A Better Battery Lifting Strap

 A version of this article appears in the January/February 2020 issue of Good Old Boat Magazine.

Batteries are heavy. In a sailboat they are best positioned low and near the centerline of the boat and in a battery box. In other words, in some not easily accessible space. Most batteries destined for the marine market have handles or straps on them so they can be easily, well sort of easily, removed and replaced.

Many sailors have opted for batteries not specifically targeted for the marine market. Second Star and other sailboats destined for a cruising life often use 6v golf cart batteries. Wired in a series parallel circuit, GC batteries provide more electrical power for the money than standard Group 27 or 31 batteries. Designed for the demands of electric golf carts, GC batteries do not have straps or handles, rather the case has two ears to which a lifting strap is attached. The strap, made of thick rubber with steel hooks on each end, quickly connects to the ears allowing the battery to be lifted. The straps are inexpensive, readily available on Amazon.com, and most important, they work; except they come with an expiration date. 

Read more: A Better Battery Lifting Strap

V-Belt Tensioning the Easy Way

A version of this article originally appeared in the  June 2017 issue of the Good Old Boat Newsletter. A follow up article is also available in the August issue with another take on the same idea submitted by GOB Reader Jim Shell. 

Edit (12/1/2018): Rod Collins of Compass Marine recently published an exhaustive article about alternator mounting and belt tension. Far more exhaustive than this article, it is worth reading. Here's a direct link to the article: Marine Alternator Installation – Tips & Tricks RC gives tirelessly of his time and knowledge to help DIY boaters, he deserves our support. Be sure to visit his store!

As the story goes a kingdom was lost for the want of a nail. A sailor’s lament might be a vessel was lost for the want of a v-belt. Many systems on a modern sailboat are dependent on a functioning inboard engine, electricity, refrigeration, hydraulic pumps, and cooling the engine. Yet v-belt maintenance is often avoided. 

Read more: V-Belt Tensioning the Easy Way


After a long two days of sailing across Lake Ontario in our Tanzer 22 we deserved a respite and dinner ashore at Cape Vincent. A decent meal in a small town restaurant was a welcome alternative to putting together a meal in the nonexistent galley. Returning to the boat late in the evening after a relaxing meal and a few adult beverages we were greeted by the scent of rotting flesh. The first of many lessons about cruising on a small boat was about to be learned. 

Read more: Chillin'