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Bos'ns' Corner

 


bo'sun (boatswain, bosun) (n.): a petty officer on a
merchant vessel, having charge of the hull and all
related equipment. From Old English bat (“boat”)
+ Old Norse sveinn ("swain"), meaning servant.

      

“Boat Servant” - we think that pretty much says it all.
Here is a collection of the questions we get most often, and answers which we hope will help you as well.

 

Wire Size Calculator - check here before installing anything electrical

Electrical
    What's the difference between watts and VA?
    Battery Cables

Refrigeration



A comment on maintenance in general:

The bo'sun grew up around boats, indeed one of his first memories is drifting across a lake at age 2-1/2 (so he is told) in a 14-foot (ditto) sloop piloted by his father, and watching a seaplane land nearby. Who wouldn't be hooked? So, after growing up hanging around boatyards, and reading everything he could on the subject, he's obviously convinced that it's really, really, important to know your boat before heading out of the bay. Now that was one thing when lights were kerosene, "battery powered" meant D-cells, and the ice box really was an ice box - the sailor was essentially a woodworker / sailmaker / navigator. With the advent of fiberglass, dacron, and radar, the sailor's role has changed - she/he is now an electrician, mechanic, plumber, and often project manager.

Given the complexities of modern boats, we're as reliant as anyone on the collection of books that cover our systems, and really appreciate that there's usually more than one way to do a job. And even more, that on occasion, someone else came up with a better solution than we would have. Yes, there's a lot of experience out there. And we've found that sailors are often great writers. Which makes a number of those books that much more readable. We've linked to some of the ones we especially like below.

 

Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems
Nigel Calder

This is one of the most popular books on boat maintenance, for both power and sail. If you only have one maintenance book, this is the one.

 

 

The Complete Rigger's Apprentice
Brion Toss

This very readable book covers both traditional and modern rigging, with sections on everything from knots and splicing (both wire and rope) to emergency repairs. The approach is practical, with enough theory thrown in for it all to make sense.

 
 
Boat Mechanical Systems Handbook: How to Design, Install, and Recognize Proper Systems in Boats
Dave Gerr

Another excellent handbook on just about all boat systems, both power and sail. A great alternative to, or better yet an addition to, Calder's systems manual (above).

 

Refrigeration for Pleasureboats: Installation, Maintenance and Repair
Nigel Calder

A bit on the technical side, and slightly dated, but well written and a good source for refrigeration theory and application if you really want to know what's going on in there.

 
 

This Old Boat, Second Edition: Completely Revised and Expanded
Don Casey

If you're tackling a number of projects, especially on a sailboat, this is a great resource for both planning and carrying out your tasks. Lots of tips and tricks, and concentrates on hands-on technique rather than theory.

 

Powerboater's Guide to Electrical Systems
Edwin Sherman

A from-the-beginning guide to electical systems, with emphasis on standards, specifications, and good practices. While it focuses on power boats, most of the material is applicable to sailboats as well.