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repair surgeonsIt’s a boat. Something’s going to break, and if you’re in the middle of the ocean or in a deserted anchorage in Paradise, who’s going to fix it? There’s no handy-dandy repair chappie down the road, and no one to beg come and mend it, so if you don’t fix it, it stays broke. Simple.

For household appliances, whether in a terrestrial abode or in use on a vessel, things may soon be easier and cheaper to fix, thanks to proposed regulations being put forward in Europe and some 18 US states. Loosely termed “Right to Repair” bills, these would compel manufacturers to make products that come apart easily for inspection, and to have instructions and spare parts readily available to anyone wanting to attempt a repair.

Solbian SP130 hylas 54 genevieve 0
The owners of the Hylas 54, Genevieve, have a clever and beautiful solution for installing solar panels on their yacht that compliments her elegant lines, makes aft boarding via the swim ladder easy, and provides shade for the dingy when stored on the davits. All without adding extra weight on the back end.

Below is what they've shared on www.cruisersforum.com:

We wanted to add significant solar area but we were not keen on putting panels on deck (shading, slippery), on rail “wings”, or on the canvas bimini top (shading, dynamic substrate, complex wire routing, not useable when boat stripped bare for storage). We wanted a solution that looked in keeping with the existing boat structures and we did not care for sharp-cornered aluminum flat frame panel solution often seen.

new year dreamstime s 133081062
Ah, the holiday season has begun. We are being increasingly made aware of that because things have started heating up in already warm places, most noticeably The Caribbean.

There’s a lot of folk spending the holidays on their boats down there at this time of year, and bully for you all. Meanwhile, there are many others that are paying big bucks for the privilege of holidaying on someone else’s dreamboat, and that’s where the heat comes from for us up here in colder climes.

Things that break can’t wait around to get fixed on a charter boat with a bunch of high-paying guests on board who are expecting everything to be perfect. And things do break on boats all the time, usually at the most inopportune moment, a fact that many of you will undoubtedly attest to.

woman in water luke dahlgren 348432 cropIt’s starting to get crazy again on our help line, like it seems to every year about this time. I guess that there’s a big increase in numbers of boats swanning around down south now that it’s holiday season and it’s getting nippy up north. Lucky them!

But there will inevitably be the unfortunate few cruisers that will soon be heading down a long and frustrating path trying to fix a malfunctioning refrigerator or freezer. So in an effort to minimize the pain, and to hopefully make my life easier, I’m re-issuing some advice I gave a few years back on the subject.

This, unfortunately, is even more relevant today since the advent of those flashy electronic refrigerant gauge sets with multiple digital screens that seem to confuse more than enlighten.

Our office here spends way too much time on the phone and in e-mails helping customers correct mistakes made by mostly well intentioned but misinformed and inexperienced technicians. Too often it seems that adding refrigerant has been a Hail Mary move, made after diagnosis was unsuccessful, and done in an effort to show the customer that at least something had been done. And that's where all the problems start ....

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