Marine Engines A to Z

engineWhat does an engine and a good cup of coffee have in common? It might enable me to convey a lot about engines in a minimum amount of space…There are several good books written about engines; but, they have the luxury of space and time from a devoted reader. Some readers tire in the details early on, not having a simple true conceptual understanding of the engine itself.…Seriously, I think if you start at the back and work forward with a few of the books that I have read, they would be more comprehensible particularly to the initiate. My intention initially is to give you enough solid information to go to a boat show, talk intelligently to the engine representative and make informed engine comparisons. When you finish scrolling this link, you should have an understanding of how marine engines work, be able to diagnose problems, the confidence to make your own repairs and the enthusiasm to dig deeper and learn more. Learning about engines is a way of thinking. Halfway through, what might appear to be a digression, is purposeful. I found, in myself, as a navel architect, when one becomes creatively involved and aware, necessity becomes the mother of invention. That’s how engine systems evolved. …That’s the focus of this link. Leading you through the logical process, it’s hopefully intended by the end of the link, that you’ll know engines A to Z. Besides, women love men who know engines. Just ask my good friend Corina, a South Carolina state insurance agent. “You always make Lovin Fun for this sailor…Doll”.

Let’s go to Starbuck’s…get a virtual cup of coffee and begin with basic principles.

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Sailboat Design…The “WHY” of Upwind Sail Trim

In my opinion, the first commandment of upwind sailing might be: Sail to the full potential of the draft of your sails limited only by the effects of drag as experienced on your tiller or wheel.

The fascination with upwind sailing perhaps stems from the fact that it is a more precise application of scientific principles to the creative art. After all sailing is both art and science. We leave the sail loft with a new suit of sails…cut full with anticipation… a Cunningham…zipper…leach line… reefing points and any other local imaginative devices. Before your vessel leaves the yard fitted out for a new season; perhaps, your rigger set up a new mainsheet configuration…vang and traveller arrangement…maybe you have adjustable stays…Sailors will then go out on the water and learn “How” to use these controlling devices..and with practice become quite proficient in their mechanical application; but, until you know the “why” of it you’ll stay on the mechanical level and not advance to the creative level.

To become more creative you must ask yourself the question “WHY” which will allow the full realization that all these devices can be summed up in two words “Sail Control” Once you understand the scientific principles of sail control, you elevate to a new dimension of creative application. That’s what this link is all about..How to get to the “Why”

leach

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How to Buy a Pre-owned Boat

How…Listen Up!

The For Sale By Owner(FSBO)Market…This is the suckers market…My experience both as broker and surveyor found that…the market is generated by ignorance and greed surprisingly on the part of the prospective buyer…In general, a better-maintained boat and a better financial result can be found through the brokerage community… WHY?…Since the great majority of boats are plastic (longevity)…the supply exceeds the demand side by a considerable margin…”Take advantage of it”…I’ve seen some real turkeys in the (FSBO) market “ready for the rookie bargain hunter”.

Is boat insurance required in South Carolina?… People always overlook this, BUT YOU NEED INSURANCE. Think about the cost of this BEFORE you buy your boat and not after. Be sure to budget for this. Here’s a great place to get a quote if you are looking for cheap insurance in SC or more specifically, insurance in Greenville SC.

Dealing with the Brokerage Community…You’re the Captain…your crew…Broker, Surveyor, Banker, Insurance Underwriter….”A good Captain knows how to run his crew”.

usedboat

How to run your crew… Broker…You only put one man on the wheel at a time…get a broker and stick to it…if you don’t like the job he’s doing fire him and get a replacement…only one helmsman at a time…and have a little patience…”If you play games in this area…you’re heading for rough waters”…now you set up a situation where the broker is not working for you but for himself…That’s poor bridge management. Surveyor…You’re paying him up front…so get a top hand who knows there are three sides to a coin…even willing to turn too on a sea trial… or you may wind up with a laundry list of “BS” not appreciated by the other crew members…Banker and Insurance Underwriter…You’re always being sized by the crew… These two can be tough at times to handle.

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Surviving Disaster At Sea … Don’t Take It Lightly

While taking 5 weeks of courses in basic survival and communication at MITAGS, the educational facility of Masters, Mates & Pilots, I ran into the 50th commemorative edition of How to Abandon Ship, published by Cornell Maritime Press. Written in June 1942, at the height of torpedoed American and allied merchant ships, its colorful accounts were intentioned for sailors with valuable lessons shared by the authors Phil Richards and John J. Banigan. Their basic thesis suggested the simple things, that made the difference between survival and disaster, as they had experienced it.

Aside from the book’s fascinating accounts of incredible human drama confronted at sea, two statements stand out in my own mind, which I feel, are most applicable to every sailor who sets out from his local marina. Whether it be for a couple of hours around the harbor or a long planned blue water cruise most sailors are ill prepared to meet potential disasters.

Having survived being washed overboard myself in rough weather on a 300 ton supply vessel 22 years ago, what stands out in my own mind, aside from my stupidity, is how completely helpless I became, in just a matter of seconds after disaster struck. Confronted with bobbing up and down in 15 ft seas, without a life preserver 50 miles offshore, what went through my mind was all the tuition money my mother and father wasted on my education. Not a living soul knew I went over the side. As quickly as disaster struck, I was saved only through a chance of good fortune.

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