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'