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Dealing with mechanical and electrical problems aboard

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What is the issue?
Boats although appearing to be simple are deceptively complicated devices to operate as they are made from a wide range of disparate products.

They have engines and engine, fuel and exhaust mechanics, they have fibre glass construction, plus they have sails and sail work. They have a host of very complicated electronics, ranging from depth sounders to radars, to VHF transmitters to electrical lighting aboard and batteries to store the energy in. They have metal parts that range from alloy rigging to stainless steel to bronze and brass. Some metal parts are fixed others are fluid such as rigging wires interlaced with ropes of different grades and types for specialist applications all held to together with turnbuckles or loaded up with blocks and winches. And the list goes on.

This then is deposited in an environment of overwhelming forces that is damp and corrosive. The result is a lot of time fixing a wide range of items that are often complicated and hard to pin down.

Why address this?
Addressing this task requires a wide range of experience and knowledge. If you are not able address issues as they come up, or indeed prevent them, you could be subject to some hardships and or a lot of expense.

How to address this?
If you have to invest and set sail with one technical manual make it the ''Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual'' by Nigel Calder presented in figure 1.

This book has covers most all the information you will need to keep your boats mechanical and electrical systems intact whilst cruising. It is aimed at enabling a layman solve boating problems by offering the support of a friendly mechanic type companion. The text is written in a simple accessible style. It explains how systems work, how to troubleshoot and identifying problems and presents clear and concise instructions on addressing most all common problems. It also covers product limitations, purchase and design considerations, integration with other systems and practical pros and cons. There are a host of illustrative photos and test data plus detailed instructions for using test equipment.

When things go wrong this book enables cruisers to be self reliant, fix things and get out of jam. Better still it helps prevent problems to start with. Anyone that is setting of on a cruising lifestyle, or in fact owns a boat, should have a copy of this book as a standard item.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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