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How to fix your engine at sea, a Westerly Centaur 50th anniversary special, and more, in the latest issue of PBO. Videos. Dinghies on display at Alexandra. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get an older boat going more Download free PDF of corrections for the PBO almanac Practical projects and tips. Download Practical Boat Owner - August magazine for free from ebookbiz. To download click on the following link.

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Such are the stresses to which sailing journalists are hostage. And it will be time to move on for, no matter how delightful a place and Grenada excels in being just that there comes a point when the itch to explore fresh waters becomes unbearable. But to where?

And when? And why? Well, that last question is easily answered. There are other corners, you see, and lots of them. And I for one Basic instruments Ben Meakins presents PBOs pick of affordable electronics hile its perfectly possible to go sailing with no electronics at all, knowing what depth of water youve got is about the least amount of information most of us are willing to go to sea with.

Add to that your boats speed and the wind speed and direction and youve got a pretty good set of data to enhance your sailing. There are so many products out there that weve split this test into two halves. This month, were looking at your basic instruments those that give speed, depth and wind information on functional LCD displays.

These might not have the latest NMEA networking or bright colour screens, but they are cheaper and do the job just ne. Well also look at a few modern alternatives to the black box instrument, in case youre looking to move into the 21st century! We were going to call this the budget instrument test, but there are so many variables involved in pricing up these instruments that weve stuck to the basic tag instead. Next month well move on to the latest N2K screens, which have evolved into miniature multifunction displays.

How we tested them We mounted each instrument on a temporary washboard on my Impala 28 and wired them up to the boats 12V supply. We connected them to the boats NMEA transducers where possible, which sometimes required converter cables. Where impossible we wired in the proprietary transducer for wind, speed and depth, before taking them all for a sail.

We looked at how intuitive each was to use, setting a shallow water depth alarm as a test, before observing each in action. We looked at sunlight viewability and viewing angles, and donned a pair of polarised sunglasses to see how that affected the displays visibility.

We then tried them out after dusk to see how effective the backlight was. These can be switched at will to display Trip, Log, sea temperature, average speed and max speed.

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The button swaps the data elds over, and a long press brings up the backlight. The instruments mount in a 57mm cut-out, and can be secured either with screws behind the bezel or a collar which tightens onto a threaded bar.

Damping or response settings can be changed via. Further calibration is also available. Alarms could be set easily too. Backlighting was red and easily adjusted. There was some shadowing on the screen with the light on but it remained visible, and viewing angles were good.

When viewed through polarised sunglasses, the screen went blank at some angles. It mounts in a standard 90mm hole and can accept Seatalk1 and Seatalkng data, which means the i50 can be used with a wide range of other instruments as you wish. Speed and depth transducers can be connected straight into the unit. The data is xed, with the top line displaying depth information.

Alarms can be set and the keel offset dened using the depth key. Speed data is next, with average, max speed and VMG available. SOG is available if the i50 is suitably networked. The bottom line can be set to show trip, log, sea temperature and a race timer. Calibration required the manual for the rst go a twin button press but thereafter it became easy to program.

There are three levels of calibration available user, dealer and advanced and with these you can set response.

Practical Boat Owner's Sailing Around the UK and Ireland

There is a useful speed calibration function which allows you to press a button as you start and nish a measured distance, performing two runs, and the unit will work out the average. The backlight has been upgraded since we last looked at this model and was a very effective red, with no shading issues.

When viewed through polarised sunglasses, the screen went blank at some viewing angles. Without them it was visible from a good wide angle. It can use Raymarines own Rotavecta a vertical anemometer with a tag on one of the cups for directional info or another transducer or you can connect it via a Seatalk1 to Seatalkng converter to display info from.

You can either set the display to be a master or repeater, depending on your needs. True and apparent wind are available when networked, and you can change units, damping and calibration via a simple menu. Backlighting was effective red in colour.

There was a little shading on the display, but it remained visible. Raymarines analogue i60 wind has recently been upgraded and has improved backlighting, among other things. Like its i50 sister, it can either be wired via Seatalk1 and to its own transducers, or connected to a Seatalkng network. You can also wire in a Rotavecta see left. The arrow was clear and easy to steer to, and moved smoothly and accurately.

It could be calibrated well for both wind speed and direction, and the true wind feature worked well when connected to the network. VMG, tack heading, Beaufort number, as well as current, average and maximum wind speed, could be displayed on the small screen. Alarms for maximum and minimum wind could also be easily set. NASAs Cruiser range features the same software and displays as the Target range, but housed in a different case.

They are exactly the same to use, but have blue backlights instead of red.

We found the data to be less visible than the Target range the curved, glossy plastic in front of the display meant that it was prone to reections and harder to see from an angle.

Cut-outs were the same as for the target range a 20mm central cable hole and four 4mm mounting holes. NASA are one of the purveyors of simple instruments that do the job well. They sell more of their basic Target range than any other. The range mounts on a surface via a 20mm central hole and four smaller securing holes, with an O-ring to provide watertightness.

The target depth was simple to use, and setting an alarm was both intuitive and easy. The transducer is of the type which can be mounted in-hull, thereby negating the need for another hole in the hull. Most are epoxied in, with a quantity of oil or other liquid between transducer and hull to allow the sounder to transmit through the hull.

You can set alarms for shallow and deep water, and also input a keel offset. You can also adjust the gain to improve the accuracy of the unit. The transducer will work from 0.

There is no internal buzzer or alarm an external one can be wired in if you require an audible alarm. Viewing with polarised lenses led to invisibility at some angles. Wind information comes via NASAs proprietary wired masthead transducer, which wires into the back of the display via a four-way terminal block.

This worked straight out of the box. You can also calibrate the wind angle by holding the vane head to wind and pressing all three buttons. Theres no option for true wind, as no networking is available. Its simple, but it shows apparent speed and direction well. It updates the wind once every second. The backlight was good, although had some shading, and the viewability was good, owing to the matt screen which reduced glare and improved the viewing angles.

It will only display in knots, and a long press on the trip button resets the trip gure. The light is controlled by the top button. Transducer connection is via a coaxial plug on the back of the unit, and the transducer itself, while lightweight plastic, seemed effective.

You can calibrate the speed if required. Individual instruments for speed, depth, compass and wind are available or you can go for a Duet which displays both speed and depth. The Duet mounts in a rectangular cut-out and is secured by a spreader bar and a wing nut on a threaded rod. Connections were straightforward two power wires and there are two sockets for depth and speed transducers. The buttons were simple to use, and we found it easy to set a shallow and deep alarm respectively, while the keel offset was also easy to change.

The transducers were the same as for the Target and Cruiser instruments, with the depth designed to be mounted in-hull and a plastic through-hull speed transducer. At for a full system of speed and depth, the price really cant be beaten. The Clipper Wind instrument uses the same wind transducer as the Target and Cruiser ranges, a wired masthead unit.

This wires into the back of the display, via a circuit board with wire clamps for each core. The display allows you to align the masthead instrument, and can also output the data via NMEA if required.

As with the other NASA wind instruments, you can select the pointer style with a few button presses, and change units from knots to mph. It updated the wind direction once per second NASA have recently bought out a tactical wind display which offers 10 updates every second for increased responsiveness. We found the slower update rate ne for an indication of what the wind was doing, but to steer to an apparent wind reading, the tactical system would be an improvement.

The masthead transducer contains a small battery and solar panel, which transmits to a wired base station. We found that it worked straight out of the box: NASA claim that it will work for 2, hours in total darkness once charged. We walked the transmitter down the pontoon to see what the range was like and it still worked over m away.

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Updates were at the same rate as the Clipper wind system, and the base unit can send NMEA data to any suitable display. On all the Clipper displays the backlighting was effective, with nine levels and shading conned to the corners. When viewed through sunglases, some shading was observed. The GNX20 has a bonded display to avoid fogging, and can display data in either large LCD digits or a dotmatrix display on the bottom of the screen which allows for graphs or secondary data elds.

You can select one of seven backlight. We found the white worked well on a dull day to boost the display, and preferred red at night. The GNX20 will work with Garmins new gWind Wireless system, and a wind display is also available, as are packs including two displays and wired or wireless transducers. The interface was simple to use and data elds were easy to.

Compatible transducers can be congured and calibrated. The GNX20 is a multifunction display and as such crosses over between the basic instruments on this test and the multifunction colour instruments next month.

The display was effective in sunlight and worked well with polarised lenses. All in all a powerful range at a good price, with wireless options. Since they were bought by Raymarine a few years back, the Tacktick range of wireless instruments hasnt seen much development save a branding change, althouth we understand that a NMEA converter is on the cards.

We tried a bidata instrument, which could display all the info on the wireless network. The transducers are wired to a hull transmitter, which then sends the available data wirelessly to the displays. Calibration can be carried out easily, and depth offsets and alarms can also be set once you know how the keys work. The displays are very customisable perhaps a little too customisable, as you have to scroll through all available data to nd what you want. An easier way is to set up pages, which you can then scroll through this one was set to speed and sea temp.

The instruments themselves are solar-powered. They suffer a little when viewed through polarised lenses, but they were otherwise highly visible. The wind instrument has a wind rose-type display and can display wind direction, close-hauled display zoomed in on , VMG and other info. True wind is available when the instruments are successfully networked. No base station is required for the wind display unlike NASAs wireless wind instead, the solar-powered masthead unit transmits straight to any compatible displays.

Backlighting is available and in many years of using these for night sailing they never ran out of battery. However, the displays can be quite hard to read at night from anything other than directly in front, with the unused parts of the LCD showing quite strongly. The wireless masthead wind transducer transmits its data straight to the instrument network. LEFT Speed, depth and compass transducers are wired to the powered Hull Transmitter, which then distributes the data wirelessly.

The Advansea range of instruments is made and sold by Plastimo, and distributed by Bainbridge in the UK. A full range of depth, speed and wind stand-alone instruments is available, of which we tested the S Multi instrument for speed and depth and an analogue wind display.

The Multi instrument will display two lines of customisable data, with 22mm-high digits on the lower line and 32mm-high on the upper. The instruments have their own proprietary bus system, so they can be networked for true wind and other calculations and data sharing, or can transmit and display NMEA data.

Mounting was via a single 48mm circular cut-out, xed with a threaded collar. Depth range was from 0. The up and down arrows cycle through top and bottom lines respectively, which took some getting used to.

A keel offset could easily be set, and the data from depth and speed transducers could be effectively damped if required. A digital wind display is also available, but we tried the analogue display. It mounts as the other instrument, in a 48mm cut-out. The pointer could be damped and adjusted easily to suit, and it provided a clear display the white background was clear and easy to read. When connected to the Multi instrument it displayed true wind speed.

The transducer was well made, lightweight and of a low-prole design, and connected to the back of the instrument via a coaxial plug. Alarms were easy to set for high wind speed and battery voltage, and the backlight was just as good as on the Multi instrument. Battery voltage was available, as was an alarm.

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The amber backlights on these instruments were the clearest and the best of all the instruments we tested, with no shadowing, and the viewing angle was excellent with minimal reections. When viewed with polarised sunglasses they remained visible at all angles. The sensor itself is wired to the connection box, which can also accept other NMEA inputs and multiplex them so that all your data is available over the Wi-Fi network on a phone or iPad display or you could use an eReader see right. Heres a potential solution.

For 50 you can download a waterproof Kobo e-reader a Kindle is pictured above , which can view the iKommunicates data via its inbuilt browser and display it on screen. You could mount one or more of these displays around your cockpit with Velcro, and as e-Ink uses so little power they should last for weeks without a charge. The screen is also highly sunlight-viewable. Downsides are that unless you download one with a backlight you wont be able to see them at night, but as a way to upgrade your system using your existing NMEA transducers and get all your data onto a tablet, its worth a look.

That said, a few simple ones are already available.

Practical Boat Owner – June 2019

You can then view it on your tablet or any device with a web browser on apps that are either developed by you or third parties. Their Clipper Duet is a very cost-effective way to get speed and depth on board, and their wireless wind offers a good display with no mast wiring, and worked straight out of the box.

Further along, Advanseas instruments offer good functionality and clear displays with excellent backlighting at a reasonable price. However, now that Raymarine has added Seatalkng compatibility, these offer excellent scope for adding to a modern network, or as forming the basis of a modern system that you can upgrade effectively later on. Quality display The Tacktick instruments still occupy a good niche, with very low power consumption but they arent as user-friendly as some others and are relatively expensive.

Raymarines i40s offer a good compromise, of relatively low cost and simple functionality and a quality display. At the end of the day, its up to you if you want a simple, stand-alone instrument then one from NASA will do the job well. If you want a network of instruments, then its hard to beat Raymarines offerings especially now the i50s have Seatalkng connectivity for easier networking and future upgradability.

Garmins GNX20 is also worth considering.

If its a modern network youre after, dont miss next months test of the latest colour multi displays, which arent much more expensive than some of these instruments. If youre upgrading you may be able to use your existing transducers, which reduces prices signicantly. Fitting the hatches Its time for PBOs Secret 20 kit boat to be equipped with a benecial set of hatches.

David Pugh reports ast month, we left you with our Secret kit lleted together and the transom tted. At the time of writing, the epoxy was still curing, so it was with some relief that, when we removed its rope clamp a few days later, we found that the transom had retained a fair curve. The next stage is to start tting the stringers, an important task which sets the shape of the boat and will allow us to pull the top of the transom into its nal form.

Following that will be the hull panels which bring with them a potential problem. Owing to its design, with multiple plywood frames joined and braced with fore-and-aft panels, the internal structure of the Secret is separated into multiple small compartments. This adds considerable stiffness and, if lleted and sealed with epoxy, provides multiple watertight compartments which could prove invaluable if we ever hit anything.

The problem is that these compartments also offer most of the rather limited storage on board, and although we can coat the insides before the hull panels are tted, it would be useful to be able to access them to ensure that the hull is well tted and sealed to the structure.

Bring on the hatches The obvious answer was to t hatches. Personally, Ive had mixed success with these in the past the rectangular ones rarely seem to completely seal. The round ones, on the other hand, screw down tightly against O-rings and work well its perhaps not surprising that theyre the number one choice for dinghy builders, despite the restricted access they provide.

They also offer another, more subtle advantage in our case. If we were to hole the hull, water pressure underneath a rectangular hatch will lift the plastic and cause it to leak. The rm screw closure. Most of the aft sections will be accessible either from the cockpit lockers or the outboard well, so our initial area of concern was the area enclosed by the bunk boards.

We bought six mm round hatches from RWO, ve for the bunks and the sixth to give access forward into the bow section, beneath the anchor locker. We decided to cut a square, unsealed hatch for the centre section of the bunk, just forward of the mast compression post, sacricing watertightness for better storage and ease of access.

This area may in future house the water tank.

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Fitting the round hatches The bunk boards span ve frames, so there are four sections to access. A single hatch sufces for the narrow forward section. We decided to t two hatches in the next section aft, one either side of the keel. The large, unsealed hatch provides access to the next section. The aftmost sections are under the head ends of the bunks after the boards have divided, so needed a further two hatches.

The round hatches are designed to be tted into a mm-diameter cut-out, but this leaves the top of the hatch proud of the base board by about 8mm. To solve this we opted to recess them, cutting holes in the bunks slightly larger than the diameter of the hatch surround, then epoxying plywood rings underneath to support the anges so that the tops of the hatches sit ush or slightly below the level of the bunk boards.

There are a few options for cutting neat circles. Marking out the shape and cutting with a jigsaw is not really one of them. If you have many holes to make, one alternative is to make up a router template. That way you only need to accurately cut a slightly oversized hole once, after which you can replicate it using a copy following bit or sleeve. However, an easier option for one-offs is a circle jig.

These use an arm with a bearing at one end, which is xed in the centre of your cut-out. The other end is tted to a router or jigsaw allowing you to neatly cut a circle, rather like using a pair of compasses. For smaller holes, hole saws are the easiest answer, but we spotted a medium-sized alternative in Screwx, catchily titled Adjustable hole cutter with cowl. This uses a centring drill like a hole saw, but the saw is replaced by an arm, on which two single-toothed cutters are held by clamp screws at a spacing of your choice.

The cowl is a plastic dish which ts over the. Plywood rings provide the recess. Note the screws holding the ring while the epoxy sets. I wasnt sure how effective this gadget would be, but it worked extremely well. You need a torquey drill to swing it, but my household power drill proved up to the job. We rst used it to cut the holes in the bunk boards. Pleased with the result, we reduced the cutting diameter and used it to cut the inner holes in the support rings, this time using a pillar drill, which effectively eliminates the kick experienced when using it in a handheld drill.

The outside of the rings we. A pillar drill helps hold everything rigid and square. Once cut, we lined up the rings under their holes and glued them in position with a lightly thickened mix of epoxy, with temporary screws to hold them while the epoxy set. Well leave the hatches untted until the plywood is coated and painted. Fitting the square hatch Cutting the square hatch was simple enough.

We marked the rectangle and cut out the corners with a hole saw before using a jigsaw for the straight cuts. We then used a fresh piece of plywood and cut it to shape, fettling the nal t with a block plane.

Finally we used a. The hatch lid is supported in much the same way as the round hatches were recessed, using strips of plywood glued. Rather than temporary screws, we held these long strips in place with clamps while the epoxy cured. As the epoxy squeezed out we were careful to clean it away, lest our hatch failed to t afterwards. Gluing can use a lot of clamps! We made a new lid and planed it to be a loose t, with sufcient tolerance for later painting.

Next month Scarng timber into long lengths to make stringers, followed by tting them to the hull framework. Creek crawling or Channel cruising? Dyed-in-the-wool creek sailor Tony Smith enjoys a cruise along the north Brittany coast on a Hanse and makes a few pertinent comparisons. I spent two weeks on board Sams Hanse , a 31ft Bermudan rig n-keeler. From there we headed west to. Trebeurden, and then to LAber Wrach. From there we proceeded south to Camaret-sur-Mer, then eastward to Roscoff and nally back to St Peter Port, from where I caught a ight home to Stansted and Sam nished off his summer holidays by cruising back to the UK alone.

I found there was far more to big boat sailing than I had imagined The sea in this beautiful cruising area is blue and clear, and when I stepped aboard it suddenly dawned on me that I was now. The only reason I couldnt see the bottom was that it was nigh on a couple of hundred feet below us.

Strangely enough, this not being able to see the bottom lark made me feel at ease initially, as in a lot of areas on the East Coast I cant see the bottom either. However, when this happens the sea is a mere two or three feet deep, and mostly a murky mix of sand and brown mud!

So, the rst thing I learned was to add a zero to all my usual depth-sounding gures and read. Inshore, and in many instances offshore, the Brittany terrain is made perilously rocky by beautiful pink granite, and it can be quite intimidating sailing close by in rough weather. This granite is literally everywhere along the coast, but thankfully the French do love a lighthouse and have distributed them liberally and have even named one of them Ar-Men.

Are they trying to tell us something? It is comforting, though, that a lighthouse is. The terrain was full of interest, much of it decorated with the vivid colours of the hydrangea ower which the Bretons adore, and a novel and scenic substitute to my usual sunken sandbanks and the low, marshy coastline of the Thames Estuary.

I made good friends with some fabled old sea-marks out here too the Libenter, a west cardinal buoy, was a welcome sight to see and pass on the port side, and watch. The tidal ranges are huge, and a familiar voice on the coastguard weather broadcasts on the VHF made a sailor from the Thames Estuary feel at home, to a degree but I noticed that here too there was a slight difference, this being that the broadcasters major concern was the size of swells and not the size of wavelets, as I am used to.

When creek-crawling on the Thames Estuary in Shoal Waters, I try to avoid sailing if any weather forecast given over the radio includes a Force 6. However, after a few days in the English Channel I learned that a Force 6 is positively embraced, and is furthermore needed to push Sams 31ft yacht.

My ideal Force 3, which drives Shoal Waters at an average of 3 knots all about the estuary, is next to useless on a footer with a new foil. As we crossed the Channel to France, in my rst occurrence of light airs I found the expensive new sail ogged wincingly, and the preferred option was for it to be hurriedly furled to avoid any unnecessary wear.

So, we were left with the mainsail, which alone would not drive the boat at the required 6 knots through the water which we need to meet the days ETA.


The answer to this yachting conundrum? Yes, you guessed it,. Before the voyage, I read all the stories of epic passages of adventure undertaken by real men of the sea a group which I was eager to join through narrow channels and between dangerous rocky outcrops such as le De Batz or, in the lap of the Atlantic Ocean, the island of Ushant in the notorious Chenal Du Four. Boats sailed by these so-called real men pass through the channel on their way south to the Bay of Biscay before going on to cross the Atlantic or, like we were doing, going round to Camaret-Sur-Mer.

The north of the channel is home to the iconic La Four lighthouse the one where a lighthouse keeper was famously photographed as he opened the door and looked out while engulfed in giant breaking waves. This was hardcore cruising indeed: Well, our experience turned out quite differently. As we approached and entered the channel, the whole sea before us resembled a millpond and, guess what, the iron topsail was employed and we motored, without an adrenaline rush or hiccup, under bare poles!

There I was, ready to gargle granite or, if required, fend off a raging sea with my bare hands to favour our safe passage. To say I was upset would be an understatement.

My immediate thoughts were that I had experienced more frightening action, with tumultuous currents and a confused sea that literally threw my miniature cruiser from beam end to beam end and pitchpoled her from stem to stern while leaving an 8ft deep by 30ft wide creek halfway down the Dengie coast of Essex.

Alas, I came out the same man I was when I went in. Useful tips Sailing Shoal Waters has Wykeham-Martin furlers on her two tiny headsails, and the topping lift acts as lazyjacks. Other than headsail halyards, all sail control lines lead aft. Sams Hanse, meanwhile, has a self-tacking jib, the mainsail is tted with lazyjacks and all her lines lead aft a boon for single-handed sailing on a boat of this size.

If I sailed for longer non-stop passages on my own little boat then I would have to employ the pice de rsistance on this boat Claude, a windvane self-steering system.

It is an Aries, and was surprisingly simple to put into or take out of operation, steering manually if a blanket of weed or, when nearer the coast, lobster pots were spotted on the surface ahead.

I was impressed by how easily Sam could switch from tiller to self-steering and vice versa in a matter of seconds. Navigation equipment There are four main pieces of navigation equipment on board Shoal Waters. These are; a binnacle compass, binoculars, a bean stick sounding cane and a paper chart. You could call it relatively stripped-bare or pure sailing, and in the coastal creek environment it has proved to work reliably well. On board the Hanse, Sam uses a Yeoman plotter coupled to a GPS, which I found is a good compromise for someone like me who likes to use paper charts along with binoculars or a sounding cane.

The AIS was found to not only. En route, I picked up some useful tips to deploy if I were ever to take up this type of cruising I was well versed in the Hanses binnacle steering compass, but beside this the boat has a dedicated chart plotter with AIS data readout and this is tted, unusually perhaps, on the stern above the tiller. The positive aspect of this is that its within hands reach of the helm when youre in the seated position but for me, the negative aspect is that the helm faces aft when looking at the screen or operating the units zooming in or out features.

As with many other modern cruisers today, the Hanse was also tted with Navtex for weather reports, a digital depth sounder, log, compass, wind direction and speed indicator, and GPS track and waypoint repeater.

I noticed that binoculars and sounding. Docklines Bow and spring lines are stored forward in the anchor well on Sams Hanse and are coiled a certain way so they can be looped over one forearm and all carried together as you move around the boat, still holding on with both hands, to cleat them on both sides so the boat is prepared for eventual berthing on either side of the marina pontoon.

Bow lines are of a thicker diameter than spring lines so you can recognise which is which in the dark.

Bow lines are also shorter in length than springs, and springs are cut to a length that, when cleated, will not foul the propeller if they were. The stern line has a loop at each end and is hooked over both stern quarter cleats and left ready in the cockpit.

Depending on what side we eventually berth it is simply ipped off the opposite cleat and will be already attached on the side you want it. Arrival at the marina When sailing Shoal Waters, I nd a clear patch in a deserted bay, round up into the wind and furl the headsails, lower the mainsail then walk forward and drop the hook. With the Hanse, however, the procedure is as follows.

While a number of miles out from your destination marina, get all sail down and stowed. Start the engine before tying fenders all around the boat and begin scouring the horizon for any sign of other yachts that might be aiming for the same marina. If any fall within range of the binoculars lenses the only time binoculars are used on this boat , raise the normal engine revs to maximum and get into port sharpish.

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Immediately upon arrival in port, make ready the shore power cable reel and run it along the gunwale and out through the bow, ready to plug in. Bonus tip: Order yours now from chandleries and online bookstores. Just With her lt tank topped up and our reconnection to land rmly made, we can relax and nish tying up at a more leisurely pace. All lines are fed through pontoon rings or around cleats and led back onto the boat to be adjusted and tied there.

Not to be missed For a small-boat sailor like myself, theres a lot to think about with this big-boat cruising lark. However, I learned a lot of useful pointers from Sam even if I thought some of these capers only happened around hotel swimming pools, with people claiming ground by placing towels on sunbeds!

Nevertheless, negotiating the countless rocks of the north Brittany coast under motor or with full sail and, as in our nal leg, sailing a footer in a Force 6 for miles non-stop from Brittany to St Peter Port, are experiences I would not have missed for the world.

All for only 4. Priced at 6. They look the same, but one is smaller. Also, be sure to plug in as soon as you step onto the nger berth at the pontoon. If you dont do this the bloke you passed out at sea will, by now, be motoring into the opposite berth and reaching out his arm over you to plug in rst The same promptness on arrival goes for fresh drinking water.

Never mind my feeble 5lt canisters; theyd be hopeless for a 31ft cruiser. The cavernous lazarette locker on a footer houses, well, everything you would expect nd in a house, and then some. But on arrival, my orders were that we just want the water hose, and quick, before that same bloke who tried to nick our leccie socket plugs his in rst and swallows the lot. The procedure is to quickly unwind the at hose from the reel, which isnt as simple as you might think a 15m at hose used under duress can appear to be ft long, and has to be run up and down the pontoon ve or six times to lay it out at before you.

Priced at just 4. Just 6. Kit including timber and plywood: Transatlantic prep, style Peter K Poland remembers the measures required 49 years ago to turn a 25ft Wind Elf Mark II into a practicable and wellprovisioned craft capable of conveying two sailors across the Atlantic Ocean.

As I recently interviewed a selection of intrepid 21st century ocean-hopping sailors, I realised just how much we now rely on clever gizmos, gear and electronic wizardry that didnt eve exist half a century ago. Todays sailors are spoiled for choice especially compared to foolhardy optimists like myself as I planned transatlantic trip in a yacht that didnt even have electricity, let alone all the modern machinery that lives off it.

Of course, some sailors still like the idea of basic cruising. This might be forced on them by limited budgets, or they could be purists who get an extra buzz out of scanning the horizon for a hoped-for landfall rather than watching a boat-shaped blob on a plotter screen homing in on a dead cert.

In my case, a basic yacht with minimal gear was the only option. Anthony Brunner and I rst dreamt of setting sail for tropical shores when we were at Oxford in the mids. We had both sailed on family boats since our teens and had done a bit of cross-Channel crewing. Then one cold winter evening as we huddled over pints of beer in a snug pub I said: Why dont we sail off to somewhere warm when we have nished at this place?

Good idea, said Brunner, a chap of few words. Anyone looking for a cheap and capable small cruiser these days will nd it far e sier than we did i the 60s. However, in GRP was in its infancy. Something like an early Invicta 26 or Contessa 26 desirable though they were fell way beyond our budget, so we trawled classied ads and pestered brokers. A Folkboat was high on our list, as were a Vertue and a Harrison Butler Z 4-Tonner, but we drew a succession of blanks: As an unexpected bonus, Peter Bagley handed me a nice cheque after the download had gone through.

Whats that for? I asked. Its the brokerage commission I made on the sale. I think youll need it more than I do, came the reply. Lovely man: Josa ll was a long-keel footer and very much in the Folkboat idiom.

Her more. Prior to departure: We told our respective parents, who probably thought we were mad. However, we soon realised we would need to nd about 2, to download, equip and provision a suitable boat, so the dream died and we both bought suits and went to work, which was easy in those days. Just dangle a decent university degree in front of any old company and a good job jumped onto the table and the pay wasnt bad. So Peter K Poland crossed the Atlantic in we set about looking for a 7.

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