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Author Articles

by Mike Smith

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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Watch Your Winch

By Mike Smith | Posted May 2007 | Add a Comment

Heavy ground tackle makes for sound sleeping, but when it's time to weigh anchor, it can be a pain unless you have a windlass to do the heavy lifting. Fortunately for our lower backs, there are windlasses sized to fit any boat and no reason not to have one aboard as an unpaid hand. When properly installed, a windlass requires minimal maintenance. Here's what you need to know.

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Water Worries

By Mike Smith | Posted April 2007 | Add a Comment

As more states mandate E10 ethanol-blended gasoline for off-road use, the problem of water accumulation in fuel tanks grows. And nothing can ruin your day faster than your engine dying from a lethal gulp of H2O. If you’ve been burning E10 for a while, you might already have what techies call “water bottom.”Water bottom is simply water under the fuel in a tank, and it’s unfortunately become

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Boatbuilding, Downeast Style

By Mike Smith | Posted April 2007 | Add a Comment

Mount Desert Island, Maine, lies Downeast—about 100 miles northeast of Portland as the seagull flies. A century ago, most islanders made their living from the sea: fishing, lobstering, skippering yachts for "rusticators" (summer visitors), maybe a little bit of all three. In the winter the watermen built boats to use themselves or to sell. Today the descendants of those rugged old-timers

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Painting Underwater Metal

By Mike Smith | Posted March 2007 | Add a Comment

Painting your boat’s bottom is a straightforward job: You, or your boatyard, apply new paint over old. But what about the running gear: struts, shafts, trim tabs, and propellers? Bare metal will sport a luxurious coat of underwater flora and maybe even barnacles by season’s end, especially if you don’t use your boat often. Excessive growth produces a domino effect: It creates unnecessary drag

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Springtime Without Tears

By Mike Smith | Posted March 2007 | Add a Comment

Launch day means spring has finally arrived. Soon you’ll be out on the water again, and all will be right with the world. That’s the plan, anyway. But first make sure the old barge is up to snuff, that the boatyard did everything you asked, and that gremlins didn’t create springtime problems that weren’t there in the fall. Here are a few tips, along with suggestions for routine maintenance that

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Does Your Boat Pass the Test?

By Mike Smith | Posted March 2007 | Add a Comment

Does your boat have an NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) certification plate near the helm or the “NMMA Certified” logo on the capacity plate? If it does, did you ever wonder exactly what it means? I did, and being a longtime cynic, I supposed the plate didn’t mean much: Either the NMMA relied on the builder to attest to

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The Five Commandments...

By Mike Smith | Posted February 2007 | Add a Comment

Illustrations by Scott BakalYou thought getting the cash was the hard part and the rest would be easy, and maybe fun, too. But even with eight digits worth of mad money in your treasure chest, building a custom megayacht is a voyage littered with hazards. Running afoul of any of them could be costly in money, time, or

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Take a Seat

By Mike Smith | Posted February 2007 | Add a Comment

You've got the boat, the rods, the reels, and the tackle, and you're ready to head offshore where the big billfish swim. But before you go, you need one more thing: a rugged fighting chair that screams "serious fisherman onboard" to old salts and dock walkers alike. But how and exactly where in the cockpit do you install it once you've found the right chair?

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