Data Sheets

Our Data and Plan Sheet series is made up of informative reference articles from the literature. For a modest price, Data Sheets contain information selected from our classic books or the periodical literature reprinted to provide specific information on a particular subject. Plan Sheets are for boat building projects and contain building plans. These items measure  8.5" x 11" and contain between 1 and 4 pages. Most of the Data Sheets and Plan sheets are illustrated.

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How to Build a Swim Platform (Pub. No. 7724)

If you have priced swimming platforms, you know that they are expensive. Small ones in kit form cost well over $100, and the price goes up to $600 or $700. It is not too difficult to build a swim platform for your boat, and you can save a considerable amount of money if you use marine plywood instead of teak or mahogany. Swim platforms on inboard boats are mounted close to the water, about 4 inches above the waterline. On stern-drive craft they are mounted higher to clear the drive unit when it is tilted upward. On a 22 or 24 foot stern-drive cruiser, for example, the platform is usually about halfway between the chine and the rub rail, or about in the middle of the transom. Inboard boats generally have curved transoms while sterndrive boats usually have straight transoms. This project is designed for a stern-drive cruiser with a curved transom that is 7 feet 6 inches wide. It calls for a 7 foot swim platform. But if your boat has a straight transom or a different beam, it will be easy to modify the following construction procedure for your craft.

4 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make an Anchor Line Reel (Pub. No. 7725)

Where and how to store a few hundred feet of nylon anchor line can present quite a problem on a small craft. Because a boat’s anchor line is its “emergency brake,” the anchor should always be ready for instant use. Most anchors can be carried securely and neatly outside on the craft’s forward deck. The anchor line, however, should be stored inside and out of the weather. Many boats come equipped with anchor chocks on the deck and an appropriate through-deck fitting, called a deck pipe that permits the line to be fed from the anchor through the deck’s surface and into an anchor line storage area. Below deck, a means must be provided to keep the line from tangling when stored. There is one way to keep an anchor line ready to pay out quickly, and that is to store it on a reel just like fishing line.

3 page(s)

$3.50
Installing Cleats-Winches-Rails and Pulpits (Pub. No. 7726)

This Data Sheet deals with various methods of mounting deck fittings on fiberglass decks with foam cores, solid fiberglass decks, and wooden decks.

Mounting a cleat, winch, railing or pulpit is not generally a major project, especially if the new fitting is to be installed in a location on the deck that already has been properly reinforced. There are a number of mounting options available to the do-it-yourselfer, but they depend on the type of deck construction.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Installing a Windlass (Pub. No. 7727)

A windlass, depending on its location, poses a different installation problem for boat owners. Here, we will cover two types of installations. One is installing a windlass on a fiberglass deck. The other is installing an electric-powered windlass below deck that would be ideal for larger craft .

4 page(s)

$3.50
Adding Grab Rails to the Cabin Top (Pub. No. 7728)

Adding grab rails to the roof of a craft’s cabin is not a difficult job, and it can literally be a lifesaver for anyone working around the sides of the boat. It is possible to buy metal pipe with end and intermediate supports that can be bolted into place, but these can be difficult to locate. Two methods of making grab rails are discussed here: one is for an all-wood railing; the other is for a metal rail with wooden supports.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Building a Stabilizer--A Flopper-Stopper (Pub. No. 7729)

("FLOPPER STOPPERS")

For more than a century, various kinds of devices have been used on boats to reduce the rolling action caused by waves. The most successful stabilizers are movable fins, but they are used only on ocean liners and large, expensive yachts. Many complex systems have been developed but a simple way is to use a pair of sea anchors with weights to hold them down and add stability. This "flopper-stopper" rig consists of a pole rigged at right angles from each side of the boat with a sea anchor and weight hanging down from the end of each pole, several feet out from the boat. The farther out the anchors are placed, the more efficient they will be.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Rigging a Small Power Boat for Water Skiing (Pub. No. 7730)

The professional way to rig a ski boat is to install a deck pylon in the cockpit. Several kinds of pylons are available. Most have legs that mount on fittings to form a sturdy tripod. The pylon is quickly detachable and folds for stowage. So, if you use your boat as an all-purpose family craft, for picnicking and fishing as well as skiing, it makes the boat quickly convertible. The advantage of a ski pylon is that it adds stability to the boat by moving the center of effort forward to the center of the craft, keeps the tow line high and clear of the motor, and reduces sudden slack in the line when a skier is maneuvering back and forth. Here's how to do it!

3 page(s)

$3.50
Building a Boarding Stepladder (Pub. No. 7731)

Many modern boats feature high sides or plenty of freeboard in their cockpit areas that add to boating safety, but make it more difficult for passengers and crew to get on and off the craft. An inboard stepladder can solve this problem. The boarding stepladder in this project has only two steps about 10 inches apart that can be modified to fit your boat by adding or omitting a step, or by possibly changing the height of the steps to suit the situation.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Installing Trim Tabs (Pub. No. 7732)

Planing-type boats that are reluctant to plane are not only fuel hogs but they also can be dangerous. When the bow of a boat rides too high, the view of the helmsman is obscured to the point where he may be unable to spot a water-soaked log or timber. The hazard can be even greater when leaving a busy harbor with heavy boat traffic. Overloading and underpowering are two reasons why some boats squat at the stern and are sluggish in getting into a planing attitude. Load placement in the boat can be another contributing factor and as simple a procedure as moving the passengers forward can work wonders to improve the performance of a craft. Trimming the boat by shifting weight, including the weight of passengers, may not, however, be the ideal solution. Guests may prefer to ride in the cockpit rather than in a forward cabin. The obvious solution to an underpowered boat that is slow to come on plane is more power, which can be costly. If the problem is primarily a matter of trim and not of power, the addition of trim tabs can help solve it.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Some Handy Ways to Stow Anchors (Pub. No. 7736)

You can save yourself some embarrassment and prevent damage to your craft by carrying an anchor In a handy place, ready to use at a moment’s notice. There are many places where you may be cruising—long, narrow channels; among islands and reefs; in crowded harbors—where a sudden rigging or auxiliary power failure can get you into instant trouble. It is not the time to have to rummage through a cockpit anchor locker or a mess of snarled line in the forepeak to get an anchor clear and rigged for use. On the other hand, no sailor wants to have an anchor adrift on the forepeak in heavy weather. For that reason, many popular types of anchors are usually chocked in bronze fittings that support the anchor crown and fluke tips, and provide a tiedown for the shank. There are, however, some serious shortcomings with this type of installation. For example, jib sheets are likely to snag on the anchor stock when the boat is tacked. When handling headsails, you can accidentally step on the stock and wrench the anchor out of its chocks, sometimes bending them as well. And, the anchor stocks are apt to be in the way of your ankles. There are a number of solutions to such problems depending on the type of anchor you have and the configuration of your boat

4 page(s)

$3.50
Mounting an Outboard on a Sailboat (Pub. No. 7737)

Many sailors like to add an outboard auxiliary to their daysailers or trailerable cruising boats. And, anglers who fish offshore or on big inland lakes also like to add a smaller outboard if their crafts are equipped with a single big outboard, sterndrive or inboard engine. Such an addition provides efficient fuel-saving trolling and a “spare tire” for getting home in case the main engine has trouble.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Basic Electrics (Pub. No. 7739)

The electrical system of a boat is often regarded by owners as something to be avoided, especially if it involves messing around with a maze of wiring behind the control console. The do-it-yourselfer who tackles the construction of a trolling center for his fishing boat without hesitation may be reluctant to install an electronic depth sounder, because the last time he tried to fix a light switch at home it resulted in a shower of sparks, a blown fuse, and a screwdriver with a scorched tip,to say nothing of shaky nerves and a firm resolve to leave electrical repairs to someone who knows what must be done. Although this is excellent advice, it need not prevent a novice from replacing blown fuses, making simple installations of electrical equipment and accessories, or even checking out a boat’s electrical system, providing, of course, that he knows what he is doing. And, this is the purpose of this Data Sheet—to provide an easy step-by-step guide to Basic Electrics .

3 page(s)

$3.50
Adding a Fused Terminal Block (Pub. No. 7740)

The electrical system of any boat should be protected with fused circuits. Most likely this protection already exists on newer boats with built-in electrical systems that service engine and non-engine instruments, lights, and accessories. Owners of older boats, or of craft that have inadequate wiring for the instruments or accessories that may be added, can update their boats’ electrical system by installing fused terminal blocks.

3 page(s)

$3.50
Installing a Battery Selector Switch (Pub. No. 7741)

If you use two marine storage batteries to serve your boat’s electrical requirements, it is convenient to arrange them so that they both can be charged by the engine’s alternator or generator. Most likely, you will also want to use either battery as a standby for the other. This project suggests an arrangement that permits you to charge both batteries from a common source of power—the engine’s generator or alternator.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Checking a 12-volt System (Pub. No. 7742)

If properly installed, the electrical system on your boat should not give you any trouble throughout the boating season. And, it can continue this unfailing service season after season provided it receives routine maintenance and a seasonal check-up. Maintenance of storage batteries is treated as a separate project but here, however, let us consider the circuits, connections, and other elements of the electric system.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Care of Batteries (Pub. No. 7743)

The storage battery is one of the most abused components of an automobile, according to battery manufacturers. This is likely to be also true for the storage battery in a boat. The “normal” life of a battery in a car is three years, but few batteries lead the “normal” life. They are, to mention some abuses, overcharged or undercharged, lack proper fluid levels, are left unattended for long periods, and become corroded. With proper care, however, a marine battery should last longer than the automotive battery because of its heavier construction. And, five years is not unusual for the lifespan of a marine storage battery, providing it has received proper care.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Charging the Battery (Pub. No. 7744)

Charging the battery is automatically done on boats equipped with engines that have alternators or generators, but this does not automatically relieve the boat owner of problems associated with battery charging. If, for example, the craft is not operated frequently, or if the time of operation is so brief that the battery does not receive a full charge, sulfating of the battery’s plates can take place and considerably reduce the lifespan of the battery. This type of undercharging can produce a hard, coarse, crystalline-type of sulfate on the plates that does not readily convert to normal, active material. It also can set up strains on the plates that can produce buckling when the battery receives a sudden or prolonged charging, as on a long trip, or by an alternator or generator regulating system out of adjustment. The buckled plates can pinch the separators causing perforations and an internal short circuit.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Installing a Sonar-Type Depth Sounder (Pub. No. 7745)

Being able to know what lies submerged beneath the surface of the water probably would have saved legions of sailors and their craft in the thousands of years man has been going to sea in ships. Submerged rocks, jagged reefs, treacherous sand bars—all have taken their toll of men and boats because skippers were not aware of such hazards to navigation until it was too late. Shoal waters are the graveyards of vessels that came to grief because they were off course with no instruments so those aboard could discover the error.

3 page(s)

$3.50
Installing a Transom-Mounted Depth Transducer (Pub. No. 7746)

A transom mounted transducer for a sonar indicator or depth sounder is probably the most popular because it does not require cutting a hole in the boat’s hull, something many owners are reluctant to do since it could affect a future sale of the boat. The transom mount is efficient when properly installed, but it may not work quite as well at high cruising speeds as a through-hull mounted transducer. The procedure for installing the through-hull and inside-hull mounted transducers are outlined in Data Sheets, 7747 and 7752.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Installing a Through-Hull Mounted Depth Transducer (Pub. No. 7747)

Better high speed performance of the depth sounder is one important advantage of through-hull mounting. When mounted properly, there is less likelihood of bubbles or turbulent water flowing across the face of the transducer, causing inaccurate or confusing signals on the depth sounder indicator. Obviously, the throughhull mount is a permanent installation since it involves cutting a hole through the bottom of the boat. It also may require use of fairing blocks to compensate for the deadrise (angle of slope) of the hull bottom. So, the installation must be well planned beforehand.

4 page(s)

$3.50
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