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Topics - Jon Schneider

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Main Message Board / Ditch bag for home
« on: January 03, 2009, 06:58:18 AM »
This is kind of off topic for a board about sailing, but we had a scare today with the building next to us going on fire.  We live in Brooklyn on a block of row houses/brownstones.  When I first saw the smoke blowing past our bedroom windows in the rear of our building, I knew it was bad.  I quickly yanked out a duffel bag and told my wife to throw in enough clothes for a couple of days along with her jewelery (she doesn't have much, so it was easy for her to toss it all in... there's a silver lining).  I did the same and grabbed the small strong box with our important papers (proof that my wife married me in case she ever wants to deny it, etc.), along with a bag of dog food.  We live in a small apartment and have a pretty simple life, so all of this took about five minutes.  But five minutes would have been way too long if it had been our building on fire.  BTW, now that I'm disassembling our ditch bag, I realized that we left our passports in the desk. 

It makes me think that perhaps I should truly assemble a "ditch bag" for home for just such emergencies.  I wanted to share this experience so that you could go over in your own mind just how quickly you could get the most important facets of your life pulled together in case of a fire or some other disaster.  Maybe it should be a duffel on the ready with at least a list attached to it itemizing stuff to throw in.  Just a thought (albeit not a cheery one).

I'm thinking about biting the bullet and replacing my aging Garmin GPS 215 with a Garmin 545 (  I don't need a network function, because I don't plan on adding radar, so I don't need the 3000, 4000, or 5000 series, plus their size is a bit much for my helm aesthetics (I'd rather watch the sea and surroundings than a screen).  Does anyone have the 545 or one of its cousins, and have a point of view on it?  Or, frankly, feel free to offer advice on the ideal helm-based chartplotter that you have experience with that you think I should consider.  I have a Raymarine S1G below-deck autopilot (and requisite network computer) along with Raymarine ST-60 instruments.  I do want to be able to drive the A/P from waypoints on the chartplotter, which NMEA 0183 output from any chartplotter should be able to do.  I don't have a compelling need to read the instruments on the chartplotter, since the instruments are all easily visible from the helm because of the companionway bulkhead mounting location.

Main Message Board / Boom track/outhaul cars challenge
« on: April 09, 2008, 05:37:13 PM »
Here's the challenge: I want to significantly improve the outhaul action.  I've already replaced the sheaves and upped the purchase of the internal blocks to 5:1 (should've done much more), but let's face it, trying to tension the main foot while dragging delrin slugs through the boom is pretty inefficient.  Ideally, I'd love to have cars on rollers like they make for Isomat spars (pictured), but the wheels are too large for our tracks.  The other possibility is to use something like a Tides Marine sail track that would ride on top of the boom.  Other possibilities?  Thoughts?  Suggestions?

Main Message Board / Docking Lessons from William Buckley
« on: April 08, 2008, 06:58:59 PM »
An absolutely wonderful piece written by Christopher Buckley about his experiences on the sea with his father was floating around the C36 list, and I thought you might like it as well: My Old Man and the Sea (

Main Message Board / Glow Plug Solenoid
« on: March 24, 2008, 01:48:22 PM »
This is an unabashed endorsement of Ron Hill's glow plug solenoid write-up (  Granted, I made a lot of changes to my 12v system over the winter "break," including installing an AGM (Optima) starting battery under the aft berth along with beefy 4/0 gauge wire, but I can't believe what a difference shortening the circuit has made to starting.  Definitely do this. 

BTW, Ron points out that you need to upgrade the wiring to #8 (from the puny #12 that was OEM for my 1990 boat).  I actually went to #6.  With my new starting battery switch inside the aft berth entryway, I have about four feet of 4/0 cable from the start battery to the switch and then about two feet back of #6 to the solenoid, and another eight inches to the first glow plug from the solenoid.  I started the engine for the first time in four months on Friday in 40 degree weather.  Before the upgrades (and clearly the new, starting-specific battery is a contributing factor), it would take me between :40 and :50 of glow plug energization before the engine would start.  The first time, I tried it after :30, and the engine started immediately.  The next day, a touch warmer in the mid 40s, I tried the engine after :15 and it again started instantly (much faster than even :50's worth of glow would give me last year).  I can't wait to see how little pre-heat I need to use.  If you haven't done this upgrade, I highly recommend it.  It's not too hard, pretty cheap, and incredibly satisfying to know your engine will start with the touch of a button.  Thanks Ron. 

Main Message Board / High water temperature sensor
« on: March 14, 2008, 07:20:58 PM »
Has anyone figured out how to install the high water sensor on a 25XP?  I replaced the harness and engine panel last year, and it has the capacity to have the high-water alarm (alarm to indicate high water temperature), but apparently there is no thermostat cap/housing for the XP that can accommodate both the temp sensor and the high-water alarm sensor (at least according to Torresen and Hansen).  If you did this upgrade, did you drill and tap a hole for the sender?

Main Message Board / C36 Replacement: The New C375
« on: January 13, 2008, 10:20:12 AM »
A friend on the C36 org's list attended the New England Boat Show in Boston this weekend and I thought you all might be interested in his commentary and photos:
[edited from an email by Ahmet, owner of s/v Nomad, a C36 Mk I]

"Ok, here are the pictures:
It was neat to chat with Gerry Douglas. He is definitely big into customer feedback.
He asked me to get back to him with what I thought about the boat. I told him I'd send him an email.
In general, I liked the 375 It does not look as much like a whale as the 350 does.
It goes for about $190,000 and has the flavor of being a replacement for the 36 MKII
My wife, being a MKI snob, :):) was still not satisfied with the lack of interior storage space.
There is a lot of storage outside, including 2 propane tanks holders and a deep locker.
It comes with both wing and fin keel configurations.
There is a fairly good size  station to port as you enter.
The Galley is to starboard.
There is a front opening fridge, a separate insulated  box and a pantry in the large galley.
The table folds out of the way in a very ingenious way, and it has the small game table.
Gerry said that the production boat would have a larger game table.
Interestingly, the layout was very similar to the Island Packet 370.
The shower has a separate stall.
The V-berth is laid out such that the head is facing froward, there is nice access from the sides.
There are drawers under the seats on the Starboard side, the area under the settee on the port is taken up by a tank and batteries.
The aft cabin is similar to the 36 MKII, not very impressive, but comfortable enough. I probably would prefer the V-berth.
The companionway is smaller (which is good) and has the typical bridge deck-like lift for safety.
There is a nice deep anchor locker with 2 bow rollers and electric windlass.
The handholds in the cabin are over the port lights on the walls, not on the cabin roof.
It has a yanmar 40 hp engine. The access seems to be good.
Gerry Douglas says that it should be faster that the 36 because of the waterline. He said that he wanted to come up with a new 36, but just could not fit all what he wanted to fit into that size.
The rigging is similar to the 36 with 3 separate chain plates. The mainsail has vertical battens, so the in-mast mainsail furling does not loose any sail area.
There was a LCD TV forward port which seemed to sacrifice on counter area. Because of the main table setup, the bulkhead can not be used for a TV.
So, the major negatives (for our criteria) was the lack of interior storage (a bit more than the C-36 MKII, but not as as much as the MKI) and the lack of a proper aft cabin (The 320 has a much better aft cabin)
The mast is deck stepped, FWIIW. I like keel stepped masts, but that is debatable.
I think in general it is a nice boat. It seems to be a nice sailor's boat with some amenities designed for the admiral.

Main Message Board / Diesel Additives
« on: February 03, 2007, 08:37:13 AM »
There's been a fascinating discussion on the C36 list about diesel performance additives and biodiesel.  One particularly bright correspondent wrote a couple of posts which I thought C34ers would be interested in (smushed together and edited by me for posting here with the author's permission).

Jack Steward writes:
Most on-highway and mobile equipment diesels in the US are designed to utilize diesel fuel with a cetane # between 40-55.  Cetane # is the volume % of n-hexadecane (cetane) in alpha methyl naphthalene. 100% cetane will have a cetane # of 100. 100% a m n has a cetane number of 0. For engines like ours, a cetane # greater than 50 is just wasted.  The higher cetane # mainly improves the starting performance of our engines.  Most diesel additives, e.g., Amsol will increase the cetane rating by 3-7 points. Is that enough?

We have, during the course of last year, heard from a number of us on the east coast concerning the use of biodiesel fuel in our engines, and all has been positive.  A number have had concerns regarding the use this year of the new low sulfur diesel fuel in our engines and the lack of lubricity of the product.  Well, biodiesel is the answer.  In fact, adding as little as 1% to regular diesel increases lubricity 67%.  Biodiesel is available now at many locations in our states.  It is usually dispensed at the pump as either 2%, 5% or 20% by volume. The price is usually the same for all mixtures. There are some locations where you can buy it as 100 % Biodiesel in 5 gal. jugs. Normal diesel in the US has a cetane number greater than 47.  20% biodiesel has a cetane # of 50.  So instead of adding a cetane booster additive to my fuel this year, I will add some 100 % biodiesel, In Minnesota all diesel is required to contain 2% biodiesel; Ohio has HB4235 in the process to do the same thing.

Jack F Stewart
1993 C36 #1233 "Windancer"
Port Clinton, OH

Main Message Board / Galley equipment
« on: January 08, 2007, 04:47:01 AM »
Joe & Carol of s/v YachtaSea posted a question recently seeking ideas for use of the space that the stove takes up since they don't cook aboard at all (  I wondered how many others feel the same way specifically about the oven, because I could envision removing the stove and replacing it with a gimballed two-burner cooktop (enough to make a stew or bacon and eggs) while utilizing the remaining space for storage.  I wonder how many others feel similarly about their ovens (i.e., they're a waste of space).

Main Message Board / Advice on repostioning the aft water tank
« on: November 28, 2006, 05:04:09 PM »
In my quest to install a below-deck autopilot on my Mk 1.5 (walk-through), I've come to the realization that I have two choices:

1) build a fairly elaborate superstructure of new stringers to support the linear drive, or

2) mount that drive against the transom (actually the inside of the deck step in the transom) which would necessitate permanently removing the aft water tank (the a/p tiller arm would drive into the tank). 

Now, I could order a custom tank that is missing a big hunk in the middle (more so than already exists to service the quadrant), or I could place a slightly smaller rectangular tank longitudinally running from the aft cabin bulkhead to near the transom, thus bypassing the a/p tiller arm and rudder quadrant.  I would build a new platform to house this tank.  The space could accommodate a 35-40 gallon tank, and I would probably allow it to cant a bit amidships both laterally and longitudinally to increase drainage and water pressure.  There's one stock tank that would fit in the space, but I think I would still order a custom one in order to get the maximum size. 

The real benefit of this latter approach is that, like many other C34s, mine too suffers from a port-side list, so placing the tank longitudinally on the starboard side would probably considerably mitigate that issue.

What do you think of the plan?  Any better suggestions?

Main Message Board / Below-deck autopilot
« on: November 17, 2006, 06:26:43 PM »
Has anyone installed a below-deck autopilot?  (I have a Mk I, though I'm not sure how different the space is around the rudder quadrant between the two models.)  There was an earlier posting, which didn't get a lot of action, that suggested there might be a problem in fitting it in the space (without permanently removing the water tank).

Main Message Board / C36 Upgrade Book
« on: December 11, 2005, 10:26:20 AM »
It probably seems odd to mention, but our C36 friends have done a great job in putting together a book of improvements, many of which are very relevant to our boats.  You can find a link on the C36 organization's homepage (  It's a download for $3.50 (or paperback for $12).  Well worth the download.

Main Message Board / Instrument Recommendations
« on: January 30, 2005, 01:42:52 PM »
Does anyone have any burning opinions about the various brands of depth/speed/wind instruments?  I have Standard Horizon now, and don't mind them, but they're dying off (speedlog is already dead and I doubt I'll make it through another season with the depthsounder), and I'm very tempted by just about every other brand which offers larger read-outs.  What's wrong with SH anyway?  Four inch cut-outs, and yet they only provide half inch data.  Because I have them now, I'm restricted pretty much to replacing them with something that will fill those gargantuan holes.  I know I could create a panel out of teak or starboard to hide the holes, but I'd prefer not to do that.  I'm leaning toward Raymarine's ST60 series, based on a Practical Sailor review year, the read-out size, and the fact that they'll more or less fit the existing holes.  I don't feel the need to go with wireless (unless they're better in other ways), since all of the instruments are already wired, and I can probably re-use the existing wires or use them as messenger lines for new wires.  I'm also thinking that eventually I'll probably end up with a Raymarine radar, so networking should be made easier by brand consistency.

Thoughts?  Anything significantly better than Raymarine?  Anything significantly wrong about Raymarine?

Main Message Board / Stainless Handrails
« on: December 04, 2004, 08:11:21 PM »
I'm considering replacing my somewhat worn teak handrails on my 1990 C34 with stainless. If I do this, I will do it because I actually think ss is a better look for our boats, and will modernize my Mark I.  Has anyone done this conversion?  Any hints/considerations?  Who'd did you use for the fabrication?

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