Mailport May 1, 1999 Issue

Mailport 05/01/99

Inner Forestays
Regarding the inner forestay discussion in the January 15, 1999 issue, I would avoid linking the “inner forestay” matter with a “staysail.”

Many inner forestays are installed not so much as to add a staysail, but to have at least two stays to hold a mast in any of the four directions. That was my rationale for putting one on my Allied Seawind II 32' ketch.

I did not seek to add a second jib/headsail to my furling genoa. I only cared for a second forestay, which would provide, as an important added benefit, a support for a heavy gauge storm jib, closer to the mast and sail center. I did not need the highly inconvenient flying backstays, since I already have a triatic stay between the masts as a back up for the aft main stays. To avoid the need for support against mast bending, I led the inner forestay from a fitting almost at the top of the mast, so there is no true need for running backstays leading from the inner forestay attachment.

The foot of the stay, with the slip-hook and turnbuckle, attaches to a plate that bolts along the stem, and comes through a small cut in the platform bowsprit.

My heavy hanked-on working jib happened to fit the new inner forestay, with the sheet leads being at the very forward end of the genoa track. This makes a wonderful force 4-5 fresh breeze combination with a reefed mainsail, or force 5-7 wind combination with no mainsail, just the mizzen. Then, I can switch to my new 10-oz., 80-sq. ft. storm jib combined with the reefed 10-oz. mizzen for just about everything, including heaving to, until I have to turn tail.

I followed Somerhausen’s recommendation of a Dutch sliphook from his Belgian source. It works wonderfully, easy as it is to unhook.

The advantage of hanked on storm jib and working jib, plus the importance of stowing the inner forestay for normal weather (to avoid wear and tear on the genny and on the crew when tacking), led me to avoid putting a furler on that inner forestay. I also did not want a self-tending boomed staysail; it’s a leg breaker.

When installing an inner forestay, its purpose must be clearly understood. If it is not to establish a true cutter rig (which needs parallel forestays, and forces one to rethink the whole sail balance), then many simplifications become possible which can make life easier and much cheaper, as outlined above.

Bert de Frondeville
via e-mail


Raritan Water Heater
I read your “bench test” report on water heaters in the February 1, 1999 issue with interest. I would like to point out some facts, which were misstated in your report.

Raritan uses stainless steel fittings (not galvanized) and our insulation is 2.2 lb./cubic feet blown CFC-free foam. The black foam sheet you referred to is just the barrier around fittings and heating element to prevent blown insulation from coming out during the foaming process.

Raritan also uses a 1250-watt heating element. All our competition uses 1500-watt heating elements. We use 1250-watt elements to stay compatible with replacement of older models (competition’s and ours), where the customer may have used a 10-amp circuit breaker. It also provides energy savings. If you had tested our heater with a 1500-watt element, we would be #1 in heating time due to our superior insulation. Raritan also offers a 4500-watt heating element for rapid heating, as an option.

The statement, “Because glass and steel have different coefficients of expansion it is possible to develop cracks in the glass, allowing water to contact the steel” is far from the truth and the experience of millions of homeowners, who continue to use glass-lined tanks. When did you last replace your home water heater? I have not replaced mine for the last 15 years. We are aware of tanks lasting as long as 40 years.

Vinod Mehta, VP Engineering
Raritan Engineering
Millville, New Jersey


Air Marine
I cannot understand Nick Nicholson’s complaint about the Air Marine wind machines (February 1, 1999). We have one and it’s very quiet, compared to other brands. We installed ours in early ’98 while anchored at Boot Key. One day I counted 19 of them on other boats anchored there. We purchased ours after many discussions with other owners who all expressed satisfaction. We’ve never heard anyone complain of its noise or the output.

Ken Tracy
Lexington Park, MD


Nick Nicholson really stuck his neck way out there with the “Bad Neighbors” sidebar, but I agree. It’s bad enough having to listen to banging halyards, screaming kids, etc., without being accosted, 24 hours a day, by a neighbor’s wind generator. As I write, there’s a ketch next door; his Fourwinds (with air brake) sounds like a monotonous, two-toned cardinal. I’m not sure which is worse, the Fourwinds or the Air Marine.

John Camm
Coral Bay, St. John, VI


We made a modification to our Air Marine wind generator that may help solve the problem. It will not quiet it to the point that you could run it at night in a crowded anchorage or at night at the dock, but we do not hear our generator at night when we are below and have not thought that the unit was excessively noisy for daytime operation in any situation below 35 knots of wind.

We added Belleville Disc Spring Washers under the bolts that attach the blades to the aluminum hub. With the 0.255 ID by .500 OD spring, a load of 383 lbs. is present when the spring is flat. There are two bolts per blade, giving our blades a minimum of 766 lbs. load when our bolts start to loosen. If the bolts do loosen, you can visually see that the spring is no longer flat. In three years of operation, we have yet to tighten these bolts over our summer sailing season.

At speeds above about 45 knots it does make a noise like a flat-out race car with two bad cylinders, but then we just shut it down. That’s OK by us!

Fred and Barb Jensen
Flagstaff, Arizona


We had a Rutland Windcharger (six 18” blades) for a couple of years. Up to 10 knots, the sound in the cockpit was little more than a pleasant swishing sound; belowdecks it was a pronounced hum. At 15 knots the cockpit sound was more like a loud whirring; belowdecks it was necessary to talk louder. At 20 knots it roared in the cockpit and belowdecks it was untenable. Above 10 knots, sleep in the aft cabin was impossible.

It’s now off the boat. Although it attracted lots of chatty attention at the dock, I’m glad to be without it.

We now have four 55-watt Kyocera solar panels on the hardtop bimini—perfectly silent, maintenance-free, and we are totally independent of shore power and the engine for up to two nights and two cloudy days.

John Sudbury, PE
Picton, Ontario


Meeting the energy demands of today’s cruiser is an ever-increasing challenge for manufacturers of wind turbines. New electrical devices such as refrigeration, water makers and autopilots are increasing the demand for power. Aware of this trend, Southwest Windpower has striven to provide a high quality yet powerful wind turbine to keep up with the cruiser’s demands. And in the effort to maintain this commitment, we recently introduced a new, quieter 400-watt AIR marine.

Producing the “perfect” wind turbine is extremely difficult. For some, power is the most important feature. For others, noise is the determining factor. The most difficult set of questions for a wind turbine designer is: How much power is enough and how much noise is too much? And then, produce it in a package that can fit on every boat. In reading the article “Bad Neighbors,” we wonder whether, for some people, the perfect wind turbine is possible?

When shopping for a wind turbine, the cruiser will find just about every kind of contraption available. Every unit has some type of compromise that could be viewed as a negative. Last year, your magazine performed an afternoon test on one of these machines that was extremely misleading to the person looking at purchasing a wind turbine. It presented a positive view of an unproven design with no type of overspeed safety protection. The one area Southwest Windpower will never compromise is safety.

Failures of most wind turbines are due to poorly designed products lacking any kind of safety overspeed control device. Without this feature, the AIR and any other turbine on the market would simply spin faster and faster until it self-destructs. You will notice wind turbines such as the KISS or Windbugger claim to be the quietest but lack an overspeed device. And for any cruiser that has been around for a while, there is no secret to the ghastly stories of fatal accidents due to wind turbine failures. The AIR marine’s blades use Aerolastic twisting to control the over speeding. The compromise is noise in 30-plus-knot winds. Is the noise enough to keep someone from buying an AIR? We don’t think so. Just ask one of the 20,000-plus owners. Most likely, one of them is your neighbor.

Is owning an AIR a sign of a bad neighbor? Certainly not; it’s a sign of a conscious owner choosing a safely designed, reliable yet powerful wind turbine.

Andrew Kruse, Vice-President
Southwest Windpower
Flagstaff, Arizona


Chart Software
As a subscriber, I felt compelled to address the two problems that you identified in your review of Nobeltec’s Visual Navigation Suite.

1. Poor quality of charts viewed by Visual Navigation Suite. There is a feature called Crystal View that makes even the smallest feature clearer, such as the ocean depth, which is especially useful when “zoomed out.”

2. Visual Navigation Suite keeps all the routes displayed on the chart at all times. You apparently missed one of the fundamental features of the program. The chart table, represented by an icon in the toolbar, contains a tab called “routes.” As you create and name routes this is where they are stored and listed. From here the required route(s) is selected by placing a check mark next to the desired route(s).

Ken Harrap
Surrey, British Columbia


Even with the Crystal View feature, chart resolution both on screen and in printouts was poorer than with Cap’n or ChartView. With regard to your second point, you’re right; we missed that. Our apologies to Nobeltec.


Thank you for evaluating our product, ChartView Professional. The article indicated that ChartView does not print charts when “quilted.” This is not true. ChartView prints any quilted image using the “Draft” mode setting in the print options. In addition, ChartView contains the most extensive tide and current integration and is the only electronic navigation program with the NavView mode for full screen chart display while underway. All of the above points were omitted in the article.

In comparisons and reviews in publications all around the country, ChartView has repeatedly been chosen as the reviewer’s favorite. We stand behind ChartView Pro as the highest quality and most powerful electronic charting package available. That’s why we back our software with a money back guarantee and daily convert software users of your “editors picks” to ChartView. Once people try it, they never look back.

David C. Neal
Nautical Software, Inc.
Beaverton, Oregon


Mr. Neal also advised us that a quirk we found in the program involving printing and waypoints has indeed been fixed, as we reported it would.

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