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solar panels on an island spirit catamaranSolar panels come in all sizes and shapes for use on boats as an extra source of energy. Solar panels convert the sun's incoming radiation (light) directly into electricity, which can be used to charge batteries and operate DC loads. It's becoming more popular among sailors not only because they can keep lights and appliances running, but also because they are quieter than wind generators. The source of energy is also free and abundant. We have had solar panels on the last two cruising catamarans that we have owned and thus have first hand experience.

Read more: Solar Panels

Top Ten General Marine Diesel Engine Do's and Don'ts

  • lagoon 380 marine diesel engineDon't start engines without checking fluid levels, belts, and raw water inlet.
  • Do not permit engines to sit without running them for more than 7 days - try to operate engines at least every 5 days.
  • Allow engines to warm up, then run at about 1500 RPM for about 5 minutes, then shut down.
  • Properly lay up engines that aren't going to be used for periods of greater than 30 days. Long periods of disuse results in serious internal engine rusting of cylinder walls and valves.
  • Start engines with throttles in neutral. Do not race engines until they are up to normal operating temperature. This is very damaging.
  • Avoid prolonged idling if possible, this can glaze the cylinders. Always run the engine at cruise speed or higher on the way home for at least 30 minutes to dislodge carbon deposits.
  • Service fuel system immediately if excessive exhaust emissions occur.
  • Always put the engine into forward and astern before casting off to make sure that your gear selector is working properly
  • On a catamaran always start the engine farthest from the helm so you can hear that it has started to avoid running the starter with the ignition once the engine has fired.
  • Always wait for the RPM to drop back to idle before changing gears from forward to astern or vice versa.

Engine maintenance should become a habit. Make a list of the things to check and diligently go over every item before you leave the dock.

This article, "Maintenance Fundementals" by David Pecoe is great for reference.

Another great article by Tim Bartlett "Diagnose and fix marine diesel engine problems".

 

Watch how Maz Ocean does a TV installation and how to do a conversion from a regular winch to an electric winch on a Leopard 43.

Annual Catamaran Haulout Checklist

catamaran haul outThe annual haul-out of your catamaran is essential to protect your investment and to ensure your enjoyment and confidence in the vessel in the months and years ahead. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a boatyard to do it, if you want to get the best value for your work and service dollar, it pays to be prepared.

It can be a challenge to find a wide enough lift to haulout a catamaran, so plan ahead. Find a boatyard with good references that is conveniently located. 

A few weeks before the haulout, we make sure that we have the bottom paint, tape, brushes, replacement zincs, and other equipment and accessories ready for the job. We plan exactly what jobs will be completed and what we need for each job such as servicing the sail drive, or props. Well in advance, we shedule the contractors, if neccessary. Plan your haulout job before arriving at the yard. Indecisiveness can become costly in yard fees and a crew sitting idle. We usually do the work ourselves if time allows.

Read more: Catamaran Haulout Checklist

    • Yacht Maintenance - What should be Serviced When?

    • Regular servicing and proper maintenance is essential to keep the systems trouble free. We recommend the following annually:

 

Haul-out and Antifouling100 5778

    • Sail Drive Service (per manufacturers recommendations) 
    • Hull and Deck Polishing
    • Rigging check and tune 
    • Seacock condition and operation
    • Steering System Inspection
    • Keel Bolt Inspection - if applicable 
    • Cathodic Protection
    • Anchor Winch Service
  • Sheet Winch Service
  • Toilet System Service
  • Battery Test
  • LPG System Check
  •  

            In Addition we recommend:

  • Stainless Steel Polish every 6 months
  • Teak maintenance and cleaning every 3 months
  • Oil Change at least every 150 hours
  •  

Our service team can help you work out a yacht service schedule that's perfect for you.

Contact us for a consultation

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