SAIL - - Contents -

An­swers to ques­tions on cabin sole treat­ment, the right spin­naker, bat­ter­ies and safe charg­ing


Q: I am work­ing on re­fin­ish­ing my cabin floor­boards. I have brought them home and sanded the old fin­ish off and would ap­pre­ci­ate com­ments on us­ing var­nish or polyurethane for the sole. — Danny Love, Grand Rivers, KY


Polyurethane is the bet­ter choice for a cabin sole. Oil-based var­nishes are too soft. Keep in mind that any gloss fin­ish on the sole can com­pro­mise foot­ing, par­tic­u­larly if the sole be­comes wet. That said, the beauty of a var­nished sole has for me trumped trac­tion re­duc­tion for four decades with­out con­se­quence. That is not due to good luck, but rather to good hand­holds and a per­pet­ual ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the risk.


Q: My ten­der mo­tor takes 12 volts to start, and af­ter a long win­ter the bat­tery is usu­ally toast. It is heavy, too! Any new bat­tery tech­nol­ogy out there for small-mo­tor start­ing ? —J. Reynolds, Bos­ton, MA


New tech­nol­ogy has ar­rived, and it’s called Lithium Iron Phos­phate. Imag­ine an 8lb, 12.8-volt sealed LiFePO4 bat­tery rated at 30Ah that can han­dle 60 amps of quick start­ing, can take up to 6 amps of recharge, and has built-in cur­rent pro­tec­tion and un­der/over load pro­tec­tion. Best of all it won’t blow up like your lap­top, will take 2,000 charge cy­cles and works great in the cold! Yes, it’s more ex­pen­sive than AGMs, but this new tech­nol­ogy is ex­cel­lent for ma­rine ap­pli­ca­tions. I use them my­self. You can learn more at


Q: My wife and I are plan­ning on buy­ing a spin­naker for our Al­berg 35. The boat has a spin­naker pole and rig­ging for a sym­met­ri­cal spin­naker, but we are won­der­ing if buy­ing an asym­met­ri­cal spin­naker would make more sense. — Emme Barkley, Mi­ami, FL


It re­ally de­pends on the kind of sail­ing that you do—or are plan­ning on do­ing. If you just knock around day­sail­ing, then I think that an asym­met­ri­cal spin­naker would be a bet­ter choice. They are very easy to set and douse, and you don’t have to mess around with rig­ging the spin­naker pole and run­ning the lines. On the other hand, if you are plan­ning to sail off­shore, es­pe­cially in ar­eas where there will be steady winds

from astern, then a sym­met­ri­cal spin­naker would be my first choice. Once you have the sail set and pulling, you have much more flex­i­bil­ity with a spin­naker set on a pole. You can bring the pole aft and bring the spin­naker out from the dead air be­hind the main­sail. This en­ables you to sail deeper down­wind an­gles; some­thing that can be a chal­lenge with an asym­met­ri­cal spin­naker. Sure, there is some has­sle set­ting the sail, but if it’s go­ing to be up for an ex­tended pe­riod, a few hours or days even, then the ex­tra ef­fort will be re­warded.


Q: I am a sailor and also a vol­un­teer fire­man. Our depart­ment ac­quired a sur­plus Coast Guard 26ft Zo­diac RIB. The boat has a plac­ard next to an in­let that goes to a bat­tery charger and breaker box that states: Do Not Con­nect to Dock/Ground Shore Sys­tem; Con­nect Only to Un­grounded Ship­board Sys­tem. I as­sume that this has to do with gal­vanic cor­ro­sion, but I am not sure. The hull and deck of the boat are alu­minum, and due to deck plates that are not sealed tightly, there is usu­ally some wa­ter in the bilge. We have put the boat onto a float­ing dock with a Hy­dro-Lift. We are work­ing on run­ning the elec­tri­cal to the dock and would like to plug in the bat­tery charger on the boat. Any in­for­ma­tion you can sup­ply as to how to run the wiring that would avoid any cor­ro­sion or other prob­lems would be ap­pre­ci­ated. — Now­ell Maluski, East Lake Buchanan VFD


I could do with a bit more in­for­ma­tion. How­ever, there are two is­sues in­volved here: pro­tect­ing the boat against cor­ro­sion, and pro­tect­ing peo­ple in the boat and in the wa­ter around it from elec­tric shock. With­out know­ing how the boat is wired I can’t make spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions, but I can make some generic sug­ges­tions. First, make sure you have a ma­rine bat­tery charger and not an au­to­mo­tive one. Ma­rine charg­ers are built around iso­la­tion trans­form­ers that en­hance their safety. Sec­ond, I rec­om­mend you find a way to fit a 30 mil­liamp (mA) ground-fault pro­tec­tion de­vice into the shore­power cir­cuit. If you have a reg­u­lar shore­power in­let in the side of the boat, you need some­thing called an elec­tric leak­age cir­cuit in­ter­rupter (ELCI) in­stalled in the boat’s wiring im­me­di­ately af­ter the shore­power in­let (for ex­am­ple, check out blue­ If you just run an ex­ten­sion cord to the bat­tery charger, you need ground fault pro­tec­tion in the shore­power cord. (If you do a Google search for shore­power cords with ground fault pro­tec­tion you will find of­fer­ings from the likes of Mar­inco and Hubbell.) Ei­ther way, a ground fault pro­tec­tor senses any leak­age cur­rent that could cause an un­safe con­di­tion and shuts down the cir­cuit. Fi­nally, if you do have an on­board elec­tri­cal sys­tem that con­sists of more than an ex­ten­sion cord to the bat­tery charger and you are go­ing to plug into shore­power when the boat is in the wa­ter, you should in­stall some­thing called a gal­vanic iso­la­tor (you want a “fail safe” model) in the AC ground­ing wire close to your shore­power in­let. This min­i­mizes the cor­ro­sion risk. As you can see, this gets quite com­pli­cated and has sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences from shore­side elec­tri­cal in­stal­la­tions. If there is any doubt, I strongly rec­om­mend you con­sult a ma­rine elec­tri­cian! s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.