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A simple ‘rule-of-thumb’ when selecting a long-term cruising boat.
Long term cruising vessels should be stable, strong, and have the ability to carry large amounts of equipment. Ideally, they should be easy to handle shorthanded or preferably by a solo sailor. However modern yacht design places more emphasis on speed and accommodation for in-harbour living, than for sea handling, which presents a problem for true blue water cruisers.

Guide to filling & fairing
Most craft of whatever size or construction material, be it composite, wood, ferrocement and metal surfaces, require filling and fairing compounds at some time either in their life or in their development and design. To achieve the best quality finish can present a challenge.

Sheathing wood with glass reinforcement
Although wood has excellent properties as a building material, it is a relatively soft material and is particularly vulnerable to damage. Abrasion and boring worms cause direct damage, while unchecked moisture absorption leads to degradation and rot. Whilst normal paints and varnishes do offer a reasonable amount of protection for limited periods, they are unable to either strengthen the wood or to completely seal it. These coatings are also particularly prone to weathering and can easily peel away to leave unprotected bare wood.

Brightening a dark cabin interior
Yachts have a tendency to be dark below decks in the cabin area. This is particularly noticeable if teak has been used for the wood finish. When the main hatch is closed it may make the environment very dark especially so on overcast rainy days.

Acquiring cheaper moorings
Boat acquisition is expensive but the ongoing costs of keeping a boat operational can be prohibitive. Especially if you live near a metropolitan region where there are a lot of boats competing for the limited number of berths available to the area.

Making future wiring easier
Running wires throughout a vessel is a challenge. The individual paths have to be routed one by one through bulkheads and around multiple objects.

Understanding composites for larger boat projects
If you are considering a large-scale boat project, or are re-building/altering parts of a vessel, you will find there is a wide range of composites with specific applications that make this a complicated choice.

What is a comfortable sized sailing vessel for a cruising couple
The potential for an extended cruise is always dogged by the scale of the project budget. Central to that budget is the vessel itself. When the total finances are viewed against boat prices that increase exponentially with each foot of boat length an obvious compromise is highlighted; go smaller on the boat. Set living expenses plus a 24-foot (7.32 metres) vessel’s price tag against the budget and you get cruising possibility. Set living expenses plus a 36 footer’s price tag and you get a pipe dream. If you ask an experienced sailor can you sail around the world in a 24-foot vessel, they will automatically scoff and brush you off. However, if you persist and pin them down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, they have to say ‘yes’. Albeit followed by an instant volley of ‘but you would not want to do that!’. It is far from a clear answer. Yet if your dream is to sail around the world, as was mine at the time I was asking that question, and you know little or nothing about boats, as again was my situation when asking these questions, you typically only hear the word you want; ‘yes’. But that ‘yes’ is far from correct; particularly so for me - a 24-foot was acquired and sold post haste the next season. Boat selection for someone with limited boating experience and who wants to sell-up-and-set-sail is very unclear.

Using epoxy for bonding and gluing in wood construction
One of the main changes that has occurred in wood construction in the last 50 years has been the adoption of resin technology, both to glue structures together and to make wood available in a more stabilized, laminated sheet form as plywood.


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