Courtesy of John Koon/Tradewinds Marine Services, Inc.

Keep Corrosion From Damaging Your Rig

Raritan Engineering would like to share with you this week some great information about preventing rig corrosion.

Your thru hull fittings professionals discuss how when awakening your boat from its winter slumber a rig check should be high on the list of priorities. Even though the boat has been sitting still, the laws of physics still take their toll. Corrosion is the biggest enemy and the stainless steel components in your rig can effectively hide the insidious advance of this disease.

One underlying moral of these stories is that stainless steel can fail without warning, a message that can leave a boat owner feeling helpless. Does this mean that our only resort is to replace anything that raises suspicion? The line between caution and paranoia becomes thin. Fortunately, stainless steel hardware has a long and mostly successful track record on boats, and the warning signs are often apparent. The trick is knowing where to look.

In the upcoming May issue of Practical Sailor, renowned rigger and sailing writer Brion Toss, explores of rigging failure in finer detail in an excerpt from his forthcoming book, “Rig Your Boat.” Here are just some of the tips that Toss shares.

Don’t Let Corrosion Sneak Up On You

  1. Follow the load. Your thru hull fittings suppliers talk about how to follow the path that loads on your rig follow as they are transferred to the hull or deck. Sharp bends, and slack, ill-fitting, or misaligned unions will concentrate loads in one area and increase the chance of failure at these points. Seemingly minor oversights like using an undersized clevis pin on a toggle can lead to premature failure.
  2. Beware of hidden dangers. Many failure points are often physically hidden from view. Crevice corrosion in chainplates, bobstays, and padeyes often starts where the stainless comes into contact with wet wood or core material, or in fiberglass laminate where water has been trapped. 
  3. Go aloft. If you don’t unstep your mast each season, you or a qualified rigger should go aloft at least once a year to inspect wire, terminals, spreaders, and the hardware and fittings at the top of your mast. You should hire a pro to do a full inspection every six years, and start thinking about wire replacement after 10-12 years—although this can vary greatly according to use and environmental factors. While you’re off the ground, check around mast tangs for signs of slipping. 
  4. Inspect swages. Deck-level wire swages are one of the most common sources of failure on saltwater cruisers. Cracks, swelling, or weeping rust stains are a sign that time is running out for this hardware. Although no absolute timetable exists, riggers we have spoken with advise owners to start thinking about wire replacement after 10-12 years.
  5.  Read the instructions. Turnbuckles can only be loosened so far; screw-on Norseman-type terminal fittings need to be correctly assembled and sealed. Neglecting to review the installation guidelines for any component in your rig is asking for trouble.

Bottom line: Some of the so-called hidden dangers of stainless steel hardware and rigging are not so hidden after all, but we need to know what to look for.

So don’t forget these helpful tips on preventing corrosion from ruining your day. 1) Sharp bends, and slack, ill-fitting, or misaligned unions will concentrate loads in one area and increase the chance of failure at these points;  2) beware of hidden dangers;  and 3) always read the instructions.

World’s first electric container barges to sail from European ports this summer

The world’s first fully electric, emission-free and potentially crewless container barges are to operate from the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam from this summer.

The vessels, designed to fit beneath bridges as they transport their goods around the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands, are expected to vastly reduce the use of diesel-powered trucks for moving freight.

The barges are designed to operate without any crew, although the vessels will be manned in their first period of operation as new infrastructure is erected around some of the busiest inland waterways in Europe.

In August, five barges – 52 metres long and 6.7m wide, and able to carry 24 20ft containers weighing up to 425 tonnes – will be in operation. They will be fitted with a power box giving them 15 hours of power. As there is no need for a traditional engine room, the boats have up to 8% extra space, according to their Dutch manufacturer, Port Liner.

At a later date, six larger 110m-long barges, carrying 270 containers, will run on four battery boxes capable of providing 35 hours of autonomous driving. Their use alone could lead to a reduction of about 18,000 tonnes per year of CO2, it is claimed.

According to the latest statistics from Eurostat, 74.9% of freight in the EU is transported by road, compared to 18.4% by rail, and 6.7% along inland waterways, although the use of water routes has been rising.

The company’s chief executive, Ton van Meegen, told shipping industry trade journal the Loadstar that the barges would be the first in the world to sail on carbon-neutral batteries and that only the low bridges in the low countries prevented them from being loaded with more goods.

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via World’s first electric container barges to sail from European ports this summer

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Avoid These Problems When Getting Your Boat Loan

Raritan Engineering Company your macerating toilet specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding some great ways to get a boat loan. 

1. Check your credit. Your macerating toilet experts talk about how before applying for a loan get your current credit score and ensure your credit report is accurate. Scores above 800 may earn you a better interest rate. A free copy of your credit report is available annually from each of the three national credit bureaus at 

2. Find the right loan type. A fixed-rate, fixed-term, simple-interest loan is the most common. This offers the same monthly payment for the life of the loan. Variable rate or hybrid options may offer a combination of a fixed rate for a few years, and then a variable rate. 

3. Consider a HELOC. Buyers of smaller vessels often tap into their home equity line of credit (HELOC) to fund a boat purchase. That may work well if you plan to pay the boat off while interest rates remain relatively low. 

4. Compare loan rates. Generally rates are lower and available loan terms are longer for newer boats and larger loan amounts. However, each is dependent on a variety of factors including model year, loan amount and down payment. Be prepared for banks to require larger down payments, have higher rates and offer shorter terms on older boats, especially those more than 20 model years.

5. Don’t be fooled by ads. You may see rates advertised as low as 3.99 percent, but there usually will be some small print that could make that loan less attractive. For instance, the rate might only be fixed for a few years or the loan period might be only seven years.

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6. Get pre-approved. To help save time, ask if you can get preapproval, or if you can possibly start the underwriting process before you have a signed sales agreement or even have a specific boat in mind.

7. Know your tax benefits. A boat can qualify as a second-home loan interest deduction if it has a berth, galley and head, so buying a boat with these features may offer a tax advantage. 

8. Get it surveyed. For pre-owned vessels, hire a qualified marine surveyor to inspect the boat to ensure it is in good condition and you won’t have any unexpected repair bills. can help you find one. Also, many lenders will require a marine survey.

9. Ask about closing costs. As with any loan, there are some fees involved. Sales tax, processing fees, title and registration and/or US Coast Guard documentation fees are common. Check with your lender to find out what to expect.

10. Calculate your monthly payment. How much can you afford? Go to to easily crunch the numbers. Your lender will also review your debt ratio and other criteria.

A contract is more easily enforced if it’s in writing. Dealers often use standardized purchase agreements, but buyers have a right to protect their interests. By crossing out terms that are inappropriate and adding optional provisions or contingencies, you can tailor the contract to protect yourself. Check out our “Buyer’s Toolbox” to see how you can obtain a sample contract. It’s good to remember that the initial cost of buying a boat is not the biggest expense of ownership. An annual budget should include your boat loan (if financed), storage or slip fees, insurance, operation, and maintenance fees. One surveyor told us he recommends that in the first year of ownership, buyers should be prepared to spend 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price for repairs and updates. Commonly called extended warranties, service contracts are actually repair insurance policies. It is important to know that while the manufacturer’s name may be written on the literature, they’re administered by a third-party company. Service contracts don’t create a legal obligation between the manufacturer and buyer, so before you buy a service contract, read it over and make sure you feel the coverage is worth the money

So don’t forget these pointers when trying to get a boat loan. 1) Check your credit;  2) always compare loan rates;  and 3) ask about closing costs.

Millennials Who Sank A Boat Get $13,000 In Donations

A pair of millennials sank a boat they were not qualified to operate and received $13,000 in donations to buy a new one, according to the Daily Wire News.

Nikki Walsh and her boyfriend Tanner Broadwell decided to sell all their possessions and live a carefree life by sailing from island to island on a 50-year-old sailboat. Unfortunately, their dream came crashing to an end because of their lack of sailing experience.

After the couple sold all their possessions, they bought the boat and spent $10,000 on repairs. Once the repairs were done, they embarked on their journey. But there were two problems; they didn’t purchase insurance and neither of them knew how to sail. 

Not knowing how to sail can be forgivable. It’s dangerous, but not uncommon. But not purchasing insurance on a vehicle is not forgivable. This particular couple has not purchased insurance for their next trip yet.

Boating Safety Tips. Whether you’re a new sailor or have years of experience, it’s always good to know/review boating safety tips. According to Discover Boating, the first tip is to always be weather-wise. Before embarking on a trip, you should always check local weather conditions. If you notice that the clouds are starting to darken and the winds are picking up, they suggest that you get off the water.

Pre-Departure Checklist. Discover Boating recommends that everyone who is sailing on the boat go through a pre-departure checklist. That means going through fire safety and tips on how to fuel up. Going through the checklist is a good refresher in case people have forgotten. 

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via Millennials Who Sank A Boat Get $13,000 In Donations

Your Boat’s Downrigger Can Help You On Your Next Fishing Trip 

Raritan Engineering Company your boat head specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding fishing with your downriggers.

Your boat head experts discuss how a few things frustrate us as much as staring at mark after mark on the fish finder, while our offerings go untouched. We’ve all been there — wondering what we’re doing wrong, why the fish won’t rise to take a bait, and what we could be doing differently to trigger a strike. 

We have a number of ways to get baits down beneath the surface: planers, lipped lures and using oodles of lead are all options. But you’ll have a tough time finding someone versed in the use of downriggers who doesn’t believe them to be a superior tool for reaching deep fish in a number of situations.

Thermal Adjustment

“Fish don’t just sit up top, especially when there’s a strong thermocline,” says tournament angler and team captain Mark Henderson of Liquid Fire, who fishes everywhere from the Gulf coast up to his home port in North Carolina.

Henderson says he always runs two downriggers, and mixes up what’s offered on the lines — usually skirted baits, plugs or live baits — to give the fish some options. He’s caught species ranging from sailfish (as deep as 85 feet) to mahi to king mackerel.

Even when there isn’t a strong ­temperature break beneath the surface, Henderson still utilizes downriggers to give his baits a slightly different look. “Changing the presentation just that much, with a common bait like a cigar minnow or ribbonfish that’s usually placed at the surface, sometimes makes a difference.”

How Many Fish Will Your Downriggers Help You Catch?

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The other downrigger ­application he advocates — and it’s a popular one — is trolling for wahoo. “A lot of times, they prefer a subsurface bait,” he says. “In that case, a purple-and-black Ilander lure rigged with a ballyhoo is the ­preferred offering.”

Forgione says this technique makes ­downriggers very effective for targeting sailfish, and also for blackfin tuna in spring. “They always seem to be swimming right along that temperature barrier,” he explains. “And you have to remember that the temperature and the currents can be completely different down below, sometimes as little as 20 feet down.”

Pay to Play

Effective though they might be at times, downriggers must be properly tended. “When you get a fish on the line, you need to get the downrigger ball up and out of the way fast,” Henderson explains, “or you risk a disaster.”

But will a downrigger expand your options, and allow you to apply the most effective tool possible when the conditions call for it? You bet, and that will help you turn those frustrating sonar marks into fish on the end of your line.

So don’t forget these great tips on using your boat’s downriggers to help you fish offshore. 1) Downriggers can give bait a different and more appealing look;  2) they help you get your bait to the part of water at the right temperature;  and 3) make sure you tend your downriggers properly.

UK government to protect fishing waters from EU with ARMED patrols

The move will be a major signal to the European Union to stay out of British waters.

If EU fishermen fail to do this they will be met with an armed response.

Mr Eustice spoke to the House of Lords’ EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee and said:

“We are ensuring we have the capacities we need on the day we leave the EU.

“We are speaking to the MOD about the fisheries protection unit and what additional capacity many be required there.

“We will need more vessels, particularly when boarding fishing ships.

Jim Portus, chief executive of the South West Fish Producer Organisation, previously said the Navy would have to be intelligence-led.

He said: ”Yes, there are risks of port blockades, especially by the French. They do it so often.

“But we already have technology like satellites, plus CCTV cameras on many vessels.

“There will be 1,000 UK fishing vessels just itching to report any illegal activity.”

French Fishermen complain that ‘life will be hard’ as Britain to FINALLY get its waters BACK

‘Life will be hard’ when the UK takes back control of its waters claims French fishermen.

French fishermen destroyed the UK fishing industry! These are our waters and our fish.

The French are more than welcome to fish in their own waters.

Cry me a river…

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “It is clear that there is overwhelming public support for the UK to regain control of what is after all part of its natural capital – the fish stocks around our shores.

“It is pleasing that voters have also been persuaded that it makes sense for us to leave the [EU’s] Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) within the early stages of the transition period.”

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via How Pros Use Downriggers to Catch More Offshore Fish

via BREAKING: UK government to protect fishing waters from EU with ARMED patrols

Make Your New Paint Job Last!

Raritan Engineering would like to share with you this week some great information regarding how to get the maximum life from your paint job.

Your macerator toilet experts discuss how the results derived from a professionally applied LPU topside refinish are as dramatic as the invoice that accompanies the makeover. The shiny, wet look and the protection it affords can last for years—whether it’s three years, five years, or nearly a decade depends upon how kindly the rejuvenated surface is treated. 

Giving your topsides proper maintenance attention, like waxing regularly, will keep them looking healthy.

-During application: Most well-executed LPU paint jobs begin with epoxy primers and fairing compounds as the underpinnings of a glistening LPU topcoat. 

-Cleaning: Regularly sponge washing the hull is the first step in preserving the topcoat’s shine. Avoid cleaning with scrub pads and gritty cleaners; this should be a completely non-abrasive effort. Many paint makers offer their own mild detergent, and we’ve found Awlwash by Awlgrip to be a very effective, completely non-abrasive cleaner. 

-Sailing is not a full-contact sport: More often than not, the decision to have the topsides re-painted has to do with localized damage that resulted from docking maneuvers gone awry, tussles at the starting line, or storm damage when a line gives way. Those who can avoid such bumps and bruises can nurse the gloss for many more years. 

-Wax On-Wax Off: After the first two or three seasons of washing and protecting the surface from winter-cover abrasion and line chafe, there’s often a need to tune up the gloss a bit. The best bet is to follow up another good washing with a conventional carnauba-based wax like Mother’s California Gold or Collinite’s #885. 

Check Out These Easy Ways to Keep Your New Paint Job Looking Great

Your macerator toilet professionals talk about how to breathe life into dull coats: Owners of boats with five- to seven-year-old intact LPU paint jobs that look dull but remain well adhered, can try rubbing out the surface with 3M Perfect-It rubbing compound and following up with a carnauba wax. 

-Repair care: Repairs to two-part LPU coatings are a true test of product awareness and applicator talent. The challenge lies in blending the old and the new, and blending the circumference known as the “overspray region.” Matching color change and gloss variation is even tougher than automotive work. The reason for these difficulties is the quality of the paint itself. 

One of the reasons why AwlCraft and other slightly softer and more user-friendly acrylic-based LPU paints are growing in popularity is that they are much easier to repair and buff than polyester-based two-part paints. 

So don’t forget these great reminders for keeping your new paint job as long as possible. 1) Most well-executed LPU paint jobs begin with epoxy primers and fairing compounds as the underpinnings of a glistening LPU topcoat;  2) regularly sponge washing the hull is the first step in preserving the topcoat’s shine;  and 3) after the first two or three seasons of washing and protecting the surface from winter-cover abrasion and line chafe, there’s often a need to tune up the gloss a bit.

Stray Kitten’s Little Paws Are Frozen To A Boat Dock, But Sheriff Says, ‘You Won’t Die Today!’

An elderly couple in Mercer County, Kentucky found a kitten that had fallen into the water at a boat dock and its little paws were frozen to a rock.

It had been stuck there for 11 long hours and was frantically crying for help!

They immediately dialed 911, and Sheriff Ernie Kelty rushed to the scene, knowing he didn’t have much time before the little cat would die from exposure to the cold.

He started by trying to release the icy paws from being stuck so he could try to get him loose. He poured warm water over them and gently pulled as he did to free his paws.

Then he placed the shivering little cat under the shirt beneath his jacket to warm him, which is both smart and adorable!

After about 20 minutes, the kitten stopped shaking so hard, and he took him out to check him.

The elderly couple was still there, worried sick about the little cat. Sheriff Kelty, wanting to reassure them that it was going to be okay, handed the kitten off to the elderly couple.

The kitten had been through quite an ordeal, but he now has his forever home. He also got a special name; Ernie, after his rescuer.

Talk about an unbelievable turn of events: He’s about to freeze to death, alone and afraid, and then he gets a loving home in which to spend the rest of his life!

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via Extending the Life of Your New Paint Job

via Stray Kitten’s Little Paws Are Frozen To A Boat Dock, But Sheriff Says, ‘You Won’t Die Today!’

Don’t Overcomplicate Your Sailing Methods 

Raritan Engineering Company your macerator pump suppliers would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding why it is important not to over think your sailing strategy. 

It’s September 2018. Imagine yourself at the dock at the start of day two of that big event you’ve been working toward all year. Your macerator pump distributors discuss how it’s currently blowing 18 knots with even bigger puffs because a front has just rolled through. 

What should you set the rig to? Is the course full of waves and steep chop? Where is the sweet spot for your jib halyard? Are the jib cars too far forward, too far aft, or just right? What about the top main batten? 

Hopefully, many of these questions will be answered in your preparation leading up to the big event because, if you try to focus on all these questions simultaneously, it’s easy to get muddled and over complicate things. 

First, have a plan and stick to it.

You’ve raced before, so set a routine that works and stick with it. For instance, you can keep provisioning simple by bringing the same food every day. You know what’s been successful in the past, so why over complicate things? 

Knowing when you need to get to the boat and when to leave the dock should also be part of your premade plan. Again, keep it simple. 

Second, don’t leave things to the last minute.

When you come in from racing, it’s rare that something doesn’t need to be fixed or tweaked. How tempting is it to say, “I’m tired. I’ll just do that in the morning. What I need right now is a beer!”

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Practice isn’t last-minute either, even though we’ve all heard people say, “I’d like to get out to the racecourse early to practice.” During a major regatta is not the time to try to improve your skills. 

Third, don’t sweat the details you can’t change.

As you head out to the racecourse, the question of whether your tuning is right always weighs on your mind, but don’t dwell on it now. 

If you’ve practiced and your team is ready, the tuning will be good enough to allow you to win the race. The point is not to focus on something you can’t change. Keep it simple and focus only on important decisions you’re able to make.

Fourth, make sure you’re going fast.

Speed is king in keeping things simple. Both upwind and downwind, speed makes everything easier because it allows you to concentrate on the race and your tactics. Whatever your problems may be on the racecourse, speed will help you overcome them.

Have a plan and stick with it, never leave things to the last minute, and avoid getting stressed over details that you can’t change. As some of you may have already heard me say: Sailboat racing is like NASCAR – just go fast and turn left!

So don’t forget how you can stop over thinking your sailing strategy. 1) Have a plan and stick to it;  2) don’t procrastinate;  3) don’t sweat the details you can’t change;  and 4) go fast.

Huge shark spotted swimming next to a boat

We’re reminded time and again of the numerous ways you can die in Australia thanks to frequent appearances by extremely venomous snakes, but then a shark that’s not far off from being as long as a boat shows up.

The shark, identified as a great white, can be seen circling the waters where a 28-foot-long boat and its crew marveled at what was going on. The shark was swimming just over 150 feet away from a beach, according to reports.

“Big Fish – Fourth Beach Esperance today … by the way, that’s an 8.5 metre Patrol boat,” Riggs wrote there. The boat, as we said before, measures in at 28 feet long, while the shark’s eyeballed length was approximately 13 to 19.6 feet.

When you look at a shot of them nearly side by side, you see how huge this shark really is.

Riggs told PerthNow that he used a drone to record this footage.

“I got a tip off that a shark was out at Westies so I grabbed my drone and put it up. And what I got is this footage,” he said. “I reckon it had to be about four metres, and it looked as though it had been fed. It was just cruising along, it looked chilled.” 

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via Keep It Simple, Sailor

via Huge shark spotted swimming next to a boat

New Ways to Use Your Outboard Engine to Catch More Fish

Your Outboard Engine Is Your New Fishing Partner

Raritan Engineering Company your Raritan marine products experts would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to use your outboard engine to help you fish. 

Your Raritan marine products professionals talk about how surrealistic car commercials: Driver dials a knob on his dash and his pickup truck precisely and skillfully backs his trailered boat. Guy pushes a button and his luxury vehicle parallel-parks itself — hands-free.

That same kind of abracadabra control has come to boats, and it’s beginning to have a significant effect on fishing. 

Those of us “of a certain age” ­experience a creepy Orwellian sensation when we see this electronic voodoo. Others just marvel, mouth agape, at the technology.

Outboard Control Features

“Originally, we were only factory installed. You would go to a [boat] dealer and buy a boat either with or without Helm Master,” says Ry Landry, Yamaha marine product and information specialist.

When SeaStar adds the SeaWays Autopilot feature (expected early this year), it will be a free software update install-able by dealers.

Yamaha Highlights

“I hate change. But this has made me such a better fisherman, it’s not funny,” quips Capt. George Mitchell, a longtime tournament angler out of Florida who has been using Yamaha’s Set Point features with Helm Master since those updates were announced last February.

Yamaha’s Set Point system includes three functions:

  • Stay Point: Holds the boat’s ­position and heading. Best used when you must hover above a specific location without swinging or drifting. 

  • Drift Point: Holds the boat’s heading but not position. The bow maintains its orientation while the boat drifts with the current or wind.

  • Fish Point Bow: Holds the boat’s position with the bow pointed into the wind/current, using the water- or airflow to maintain heading.

But Mitchell is quick to point out, as were all the other captains and manufacturer reps we talked with, that having these functions is not an excuse to leave the helm.

Fishing Can Be Much Easier If You Use Your Outboard Engine

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The noise and commotion that Stay Point can create can be advantageous in certain situations, such as near Gulf of Mexico oil rigs. Cobia respond curiously to new sounds. Turbulence can attract other fish as well.

SeaStar Updates

“When we were doing our ­investigative work to develop the modes for SeaStation, we spent time with charter captains to see how they would most benefit,” says Shane DeWitt, electronics product manager for SeaStar. 

SeaStar’s Position Hold uses the boat’s most natural heading and modulates the throttle to the engines, moving them with minimal shifting to get the desired performance.

Using these systems, anglers no longer have to rely on an anchor that allows the boat to swing side to side, Mitchell says. “With Fish Point Stern or Fish Point Bow, all you have to do is jog the joystick to adjust the boat. You’re not having to pull the anchor to re-position.”

Engine Setups

SeaStar’s SeaStation system integrates (at no charge) with the company’s Optimus 360 joystick steering package, which is compatible with twin-, triple- and quad-outboard applications for Suzuki, Evinrude and Yamaha products as well as twin mechanical Hondas.

With quadruple Mercury outboard setups, the two port engines might be tie-barred together, with regular and counter-rotating props. Ditto the two starboard engines. “It’s like a big dual [engine].”

These station-keeping and joystick systems all function similarly, employing a GPS sensor and other instruments mounted on the boat’s hardtop, several computers and devices such as inertial measurement units and digital compasses at the helm. 

Future Outboard Options

Outboard companies won’t say what features they might be working on next for station-keeping systems. SeaStar will soon roll out its SeaWays autopilot function, allowing captains to transit to a waypoint or follow a track using the Optimus 360 system.

“We’re always working on new things.” That’s all Mercury’s Balogh will say. “There’s a lot of interest in the joystick in general. We’re happy with the position we’re in right now.”

So don’t forget to use these three functions of your engine to help you fish better. 1) Stay Point: Holds the boat’s ­position and heading. Best used when you must hover above a specific location without swinging or drifting;  2) drift point: Holds the boat’s heading but not position. The bow maintains its orientation while the boat drifts with the current or wind;  and 3) fish point bow: Holds the boat’s position with the bow pointed into the wind/current, using the water- or airflow to maintain heading.

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via Use Your Outboard Engine to Catch More Fish

Why It Might Be Good to Get a Captain’s License 

Raritan Engineering Company your TruDesign specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how time spent on the water doesn’t always translate into safe boating. 

Your TruDesign professionals discuss how as a professional sailor, coach and instructor of captain’s courses, I work with sailors of all levels of experience. I have come to notice that many of them have no professional certifications from recognized organizations like the US Coast Guard or Royal Yachting Association.

Reasons range from “I don’t have time” to “I don’t see the point, I already have the job,” and even “I already know everything in those courses, I have sailed 50,000 miles since I was a kid.”

Time on the water does not necessarily translate into safe boating behavior. That is why I believe that all coaches and professional sailors, that is, hired mariners, should obtain a captain’s license for a multitude of reasons that go beyond the title of obtaining your “ticket.”

It propagates safety.

Getting a license does not make you perfect by any means. What it does is make you better than you were before you started the process. Isn’t that the goal of a great professional? Many sailors do not even have a basic understanding of the Rules of the Road outside of the racing rules. 

Other Great Reasons to Get Your Captain’s License

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Furthermore, with our modern reliance on technology, I have come across professionals who do not use paper charts. The carrying of paper charts, for example, is just one way that all boaters can be safe in the event of a loss of GPS or power. 

Leading by example.

We all look to our coaches to be the leader of the program. But often in the states, we see kids go straight from the junior sailing program to the coach boat without proper training in powerboat safety. 

Is it Legal?

“Why is it that yacht clubs require their launch drivers have a Coast Guard license, but don’t enforce the same requirement of their sailing instructors ferrying children back and forth on various powerboats?”

Coaches and pro-sailors are hired professionals. At Confident Captain we are of the opinion that the most far reaching compliance with U.S. law is that all hired professional mariners must have a license.

There is always something to learn.

The best sailors I’ve met have made it a point to keep learning for their entire career. There is more to formalized training than the pencil and the chart. The interaction between professional mariners at Confident Captain during any of our courses has always brought the most valuable lessons and insight to the table. 

It is better to be proactive towards answering difficult questions.

It won’t sit well with anybody involved in the investigation. Take a proactive step toward fortifying your career ahead of time by getting a license and engaging in different types of formalized professional development. If your good name is called into question, you will be glad you did.

So don’t forget these great reasons to consider getting your captain’s license. 1) Doing so propagates safety;  2) you can set a good example for our younger sailors;  and 3) remember that there is always something to learn.

Staying With The Boat And Other Safety Myths

I’m amazed at how long bad advice perpetuates when it’s given in a catchy phrase. An example: Don’t leave the boat until the boat leaves you. This might be the most misguided advice ever to cross the lips of otherwise sensible men and women. Another example: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

These stick around not because they are always true, but because they sound good. Don’t be fooled. The ocean is no place for absolutes, even when they rhyme.

Order your TruDesign part here at Raritan Engineering and see how we provide you the best products in the marine sanitation industry today.

Be sure to watch our latest video on TruDesign below. 

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Great Ways to Keep Yourself Out of Trouble While Sailing

Raritan Engineering Company your seacocks specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to sail yourself out of big trouble. 

Pinwheel Avoidance

Your seacocks manufacturers talk about how this one’s a classic: If you’re the outside boat of a group approaching the leeward mark and blindly carry on with pace, you’ll sail extra distance in bad air, carry wide around the mark, and then exit in a terrible lane. 

Once you’ve slowed, let the pinwheel unfold, and watch as the boats swinging around the outside become pinned and stuck in bad air. These boats had room on you, but because they are now pinned wide from the mark, they can no longer make a tight ­rounding and close you out.

One cautionary note: When slowing down and waiting for your opportunity to round inside, there might be boats coming up from behind with no room who want to speed into the gap you’re ­shooting for. 

Overstand Recovery

Overstanding a mark is a big no-no, but we still end up doing it from time to time. The key to recovery is to start hauling butt, getting to the mark as quickly as possible. Upwind, you need to put the bow down, but in medium and heavy air, cracking off causes too much heel, so depower the rig — traveler down, backstay on, hike hard, and scoot back about a foot on the rail.

Check out our stock of seacocks for your sanitation needs here at Raritan Engineering, where we always have what you need.

Downwind, if the lane is clear, sail high and fast toward the leeward mark. If sailing higher puts you in the dirty air from boats ahead, sail low to keep your air clear as long as possible, then heat it up late near the mark. 

Ducking another boat

The goal when ducking another boat is to minimize loss, and if done well, possibly even pass them on the next crossing. To duck well, generate extra speed by bearing off and then taking advantage of the small lift as you cross close to the other boat’s transom.

What if it appears the other boat will leebow you and you want to continue? If you’re in a lightweight boat with good maneuverability, try a late duck, which will keep from giving away your intentions and possibly freeze them.

On heavier and bigger boats, bear away early and generate as much speed as possible. If they tack to leebow and you have tons of speed, you can head up firmly and smoothly, gliding above closehauled for a while and creating a lateral gap. m, with enough of a gap to hold your lane.

So don’t forget these great tips on how to sail yourself out of big trouble. 1) Pinwheel avoidance;  2) outstand recovery and 3) ducking another boat.

Couple who sold everything to sail around the world lost it all when their boat sank after just two days at sea

A couple who packed in the rat race to sail around the world for life had their dreams dashed when their boat capsized after just two days at sea.

Tanner Broadwell, 26, and Nikki Walsh, 24, from Colorado, sold everything they had to buy the vessel that would given them an adventure they would never forget.

But it became immemorable for the wrong reasons when their craft tipped over off the coast of Florida when it struck a foreign object.

They lost everything in just 20 minutes when the houseboat sank along John’s Pass, near Tampa, after the keel had been ripped from the base of the boat.

Tanner and Nikki were forced to jump overboard and were left with just $90 (£65) to their name as well as their two-year-old Pug named Remy.

The couple were bored with their rat-race lifestyle at home and wanted an adventure 

Now they have no jobs, no savings and nowhere to go, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“I sold everything I had to do this,” Tanner said, “and I lost everything in a matter of 20 minutes.”

The couple had sold all their worldly goods last year after making the decision to sail around the world.

Tanner and Nikki forked out $5,000 for the 28-foot-long sailboat they named Lagniappe, and the same again to fix it up.

Tanner and Nikki paid out more than £7,000 to buy and do up their sailboat they named Lagniappe (Image: Facebook)
But it all went wrong when their boat capsized at sea off the coast of Florida. “We got so tired of that lifestyle,” Tanner said, “of doing things to make people do the things they don’t want to do.”

The pair, who initially had no sailing experience, got busy doing up the boat and on Tuesday set sail from Tarpon Springs in Florida for their adventure.

“Everybody gave us a nice farewell off the docks.”

The next day they passed by Clearwater Beach and made their way to John’s Pass to dock for the night.

But the couple have vowed to set sail on another adventure again in the future.

“I’m not going to give up now,” Broadwell said. “I’m going to get another boat down the road.”

“We can’t just give up on our dreams,” Walsh said.

Choose your Raritan marine products here, and see how we provide you the best products in the marine sanitation industry today.

Be sure to watch our latest video on seacocks below. 

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Cheap and Easy Boat Cleaners You Can Make At Home

Raritan Engineering would like to share with you this week some great information about how to make your own boat cleaners.

Your marine toilet systems experts talk about how if you’ve got a locker full of nearly empty black-streak cleaners, waterline-stain cleaners, mildew preventers, bilge cleaners, and boat soaps, now is your chance to retire them all and reduce your cleaning arsenal to just four or five products that can fit in a small bucket.

This is not our first foray into the topic homemade maintenance supplies.  A few years back we dug into the topic of homemade bronze polishes and found a couple of concoctions that proved their mettle—so to speak.

Home brew No. 1: Salt and vinegar paste

Recipe: Dissolve 3 teaspoons of salt into 1 cup of white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste, then scoop the paste onto a clean sponge and polish. Rinse with hot water and buff dry with a soft cloth. Result: This polish worked surprisingly well. all and earned a rating of “Good” on our test scale.

Home brew No. 2: lemon paste

Recipe: Polish with a soft cloth soaked in a solution of lemon juice and baking soda, or sprinkle baking soda on a slice of lemon and scrub. (We made a paste as in Brew No. 1.) Result: After the mini-volcanic reaction of mixing lemon juice and baking soda settled down, the resulting paste powered off the stains exceptionally well with minimal scrubbing.

Home brew No. 3, Morris’ Mix:

Recipe: Subscriber Scott A. Morris makes his polish by blending polishing compound (not rubbing compound) with a small amount of silicone car wax—according to Morris, a little experimentation will yield your best mix. Result: “Fair to Good” overall, however, it took a bit of rubbing to clean our nasty bronze.

Benefits of Making Your Own Boat Cleaners

Your marine toilet systems professionals discuss how overall, the results in the home brew category were pretty impressive, particularly considering that the first two have all natural ingredients and that all three are economical to make. While the Brews Nos. 1 and 2 cleaned the bronze, they lacked the “luster” of products such as the Miracle cloth.

Of all the homebrew recipes we’ve tested, the one we’re most pleased with is our One-Penny mildew cleaner/preventer, which tester Drew Frye has tested extensively on his boat. We tried two formulas creatively named Formula A and Formula B, which cost just pennies to make.

Formula A

1 quart hot water

1 tablespoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

2 tablespoons washing soda (sodium carbonate)

2 tablespoons trisodium phosphate (TSP)

Much like Concrobium (which it is modeled after), our homemade Formula A removed the mildew from test carpet on board and kept it away, even though the area got wet again. It was also very effective in the moist-environment lab test.

Formula B

1 quart hot water

2 tablespoons baking soda

2 tablespoons Borax

1 tablespoon TSP

Formula B was the second-place performer overall in our test of mildew sprays. It was certainly the best value. It cleaned well, prevented mildew from returning to the carpet, and greatly slowed mildew infection in the moist-environment test in the lab.

So don’t forget these ways to make your own boat cleaners. 1) Salt and vinegar paste;  2) lemon paste;  and 3) blending polishing compound (not rubbing compound) with a small amount of silicone car wax.

How to Fish Midge Patterns With Style

You’ve probably been there. Two hours from home, halfway through the thermos of coffee, knee-deep in cold water on a cold day, and not a single, solitary fish to show for it. They’re taunting you.

The most likely answer? Midges. Nine times out of ten, when you see so many rings that it looks like the result of an invisible hail-storm, the trout are hitting midges.

But one thing is very clear: trout love to eat midges. Your average brown trout in a midge hatch is like a fat kid with a bowl full of M&Ms. Although each of the bugs may not make much of a meal, a river is like a conveyor belt that delivers thousands of the tiny morsels to a fish. Midge hatches are especially prolific in tailwaters, those rivers kept at constant refrigeration by bottom-release dams.

Midges are usually small, but they aren’t necessarily microscopic. A size 18 barbless hook will provide satisfactory results in most situations. An angler carrying a small midge box with a series of tried-and-true patterns from size 18 down to size 22, with a very few smaller, will be equipped to handle 90 percent of the midge fishing situations out there. Generally speaking, big midges will allow you to use more complex patterns, such as the Copper John. For really tiny midges, stick to the simple stuff.

Try cutting the leader where you want the shot to stop sliding, and then knot it back together with a simple double surgeon’s knot. Crimp the shot above the knot and let it slide on down; the knot will keep the shot from hugging your fly.

A better bet, though, would be one of the new breed of vertical emergers based on the Quigley’s Cripple, such as the JLC Midge. Douse these flies with floatant and lube up your tippet for several feet. You won’t have the advantage of the split shot to keep your line taught and your chances of popping your tippet go up considerably, so be gentle.

Midge fishing in the winter time can be an angler’s only chance to avoid going stir-crazy. When your favorite freestone is snowed in, and your dog won’t even budge off the hearth, bundle up tight, load that thermos, and find a sunny piece of slow water down behind a dam in the valley.

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Your Boat Cleaning Products Specialists Discuss How to Make Your Own Water Filter

Raritan Engineering your boat cleaning products suppliers would like to share with you this week some great information regarding DIY water filter ideas for your boat.

Your boat cleaning products distributors talks about how one of the first things that you realize after a few seasons of cruising is that approaches to life aboard vary between two wide extremes: cruisers who by choice or because of a limited budget live with minimal creature comforts, and those cruisers who sacrifice little more than living space when they move aboard.

Nick reported that most cruising boats he met during his first year of tropical cruising had some type of watermaker, but usually chose to take advantage of the local water supply when dockside or anchored in polluted harbors. When we were cruising abroad in the early ’90s, it seemed that less than half the boats we met regularly used watermakers.

The Nitty Gritty

All shore-sourced water supplies, either in the U.S. or overseas, contain particulate matter. This may be pipe scale, sand, small bits of grass, or other types of sediment. While not necessarily harmful, sediment builds up in your boat’s plumbing. It can settle in the bottom of tanks, only to get stirred up during an offshore passage. Over time, it can wreak havoc with water pumps, destroy ceramic water fixture cartridges, and prevent the seating of rubber faucet washers.

Nick learned this the hard way when his Grohe faucets started leaking after two years. Fortunately, replacing the cartridges was easy—once he found them—but after that experience, he became determined to reduce sediment in the entire water system.

Protecting Your Water Pumps

Your boat cleaning products experts talk about how if you do have a more sensitive impellor-type pump on your boat, protection is relatively simple. Just install an in-line sediment strainer just upstream from your freshwater pressure pump. Nick used a Par Pumpgard filter, positioned to be easily accessible for routine checking and cleaning. This is a compact, small-capacity stainless-steel mesh strainer in a clear plastic housing. Most of the toilets in our recent toilet test came with these filters, as safeguards against pump damage. They are relatively cheap—about $20 at any marine store.

A Simple Pre-Filter

In Grenada, Nick ran into a couple on a well-equipped Baba 35 who pre-filtered shore water before it even got to the boat, and he later adopted that approach. On a trip back to the States, he picked up a $20 Omni filter housing at a home supply store. GE makes a similar one, as well. The one Nick bought uses standard 9.5-inch filter elements, which he found available worldwide. For a few dollars more, you can get a clear filter housing that allows you to monitor the state of the filter element more easily.

Total cost of this handy gadget today is about $45, including a couple of spare 30-micron sediment filter cartridges. Flow rate through the filter is about four gallons per minute, so it provides minimal increase in your watering time.

Serious Filtration

All the drinking water aboard Nick’s Calypso, even the water they made themselves, went through a General Ecology Seagull IV purification system. This expensive filtering system—list price is over $700—will remove just about everything harmful from water, according to the manufacturer. Any water considered “bacteriologically acceptable for treatment” by the U.S. Public Health Service standards can be rendered safe by the Seagull IV.

So don’t forget these helpful tips for making your own water filter for your boat. 1) If you do have a more sensitive impeller-type pump on your boat, protection is relatively simple;  2) using simple pre-filters can be very cheap;  and 3) install an in-line sediment strainer just upstream from your freshwater pressure pump.

Boat Cleaning Tips

Some boat owners go overboard (pardon the pun) when it comes to cleaning their boats. They seem to spend more time scrubbing and polishing their vessels than actually cruising or fishing in them. While keeping a craft clean is definitely an important aspect of boat ownership, it’s not necessary to spend long, backbreaking hours to keep your boat looking like new. You simply have to equip yourself with the right tools/products and clean your boat regularly and efficiently. 

Choose the Right Cleaning Equipment

Before selecting your cleaning equipment and products, consider the type of boat you have and its composition. This will ensure that you have the right tools and materials in hand for the job. Choose cleaning brushes that are sturdy and will get rid of stubborn dirt, grime and salt, without damaging the finish or gel coat on your boat. A long, sturdy handle on a scrub brush will allow you to reach hard-to-clean areas without bending down, provide leverage, and help eliminate strain on your back and arms.

Select a Good, Environmentally-Friendly Soap

For marine use, you’ll want to select a soap that will be tough on dirt, grime, salt and fish blood, yet easy on the environment. Don’t use the same soap you would for cleaning dishes at home. Instead, select an effective, biodegradable cleaning agent with a neutral pH factor. If you use your craft in salt water, it’s especially important to use soap and fresh water to completely remove the corrosive salt build-up that can eat away at your boat. 

Soak Things Up

Use soft drying cloths that are highly absorbent and will soak up water without stripping or scratching. Chamois cloths or drying mops made of chamois material are good choices. To avoid “spotting,” be sure to dry off your boat immediately after washing and rinsing.

Wax On, Wax Off

Once you have dried off your boat completely, you may want to apply a quality wax and buff to shine and protect the fiberglass. It’s not really necessary to wax your boat after every use, but this should be done at least once or twice during the season to preserve the luster of the hull and protect against the elements and impurities. Use a quality carnauba wax and apply several coats

Making Your Metal Shine

There are many quality cleaners and sealants available for keeping the chrome and stainless steel on your boat protected, shiny and bright. After applying a light film on your brightwork, let sit for about 15 to 30 minutes. Then, wipe off with a clean cloth. After cleaning, you may also want to apply a quality wax sealer/protectant to create a protective barrier against the harsh elements.

Vinyl Upholstery

First, clean off your boat’s vinyl upholstery with a damp cloth to remove grime, dirt and salt. You may want to follow this by applying a quality vinyl cleaners/protectant and again wiping off the surface. Once the upholstery is free of dirt and grime, apply a light film of spray-on furniture polish and wipe with a clean cloth. This should help guard against stains and preserve the life of your boat’s upholstery. 

Cleaning/Greasing Your Engine

It’s important to make cleaning your boat’s engine part of your annual winterization ritual at the end of the season. Some boat owners choose to do this themselves, while others opt to have this done, along with other winterization tasks, by an experienced mechanic. A quality engine cleaner/protectant, such as WD-40 or Boeshield T-9, used in combination with a cleaning cloth, is usually sufficient for removing accumulated dirt, grime and grease. 

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