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Author Articles

by Mike Smith

Keep Your Cool

By Mike Smith | Posted March 2008 | Add a Comment

While most sportfishermen now come with ice makers, retrofitting an older boat with one is a no-fret, no-sweat way to keep your catch fresh.Most fishermen lug blocks or bags of ice onboard until every insulated box is filled before they leave the dock and hope it will keep their catch cold until they get back. But this is the 21st

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Floating Alone

By Mike Smith | Posted January 2008 | Add a Comment

Better to be prepared for the worst than to have to face the consequences.Most of us visit our PFDs only once, when we take them out of their plastic wrappers and stow them somewhere out of the way. We don't think we'll ever need them, unless the U.S. Coast Guard pulls alongside for an inspection. And in most cases that's

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Is Your Prop Up to Spec?

By Mike Smith | Posted December 2007 | Add a Comment

As seen here at Hale Propeller, measurements get fed into a computer for precise analysis.When did you last spend quality time with your propeller? I'll bet it was a long time ago, if ever—not many of us obsess over our props like we do our engines and electronics. But when it comes to performance, your propeller is arguably

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The Ozone Zone

By Mike Smith | Posted November 2007 | Add a Comment

An ozone generator can be connected to any existing water tank that has an access plate.Any shellback will tell you that ships don't run on diesel, they run on coffee. If the coffee's no good, the ship won't be a happy one. And the coffee won't be good unless the water that brews it is good—free of unpleasant tastes and

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Fountain of Youth

By Mike Smith | Posted October 2007 | Add a Comment

Even under ideal storage conditions, E10 gasoline has a "shelf life" of just 30 to 45 days. After that the ethanol and gasoline start to go their separate ways. During the season this isn't a problem as long as you use your boat often and run the tank as low as you dare before refueling so the gasoline is always fresh. But winter is almost here. What'll happen to the E10 in your tanks between now

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Cover Your Asset

By Mike Smith | Posted September 2007 | Add a Comment

Fifty years ago no gentleman left the house without a hat, and no yacht spent the winter outdoors without a fitted canvas cover. Supported by a sturdy frame, the cover not only protected the yacht from snow and ice damage, but also from winter winds that would dry the wood planking, ruining the topside paint job, and opening the bottom seams. Drying's not a

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Bare Her Bottom

By Mike Smith | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

Procedures such as the Farrow System are eco-friendly.Eventually the day will come when you have to bare your bottom. No, I don't mean your college reunion or Mardi Gras—I'm talking about stripping your antifouling paint, taking your boat's bottom down to bare surface to prep for fresh primer and paint, to find and repair

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Spares Solution

By Mike Smith | Posted July 2007 | Add a Comment

SeaKits' MMS keeps track of parts to save you the trouble.Think about how many individual parts make up your yacht: The engines are full of them, as are the genset, stabilizers, air conditioning, watermaker, and so forth. Now think about how many of those parts can wear out or break. How can you carry spares for all of them? Heck,

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State of the Art

By Mike Smith | Posted June 2007 | Add a Comment

At some point every skipper dreams of making a long offshore passage—maybe across an ocean, to paradisiacal tropical islands, or to the Arctic. But when dreams close in on reality, mundane issues creep in: What's the most seaworthy hull? What if the engine breaks down? Will I get seasick? Enough, already: Worrying too much will drive you right into the arms of the nearest golf pro.

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Learn Your Lines

By Mike Smith | Posted June 2007 | Add a Comment

Few things aboard your boat are as simple—or as important—as rope. Docklines and anchor rodes will give you years of service if you take care of them properly, but ignore them at your peril: A failure of either can be disastrous. Fortunately the care and feeding of rope is both simple and cheap.Once a year wash your docklines with mild soap and water to remove salt, dirt, and

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