Tom Neale

Question
Generic,
About a year ago you published a product review about a steering wheel wrap for stainless steel steering wheels. I now in need to wrap my new boat's stainless steel wheel. Please provide me with information about this product.
Thanks, Capt. Martin Tunon
Martin
Answer
Martin,
I asked the editorial office and they don¿t recall a specific products review article on the subject but Beth Leonard did write something about it. She told me: We took HAWK¿s wheel off and took it to a windsurfer shop. They covered it with a molded plastic EVA coating which is the same thing they use on windsurfer grips. It¿s soft, warm, almost indestructible, and small tears (which never happened in 35,000 miles on HAWK) can be repaired with super glue. I highly recommend it.
Hope this helps.
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Question
Generic,
Hello,

This is a lifestyle question more than a technical one. My husband and I are about to move aboard our 1980 Hardin 45 ketch cutter permanently. We are selling our house, and plan to cruise full-time starting this summer. This plan has been nearly a decade in the making, but one logistical item eludes us still: once we select a mail-forwarding service, how do we determine our residency state for purposes of paying taxes, voting, licensing our pets, and signing up for healthcare exchanges? What about my LLC company? How do I know what address to use for it, so I can start moving the LLC's registration to the appropriate state? What about the hailing port on our boat's transom and on its USCG documentation? We plan to leave our marina in June, with no intention of returning as anything but a transient, so we can't use the marina's address as our new permanent one. Luckily, with our modern era, 99% of our correspondence comes to us electronically, but tax forms and packages remain in meatspace, and I haven't a clue how to handle that! Any advice you can provide from your own experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jenny Kalmanson
Phillip C
Answer
Phillip C,
Much of what you ask is legal in nature and we can¿t give legal advice for many reasons. And you should know that states and other political subdivisions can and do change their laws from time to time. I understand know that many use St. Brenden¿s Isle at Green Cove Springs in Florida. http://www.sbimailservice.com/index.html. I can¿t recommend any particular services but mention them simply as an example of what some people do. You can also get info as to what is working for people from the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association). There are also other resources such as http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f74/how-do-you-deal-with-residency-taxes-mail-40010.html . I¿m not mentioning any of these as a recommendation or as to endorsement of any advice of a legal nature that they might offer, but to give you a start into finding out how people are dealing with these issues.
As to faxing, it would help if you had onboard a printer and scanner such as one of the HP units. You can then scan documents and send them as email attachments in PDF. You can receive them that way also, print them out, sign them, scan them back in and email them as attachments in PDF.
You might find my book, ¿All in the Same Boat¿ helpful, although some of the material in it is dated. (www.tomneale.com and other sources)
Generic
 

Question
Generic,
I have a 1989 29ft Cruisers. I want to replace the very small refridgerator with something bigger. Do you have any suggestions?
Ron
Answer
Ron,
We can¿t suggest a refrigerator because we have no idea of the dimensions of the space you have available. Also we can¿t recommend one product over another. However, if it were my boat, I¿d strongly consider building in one such as, for example, the Frigoboat (http://www.veco-na.com/ ). One would have to build and insulate a frig box, which could include a freezer, but this isn¿t a huge deal if instructions are followed. You would have more space in it probably than what you have now because you can mount the compressor off to the side or even more remotely. These use very little power and use DC, and this would be very nice if you ever anchor¿even just on Sunday afternoons. You could do it yourself if you have the skills or the cost of hiring a pro shouldn¿t be too bad.
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Question
Generic,
Given that many cruisers now can keep their batteries pretty well top off with the wind and solar power, is the recommendation to equalize on some regular schedule still advisable?
Robert
Answer
Robert,
This ultimately depends on the type and make of the battery. As a general rule I periodically equalize my lead acid batteries even though I have top grade battery chargers and keep them well charged. Usually this is easy with a modern ¿smart¿ marine charger. Some batteries shouldn¿t be equalized like a lead acid battery because they are constructed quite differently. Check with your battery¿s manufacturer for their recommendation. But the mere fact that you keep your batteries well charged doesn¿t, in my opinion, relieve the need to periodically equalize them if they are among those that need it, and done according to manufacturer instructions.
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Question
Generic,
Hello, I just bought an Inflatable Boat from West Marine that is 9 feet long with 5 feet beam and weight 90 lbs suitable for 4 persons. My question is what is the recommended engine size for this boat? The boat specs says it can hold an engine up to 10hp, some friends tell me a 4hp is good, others tell me less and bigger, I just want an engine that can provide me a safe performance and durability, thanks.
Carlos
Answer
Carlos,
Don¿t go over the manufacturer¿s 10 HP limit. They are supposed to know what¿s safe and we can¿t second guess that. The issue of durability is really one of the motor. It¿s been my personal experience after many years of dinghies that the more HP the better, within the designated range. As you add people and/or cargo (and never exceed the weight or people limit) you will wish you had gotten the larger motor. Also a higher HP gives you better ability to scoot in before an oncoming storm etc. You can always slow a faster motor down but you can¿t speed a slower motor up.
Tom
 

Question
Generic,
Hello Every one, i'm having some problems with a kholer generator of 5k.w in my sea ray 2005, when is cold stars immediately but when it's hot it's shut it down (some times take 30 minutes, other timer 2 hrs and others just 10 min), a friend of told me that is problem with the CO2 sensor. Please i need help LOL.
Jorge
Answer
Jorge,
We can¿t diagnose engine or generator problems long distance. One really needs to be at the machine and able to do some hands on work to do that. But I can suggest that it¿s likely that one of your safety shut down devices is causing the issue. Depending on the unit these could include sensors for carbon monoxide, low oil, over heating of the unit, overheating of the exhaust and others. If a condition is occurring that¿s causing a safety sensor to shut down the unit the condition could be dangerous. You should have a qualified mechanic inspect your unit and installation before using the boat again.
Tom
 

Question
Generic,
Opinion on a 1983 black in 25 ft. Combo with twin 150 hp evinrude
Ralph
Answer
Ralph,
I¿m sorry but we can¿t give opinions on particular boats here, which is, I assume, what you want. And it isn¿t clear what boat you¿re talking about. If you¿re planning on buying a boat, the best way to get a good reading on it is to hire an independent well qualified surveyor.
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Question
Generic,
If your boat has been freshly painted with ablative paint and kept on the hard for three seasons do you need to repaint it before you splash it
Eric
Answer
Eric,
This would depend on the brand paint, how much you used the boat when it was in the water, the type of water (for example, a lot of grit?) and other factors. I would ultimately ask the manufacturer supplying him with this info. However, if it were my boat I¿d repaint it after 3 years, as I understand your question. If you¿re saying it was painted and not put in the water afterwards but remained out on the hard, then you probably don¿t need to repaint unless it looks like it¿s lost paint. But I¿d still ask the manufacturer to be safe. There¿s more than one brand and type of ablative paint out there and they don¿t all necessarily have the same characteristics. See, for example, http://www.yachtpaint.com/ for Interlux etc.
Generic
 

Question
Generic,
I have a Westerbeke 7.6 KW BTD marine diesel generator. After running for a time (sometimes an hour other times 20 minutes) it will loose rpm's and the oil pressure drops from 50 to 20 or so. The generator gets very close to shutting down but, after a few seconds will build back up to normal rpm's and oil pressure. Any information as to the cause of this and its fix would be appreciated. Thanks
Kim
Answer
Kim,
Diagnosing an engine issue long distance is never a good idea. But I¿ll try to give you a few ¿guesses¿ based on what you say. However, you¿d best get a good qualified mechanic aboard.
You may have crud in your fuel clogging your fuel filter or even moisture in the line. While unlikely that it would be intermittent like this, it¿s possible. When the RPMs drop your oil pressure will normally drop some too. Hopefully that¿s the cause of the oil pressure drop. If the low oil pressure is causing the RPM loss (as from poor lube) your engine is in big trouble unless you rectify it right away. But it¿s more likely, in my view, that the low RPM is causing the low oil pressure. You didn¿t mention any overheating. Or you could have a fuel pump going bad. Or you could have an air leak in your system that, from vibration etc., occasionally lets air into your fuel feed. This could cause what you describe, as well as other issues. Another thought that comes to mind, and this can be a big safety issue, is that your generator may be getting a huge load, as from a short somewhere in your lines or equipment powered by the generator or maybe within the electrical end of the generator. This could cause what you describe, but it should also sound like the engine is laboring as it happens and the electrical panel should indicate this (big voltage drop). But I assume your power goes low when it happens anyway, which could be relevant to that possibility as well as to it slowing down from other reasons such as those mentioned above. It could also certainly be other things, like a bad regulator or governor¿the list from long distance can go on and on. I¿d recommend you get a good mechanic aboard.
Generic
 

Question
Generic,
I have a Robalo 207 with Sea Star hydraulic steering. The relationship of how I move the steering wheel to what happens to the outboard motor seems unpredictable. I lined up two pieces of tape, one on the wheel and one on the column with the engine perfectly straight. after steering the boat and bringing the engine back to the center the marks never line up. Consequently the wheel is never in the same place twice when the engine is straight. I've had the steering oil bled and topped up. Turning the wheel from hard left to hard right is only six and a half turns of the steering wheel.
Is this lack of returning to center normal for this kind of steering or could something else be wrong?
John
Answer
John,
It isn¿t unusual for hydraulic steering to do what you describe to some extent. And, depending on the system, it isn¿t necessarily unusual for it to take 6.5 turns from stop to stop. A little oil may leak past the pump or valves but not leave the system. I¿ve seen many hydraulic steering systems perform this way. They don¿t stop hard as would a cable and so the wheel never stops at exactly the same place. You¿re pushing fluid to convey the force of the wheel. However this is a steering issue which is therefore a safety issue. You¿ve done the right thing by having a mechanic bleed and fill the system (I have to assume it was a qualified mechanic). I recommend that you get a good qualified mechanic back to go over the system and check it out thoroughly and explain it to you. They¿re simple if you¿re familiar with them. You could have some air still in your system or low pressure in your reservoir (if you have that type of system), or a leak, all of which can normally be taken care of easily if you¿re familiar with the system and issues, but which should definitely be taken care of. I¿m assuming that when you do go out you have no trouble actually steering the boat. If there is sluggishness or ¿skipping¿ in the force of the wheel as you turn it or if the boat simply isn¿t as responsive as it should be when running, this could indicate air or other problems and is a strong indication that you should get a mechanic before further use.
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