How to's


PBO reader Mike James get in touch for help solving an issue he's having with his alcohol stove

We fitted a CO detector when we had a gas stove on our GK24. The gas stove was replaced with an alcohol stove and the CO detector started going off immediately we lit up the alcohol. It turns out that CO detectors are also directly sensitive to ethanol vapour.

They have a filter membrane on some designs to slow response but eventually they will go off just on ethanol. Reading technical documentation on CO detectors shows this is a well...

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Treating diesel engines is not too different to treating patients, says Gilbert Park

Gilbert listens to the engine using a mechanic’s stethoscope. Notice the bulb just below his right hand acts as amplifying box for the probe.

An idea struck me when I ordered an oil analysis for Merlot, my lockdown project boat. Routine health checks are part of medicine so why not for my engine?

Merlot used to be the Poole Harbour workboat and is probably 30 to 40 years old...

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Rupert Holmes explains why this new portable wind sensor from Calypso Instruments is a such significant step forward

Wireless, portable wind sensors have been around for many years, but none are as neatly packaged as this impressively compact ultrasonic unit which has no moving parts.

Power is via a solar panel, backed up with an internal battery, while data communication to the boat’s instrument system, smartphone, or Garmin watch is via Bluetooth with a 50m range.

Secondary sensors include a thermometer, gyroscope and...

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Struggling with boat speed? Want to sail more by feel? Understanding and managing helm balance will help. In this post we’ll discuss the factors affecting upwind helm balance and give examples of how to apply them. We’ll cover downwind helm…

The post Manage Upwind Helm Balance for Speed and Feel appeared first on SailZing.

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PBO reader Roger Brown wants to know if he should be worried about the orange cloudy diesel in his fuel tanks...

Roger Brown's yacht Nunki

The red diesel in the bowl of my primary filter looks cloudy and has a more orange colour than normal. There is no sign of water in the bowl. I have been treating the diesel with Fuel-Set.

The filter element in the primary filter looks clean and unblocked, but the element in the fine filter (supplied as a genuine Perkins part) has picked up a very fine chalky looking dust.

The engine is...

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Clarionet, a 1966 Cowes Week and Fastnet winner, gets a new wooden rig and set of sails in a bid to return to her former glory

Spot the difference: Clarionet in 1966 and today

Clarionet, the famous 1966 Sparkman & Stephens One Tonner, has been restored to her original glory.

Built by Clare Lallow’s yard in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the yacht was previously optimised for the IRC handicap, but has now been returned to the way she was, with the intention of racing in classic regattas.


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Dog lovers, SUP-ers and surfers to head to Poole this Sunday – PLUS top tips for paddleboarding with dogs

Does your dog love paddleboarding and surfing? If so, make your way to Poole this weekend for the UK’s only dog surfing and paddleboard championships.

Article continues below…

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We're running a survey to find out more about your views on Practical Boat Owner.

From refits to racing — and much more besides — we cover a lot of different topics at Practical Boat Owner. Now, we’d love to hear more from you, the readers, about your thoughts on the stories we produce, and your own interests and hobbies.

The survey takes 10 to 15 minutes. To take part, go to — you’ll be redirected to the PBO...

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We have all encountered clutches that won’t hold a rope properly, but figuring out the best solution is not always obvious, writes Rupert Holmes

Purchase systems that can be assembled quickly and cheaply using low friction rings mean many tasks that once required a clutch can now be handled by a decent cam cleat. Photo: Rupert Holmes

The first step is to examine the existing cams. Are they the correct size for each line? And how badly are they worn? Wear can have a massive effect on the amount of load a clutch can hold without the rope...

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When Covid scuppers Josh Lindley’s gap year, he takes on a demanding 5-month sailing course instead to qualify as a skipper

Josh helming towards the Medway

When I was 14 I attended an open day at a small sailing club in Cookham village on the river Thames. I was hooked the minute I got on a boat, and soon became a member of Cookham Reach Sailing Club (CRSC).

I progressed to racing 12ft dinghies and brought home many trophies, which encouraged me to get my dinghy instructor qualification when I turned 16 and teach cadets at CRSC....

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