Monthly Archives: April 2011


Size IS Everything!

How to select the right inverter for your boat.

By Don Wilson
TECH DOCTOR DON WILSON has worked in technical capacities in the marine, automotive and RV fields and for the military since 1989 and has extensive experience in designing and troubleshooting onboard electrical systems. A former customer service manager dealing with electronic issues, Wilson currently serves as a technical instructor for the RV industry’s RVIA Trouble Shooters Clinics and is a full-time sales application engineer for Xantrex Technology, Inc. SIZE IS EVERYTHING! is the fourth installment of TECH DOCTOR articles being presented by the Boat and Yacht Report.

In an industry where size is everything—larger engine, smaller accessories, lighter weight—it’s easy to make inaccurate assumptions and create undesirable problems for yourself. Unfortunately, in my line of work I have witnessed many instances of undersized inverters being used by boaters in an effort to save a buck. When operating below recommendation, the electrical system is far from efficient and can prove troublesome.

So, the million dollar question for this edition of TECH DOCTOR is: What size inverter SHOULD I have in my boat? And the obvious answer is…well, it’s really NOT so obvious. The truth is, this decision all depends on exactly how you want and/or intend to use your inverter. Let’s consider some questions to help you understand how to make the best choice for your unique application.

How much load (electronics/appliances) do you want to run when disconnected from shore power?

It’s important to look at the wattage draw of ALL of the appliances, plus to leave some room for future additions. If you have a 1000W A/V system, for example, and install a 1000W inverter, you’re probably asking for problems. You see, inverters are rated for their optimum performance under optimum conditions. If the inverter gets hot, or the battery voltage drops, the inverter’s ability to feed a constant 1000W may be compromised. Also, surges in power draw (such as turning on a motor) can affect the ability of the inverter to maintain proper output.

Consider this example and accompanying formula:

If you are going to plug in two devices simultaneously, add up the total wattage of both devices, and then add at least 50% more to account for peaks or spikes in the power draw.

1 monitor = 100 watts

2 portable lights = 100 watts

Recommended size of inverter: 200 watts (100 watts + 100 watts) x 0.50 = 100 watts; therefore adding the extra 100 watts results in a 300 watt inverter being necessary.

Obviously if you know for sure that two loads are never going to run at the same time, your calculation can include the higher draw load exclusively. My advice? Use common sense here, but always err on the side of the inverter. After all, nobody wants to have to remember to turn off the surround sound when using the microwave to pop the popcorn! If there is any possibility of the loads running concurrently, include both in your calculations.

 What are other important considerations?

Some loads, like motors or other inductive loads, have an extremely high demand at start-up, some as high as five times their rated power (check with your manufacturer for more information). Most inverters have a fairly high surge rating which is its ability to feed short-term high power to get these loads started. There’s no sure fire way of knowing the surge rating without testing since such data is not labeled.

While high frequency inverters are cheaper and more efficient, low frequency inverters can surge better, and for a longer period of time. However, depending on your load mix, it may be better to use a larger, high-frequency inverter than a smaller, low-frequency inverter to provide instant start-up current for some loads, plus available power to run all loads at once.

What is a sine wave inverter? Does it have anything to do with inverter sixing?

It is not directly related to inverter sizing; however you must take into account the type of electronics and appliances you want to run using the inverter. (See installment #3 of TECH DOCTOR: The Inside Story, posted April 24th, 2011.)

True Sine Wave inverters produce AC power that is similar to power available from the public utility grid system. They are expensive compared to Modified Sine Wave inverters, but they produce quality output that operates the most sensitive and sophisticated electronics. Modified Sine Wave inverters produce AC power that is sufficient to run most electronics. However, the laser printer, fax machine, plasma television set and medical equipment may not run properly with Modified Sine Wave power.


Computer system 200 Microwave oven 1200
Power drill 400 Large vacuum 1200
Coffee maker 900 Circular saw 1500
Toaster 800 Blender/juicer 1000

To size it all up? I hope these simple tips will help you select just the right inverter for your boat’s specific requirements.

NEXT UP FROM DON WILSON: Three Tips To Maximize Your Electrical System

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Salty Life

The Salty Life

 Nautical Feng Shui

Is Beelzebub in your bilge? Are there gremlins in the galley?

A how-to guide for banishing seafaring superstitions aboard, nautically balancing your vessel, and keeping it that way.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

Edmund Burke, the 18th century British political writer said, “Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.”
Hamlet, Shakespeare’s most melancholy Dane, cogitated that, “All is not well; I doubt some foul play.”
“Horse hockey!” remarked a crusty curmudgeon of a captain I once fished with.
While poets, scientists, scholars, and theologians have contemplated the roots of superstition throughout the ages, none seem more under its spell than those of us who goes down to the sea in ships. And as you may ascribe to some Neptunian/Poseidon-based superstitions, I have chosen to arm myself using a parallel interpretation of Newton’s Third Law of Physics—For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction—to dispel any ensorcells coming my way. Therefore, in order to share my so far unbroken lucky streak in dealing with these waterborne perturbations with you, my shipmates, I offer the following solutions. But before we begin, let the wise mariner beware. Since karma is like a boomerang, you always carry yours with you. Hopefully all your worldly good deeds to date far outweigh your bad ones and therefore, should any of these conditions befall you, I hope you have enough juice built up to repel them.
The only guarantees here are that there are none.  Good luck!



Photo credit: 1208

It’s bad luck to change the name of a boat. Well, what if you don’t like the name of the boat you’re contemplating buying? Or, perish the thought, already own? Tripe Stew. Muck & Mire. Regurgitation. Skid Marx. Haggis. Yes friends, these and others, some way too blue to make it into print for this collection—this is, after all, a family experience—are names I’ve seen adorning the transom, often in gold leaf and lavishly illustrated, of many a craft. If you really can’t stand your boat’s present name, you can change it without fear of reprisal. But do it only in the following manner lest you stir up a heap of trouble.

First, you will have to ceremoniously obliterate the old name everywhere you find it. For example, run a piece of sandpaper once across the transom, or if the bows and superstructure are so festooned, up there also. And don’t forget the tender. If there is a ship’s log aboard (logs are often kept by new owners for maintenance schedules), or a life ring, raft, salt and pepper shakers, and so on, take a pen, pencil, or marker and draw a single line through the name everywhere it appears. Continue doing this throughout the boat, making a mark that in some way deletes the odious cognomen.

Next take a piece of paper and write the soon-to-be-exorcised name on it. Fold the paper up and place it in a small cardboard or wooden box. Burn the box completely until there are only ashes left. Scoop up the residue and take it to the water’s edge. Throw the remains into the sea on an outgoing tide. (If you live on a lake, do it at night and only during a new moon. For you river dwellers, send the scoriae downstream.) You may now change the name everywhere on your vessel without fear of irking the ire of any mischievous water sprite. And of course the monogrammed towels will have to go.

AN ASIDE: Eugene V. Connett III, born 1891 and who died in 1969, spent most of his adult life fly-fishing and publishing rare and collectible sporting books at his Derrydale Press. Such was his obsession that he exhausted his family fortune pursuing his dream and wound up in financial ruin. His take on the difference between a boat and a chicken coop is especially telling: “Boats are quite different from chicken coops; things on a boat must be able to take any licking to which they are exposed or you take the rap. In a chicken coop the chickens take it.”


How about whistling aboard? In olden days, becalmed sailors whistled whether at the tornado-2090803_1280wheel, swabbing the decks, or chained in the fo’csle. This warbling was believed to bring up the wind. Of course, centuries later, since the last thing some of us motorized boaters need is a blustery day—sail boaters need not heed this particular fallaciousness as they often require some sort of snotty blow to get them from Point A to Point B and even perhaps back again lest they turn on their engines to cover some ground at the very least; so for the ragbaggers amongst us, tweet and twitter away to your heart’s desire. So be it. For the rest of us, trilling aboard is absolutely verboten. However, if any of you power boaters happen to forget yourselves and by chance do pucker up and blow, merely spit overboard in the direction from which the wind is coming, and any errant gust will hasten itself to disappear. Don’t forget to duck or feint one-way or the other lest your chucker hit you on the way back. If it does, take a bucket of water from the ocean, lake, river, or bathtub and douse the spot where you were hit. If it lands on your face, you can’t just wash the spot off. Instead, you’ll have to dump the whole bucket over your head. Of course there’s a more salty approach but again, this is a family site.
Fresh Fish: The first person to write in English about using a fishing rod was Dame Juliana Berners, whose Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle (c.1496) remained the basis of fishing knowledge in England for 150 years.


luck-2216208_1280Then there’s the one about not embarking on a Friday. Well that comes from the idea that perhaps Christ was crucified on a Friday, and therefore it is very bad luck to set out on that day. And as far as where letting your lines go if the day falls on the 13th, well, perish the thought. Even thinking of it will bring disaster down upon you on a biblical scale. However, my good friend and dock buddy Father “Fishin’ Magician” O’Really—actually O’Reilly but due to his penchant for telling exaggerated fish stories we hung this respected moniker on him—has a remedy for this one. Should those whose minds have contemplated such a voyage on that particular day of the week, he advises his marinized parishioners to say the proper novenas—especially those concerning St. Francis and St. Peter—and all will be just fine. “And for my Hebrew friends, of which there are many,” he said as we shared another wee Bushmills during this conversation, “Well it just doesn’t matter now does it my boy? They can set out any old day they wish.” See where I’m going with this?   
graffiti-771696_1280Overheard on a recent flight from Boise, Idaho to St. Petersburg, Florida: “Hey, Olive, be a dear and pass me that can of spinach.” Popeye, sailorman



grammostola-1198225_1280Bananas. Now, how can nature’s perfect food ever be bad luck on a boat? Well shipmates, it seems that long ago, when iron men sailed wooden ships, many a voyage often put into exotic tropical locales for reprovisioning. Among the foodstuffs taken on were copious amounts of bananas. And in these bunches of bananas, living happily on nature’s perfect food, were all sorts of bugs, spiders, and snakes and creepy-crawlies that, once aboard, often lived just as happily in the victuals, bunks, and on the bodies of the crew, including many a vexed captain. Soon unexplained fevers and sores spread throughout the ships companies, and eventually to almost all the ports of call the vessels made, including its home port, as the insecta–the Latin family nameinterlopers made it ashore.bananas-504478_1280

When the irate masters finally figured out the source of the scourge, the word spread lickety-split from port to port and any form of genus Musa—that’s Latin for banana—aboard a ship was prohibited. To cement the edict, they fed into the sailor’s trunk of superstitions that bananas aboard portended all sorts of ill and thus deemed the fruit bad luck.

Of course today this is all so much bilge water so there’s no need to deprive yourself of nature’s perfect food aboard your boat. But if you feel the need to dispel any chance of any bad mamma jamma coming your way, simply throw the peel into the water—not to worry tree-huggers, it’ll quickly get eaten as it rejoins the circle of life—while balancing on your right foot. That’s your right foot. Never the left. And oh yes, make sure you’ve finished the banana before tossing the peel.

The code of the old U.S. Lifesaving Service: You have to go out, and that’s a fact. Nothin’ says you have to come back.

           GETTING ON AND OFF A BOAT                    

billiard-ball-157929_1280And don’t make light of this left foot thing. Getting on and off a boat with your left foot—you’re not supposed to in case you didn’t know—is a big no no. You question the authenticity of this fact? Then you research it in the Gutenberg Bible on your own. But if you happen to absentmindedly make this podiatric faux pas, merely retrace your steps backwards exactly as you made them forwards until you are either dockside or deckside. Take off your shoes, sneakers, flip-flops, or whatever and switch them to the opposite foot. Then step on or off the boat, right foot first of course, after which you can put your whatever’s back on the proper foot.

If you’re one of those unshod boaters—go figure anyone with a splinter/hot-deck fetish or having a penchant for picking up all sorts of foot fungi that are more than happy to take up residence and multiply and be fruitful between your toes—perform the same maneuver. Do the reverse shodding thing, and get on or off. Right foot first please, or you’ll have to do the whole thing over again but this time twice. Once ashore or aboard, feel free to unshod yourself if you must.

In response to the question of how long a particular seaman had been a sailor, there’s some insight I found in this little ditty:

All me bloomin’ life.

Me mother was a mermaid,

Me father was King Neptune.

I was born on the crest of a wave                                                                 sailor-612255_1280

And rocked on the cradle of the deep.

Seaweed and barnacles are me clothes,

The hair on me head is hemp,

Every bone in me body’s a spar,

And when I spits, I spit tar.

I’se hard, I is, I am, I are.


leaf-1679736_1280Getting from bow to stern on many a craft is often a task that is made even more difficult by the many things that can be left on deck. Anything from a mop to a length of line to last night’s empties lying about can and will get you in trouble. And should you accidentally overturn a bucket full of water, you are leaving yourself, your vessel, and those aboard facing dire consequences. You see the water inside the bucket is considered to be good luck and the more that spills out, the more good luck will be leaving. Therefore, make all haste to right the bucket and save even the smallest amount of water. Any luck left is better than none at all. Under no circumstances should you leave the bucket overturned. A prudent skipper will therefore alert all in his crew to make sure they are ever vigil whenever buckets full of water are about.

Should this happen aboard your boat, and you have been successful in righting the bucket and saving some of the water, immediately fill the container with water which has come from overboard in the general area where the spilled liquid found its way to the sea; it takes a sharp eye and a keen mind not to panic when this happens. Just follow the trail to the nearest scupper. But do not use the righted bucket for fetching. Instead use another ewer, jug, carton, cup, container, pitcher, basin, decanter, or carafe until the pail is half full.

Then, as you are pouring the very next fill into the bucket, throw a copper penny overboard on the opposite side from where you are filling. As copper is the main ingredient in protective anti-fouling paint, this is a way of making an offering to safeguard your hull bottom as well. The metal was also used as copper sheathing on hull bottoms on ships in days gone by. Anyway, making this submission while refilling your bucket with water will ensure that good luck will return aboard your vessel. Once the bucket is filled, you can now slowly pour the water overboard, allowing it to surround your boat with fair winds, clear skies, and no underwater obstructions.

Should you kick over a bucket below decks, quickly sponge up as much as you can and get it back into the bucket. Then, with as much alacrity as possible, get topsides and proceed with the already mentioned instructions. In this situation you can fill the bucket from any location but remember to toss the copper penny into the drink opposite from where you are.

On Launching A Boat

This one has some overlapping with the not-voyaging-on-a-Friday annoyance. As you recall from that one, bad luck will follow you for the rest of your days—and then some—if you set sail on any Friday, double that for a Friday the 13th.christian-1316180_1280

To bolster the point, I recall the story of a ship building company at the turn of the 19th Century whose principals decided to test the hex to the max. Cutting to the chase here, they signed on to build the ship on a Friday, commissioned the keel on a Friday, finished driving the last fastening on a Friday, hired a captain named Friday, on a Friday, by the way, and launched and christened the vessel on a Friday. There were lots of other Friday occurrences but I’m sure you get my drift here. Oh yes, one more: The vessel was named…yep, Friday.      

Anyway, on her maiden voyage, she smartly slipped her lines and drifted away from the dock on the outgoing tide. With family, friends, and investors waving from quayside, her crew unfurled her sails. She caught the wind, and slowly, bit by bit, made for the horizon after which she was never heard from again. So, as my good friend Father O’Really would have me do, let’s uncork a bit of the wee Bushmills and set aside Fridays for other things rather than splashing our boats.

But let’s get back to the problem at hand. Before the notion of using champagne to wet the bows of boats slipping down the ways, or more likely being lowered in the TravelLift for the vessel’s first taste of water, wine was poured upon the decks and represented a libation to the gods, what with their well-known and avid proclivity for the drink, thus ensuring to bring good luck. Christening a ship by breaking a bottle of champagne across her bow at the time of launching arose from this practice. However, there is one derivation of this that is a bit more macabre. Somewhere back in antiquity, Druid stuff and all that, it is said that only human sacrifice could appease the capriciousness of the spirit world. With the decks thus bloodied, the vessel could now sail upon the waters in safety. I, for one, am glad that’s over with as is, I am sure, the hapless participant of such a ritual.

Now, to guarantee a good and proper launching, and to make sure no calamity, disaster, mishap, or ruin comes of your beginning this portion of your watery adventures, it is important to have this most sacred of nautical undertakings well planned out.

First, arrange your launching on an outgoing tide; preferable at the top of the flood and just before the ebb. In addition, if you can plan things during any cycle of a full moon, neap, or spring tide, this is also desirable but not absolutely necessary. But doing it during this special astronomical occurrence couldn’t hurt. This might well irritate your marina manager, but when you’re dealing with the alternative, I’d opt for the short-lived annoyance that anything from a six-pack to a freshly caught fish to a t-shirt can usually cure.

shoes-1560610_1280With everything now in place, take a pair of old shoes, whether one by one or tied together, and throw them in the water at the moment any part of the hull first touches the water. Having someone standing by helps to coordinate this. There is, of course, some leeway in the timing of the toss so don’t implode if you are either slightly ahead of the dipping or just behind it. The shoes—boots are also permissible as are boat shoes, sneakers, sandals, flip flops, or any other type of foot wear—must be well worn, beyond repair, and a long-time favorite of the boat owner’s. The older and more seasoned the better, as the long accumulated mileage will guarantee that much time and tide will pass before any monkey business will, well, monkey around with your vessel. And as far as that champagne goes, please make sure the bottle is well scored so that it will shatter and bathe the bows in liquid on the first shot. You are allowed a second shot but in doing so, this will lessen the amount of protective time the shoes were originally giving you. For the full effect, you must wait at least 24 hours before cracking the bottle. To counteract this blight, hang the shoes overboard in the dock, much the same as a zinc guppy, for the same amount of time.

Once the boat is safely afloat, retrieve the footwear—I’m sure your dockmates and neighbors as well as that feisty marina manager don’t want a pair of old shoes floating around the docks—and toss them in the garbage with complete confidence as they have now and forever, served their purpose.

amphibian-1297728_1280“I’m going below to put on my 50 mph hat cause I only got 40 mph hair.”  Dick Weber, owner, Canyon Club Marina/South Jersey Yacht Sales, Cape May, New Jersey, as we hit 41.8 mph on his 73-foot Ocean Yacht in Biscayne Bay, Miami, February, 2005.

On Having Redheads On Board

Okay guys and gals, for all of you who are smitten with significant others whose hair, locks, tresses, curls or mane are carrot-topped, crimson, scarlet, ruby, burgundy, or any hue, shade, tint, color, tinge, tone, or blush in any variation on the color red, this one is for you.

Since the days of yore, having a redheaded person on board has been considered a vintage-1650593_1280harbinger of bad luck. Whether its roots can be found in the old ‘Red Sky At Dawning, Sailor Take Warning’ elegy or some other limerick, couplet, rhyme, or verse dating back to when the first mariner set off from terra firma to float upon the watery world, we will most likely never know the true reason for this particular predicament.

However, should you be expecting a redheaded person aboard, you must, lest you suffer the most dire of consequences, not allow them to speak to you first. Therefore, the utmost vigilance must be taken. As soon as you see them coming down the dock, quay, gangplank, wharf, pier, or being ferried from ashore via dinghy—a pair of high-quality binoculars should be used—be prepared to speak first. Whether it’s a hearty ‘Hal-lo!’, ‘Ahoy!’, ‘Hey, hiyadoin!’, or whatever greeting, salutation, welcome, salute, or any other means of communication available that causes you to say the spoken work, it absolutely, without question must be you who utter it first.

Should the unthinkable occur, you will have to immediately cease all tête-à-tête, discussion, dialogue, conversation, or any communication that may be construed as verbal discourse, including singing or speaking in iambic pentameter, or any other lyric or poetic presentation, with the offending person. Even if they continue to assault your auditory senses with lexis, you will desist with all your inner strength. Using an intermediary, or if no one else is around or refuses, on secular or religious grounds, to be part of this exorcism, you will, without delay, communicate with the aforementioned scarlet-headed person via the written word or sign language as long as no sound utters from you.

During this inscribing or gesticulating discourse, after you have explained yourself fully and made it quite clear that you are most serious about the unfolding and subsequent ramifications of these event—you may be looked upon with dread, scorn, revulsion, as well as a stare that might very well question your sanity, but, my dear fellow sojourner, see it through—you are to ask for a small cutting of hair. You are then to place it in a small envelope, seal it, and place the packet in a larger sachet and mail the package to someone you know who lives inland and not within sight of a major body of water; whether it be ocean, lake, stream, pond, brook, river, tributary, waterway, canal, channel, inlet, gulf, bay, cove, creek, sound, or fjord. They are to be instructed to place the parcel, unopened, in a dark place such as a closet or drawer, and keep it there for one complete cycle of the moon after which it can be thrown away. Choose wisely now pilgrim, for entrusting such an important burden should only be asked of someone worthy of the responsibility.

The parcel must always remain unopened up to the time it is trashed. For the length of its incarceration, and until it is properly disposed of, you and your vessel and everyone on board will have immunity from harm. And once the package has been forever dispatched, you and your redheaded crewmember can live in everlasting nautical harmony. Now isn’t that a nice way to wrap this one up? I think so too.

Gongoozler’s and dockwalloper’s are two distinct kinds of people. The formergeek-499140_1280 stands around the waterfront with their hands in their pockets watching other folks do things while the latter walks around the dock, checking things out.


By now dear travelers, you’ve most likely picked up on the importance of not only chasing but keeping away some of these troubles by coordinating their unraveling with certain phases of the moon, especially when it is full. This particular component is nothing to be scoffed at or ignored as the moon not only plays a special role in the natural world but as we all know, “There are more things in heaven and earth dear Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

wolves-169282_1280From time immemorial, the dead orb that accompanies our planet on its own ceaseless celestial voyage has had a profound effect on humankind. Such is the upshot on our collective consciousnesses that there’s “Moon For The Misbegotten” and “Moon Over Miami”; Native American author William Least Heat Moon of Blue Highways fame; pop star Moon Martin whose 1978 album—yes, in those days it was albums kids—‘Shots From A Cold Nightmare’ was received quite well; the infamous Moonies of the 1970’s and 80’s; H.G. Wells’ “From The Earth to The Moon”; moonshine whisky; Pink Floyd’s remarkable Dark Side of The Moon as well as Van Morrison’s mercurial Moondance; NFL pro quarterback Warren Moon; other songs such as Blue Moon, [It’s only a] Paper Moon, By The Light of The Silvery Moon, Shine on, shine on Harvest Moon, the Rolling Stones’ Moonlight Mile, and Warren Zevon’s They Moved the Moon; Streit’s Moon Strips matzohs; of course there’s always howling at the moon and the Moonwalk, made famous by pseudo-human Michael Jackson; the well-known Man in The Moon, not to be confused by the movie of almost-the-same-name, The Man on The Moon nor the movie of the same name starring Jim Carey as hell-bent-for-destruction comedian Andy Kaufman; moon pies (they came in artificial chocolate and strawberry flavored); Moon Dog, the Viking-clad existential poet who, until he died, made it his life’s work to stand on a street corner in New York City; and then there was his parallel universe buddy, Moondoggie, the half-wit surfer dude from those Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello flicks; the absolutely wonderful Goodnight Moon children’s book; the persistent sophomoric inclination towards mooning; the famous comic strip of the 1940’s and 50’s, Moon Mullins; Frank Moon, who played the role of the doctor on the hit television show, The A-Team; D.H. Lawrence’s, “…the new moon, of no importance”; lots of Asian kids having Moon as a surname; many references in literature, poetry, and music to moon-faced girls, none of which I can name right now but I know they exist; Moon Unit Zappa, daughter of Frank Zappa, transcendental leader and driving force of the 1960’s band, The Mothers of Invention; the movie Moonstruck with Cher and Nicholas Cage; a moon reference from Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” reads thus:

The moving Moon went up the sky.
And nowhere did abide;
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside-

sleepwalkers-946608_1280To Honeymooner Jackie Gleason’s exasperated signature shout as Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Cramden, “to the moon Alice!”; the nursery rhyme line where the cow jumped over the moon; the moon adventures of Baron von Munchausen. And who could ever forget the cheesy 1950’s black and white sci-fi film classic, Cat-Women of the Moon; in colonial America, March was the time of the Fish Moon; for the Chinese, the month was known as the Sleepy Moon; the Cherokee tribe called it the Windy Moon while the Choctaw and Dakotah Sioux knew it as The Big Famine Moon and the Moon When Eyes Are Sore From Bright Snow respectively; for the Celts it was the Moon Of Winds; Medieval Englanders christened it the Chaste Moon while the Neo Pagans naturally dubbed it the Death Moon—go figure, Pagans; and to those people inhabiting New Guinea, the appellation for the full moon occurring in March ranged from Rainbow Fish to Palalo Worm to Open Sea to Rain and Wind Moon. A rose by any other name, eh? And of course looked what happened to poor Larry Talbot in the original Wolfman film.

Then there’s the whole tide thing coupled with our own bodily makeup of lots of water and the fact that we begin life by swimming around in amniotic fluid for nine months and the possible effect the moon could have on that. I could easily go on and on and fill several more pages but I think you catch my drift here. So bottom line, don’t discount the effect that the moon has on us mere mortals when dealing with keeping good luck aboard and bad luck at bay. When in doubt, or if you need an extra push, it couldn’t hurt to wait for the proper time in the lunar cycle to get things done right. month-179836_1280

Well friends, that’s it for now. There are legions more to deal with but this is all I have room for in this edition. Spurred on by my terminal wanderlust, I will be scouring the Seven Seas and visiting every atoll, island, port-of-call, harbor, wharf, quay, marina, town, seaport, and mooring in my watery travels to uncover not only the sources of other ills not dealt with here, but more of the spells, incantations, charms, potions, concoctions, remedies, cures and treatments for all that ails ye. If you have a hex that needs dispelling drop me a line here at the site and I’ll see what I can do. Hopefully I’ll be able to help you free your boat of any bad mojo that you may have unwittingly conjured up.

If you have a salty cure of your own for what ails us poor unfortunate souls, please send it on in. If it’s truly worthy of a posting–this is some serious business after all–I’ll send you two dozen of my world famous, hand-made, chocolate chip cookies. You’re gonna love ’em. I promise. (Make sure to let me know if you have any food allergies, especially to nuts, so I won’t load them up with any macadamia, walnuts, or pecans.)

In the meantime, don’t leave any hatch covers lying upside down on your deck, if a redheaded person is getting aboard your boat always be the first to speak to them before they speak to you, and never, absolutely never mess with an albatross. Now, if I can only find that Fijian talisman that my good friend Capt. Bill Pike gave me I just might be able to go fishing again.

Fair Winds Shipmates

If you have your own SALTY LIFE experience and would like to share it with us, please send it in, along with any images, drawings, illustrations, maps, or photos. If it gets posted, I will send you two dozen of my world famous, hand made, chocolate chip cookies. Promise. And don’t forget to let me know if you have any food allergies, like with nuts, so I won’t load them up with pecan, walnut, or macademias. You’re going to love ’em. Fair winds shipmates! -Capt. Ken

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 28, 2011 in The Salty Life


Tags: ,

Electronics Review


SI-TEX has added a new member to its growing family of high-performance autopilots. The new-for-2011 SI-TEX SP-110 is an ideal solution for owners of small to medium-sized powerboats, combining advanced steering features, simple push-button operation and rugged reliability. The SP-110‘s Virtual Rudder Feedback capabilities–which eliminate the need for a separate rudder feedback unit–further enhance this new pilot’s simplicity, affordability, and performance.

With a compact, splash-proof control head measuring just 4.3″ square, the SP-110 can be mounted on just about any helm, console, or dash. In addition, the SP-110 is specially designed to provide a family appearance with SI-TEX‘s new SST-110 Digital Water Temperature Gauge and SDD-110 Digital Depth Gauge, making an attractive and functional helm electronics package.

The SP-110 will pilot hydraulically steered boats using either a reversing pump or continuous drive unit. It can also be used on mechanically steered inboard, outboard, or sterndrive vessels when paired with SI-TEX‘s new Remote Mechanical Drive system Features include a transflective LCD display showing course and function data, simple operation with just four push buttons, better than 1 degree course detection and GPS mode (when interfaced to GPS/chartplotter via NMEA0183 input/output) for easy, automatic waypoint steering.

SI-TEX‘s affordable SP-110 system (MSRP $1,350 excluding drive) comes complete with the control unit, standard rate compass, and all necessary hardware for flush or bracket installation. The SP-110 also comes with a two-year limited warranty, the boater’s assurance of reliable performance in the harsh marine environment.

For more informaiton on the new SP-110 autopilot, or the entire line of SI-TEX marine electronics for recreational and commercial vessels, visit an authorized SI-TEX marines electronics dealer or contact SI-TEX at 25 Enterprise Zone Drive, Suite #2, Riverhead, NY 11901. (631) 996-2690.



Leave a comment

Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


Redbone Fishing Tournaments

 Welcome to the Boat and Yacht Report’s dedicated Redbone Fishing Tournament page. Some might say, what is so special about a fishing tournament that warrants its own coverage? Well, if you haven’t heard of this organization before, we’re going to try and help spread the word.

What makes Redbone so special is its selfless and tireless work in raising money “To Catch The Cure” for cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease affecting some 30,000 children and adults here in the U.S.

Since its inception in 1988, the Redbone has brought together a unique group of sportsman and women who respect the outdoors and relish every opportunity to connect with it. Athletes and anglers, guides and celebrities, all come to fish. And by fishing, they contribute much more than their time as this non-profit (501c) company has this dreaded disease up on its radar screen with all intentions of helping to get rid of it.

Redbone offers a series of fishing tournaments throughout the year. The trilogy of Florida Keys Tournaments includes Redbone in November, and the Robert-James Sales SLAM and Baybone in September. In addition they offer many Redbone at Large tournaments throughout the United States and the Bahamas. We’ll be updating the schedule of tournaments and events on a regular basis. Or you can visit the Redbone homepage at

Redbone also has a quarterly journal called the Redbone Journal, focusing on the wonders of the natural environment with special attention paid to issues that may benefit or detract from preserving the delicate balance of wind, water, tide, and living things. In addition, the organization maintains a stimulating and relevant art gallery with works of art revolving around saltwater fishing. The Redbone Saltwater Art Gallery has become Florida’s largest saltwater fishing art gallery and is located in Islamorada, Florida. Many of the artists works can also be viewed online as well.

So we hope you will become a regular visitor here and in doing so, will join with Redbone in its dedicated work to help so many afflicted with CF. If you have any questions, or wish to get involved, please get in contact with them at You can also contact Pete Johnson, PR counsel for The Redbone at Johnson Communications, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ 85254. Ph: 480-951-3654.  E-mail:

See you out on the water!


                                                                         Susie, Gary, and Nicole Ellis

Typically, an organization reveals the nature of its content and its objective by the wording of its name. Redbone is a catchy word, but it needs an explanation. So, what is a Redbone? A legendary blues musician? A hardworking hound dog? Try again. An embarrassed bonefish? Well…

In 1984, Gary and Susan Ellis’ newborn daughter, Nicole, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. They were told with considerable care, she should live to her early teens. After asking the question “What is cystic fibrosis,” they set out to find a way to fight it. In 1988 with the help of their friends, including legendary Boston Red Sox baseball player Ted Williams, they founded the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fund the research to cure CF. Guides, anglers, and celebrities from film and sports teamed up on thirty-three boats to fish for redfish and bonefish. From that tournament came the name “Redbone.” They raised $16,000 that first year and more importantly, introduced CF into the conscience of the very caring community of Islamorada in the Florida Keys. From that small seed, the Redbone has mushroomed into 25 tournaments spanning both coasts of the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas, and an art gallery specializing in angler art. In the last 21 years, the Redbone has made a total contribution to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of over 10 million dollars. In 2009 Redbone fishing tournaments, including our cooperative efforts with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, netted over $1.5 million “to catch the cure.”

When the Redbone was first established, children with CF rarely lived to attend high school. Today the median age of survival for a person with CF is 35 years. We should not celebrate this achievement, since a single life is yet to be saved from this devastating disease, but it has become a sign of hope for a brighter tomorrow for individuals with the disease and their families.

Money buys science, and science does save lives. That’s why events such as the Mercury Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series, the Redbone@Large, and the Red-Trout Series are important. Through your support, you are insuring that aggressive, innovative research in CF will constantly be explored. By helping us support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, you are helping to build a bridge of hope that will eventually lead to the ultimate victory: a cure for cystic fibrosis.

  Awesome weekend: 2011 Redbone @ Large

La Siesta Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Tourney

ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys, — “It was an awesome weekend,” said astronaut Bruce Melnick sporting a huge smile. The two-time space shuttle astronaut, one of the celebrities among the  20 anglers, had just hours before caught and released a 170 lb. tarpon in the La Siesta Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Tournament, a Redbone@Large series event April 15 – 17 for the cystic fibrosis research.    

Melnick not only caught his largest tarpon ever (see photo below)–some 50 smaller ones preceded it over his years of fishing–he exclaimed, “The last morning, while motoring out at day break in Capt Matt Bellinger’s skiff, we were treated to a great surprise of watching the space station fly overhead for several minutes, followed by my 170 plus pound tarpon, and then a breath-taking sunrise. 

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” he beamed enthusiastically.

Gary Hall, of Niagara Falls, N.Y. would second that. Guided by Capt. Jim Dalrymple, he was the grand champion angler in his first-ever tarpon tournament, catching and releasing three silver kings.

“They were everywhere,” said Hall. “I caught two in the evening period and my last one on Sunday morning before having to leave early for a Miami meeting. It wasn’t until later that I found out I had won.”

The two grand champion anglers and their two captains were each awarded paintings from the Redbone Gallery from the works of artist Pasta Pantaleo.

The La Siesta Resort and Marina in the heart of Islamorada at MM 80.5 with its cottages, villas and suites served as the headquarters and hosting sponsor for the second year. Anglers fished beginning at dawn from 6-10:30 a.m., on Saturday and Sunday with a middle Saturday session at dusk, from 4-8 p.m., featuring what Melnick called a beautiful sunset and a near moon rise. The tournament closed with a Sunday noon awards luncheon.  

In the team division, Dr. Robert Cullen, a long time supporter of the Redbone tournaments along with one of his sons, Michael, won by catching two tarpon each, while fishing with Capt. Kenny Knudsen. Cullen, the Head of Pediatric Neurology at Miami Children’s Hospital, made a family affair out of the event as three out of his four sons fished the tournament. Hall and Dale Lusk were the runner-up team. Dr. Cullen also won runner-up angler based on time.

The Big Man Plays at Redbone

Under the near full moon, celebrity musician Clarence Clemons, the “Big Man” of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, wailed the night away on his saxophone with the local Marlin Too Revue after the event’s kickoff dinner and silent auction. For tournament information on this and nearly 30 other tournaments across the country and the Bahamas go to the Redbone website at, or phone Redbone executive director Susan Ellis at 305-664-2002 or via

Results:  2011  REDBONE @ LARGE

La Siesta Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Tournament

Islamorada, Fl. – April 15 – 17 – Target species: Tarpon

20 anglers; 20 total tarpon caught and released

Trophy artwork provided to the Redbone Gallery by artists Pasta Pantaleo, Jeanine Bean, Stephen Whitlock and John Rice.

FORMAT: ALL RELEASE- All tarpon had to be 48 inches in overall length to qualify as a legal release among three tackle divisions of bait, artificial and fly

GRAND CHAMPION ANGLER:  Gary Hall, Niagara Falls, N.Y.


CELEBRITY GRAND CHAMPION ANGLER:  Astronaut Bruce Melnick, Inglis, Fla.,


LADY GRAND CHAMPION: Brooke Denkert, Islamorada, Fla., 


TEAM GRAND CHAMPIONS: Dr. Robert Cullen and Michael Cullen, Coral Gables, Fla. 


RUNNER-UP TEAM GRAND CHAMPION ANGLERS: Gary Hall and David Lusk, Ann Arbor, Mich.




Comments Off on Redbone Fishing Tournaments

Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


On My Mind


This time out:  Things I Don’t Like

  • Drifters. You know; the kind of people you see walking towards you who suddenly go to the left and then to the right after you have already changed your direction. I mean, come on, what’s up with that?
  • People who smoke. Go no further.
  • Walking behind people who smoke. I said, go no further.
  • Boaters who don’t know what they are doing. Now that’s something that really sends me around the bend.

Many years ago now, some friends implored, begged and pleaded with me; “Ah come on Cap, it’ll be fun!” referring to the upcoming New York City Harbor July 4th extravaganza. It was the one and only time I would ever do anything like that again.

Among the many horror shows on the water that evening were more than one pinhead actually trying to anchor up in the East River! There he was, down on his knees, baring his plumber’s crack to all, sporting a black WhiteSnake t-shirt, up on the bow of his 24-foot something or other, waiving back at his wife/significant other/whatever, who was at the wheel, imploring her to, “Put the #!+*#”-ing boat in reverse already, will ya, huh!” as he slipped out yard after yard of anchor line, hoping beyond hope to get a grab on some pay dirt below.

If there is one thing you do not do on the East River, with a rip-roaring, four-knot ebb getting ready to dump and squeeze a bazillion tons of water out of Long Island Sound and send it down the river in its inexorable run to the Atlantic Ocean, is try and drop your hook with hundreds of other boats on your bow, your stern, and to port and starboard on July 4th. You just do not try and go up against something like that. And, of course, trying to get a hold of a piece of prime bottom-of-the-river real estate is yet another story for another time. If you catch my drift here.

Now, it was just before sunset and with the lights of Gotham burning bright on what was shaping up to be a very clear evening, completely devoid of clouds and a perfect scenario for the magnificent fireworks show, this scene was being played out for all in the area, and within earshot, to witness.

“Ladies and gents,” I distinctly remember saying to my friends that early evening as I carefully stemmed the outgoing tide. “This is about to get real ugly.”

Jockeying the throttles while an attentive eye was on what was going on all around me, and keeping my distance, I watched as the boat began a down river, pin ball odyssey, courtesy of the ebb that had begun to flow in earnest, and the fact that now, his many yards of anchor line had somehow gotten itself wrapped around his outdrive, most likely because he had tried to settle his boat in the wrong direction. As the now-drifting craft and its hapless crew bounced, knocked, smacked, thumped, bumped, whacked, rammed, collided, and bashed itself in quite a rude fashion to almost everything in its careening path, the ensuing ruckus soon escalated into a cacophony of salty sailor’s epithets and language that can only be described as, short of sinking in shark-infested waters, of being something out of your worst nautical nightmare, which it most certainly had become for this particular mariner and his wife/significant other/whatever.

The take-away here shipmates is that being out on the water is no joke. Yes, it’s a wonderful way to go; enjoyable, exciting, adventurous, stimulating, and a whole lot more that can, and as quickly, get very serious. As I’ve often said to those who have enlisted my services as nautical teacher over the years: “You can’t get out and change a flat tire. So you better know what you are doing because there are lots of others who haven’t a clue.”

I still stand by that. While I won’t bore you with the latest 2012 statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard’s reports—even one fatality is one too much, which is something I think we can all agree on—feel free to Google the site. And if you just key word in BOATING ACCIDENTS 2012 in your search engine, you’ll come up with about 628,00 pages on the subject. Enough said.

How about a mandatory safe boating class for every one buying any kind of boat? Here’s the first kicker. I know, I know. “What about us veteran ‘captains’ with so much water in our wakes that when we look in the mirror we see Admiral Nelson smiling back.”  Okay, so there are a few wrinkles to work out. But I’d like to go one step further in this discussion. If you need a license to drive a car, then why not one for a boat? There’s a lot more to it than just Red Right Returning. Hey, it’s an economic stimulator as well. Jobs are created, fees are collected, boat dealers can hold the classes right at their dealerships, or you sign yourself, and for that matter, the whole family, up at a reputable ‘school’, whether online or in person.

Before some of you get all bent out of shape about this and start into whooping and hollering at me, give it some real thought. The last thing you want to do is be out there on the water, confident and knowing what you are doing, and dealing with someone who doesn’t know what the responsibilities of priviledged and burdened vessels are nor the allowances of the Rule of Good Seamanship.

Fair winds and following seas, and I’ll see you on two whistles.

Photo Credit: Jim Raycroft

Capt. Ken

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized



The Inside Story

Sine Wave vs Modified Sine Wave: Which is Better?

By Don Wilson
TECH DOCTOR DON WILSON has worked in technical capacities in the marine, automotive and RV fields and for the military since 1989 and has extensive experience in designing and troubleshooting onboard electrical systems. A former customer service manager dealing with electronic issues, Wilson currently serves as a technical instructor for the RV industry’s RVIA Trouble Shooters Clinics and is a full-time sales application engineer for Xantrex Technology, Inc. THE INSIDE STORY is the third installment of TECH DOCTOR articles being presented by the Boat and Yacht Report.

One of the most common tech questions debated today includes the best choice for inverter installations between true sine wave (TSW), sometimes referred to as pure sine wave, or a modified sine wave (MSW) technology.

Let’s begin by addressing what alternating current (AC) means. AC literally means that the current alternates its direction over and over again (every 8 milliseconds for the US power grid). As is demonstrated in the accompanying chart, a TSW, like shore power, alternates smoothly with a sinusoidal curve that has a rounded peak and a clean ‘zero cross’ to a rounded valley. MSW produces instantaneous peak voltage for a few milliseconds, then back to the valley. Now that we’ve covered the foundation of how AC operates, let’s address the bigger issue.


TECH DOCTOR: Sure! MSW (modified sine wave) power is usually sufficient to run many electronic devices with some distinct exceptions. One example is a typical digital clock. Some clocks tell time by using a charged crystal that has a consistent pulse which a microprocessor calculates with time with a simple algorithm. These clocks are not affected by MSW power. Other digital clocks use the incoming AC current to calculate time. The processor ‘counts’ how many times the voltage reaches zero, or ‘zero crosses’. TSW (true sine wave) waveforms cross zero cleanly, while MSW waveforms ‘rest’ on zero for a few milliseconds. The processor could interpret this rest as multiple zero crosses, resulting in the time being calculated incorrectly. Many electronic devices utilize digital time calculations as a function of their operation. Other issues that can occur with MSW inverters are many models of electric blankets, coffee makers, laser printers, and other device that regulate head using a microprocessor that may not operate correctly.


TECH DOCTOR: Modified sine wave products are initially more economical that true sine wave products. In addition, MSW inverters have the advantage when the load is a simple induction load like a motor, or a resistance load like a light bulb. MSW interters easily fill this role and typically use DC more efficiently than their TSW counterparts. However, with today’s technological advancements and the rapid proliferation of sensitive electronics that require true sine wave power to operate correctly, boat owners often now prefer the TSW inverter in lieu of the more limited MSW inverter, particularly when it can now be purchased for roughly the same price.


TECH DOCTOR: To answer that question you really must consider how you want to use your inverter. The more complex or state-of-the-art your demand is, the more likely you will want and need to consider a TSW inverter. If, on the other hand, your demand is simple power and you have no aspirations of utilizing today’s sensitive electronic devices either now or in the future, a MSW inverter is the more economical choice.



Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Uncategorized




Now that things are up and rolling here at the blog site–many thanks to all those who have found the postings on their own and continue to return while the Capt. Ken Hit-O-Meter heads north; it is greatly appreciated–I am getting lots of press releases and notices from various industry friends in the marketing and pr sector. I’ve been separating them out into several categories instead of lumping them under one heading. Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for.

To lead things off, here is an offering of some products you may find interesting as well as helpful in rounding out your boat’s inventory. And if there is anything you want some information about in this or upcoming postings, please let me know in the comment box at the end of the offering and I will make sure I track down the inquiry for you.


For extra reliability in the toughest applications, boat owners can turn to Shakespeare Electronic Products

Galaxy 5225XP, 5400XP

Group. The company’s world-renowned Galaxy 5225-XP and 5400-XP Extended Performance VHF Antennas feature silver-plated brass elements to deliver a longer service life, stronger on-air signal and extraordinary range.

The 8′, 6dB gain 5225-XP and 4′, 3dB gain 5400-XP have an extra-durable fiberglass radome designed to withstand strong wind and high speeds, ideal for hard-top, T-top and radar arch installations. Their legendary Galaxy high-gloss, non-yellowing polyurethane finish also adds a touch of glamor aboard.

Corrosion-resistant features extend from the stainless steel ferrule with 1″-14 thread to Shakespeare’s exclusive white fiberglass that seals out moisture.  Inside, these antennas boast stranded, high-quality tinned copper within a silver-plated brass choking sleeve for maximum signal strength. Both models have a maximum power input of 150 watts.The flexible, RG-8/X coax cable has higher power capabilities, less loss per foot, UV-stable jacketing, stranded copper core and copper shielding to help enhance performance. Each antenna comes with 20′ of cable and a PL-259 connector.

Backed by Shakespeare’s 5-year warranty, the 8′ 5225-XP Extended Performance Antenna costs $267.95, while the 4′ 5400-XP has a suggested retail price of $232.95.

Stateside contact: +1-803-227-1590; Fax: +1-803-419-3099

European offices:  +44 (0) 1253 858787; Fax: +44 (0) 1253 859595


A leading supplier of night-vision cameras to the finest yachts in the world, OceanView has announced the

OceanView Apollo 2Xi

release of the Apollo 2 Xi, which utilizes an on-screen controller instead of a separate unit.  This makes the camera easier to control, and the images easier to view. An included small, fixed waterproof mouse and wireless mouse give the user maximum flexibility, as either can control all the camera’s functions via the on-screen menu while simultaneously viewing images. Eliminating the need for an LCD controller also increases the space available at the helm.

Supplied with IP as standard, users can check, view and control the Apollo 2 Xi camera from remote locations on or off the boat. A simple Ethernet installation completes the package. The Apollo 2 Xi’s on-screen controller is a truly flexible solution as it can be used with any marine display, including touch screens or on-board TVs.  OceanView offers further flexibility by providing an optional handheld, wireless tablet to control the camera. In May, there will be an option for an iPad app for those owners wanting to operate the camera from their iPad. Standard features of the Apollo 2 Xi include full 360° continuous pan, tilt and 2x digital zoom. There is also an instant home, on-screen camera direction indicator and variable color palette.

Similar to the standard Apollo 2, the Apollo Xi has a thermal camera (320 x 240, 2x digital zoom) and low-light camera in one unit.  Both cameras’ images can be displayed simultaneously on two displays, or on one display with a split screen. It is also available as a HD unit (640 x 480, 4x zoom), in thermal only (TH) or low-light only (LL) models. Lastly, the series also includes the Apollo 2 Xi F which has been designed specifically to be integrated with the standard Furuno NavNet 3D controller. This unit is not supplied with any OceanView controller, saving more space at the helm and making control even easier.

OceanView’s Apollo 2 Xi has a price of $12,995, which is the same as the Apollo 2 standard. The optional handheld wireless tablet retails for $869.

Contact OceanView Technologies, 1181 South Rogers Circle, Boca Raton, FL  33487.  954-727-5139; Fax: 954-302-2476.;


Diamond A, a beautiful 1998, 188′ Abeking & Rasmussen steel yacht, suffered breathing problems. Her main stainless steel exhaust had corroded dangerously over time and her genset drystacks spewed soot, slowly destroying her deck. She needed help, and fast. Marine Exhaust Systems’ technical experts cured Diamond A‘s troubles with custom units that now have her breathing easy, in a crunch project of less than 6 weeks.

Diamond A‘s 185kW Caterpillar 3406 gensets had a corrosion-prone stainless steel hull discharge setup. The three-muffler wet/dry exhaust led to a drystack, which couldn’t be used due to soot issues. On top of providing clean exhaust, the new system had to fit in tight quarters. While maintaining or improving noise abatement, it had to work within the backpressure limitations of the older existing engine. It was a tall order.

Marine Exhaust Systems put its technical expertise to work by first replacing all piping and equipment with its proprietary Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)/Silencer combo. Its proprietary Water Separation Muffler efficiently quiets exhaust, then strips out water to a cool, gas discharge. The DPF’s metal filters utilize high exhaust temperature to burn off soot buildup, creating a self-cleaning system.

“Our design exceeded our expectations,” said Michael DeAngelo, Marine Exhaust Systems’ technical sales and application engineer. “The exhaust ended up being quieter overall, with smaller components and less backpressure. Even with the older genset engines, the filters are regenerating perfectly, with no soot clogging.”

The challenge for Diamond A‘s main exhaust came in part from her Caterpillar 3516B engines, older workhorses with little available technical data. They blew through an extremely large, dry silencer and stainless steel wet exhaust. Diamond A‘s owners knew the old system had to come out in pieces, and thought a new one would have to come in as small modules, welded once in the engine room. It would be expensive and time-consuming.

But Marine Exhaust Systems had a better plan. “We were up against a tight haulout window, so we pre-measured and designed our replacement system before Diamond A ever landed in the yard,” said DeAngelo.

“We created a solution that came into the engine room in one piece, with little or no long-term maintenance, and equivalent noise abatement,” he said. Their custom system included a stainless steel dry exhaust, removable risers, and composite Super 60 Thinline muffler. All wet exhaust components were replaced with composite assemblies and hoses to eliminate corrosion issues.

The resulting system maintained acoustical performance, had less heat rejection into the main engine room, and opened up space for storage, to boot. The completed project delighted the client.  “We have much more compact designs than traditional silencers. They’re the most compact, per horsepower, on the market,” said DeAngelo.

Built in 1998, Diamond A accommodates 12 guests in six luxurious staterooms designed by Donald Starkey.  In addition to the exhaust refit, she recently received an upgrade of the audio-visual and communication systems, superstructure and hull paint and a Quantum Zero Speed Stabilizer.

Established in 1973, Marine Exhaust Systems manufactures complete diesel exhaust system packages, from turbo to transom. It offers superior exhaust risers, elbows, fiberglass mufflers, custom fiberglass products, silicone hoses, clamps and other high-quality hardware.

Contact Marine Exhaust Systems, 3640 Fiscal Ct., Riviera Beach, FL  33404.  561-848-1238; Fax 561-848-1298.;


To determine how badly faded a hull is, owners should rub the surface with a clean rag. If the chalky surface rubs off on to the rag, the gelcoat is heavily oxidized and needs some work. However, with hundreds of different products on the market, all touting to be the best cure for dull, faded gelcoat, finding the best products for the job can be overwhelming.

One-part cleaner/wax products are a good place to start. These compounds are usually some form of wax combined with a very mild cleaner, a very mild abrasive compound and sometimes a lubricant. Applied with a buffer, they do a good job on mildly dulled or chalked areas.

Also included in the single-part products category are restorer/wax. These typically have a more aggressive rubbing compound than the cleaner/waxes. Some products claim to have an abrasive that continues to break down when being applied, producing a finer finish.

There is another class of products touted to be the best solution for faded and chalky gelcoat. These products are usually in the form of an acrylic or similar coating, much like floor wax. These liquids are very thin and easily applied. They quickly dry, leaving behind a waterproof coating that fills in the gelcoat surface to form a shiny layer. Since the coating is very thin, multiple coats are usually required.

The downside to these products is that the coating will wear away or turn yellow. Depending on the conditions, the finish has one to three years of life. In most cases, a yearly reapplication of several coats is suggested.  After that, a total reapplication is needed. The selling point is the ease of application and the instant shine achieved.

Other products used to remove oxidation are polishes and waxes. Polishes are best applied with a buffer and a clean pad. Users should apply the polish and buff out until the gel coat color is uniform and glossy. They shouldn’t buff at high speed since there’s a risk of overheating the surface. Once the color is uniform, a good quality paste wax for maximum protection and shine can be applied. Most paste waxes will last three to six months and should be re-waxed appropriately.

Before repainting the boat, compounding is usually the last process employed. Rubbing compounds come in variations from mild to heavy-duty. It is usually applied to the surface and then buffed with a power buffer. Pads should be changed often as they tend to get clogged with the rubbing compound and gelcoat.

The best results are a uniform color and smooth satin finish. The more aggressive rubbing compound alone won’t produce a shine. The surface also has to be polished. After polishing, an application of a good paste wax should result in an almost showroom finish.

A great product to help throughout the cleaning process is Shurhold’s Buff Magic, a fiberglass reconditioner and deoxidizer. It’s formulated to be user-friendly, whether buffing by machine or hand. The company’s Microfiber Towels are super-soft and extra-strong and are ideal for polishing and shining gelcoat surfaces.

For areas that need a little more help, Shurhold’s Dual-Action Polisher’s 6″ oscillating head allows anyone to get the same great finish, without burns or swirls. General detail maintenance like waxing and buffing can now be done in half the time, with half the effort and half the amount of product. The Buff Magic Compounding Pad is 6 1/2″ in diameter and made of 100% twisted wool. This pad was designed to work with Buff Magic and is perfect for removing oxidation.

Shurhold’s Dual Action Polisher costs $149.98, while the Compounding Pad is $23.98. A three-pack of Microfiber Towels is priced at $18.98 and a 22 oz. can of Buff Magic is $28.98.

In other Shurhold news, the company is debuting is Boat Cleaning App allowing owners to wash, wax and clean from any smartphone. This app magically brings Shurhold’s high-quality detailing products to life. Owners simply enter the parameters of their boat into the phone. Then, the app determines which products should be used and with what tools based on availability. Users can then just sit back, relax and watch the gear dance around and clean the vessel. A boat can now, literally, clean itself. As an added convenience, the app is suitable for any and all craft. It features three settings, Wash Mode, Dry Mode and Wax Mode, so users can get their vessel sparkling according to their needs.

For a video demonstration and more information, interested parties can visit As a special offer, Shurhold’s Boat Cleaning App has an introductory price of $41.11.  The app will have a retail price of $99.98.

Inventor of the One Handle Does It All system, Shurhold manufactures specialty care items and accessories to clean, polish and detail.

Contact Shurhold, 3119 SW 42nd Ave., Palm City, FL 34990.  800-962-6241; Fax: 772-286-9620.


The luxurious new Island Pilot 535 crossover trawler reflects the fresh ideas of its builder. This reputable company joins a rapidly-growing group of forward-thinking builders who have standardized the Seakeeper Gyro Stabilization System on new models. With the IP535, Island Pilot remains on the forefront of pleasurecraft innovation, enabling its customers to cruise in comfort.

Island Pilot president Reuben Trane had never used stabilization on his yachts, “Until I took a Seakeeper demo ride. I was quite impressed with the gyro’s performance in beam seas.” He experienced Seakeeper’s powerful righting force that virtually eliminates boat rock and roll at anchor, zero and low speeds, as well as while underway.  “We feel so strongly about its advantages that we made the Seakeeper gyro standard equipment on the IP535,” he said.

The craft’s deep-V planing hull, “Is inherently tender at low speeds. On longer passages, such as to the Caribbean, she’ll run at eight knots. The gyro will make these trips much more pleasant all around, and safe for the crew because a rested crew is an alert crew. Seakeeper’s gyro will also make unpleasant anchorages more comfortable,” said Trane. “And, if an existing Island Pilot 395 or 435 owner wants a gyro, we’ll be glad to retrofit.” Seakeeper is also an option on new builds of these models.

“We’re honored to have Seakeeper standardized on the IP535, as it further solidifies our market position. More and more builders are adding stabilization systems as standard equipment. They’ve recognized that their customers will be happier and spend more time aboard if they’re comfortable. Seakeeper continues to evolve and innovate its product line to provide stabilization solutions to an ever-growing range of vessels,” said Seakeeper VP of sales and marketing John Kermet.

The addition of the Seakeeper gyro is among many improvements on the new Island Pilot. The design goals were to maintain its speed, efficiency and style while creating two spacious, private staterooms. Island Pilot cleverly accomplished this with a “Great Room” galley and dinette located between the VIP guest stateroom in the bow and the luxurious 11′ x 16′ master stateroom aft.

This new design maintains the signature Island Pilot deck house, with extensive glass lending a bright, open feeling and 360° views. Both the aft cockpit and bridge incorporate large settees and plenty of room for dining and entertainment amenities. Lavish electronics aboard include four Garmin 15″ GPSMAP 7200 series touchscreens, a KVH 7HD DirecTV satellite dish and LED HDTVs.

The high-performance trawler is powered by twin 700 hp D-11 diesels paired to the new Volvo IPS II 900 drivetrain, and features joystick controls. Top speeds are anticipated at over 30 knots, with fast-cruising speeds of 18-20 knots. Island Pilot created a spacious, walk-in engine room by relocating other systems to an easy-access machinery space under the galley sole. The compact Seakeeper gyro is unobtrusively mounted under the galley stairs, which lift for easy access.

Seakeeper is the world leader in active gyro stabilizer technology for the leisure yacht and commercial marine markets. Unlike fin-based systems, these units install within the craft, eliminating the need for hull cutting, as well as drag-producing and damage-prone appendages.

Small and lightweight, the powerful gyros offer flexible installation options and consume minimal power.  Various models can be installed in single or multiple configurations for optimum stabilization performance.  Seakeeper is supported worldwide by an extensive team of experienced dealers and service/installation centers.

Contact Seakeeper, P.O. Box 809, California, MD  20688.  410-326-1590; Fax: 410-326-1199.,

1 Comment

Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Uncategorized