another trick in your back pocket next time you need to get aboard without a swim platform or ladder.
I got aboard a new MJM 35z in Annapolis to celebrate the new owners’ new boat. It sure is nice to have all the control this boat offers at one’s fingertips. Fast, economical, comfortable, and very well made, the MJM offers a look at what can be done.
A recent report on driver distraction brings this subject into focus. While the numbers relate to drivers on the road, there is some parallel to boat operators, and drinking is much more prevalent in boating. Scary stuff but a trend that isn’t likely to change with everyone’s addicition to smartphones.
No matter how much you prepare, there is always something. A young Swedish couple I follow recently sailed from the Big Island in Hawaii to Honolulu. The sail wasn’t pleasant, and in the brisk conditions, they heard a loud bang against their aluminum hull. Turns out they lost their Rocna anchor overboard. The chain had been removed for the trip to keep seawater out of the chain locker, done a million times, but this time, their trusted stainless steel anchor restraint failed.
When your diesel engine exhaust goes from clear to blue, white, or black smoke, this is usually an indication of several factors going on that might need your attention. Knowing what the colors mean can be helpful to determine if something is lurking in your engine room. Blue, black, and white exhaust smoke all mean something. Do you know what they are?