Tech Net U-V

PC-11 is an epoxy designed to cure underwater and it works well. (Beluga)
PC-7 is a wonderful underwater epoxy. Will work well on holes on water tanks. (St Jude)

(also caulk,   glue)


Query: Does Ultrasuede live up to its reputation?
It lived with my dog for 6 years and it proved to be exceptional for wear.
It doesn't stain if spills are wiped up quickly; i.e. coffee.
It's just now getting dingy after 10 years.
At 4-5 years, it began showing extreme wear from cat claws.

Ultrasuede is easy to clean and wears well. The knock-offs don't do as well.
Sunbrella, upholstery grade, is now 7 years old and is still holding up well. It cleans up easily and can be washed in a washing machine, then dried in the sun. (Salty Paws)

When making new cushions, use vinyl on the bottom. It prevents moisture intrusion and prevents sliding. (Mon Amie, Imagine)
Another advantage is that the vinyl saves cost. (Cat Tales)

Use strips of velcro against the walls or other places the cushions are likely to move. (Mon Amie)
Put the loop side on the fabric and the hook side on the boat. That way you can wash it. (C_Language)

When choosing fabric, remember that stripes can make some folks more prone to motion sickness. (Barefootin)

Issue: Memory foam can be hot, since it conforms to the body and traps body heat.
Use a mattress pad. It keeps you cooler and retains the softness of the mattress, but prevents you from sinking in too much.

If you're planning to use self-draining, open-cell foam, be sure to get at least 4" thickness or more. (Blessed Spirit)
Open-cell foam deteriorates as it ages, but it won't mold. (Cat Tales)

Mattress foam 6" with 2" of memory foam can be ordered online from WallyWorld. Arrange to have it delivered to the closest store to you. (Salty Paws, Valkyrie)

An electric meat cutting knife will cut foam reliably. (Early Out)

Query: How to remove an ink stain?
Hairspray dissolves ink on fabric.
Blot the stain, don't rub.
Update: Success. The ink stain came out successfully with careful application of soap and water.

Hand sanitizer, which is mostly alcohol, can be used to remove stains. It works especially well with ball point pens and magic markers. (Salty Paws)
Hydrogen peroxide works for removing blood stains. (Barefootin)
Wine Away is a good product to clean stains. (Barefootin)

We had a problem leak which was over the berth. I had the idea of making more user-friendly bed protection using waterproof sheets (the kind sold to protect mattresses and are able to be laundered). I sewed these waterproof sheets to the reverse side of a sheet casing or comforter cover-- or made one from two flat sheets you sew together. When finished the waterproof sheet is inside the cotton sheets and you use this as a covering for your bunks or any area that needs water or pet protection. When there is an accident you just remove the top cover and launder it. If you are design sensitive you can pick the top material to match your decor and it would look just like a bed spread. Has worked for us for years and saved our beds and bunks many times. (I Wanda)

Use Dri-Dek tiles underneath the mattress to maintain good ventilation. (Early Out)

A steam cleaner worked well on carpeted walls without much wear and tear. Can get one cheap at WallyWorld. (Valkyrie)
Use borax instead of chemical cleaner in the machine. (Salty Paws)

Cushions Xpress Purchase foam, etc. cut to your specifications. (Dyad)

Foam Factory Good prices, cut to measure. (Valkyrie)

Sailrite Informative website, online catalog, or physical catalog.

(also cleaning aids,   canvas work,   waterproofing)


Query: Can you use anti-corrosive spray on USB connectors?
Yes. Spray the connector on the cable, not the port on the computer.

Issue: Some of my USB devices need covers for them. I have not been able to locate covers in stores.
Use cellophane wrap around them.
Place in zip bags if they are small; especially thumb drives.

Issue: My computer has been upgraded, but Garmin uses serial only so USB wires are not compatible.
Get a USB to serial port adapter; available in most computer stores.

Query: Has anyone used an active USB hub?
Yes. Works great. Runs from the computer to USB.
Yes. Have had good results with a 15' active cable.
Good for cell phone card and wifi too.
Can connect up to five of them together.
Microbarn carries them. Inexpensive.

Blue Sea Systems Duel USB charger socket. Panel mounted; 2100 milliamps. (Dyad)
Prolific Chip Set is inside the USB-serial port adapter. It's the most reliable. (C_Language)


I installed a Vacuum Gauge with a drag pointer for monitoring a diesel fuel system and wired it in with an LED. It's easy to check it at a glance instead of clamoring over a hot running engine. A slightly higher priced option is a Vacuum Gauge kit with a drag pointer and adapter for racor turbine series diesel fuel filters. Sailors Solutions (Shamal)

Query: Where can I find a source for these?
Designated Engineer carries them.
Winters Instruments (Valkyrie)
Automotive parts stores carry them, but they have no drag pointers.


Vacuum seal systems for food storage work well on non-food items too, such as keeping spare guitar strings and small parts rust free.

Off-brand bags work better than expensive brands and can be found at WallyWorld. About 90% of the bags can be reused successfully. (Dyad)

Semi-freeze juicy meat and fish before vacuuming to prevent liquid from interfering with the sealing process.

Canister accessories aren't necessary.

View a demo on how they work.

(more galley tips)



The brass screen inside can get clogged. Clean or replace it. (Salty Paws)

Use a compressed air horn to clear a vent. Push the hose into the air horn then blow the air horn through the hose. (Paydirt)

Check vents for mud dauber nests. They can clog a vent over the course of a single day. (Dyad)


Issue: Experiencing interference when the engine is running.
It's probably the alternator. Look for a faulty capacitor connection.
Use a ferrite with two wraps.
There may be an internal diode failure in the alternator, which would affect radio transmission.
Issue: the SSB, which sits next to the VHF, causes the VHF to shift channels.
It may be the antenna. HF is not getting out properly.
Check DC voltage at VHF during transmitting on SSB. If they're on the same bus, VHF may be causing droop.
Use more ferrites on the wires to the VHF.

Query: Is there a way to change MMSI number on a VHF radio?
This is user input, so its a DIY with the keypad.

Issue: I'm having trouble transmitting.
Make sure settings are correct. Use high power.
Make sure all connections are secure and dry.
There should be no voltage reading on the antenna connector.
Resistance of coax should be less than 10 ohms or greater than 100k ohms.
When in transmit mode, the battery current should be in range of 3-6 amps.
Check the antenna and make sure it's in tact.

Issue: People say I sound like I'm talking in a can.
Clean the small hole in the microphone.

Issue: The cable up the mast causes intermittent interference.
Replace the connectors on both ends of the cable.
Go up the mast and connect the wire. Test it before you waste time running it through the mast.
SWR can mask problems.
There's an antenna analyzer tool available.

Issue: Poor reception on low power transmissions. Have already replaced the antenna.
Comments: Check the squelch.
Could have water intrusion on coax.
Wire in the mast may be bad.
Check local filter options.

Issue: I'd like input on the Standard Horizon AIS Radio.
If you're talking at the time an AIS target is broadcast, you won't hear the target; signal dropout.
Its main advantage is it needs only one antenna.
The cost is more than a standard VHF.
Older chart plotters may not support this.
Software updates are available for this radio.

Query: I'd like to get an external speaker for my VHF at 8 ohms, 10 watts, waterproof with a volume control. Where can I get one?
Standard Horizon makes them. (Mon Amie)
Try Icom (Christina)
Find one from a Ham Radio supplier. It will be cheaper than marine sources. (C_Language)

Issue: Standard Horizon VHF loses channel 16 when turning on the LED anchor light. The anchor light is Doctor LED.
This VHF brand has a design flaw that makes it susceptible.
A ferrite on the anchor light might help.
Try a different anchor light bulb. They all run on different frequencies.
To test interference, wrap the anchor light in aluminum foil.
Helpful info: download pdf Idiots Guide to Marine LEDs.
Update: Installed an Icom 504 VHF. Now there's no interference.

Query: How to prevent the digital control for the fridge from causing noise on the VHF?
Use inductors on the power line of the controller.

Issue: Not transmitting beyond a very short range.
Use a SWR meter for diagnosis of antenna.
Power supply ammeter should show 5 amps on high power transmit above the base load.
May be an open transmitter.
Check antenna first.
Resistance between center and braid, should be at least 2000 ohms.

Check coax for corrosion when the radio doesn't transmit, but otherwise works. (C_Language)

You can test DSC transmit by using ch 70 on a hand-held.

(also microphones,   ssb)


Issue: Vibration starts when engine is heated up, but if put into reverse hard, it stops.
Check motor mounts.
Use a 2x4 to lever engine when running while problem is active. It may give a clue.
Rig up some motion indicators to see if motor mounts move.
Motor mounts could have been installed backwards.
The stuffing box and/or the linkage between the engine and the prop shaft may be affected by temperature.
Check the cutlass bearing.
Could be a slipping transmission issue.

Query: Vibration at lower rpm, but none at higher. Suspicious of Volvo MD2030 2 mounts but might it be something else?
Volvo propellers may need replacement.
Check prop gears.
Your folding props may not be fully extended at lower rpm.
Motor mounts may not be in their proper position.
One marginally fouled injector could cause the problem.
Possible counter-balance internal engine failure.


Query: How to clean lifelines?
Use Simple Green.
Use a green scrub pad and Soft Scrub.
Easy Off oven cleaner or Citristrip paint stripper will clean sticky residue off them.

Citristrip is a very gentle paint remover and will remove sticky residue from most vinyl.

Use white shoe polish on vinyl trim. Window trim molding made of white vinyl hard is to clean. Use borax to clean up mildew, etc, then use shoe scuff cover (white). (Salty Paws)

Shoe scuff cover (white) also works well on head liner stains. (Salty Paws)


Black Point School, Exumas, Bahamas

If you have a high school teaching certificate, and a few hours to spare, the school at Black Point would be most grateful to have you as a temporary volunteer.

Principal Robert Boodram at or call him at his school office 344-1533. Or contact s/v Cookie Monster via VHF or on Cruiseheimers.

Secchi Disk Project - Worldwide

You can monitor ocean biology with your phone.
All boaters everywhere are being asked to help monitor the ocean's plankton. It costs nothing, takes almost no time, and helps marine biologists build a database with the collected data.

Since plankton are at the heart of nearly all sea life, this is is truly an important project. More info.



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