How to Select a Bilge Pump

The most important safety system on your boat, after the structural integrity of your hull, is your bilge pump system.

Why? Well, what if you’re offshore when a thru-hull fitting fails, or you lose your prop shaft. In either case you now have a one and a half inch diameter hole in your hull about 3 feet below the waterline. This hole will let about 4,500 gallons of cold ocean per hour.

Your bilge pump system is unlikely to be able to keep up with this inflow, but if it’s of an adequate size, it will give you time to find the leak and plug it

However, if all you’ve got in the bottom your boat is a little Rule 500 gallon pump, you don’t have a bilge pump system – all you’ve got is a way to pump out your bilge when your hatches leak.

A good rule of thumb is that a sailboat should have a minimum rated pump capacity of 100 gallons per hour for each foot of overall length. So a 30 footer should have a minimum total rated pump capacity of 3000 gallons per hour, a 40 footer should have 4000 gallons per hour.

Find the full article on how to select a sailboat bilge pump.

Thru Hulls and Seacocks – 10 Things You Must Know

There are 10 things you need to know about seacocks and thru-hull fittings.

If you don’t take good care of these fittings, firstly by fitting the correct ones initially and then by maintaining them properly, one day one of them will sink your boat.

Find the 10 things you need to know about seacocks and thru-hull fittings here

And you should also read the frightening story about stainless steel hose clips

How to select a marine sealant

Go to any chandlery or marine store and you’ll be faced with a multitude of marine sealants and caulking materials. Knowing what sealant to use for every sealing job on your boat is very important.

Essentially, every marine sealant is one of just three products – polysulfide, polyurethane or silicon.

Polysulfide is a synthetic rubber compound and is the “workhorse” of marine sealants.

Polyurethane is the sealant to use where you’re looking for a permanent seal. It’s an adhesive more than a sealant.

Silicone is a gasket material, not a sealant. Its adhesive properties are minimal and should be disregarded.

There is now a fourth product, a silicon/polyurethane hybrid that combines the adhesive properties of polyurethane with the gasket qualities of silicone.

To select the right sealant for your job, you need to answer just three questions.

Find out how to select the right marine sealant for your job here.

Re-rigging an older sailboat

If you buy a used sailboat it’s probable that you’ll end up with a boat that is a few years old – and most likely the halyards, mainsheet, backstay, jibsheets and other running rigging will look a little old, dirty and frayed.

You might well want to replace this old stuff with some of the bright new high tech line you can find in your local chandlery.

But think carefully before you go ahead and buy any high tech replacement running rigging. You could be setting yourself up for some serious problems, as well a spending a lot of unnecessary money into the bargain

The biggest problem with high-tech lines to control the sails on an older sailboat is that the lines are too strong for the boat. Your old deck hardware is just not capable of handling the loads you can exert using high tech line.

Discover the right way to renew the running rigging on an older sailboat

If you buy a used sailboat it’s probable that you’ll end up with a boat that is a few years old – and most likely the halyards, mainsheet, backstay, jibsheets and other running rigging will look a little old, dirty and frayed.

You might well want to replace this old stuff with some of the bright new high tech line you can find in your local chandlery.

But think carefully before you go ahead and buy any high tech replacement running rigging. You could be setting yourself up for some serious problems, as well a spending a lot of unnecessary money into the bargain

The biggest problem with high-tech lines to control the sails on an older sailboat is that the lines are too strong for the boat. Your old deck hardware is just not capable of handling the loads you can exert using high tech line.

Discover the right way to renew the running rigging on an older sailboat

How To Select A Sailboat Anchor & Rode

An all chain anchor rode is without doubt the very best solution in most cases.

Chain doesn’t suffer from chafe, is much stronger than any nylon anchor rode,  and the weight of the chain works as a shock absorber if there is any surge or other shock load on the anchor system.

But an all chain rode is very expensive, very heavy, hard to handle, and probably requires a chain windlass to retrieve it. It also needs a snubber so that any chain shock load is absorbed before it’s transmitted to the boat.

The best compromise for a sailboat is laid nylon line with 20-30 ft of chain before the anchor.

Nylon stretches by about 25% at 50% of its breaking strength and recovers from heavy loads better than braided line.

Read the full article, with recommendations at How to Select an Anchor

New Sailboat Buying Guide – 3 Hours of Videos, PDF & 2 Checklists

New Sailboat Buying Guide – 3 Hours of Videos, PDF & 2 Checklists

Don’t even think of buying a used sailboat until you’ve downloaded and read the Used Sailboat Buying Guide, the Initial Checklist and Preliminary Survey Checklist at www.sailingmates.com.

The manual also shows you how to discover any “dealbuster” faults in a sailboat within 10 minutes and details other “cosmetic” faults that may indicate other serious problems with the boat.

You can use the Checklists to do your own survey of the boat before you pay good money for a marine surveyor. With this Checklist and the Manual you can do your own survey on the boat. If the boat passes your survey you can proceed to a full professional marine survey with confidence.

The Guide consists of 4 videos totaling more than 3 hours of practical advice on choosing and buying a used sailboat. One video is devoted to trailer sailers. The pdf contains all the information in printed form as well as details of 40 small cruising sailboats and 30 trailer sailers. One of them is right for you

Download your copy of the Used Sailboat Buying Manual here