John, you pose a question I''ve been meaning to ask others, namely:
"Can anybody recommend other forums on boat, ships, and sailing; especially on technical questions?"
Here are a few I''ve used/am using but I''d also be interested in what others have to say:
1. Blue Water Sailing''s forum (http://www.bwsailing.com/) seems all but inactive; surprising disappointment
2. Cruising World''s forum (http://old.cruisingworld.com/forums/genlmesg/index.pl) stirkes me as an acquired taste; no ''structure'' to the topics as you see here, an entrenched hierarchy of personalities, and an often antagonistic ''style'' all put me off, altho'' it seems to have the widest participation of any I''ve visited
3. I''ve found Brion Toss'' rigging forum, Spartalk (http://www.briontoss.com/wkstone-0.7.5/webkeystone.py?UserID=biz_briontoss&Profile=message_board/showMessages.prof) excellent, especially because Brion and some of his staff chip in with their A''s to our Q''s; excellent archive content available, as well.
4. The Canadian web site Searoom has a forum that also lacks much participation (http://www.searoom.com/forum/index.html) which is a shame, as it used to be far more helpful & interesting. Their link to VELEDA IV''s continuing European cruising logs produces immense enjoyment & solid content - highly recommended if the topic suits.
5. The SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Assn) forums (fora?) are geared around cruising in its broadest terms, altho'' slanted to North American info needs (http://ssca.org/discus/index.htm). It''s always interesting to see what some think is important when planning an offshore voyage, and what others think after they''ve done a few.
6. A new one is geared specifically at windvane design/construction/use (http://cruisenews.net/cgi-bin/windvane/windvane.pl), great if that''s of interest.
7. An overly-engineered web site but with a useful forum on both the Pacific NW and sailing more generally is Northwest Boating (http://www.nwboating.net/forums/search.php?s=&action=showresults&getnew=true&searchid=186). If you want e.g. onboard heat info or other topics that could relate to the Pac NW, that''s the place to go.
7. There''s an "All Sailors" forum spinoff from Catalina''s web site (http://www.sailboatowners.com/forums/menu.tpl?fno=21) that seems to focus more on boatel issues one day (which microwave should I buy for my boat...?) but a wider range of sailing and maintenance/repair issues the next.
Because you seem interested in technical Q&A, don''t overlook specific boat web sites operated by their sailing owners - it''s amazing the content (and the time used to develop it) that some sailors have placed on their web sites. A tiny sampling of excellent examples IMO are:
1. svfelicity.com - Tashiba 31 currently in NZ; 2 former Microsoft wizards and the many thoughtful systems they''ve installed for comfy/safe sailing offshore - widely respected "Cruising the Coconut Milkrun", a Pacific Puddle Jumpers Guide can be found there, along with the new Guide to New Zealand.
2.www.norsiglar.com/english/spesificationf.html - Nor Siglar''s website summarizes 8 yrs of circumnavigating knowledge by 2 Norweigen Canadians on a modern French production boat, something that apparently would resonate with some Sailnet forum participants.
3. svsarah.com - John Stevenson''s ongoing cruising and upgrading chronicles aboard his Pearson 424 ketch.
Boat Design.net is definitely worth looking around a bit for anyone interested in "technical" data...this is a good place to go if your considering any nutty schemes like putting a bamboo "junk rig" on your Morgan OI 41...or twin 9.9's on your dinghy...that sort of thing...the resident naval architects in there will no doubt get you back on the path to insanity...