or arc from the back of the panel could ignite
the diesel if there was a leak. I thought the
flash point for diesel was something like 140
For Tom Neale’s piece on TideMinders, see
this Q&A at www.BoatUS.com/Magazine
tie my boat to the pilings rather than cleats
because that’s a much stronger way of doing
it. I have very tall pilings so that the boat will
be able to survive (hopefully) a hurricane
surge. The main mooring pilings are doubled and through-bolted together for extra
strength. We tie to those pilings and use
TideMinders that allow the boat to rise and
fall with extreme tides without changing the
lines and that, if rigged correctly, help absorb
the shock of high gusts. Obviously pilings
should be driven deep into the bottom.
If you use cleats, they should be better secured than just through-bolting them
through the decking. In my opinion they
should be through-bolted with a large heavy
backing plate through multiple overlapping
longitudinal stringers that are bolted together. Cleats through-bolted to decking often
pull out in storms or pull the deck plank out.
You can help minimize this risk by backing
the decking, holding the cleats with additional boards that are fastened to stringers
to spread the load over a wide area. Cleats
should never be just screwed on.
JOHN ADEY: You’re correct, depending
on the diesel fuel, the flash points are
between 100 and 140 degrees F, with gasoline at - 45 degrees! In gasoline spaces, we’d
require that electrical devices be “isolated”
from the gasoline space or “ignition protected,” which means they’ve been tested not
to ignite a flammable mixture. In the case
of diesel, this is not an issue; therefore your
panel is fine as is. Unintended open flames
and sparks are never a good thing on a boat,
so keeping the panel in good order (tight,
clean connections) is always good practice.
Returning home from the Bahamas in June,
I went through a horrible squall about 40
miles offshore from Florida with cloud-to-water lightning crashing all around (but
fortunately not hitting the boat). I’m headed
south again for a few months and was curious if there was any validity to the lightning
“dissipation” systems marketed. I’ve heard
grounding my vessel to the water will actually make my boat, with a deck-stepped
mast, more likely to get hit.
I live aboard a 27-foot Albin Vega sloop.
One of my big concerns is a lightning strike.
TOM NEALE: Of the many areas of concern about getting hit by lightning on a boat,
three stand out in my mind:
1. Not getting hit in the first place. I’ve
seen boats get hit when they were well-grounded, not grounded at all, and “
protected” by various devices. We had a “bottle
brush” protector on our mast and were hit a
few inches from it. We’ve been in the ocean
and had lightning hit the waves beside us,
MEET OUR EXPERTS
Which uses less power ... a 12-volt coffee-maker or a 120-volt using an inverter?
BETH LEONARD: The two use roughly
the same amount of energy measured in
watt-hours, though the 120 volts through the
inverter will use about 10 percent more due to
the inefficiency of converting 12 volts to 120
volts. But energy is not the only consideration
here. It takes a lot of power to heat water,
and delivering that power at 12 volts takes
time. The best 12-volt coffeemakers take 3-5
minutes to make a single cup of coffee and are
meant to be connected directly to the batteries. With most home 120-volt coffeemakers,
you’ll need to have a 1000-watt inverter to
handle the power requirements. In the end,
it may be easiest to go the old-fashioned way:
Heat the water on the stove and use a drip
filter or get a stove-top percolator.
BoatU.S. Magazine’s technical editor, Beth grew up powerboating, waterskiing, and fishing on Lake Ontario. Since 1992, she and her husband
have completed two circumnavigations by sailboat, doing all maintenance themselves. They also installed the systems on their 47-foot
aluminum sloop. Beth has written The Voyager’s Handbook, the how-to
bible for offshore sailors, and hundreds of technical articles.
He’s cruised long distance with his family for most of his adult life. He
can take apart and fix almost every system aboard, has written two
books, filmed a two-set DVD on East Coast cruising, written for top
marine magazines, and has won nine first-place awards from Boating
Writers International and many other awards for his technical writing.
One of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30
years. He and his wife cruise their 30-footer part of the year in the
eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey’s Complete Illustrated
Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat,
the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.
The president of the American Boat & Yacht Council, John has been in
the industry since 1990, with experience from a yacht brokerage and
boatyard to owning a marine supply store. He and his family sail their
classic 1976 Irwin ketch, a boat he completely restored.
The electrical panel on my Helms 27 backs
up to the diesel fuel tank. I was told a spark
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