Power Voyaging

Oil analysis is an invaluable tool, but often misinterpreted

I once read an article in a major boating magazine entitled “Oil Analysis Made Simple.” It caught my attention because, as a trained oil analyst, I know from experience as well as formal training that oil or fluid analysis is complex and fraught with both opportunity for sampling errors and misinterpretation of reports.

Enabling your boat to talk

A concerned seller who could not attend the survey and sea trial of his trawler called me, his voice laden with concern: “Jeff, I keep getting text messages that the bilge pump is going off. Are you guys sinking?”

Prop shaft alignment

Nearly all marine engines are designed to be adjustable, to a point, relative to the propeller shaft by using adjustment or jacking nuts on their motor mounts.

Ship’s papers

Most of the more experienced power voyagers I work with have a system and a plan to look after just about every aspect involved in the management of their boats.

Crane control repair

We’ve had three pendants fail on our Steelhead Marine crane aboard our Nordhavn 52 Dirona over the last nine years.

Suck it up

When you have a mess to clean up, sometimes the best solution is to take matters into your own hands and suck it up.

The Noah’s Ark approach

“One if by land, two if by sea.” We have all heard that phrase before. It’s a rallying call more than 150 years old, and I believe it also applies to distance cruisers heading offshore.

Understanding overcurrent protection

The engine faltered, and with that a cloud of dense, white smoke erupted from under the small runabout’s dashboard, enveloping the cockpit and its occupants … I vividly recall my first encounter with overcurrent protection, or more accurately the lack thereof.

Tasteless bilge water

You could argue that there are many “most important” systems on your trawler: diesel fuel delivery systems, firefighting systems, head and holding tank systems, electrical systems, etc.

Propeller removal

Several years ago, as I was walking through a boatyard, I came across a mechanic who was in the process of removing a propeller.

Safety minimums?

Elvis Costello’s song “Accidents Will Happen” is a catchy tune and, as it relates to boats, I like to focus on the “will” part.

Alarming considerations

Every morning, I awaken to Hawaiian music that provides me with a smooth transition from deep sleep to facing the day. This sure is more pleasant than the shrill alarm that used to scare me awake and have my heart pumping.

Reading exhaust smoke

While today’s crop of computer-wielding mechanics rely on high-tech tools to formulate diagnoses, there’s still something to be said for the tried-and-true technique of interpreting the quantity and color of smoke emitted by a diesel engine.

Common senses cruising

What is that? That’s a new and different smell/sound/vibration/leak … something doesn’t seem right. What happened?

Trawler hand tools

One frequent question I hear from my trawler clients is, “What hand tools should I have on board?”

Spare me the trouble

This is Part 1 of a two-part series on making sure you have the spares you need for your power voyaging boat.