PBO editor Ali Wood considers new boating innovations and electric versus diesel engines...


There couldn’t be a more exciting time to become a boat owner. It seems every decision I make is at the brink of a new (or lesser known) technology. I ruled out lithium batteries, but chose composite seacocks.

I opted for eco-antifouling but not a holding tank (yet). The environment weighs on my conscience, but so does my bank account.

More than ever, I need to read PBO, which is lucky, as that’s my job. And as the owner of the PBO Project Boat, I also get to live PBO.

For this issue I spent a wonderful day with Stu and Laura Davies learning how to service my Volvo MD2020 diesel. At the same time, reader Ed Philips was removing his perfectly serviceable Bukh diesel.

Whilst we looked for diesel bug, Ed removed his fuel tank. Whilst we fiddled with fuel filters, Ed bolted his electric ‘pod’ to the hull.

“We will never go back to diesel,” proclaimed Ed, just as my adventure with diesel was beginning.

I didn’t hesitate to run the features together. After all, we’re not here to tell you what to do, but to learn from one another.

It did get me thinking, though, if Maximus’s inboard engine had given up the ghost, what would I do about it? Buy new? Buy secondhand? Go electric?

I called Stu, and he promised me an article or two about re-engining, answering first and foremost, ‘When do I need to replace my engine?’ I can’t wait to hear what he says.

In the meantime, if you’re new to diesel engines like me, or just want to refresh your knowledge, I can’t recommend the RYA Diesel Engine handbook highly enough.

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What’s in this month’s PBO

Don’t miss April’s edition of PBO for our most detailed engine-service article yet! As well as learning to service your inboard, why not take up celestial navigation, or learn to setup your boat for offshore forecasts without a sat phone?

Our low-cost option, using a SPOT Gen4 tracker is just the ticket. We also review EPIRBs, the capable Delphia 29 cruiser, and proudly present the ultimate guide to charter holidays. Find out where to go, how to bag a bargain, and even how to rent out your own boat for charter.

PBO’s Rupert Holmes takes his Quarter Tonner on a shakedown cruise on the South Coast, whilst two Swedish families bravely share a catamaran across the Atlantic on the ARC 2021.

Packed with practical advice, our readers and experts explain how to top up batteries, etch a smart brass panel for your boat, climb the mast and prepare a fibreglass hull for antifouling.

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