Fast Tips…by Dana Sims…Battery Charging

FAST Tip – – Battery Charging – – Dana Sims (FT15-04)

Last week’s FAST Tip was on why boats have a battery switch and how to use it.
This week’s FAST Tip is on the charging systems used to keep the batteries in shape.

A battery charger is a device used to put energy into a rechargeable battery by forcing an electric current through it. In simplistic terms, this is accomplished by providing a voltage to the battery that is higher than the normal battery voltage. On a boat, there are two systems: a battery charger for use at the dock; and the engine driven alternator while at sea.

How can I tell if the batteries are being charged properly?

• When connected to shore-power the battery charger charges the batteries – – both batteries – – whether the battery selector switch is in the 1 – 2 – ALL – or OFF position. However, the “battery charger breaker switch” on the electrical panel must be in the ON position for this to happen.

• Our boats have an analog battery voltage test meter on the main electrical panel. After you have connected the boat to shore-power, push the test switch to battery one, the analog meter should read between 13.5 volts to 14.1 volts. Now try battery two, you should have the same result. This voltage level indicates the batteries are being charged. If the meter reads 12.1 to 12.3, the charger is not supplying voltage to the batteries.

Check the following:
1. Is the “battery charger switch” on the electrical panel in the ON position?

2. Is there 110 VAC power to the charger, check for LED light at the charger? If not, check the 110 VAC Duplex GFI outlet, reset, if required.

2. Power cord properly connected?

3. Is the dock breaker ON?

When the engine is running – –
• When the engine is running the engine mounted alternator is charging the batteries, but only the one(s) selected by the battery selector switch, 1 – 2 – ALL.
• When you are running the engine you can use the battery voltage test meter in the same way as described above.
• If you have the battery selector switch on battery one, test battery one with the meter – – your reading should be as indicated above, 13.5 to 14.1. Test battery two, it should only read 12.1 to 12.3 volts in this instance, since you are only charging battery one from the alternator.
• If the test meter is reading less than 13 volts on the selected battery (1 -2 -ALL) then the alternator is not supplying a strong enough charge. This could be due to a slipping alternator (v-belt). This is why it is important that you check the v-belt tension at each engine check (daily). If the belt is loose, stop the engine and tighten it, then re-check the voltage charge level at the meter. If it is still low notify the Boat Captain, as this may be a voltage regulator problem.
• If the battery test meter indicates the alternator is charging the battery(s) at a high voltage of 15 volts or more then there is a problem and you need to contact the Boat Captain as soon as possible. Charging a wet cell battery (the kind we have) at a high voltage will cause the battery water to boil and dissipate, leaving the battery cells dry and causing irreparable damage to the batteries. This damage could happen within 6 hours of high rate voltage charging. If you are in the North Channel,use only one battery, and only when you must have the engine on. Take the boat to Boyle’s or another full service location/port, to have it checked out – sail as much as possible so you do not have to use the engine. Contact your Boat Captain or Maintenance Director.

Member Battery Maintenance at JBM When the engine is running – –
• Departing the slip – – after starting the engine and once you are clear of the marina entrance/exit, you need to motor out onto the lake at approximately 1800 to 2000 RPM (or around 4 knots) as far as the North Buoy or South Buoy.
• If you raise the sails and stop the engine just outside the marina, you have not given the engine enough time to recharge the batteries at an acceptable engine speed.
• If you had some difficulty starting the engine, multiple tries, then you need to motor past the North or South Buoy for at least another 15 to 20 minutes to keep the batteries healthy.

When back at the JBM dock – –
Before you leave the boat at the dock, make sure that the batteries are being charged by the battery charger (check the voltage test meter).

If you are unsure of how the battery switch operates or just a little “fuzzy” on how this all works, ask your Boat Captain, when you come out to work on the boat’s for spring launch, for a quick tutorial on shore-power connection, the battery charger on/off switch, battery charger location, battery voltage test meter location and functions, battery selector switch, and where the batteries are located.

Since we launch the Interlakes on May 2, next week’s FAST Tip will be Interlake Reminders.

Thank you to Jack Townsend for input on this topic.

Any question, comments, or suggested topics can be sent to

“FAST (For A Safer Trip) Tips are written by ASI members for the ASI membership, and apply to the operation of ASI vessels. While the contributing members may not be experts in a particular sailing field they are experienced members who have developed some “best practices” and wish to share them with their fellow members

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Fast Tip…by Dana Sims..Battery Switching

FAST Tip – – Battery Switching – – Dana Sims
F.A.S.T = For A Safer Trip FT15-03

ASI Keelboats have multiple batteries and a battery switch (1, 2, ALL, OFF).

The battery switch should never be moved to or through the OFF position while the engine is running. Doing so could cause damage to the diodes in the alternator and result in an expensive repair.

Why do boats have a battery switch and how do I use it?

Having a battery switch allows you to control battery usage, so that you do not drain both of the batteries down and strand yourself without enough power to start the engine. For this philosophy to work, you must have the switch in either position 1 or position 2 when operating on battery power alone (not connected to shore/dock power or with the engine running). This battery in use (1 or 2) becomes your “House” battery and all power consumed, while anchored for instance, will be from that battery, leaving your other battery in reserve to serve as the engine “Starting” battery. The important thing is not to leave the switch in the ALL position when anchored overnight or when batteries are not being charged on shore power.

To balance the battery usage and battery life, it is recommended that you alternate which battery is used as the “House” battery. Battery 1 on odd calendar days, battery 2 on even calendar days, for instance.
For starting and charging, you can use both batteries (ALL switch position). The engine should be run at least 2 hours per day to fully charge both batteries (or the boat connected to shore power). For the good of the engine, run the engine at 1500 RPM or higher, while motoring, for instance.

What if I have totally drained the House Battery?
If your “House” battery is severely drained or dead, you might want to start on only the “Starting” battery. In this battery situation, in the ALL position, the “Starting” battery will be drained by trying to charge the depleted “House” battery in addition to starting a cold engine. After the engine warms up, you can stop the engine, change the battery switch to “ALL”, and restart the engine to complete battery charging.
1. These instructions are written and applicable to all boats with a battery switch.

2. Most newer battery selector switches have “make-before-break” contacts so that you can move from position 1 to 2 or to ALL without damaging the alternator. ASI has older model boats, (Overture is over 30 years old), and so it is ASI’s practice that you do not move the switch to any of the positions 1-2 or ALL while the engine is running. Never move a battery switch to or through the OFF position – no matter what you have read or heard. Equipment damage may result.

3. Older boats, like ours, only charge the battery according to the switch position.

4. Newer boats may have circuits which charge both batteries regardless of switch position (1, 2, ALL); allow safe switching while the engine is running; and regulate battery charge rates independently to each battery. Individual boat manuals should
be consulted. Multi-engine boats (catamarans) are managed differently, due to having multiple engines and sometimes more batteries.

5. For safety, some things are wired to drain batteries regardless of switch position (ex. bilge pumps, anchor lights)

6. Some boats have different types of batteries for “House” and “Starting”. One battery is always “House”, the other always “Starting”. ASI boats use deep cycle marine batteries for both and can alternate between batteries.

7. It is always best to leave the dock with fully charged batteries.

Next week’s FAST Tip will address battery charging, testing, and system health.

Thank you to Jack Townsend for input on this topic.

Any question, comments, or suggested topics can be sent to

“FAST Tips are written by ASI members for the ASI membership, and apply to the operation of ASI vessels. While the contributing members may not be experts in a particular sailing field they are experienced members who have developed some “best practices” and wish to share them with their fellow members

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Fast Tip…by Dana Sims….Sail Care

FAST Tip – Sail Care Dana Sims
F.A.S.T = For A Safer Trip FT15-02

What can I do to preserve sail quality and extend sail life?

Sails are the most expensive wearable item on a boat. Like tires, batteries, and brakes on your car, sails wear and eventually need to be replaced. They are expensive. There are things that each of us can do, every time we sail, to prolong the life and quality of the sails we use. If you are out in the middle of Lake Huron (or Kent Lake, or Lake St. Clair) and have a major sail failure, it is going to be a long trip.

Applying to both Interlakes and Keelboats:
“Flogging” – avoid it. Our sails are made of a Dacron (polyester) weave, impregnated with resin. Resin gives the sail that stiff feel and helps the sail hold its shape when on the wind. Flogging of any type and for any duration will break down the resin allowing the Dacron weave to stretch. Once the weave stretches the sail will lose its ability to hold shape, especially in strong winds. Obviously, the less time that sails are allowed to flog, luff, or flap (whatever word you want to use), the better. Trim it, tighten it up, change sailing direction, bring it down — whatever it takes.
Wet sails.
Try not to put sails away wet. Wet sails may allow the growth of mold and mildew and cause sail deterioration. If you must fold or furl sails wet, then dry them when possible. If you find wet sails in a dock box, lay them out to dry before putting them back in the box.

On a run or broad reach? Make sure that the sails and boom are not too far forward and making contact with the side shrouds, spreaders, or any other standing boat rigging. The contact and rubbing will damage sails and rigging.
Dacron is the most widely used sail material and is a great material, but it is negatively affected by exposure to UV rays – sunlight! Interlake sails are vulnerable to UV rays, especially along the leech near the clew of a flaked sail when the boat sits at the “J” dock or in the slip for long periods of time without its sail cover.

Oh, and just a few more comments – try not to sharply fold the windows, and please, never drag sails on the concrete!!

And yes, I have seen people do this.
On our keelboats:
“See the blue”: The blue material that is visible when keelboat headsails are roller-furled is not just there for a pretty appearance. That blue material is called Sunbrella® and is there to protect our sails from UV rays. The same material is used for the covers on our main sails. Sails should be covered when not in use. If you are not using the main sail for a while, throw the cover over it. Done sailing for the day, button it up. Also make sure that the blue material shows when the headsail is on the roller-furling. If it isn’t, then the head-sail is rolled backward and the Sunbrella cannot do its job. It does happen – at one of our Annual meetings, I recall seeing a
picture of a proud Team on one of our boats in the North Channel. First thing I noticed was a backward wound jib (no blue showing).

Thank you to Jack Townsend and Thomas R. Baker for input on this topic.

Any question, comments, or suggested topics can be sent to

“FAST Tips are written by ASI members for the ASI membership, and apply to the operation of ASI vessels. While the contributing members may not be experts in a particular sailing field they are experienced members who have developed some “best practices” and wish to share them with their fellow members

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Fast Tips…by Dana Sims…Capable Crew

F.A.S.T = For A Safer Trip

What are the factors I should consider as I select crew for a trip?

Whether you are planning to sail a few hours on an Interlake, a week in the North Channel, or a take a trip to the Lake Erie Islands, one of your most important considerations is “Capable Crew”. A “Capable Crew” for a short trip may be different since weather and conditions are usually more predictable. On a longer trip, however, weather, navigation conditions, and proximately to help can dramatically change. Determining a crew’s capability lies with the Captain – after all, the Captain is responsible at all times for the welfare and safety of the crew and boat. This could also include the possibility of the Captain becoming incapacitated and members of his crew not being ASI rated. So, the Captain’s choice of the first mate is important . . . he/she assumes responsibility for that choice, just as he/she assumes responsibility for the rest of the crew.

For L4 sails to the North Channel, the ASI Leadership Team has developed a Sailing Checklist for potential first mates. A non-L4 rated member or non-member must fill out the checklist, identifying if they are competent in the listed skills, not competent, or if they need a refresher on a particular skill(s). This accomplishes three things; it identifies, for the proposed first mate, what skills ASI deems they need in an emergency situation; it identifies, for the Captain, just what the first mate thinks they are capable of; and it identifies, for the L4 Manager, what skills the proposed first mate has. If the first mate lacks the required skills, for the safety of the crew; the boat; and the Level 4 program, the L4 Manager will not approve the timeshare until a capable first mate is chosen.

This list of skills is a good reference for any sail.
Minimum skills/factors to consider:
1. Ability to drop sails
2. Ability to set/retrieve an anchor
3. Ability to start and stop the engine, and steer in forward and reverse
4. Ability to operate VHF radio and know how to send and receive a MAYDAY call
5. Ability to set a course and safely get the boat to a marina/port
6. Ability to dock the boat
7. Have a plan to handle recovery of a Man-Over-Board

It should be noted that a non-ASI rated first mate, in an emergency situation (incapacitated captain), is only authorized to operate the boat until it is safely anchored or moved safely to the nearest port where they can receive help. They are not authorized to continue the cruise with the captain in an incapacitated condition. Any ASI boat must have a properly rated ASI person as Captain to continue after an emergency situation has passed.

Thanks to Jack Townsend, Marilyn Leech, and Paula Merideth for their input on this topic.

Any question, comment, or future suggested topic can be sent to

FT15-01 — FAST Tips are written by ASI members for the ASI membership, and apply to the operation of ASI vessels. While the contributing members may not be experts in a particular sailing field they are experienced members who have developed some “best practices” and wish to share them with their fellow members.

FAST Tip – “Capable Crew” Dana Sims

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Fast Tips … by Dana Sims … Intro

F.A.S.T = For A Safer Trip

ASI has 2 regularly scheduled monthly meetings – the Operations Meeting and the Board Meeting. At the most recent Meetings, we have been discussing last year’s spending, future year budgeting and larger (read “more costly”) planned purchases. Some of these expenditures are the result of recent problems experienced with our Keelboats. Each problem or issue is a learning experience and part of ASI’s charter is to teach.

How well are we communicating to our post-class population?

In future issues of the Burgee, I will be publishing FAST Tips (F.A.S.T = For A Safer Trip). Hopefully, these will be short, informative, and quick reads. Topics will come from suggestions by Boat Captains, Level Managers, Maintenance Team members, Instructors, or any ASI member. The focus is intended to be items related to boat maintenance, operation, repair, address “conflicting information”, and to communicate changes being made to our boats. They will be reminders, feedback from recent problems (the learning opportunities), and other information items. Short coverage on What to do and WHY we do it. Articles will be related to Interlakes and Keelboats, and are intended to be continued education for newer sailors and reminders for continuing ASI members.

Some planned topics: sail care; dock power connection and battery charging; keelboat transmissions; starting considerations; paddles, paddles, paddles; battery usage and switching; “Capable Crew”; engine operation
I have agreed to coordinate this effort with input, suggestions, and the expertise of our Boat Captains, Maintenance Advisors, and Training Team. I would certainly appreciate articles written by others!!

Any question, comment, or suggested topics can be sent to

There is no such thing as a “dumb question”, but anonymity will be respected, if requested.
FT15-00 — FAST Tips are written by ASI members for the ASI membership, and apply to the operation of ASI vessels. While the contributing members may not be

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New 2015 Classes Sign up now

Welcome to ASI Sailing !

Our Level one classes are now available for sign up !
Call oour office and sign up today.

We offer 4 levels of classes and club boats to sail.
see you in class
John Tiley
L1 Manager

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Fall Celebration and Graduation

Fall Celebration and Graduation

This pot luck Fall Family Fun Picnic is known by many names.
In any case this all club party’s for you !

Saturday Sept. 13th at 10am Kent lake. Bring a dish to pass and your own drinks.

As you can see from the picture this is a dress up Pirate Party. Now you dont have to be as cool, but give it a shot arrrrrg.
All students we want to see you here as this is your welcome and unofficial Graduation, yes pirates walk the plank !
If you (at least) passed your water test (or passed L1) then be sure to come get your prize, but all are welcome.

We will also have a synchronized sail and treasure hunt given by the ASI Racers. And remember if your an L1 the FOTD fun races have started so ask the racers about this and check the calendar for race dates. Racing your 1st year is free and a great way to get mentored in your sailing skills.

Come Celebrate the upcoming Fall season, as the next sailing season is just around the corner!
Come celebrate all the members that mentored, organized or taught sailing this season.
Come remember and celebrate our sailing mates no longer with us.
Come celebrate our students and club.

More information is on the ASI web site on the Club News Blog. on the right “recent posts” or under Home Page.
The Club will provide burgers and watermelon and water.
Everyone willing to cook, set up, help out email me please….

Mentor Director
John M Tiley

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Kent Cup Picnic is ON for this Saturday

See you all at Kent Lake…

The finish line for the last race will be right off the “J” dock, come cheer them on !
Around 12-12:30 is our Pot Luck lunch, ASI will cook burgers too, bring your own dish to pass and your drink.

Followed by a short required club meeting around 1-1:20…
Kent Awards will follow that…
And then the annual scavenger sail/hunt…lets get all 11 boats out !
Come join the fun.

Students welcome, bring a friend or family and enjoy the park.

If it rains we will let you know here and maybe a Burgee gram…


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2014 ALL club Open House success


The tee shirt read;
Those that can….Do
Those that can do more….volunteer !

Ladies and Gentlemen our ASI club does do more !

We had an amazing member turn out, perfect weather and a fun time together as a club of all levels at our 2nd annual new ALL club Open House this last Saturday.

1st this event is about our fellow sailors getting together to have fun, meeting one another and socializing. We had over 25 members doing just that at Kent Lake Saturday. As an extra we had 33 guests come out ,some of who were very interested in sailing and joining our ASI club ! (some took 2 rides!).

To me thats a WOW day of success !

So heres my personal thank you to every member that came out whether you were on the tiller or on stand by. Your great attitude, willingness and support ….just YOU being there was greatly appreciated and noticed.

Special thanks to Pam Schmidt for coming all the way form out of state just to give rides at our Open House. And to Derome Dowell for the photographs, to Kirk Moreland and Lidia Kostyniuk for personally escorting guests to each skipper, to Kathy Chrzanowski for the printing and helping with the display boards, to Michael Golden and Maryann Herek for manning the safety boat to Dan and Susanne for their great outline and advise, and to Don Caley for the open house after party, lets hope that tradition continues, thanks to Larry Willis’s Sailor Sam for the man overboard toss game and to whoever made and colored the pirate cut out ship, good job! and finally to Marta for a dog gone good time. A few of us even sat on the hill afterwards at the Beatles concert (the threat of rain kept our boats at dock).

Congratulations to Judy Notla for winning the drawing of the Sailing clock, battery’s not included (next year hats and tees?)

And thank you to all of you that recognized my wife Kimberly’s presents, help and support, without whom I’d not be half the pirate I is. Love ya honey arrrug.

So pencil in this event for next year !
My wish list includes; more homemade cookies form Joanne, guest reservations, more flyers/cards, grilled hamburgers for members (to supplement the pizza) and ice cream for desert !

Congratulations ASI great teamwork.

Mentor Director
john m tiley

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Stony Practice Sails Tuesdays

2014-Tradewinds-ad (1)

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Event Calendar