[Re: "Furlers, Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down," Aug. 15, 2004] Your article was good except for one major omission. You forgot to discuss furlers made by Reefurl. These furlers are the most popular ones on both cruising and racing yachts in the South Pacific area (Australia, and New Zealand) and are now selling well in the US. I use Reefurl roller-reefing-furling systems for my headsail, mainsail, and mizzen on my Fisher 25 motorsailer, which I sail, almost daily, on the Chesapeake Bay.
The design of the Reefurl is significantly different. There is no way you can have a halyard wrap; the halyard is internal. There are also no bearings to wear out as the entire length of the extrusions is lined with plastic, which provides a maintenance-free, low-friction hold on the stay.
The Reefurl system can be added to any boat using the existing forestay. Adding stays immediately behind masts (as I did on my Fisher 25) allows the Reefurl system to be used to make roller-reefing mainsails and mizzen sails. In addition, the Reefurl system is significantly cheaper than those mentioned in your article. They are very dependable and have a 100% lifetime guarantee.
I can now fully unfurl, reef, and furl all my sails from my rear cockpit, without going on deck. This allows me to get much more use out of my sails, in a safer manner, particularly while solo-sailing.
I recommend the Reefurl system as a best-buy product.
White Stone, VA
Blue Tape Issues Persist
After reading the letter from Rod Glover in the August 15 issue, I would like to share a similar experience that my husband and I had a year ago while painting the non-skid on the deck of our Pearson. We, too, had purchased 3M "blue tape" from West Marine for the job, but ran out before finishing the necessary taping. Unable to find the 3M product, I bought the WalMart "Duck Tape" brand (at less than $3 a roll). When we removed the tape two days later, there was absolutely no residue on the areas where we had used the WalMart tape, but we experienced the exact same problem that the Glovers had with the 3M tape. We had to purchase a bottle of 3M adhesive remover and I spent over six hours scrubbing on two separate weekends. Needless to say, the WalMart brand will now be the tape of choice for any future jobs on our new Tartan 31!
-John and Betsy Meador
Regarding the 3M blue tape problems, several months ago an environmental website stated that 3M had changed their tape adhesive from petroleum to water base. I contacted 3M’s Marine Division and explained the problem described in your August 15 issue. I was directed to a "lab person," but the phone line was busy. Later, I received a message telling me that 3M's 2090 blue tape is and always has used a water-based adhesive. So what gives with the problems we’re reading about?
PS followed Mr. Shaw's lead and also contacted 3M to inquire about these issues with their blue tape. Our questions were referred to someone on the technical side, but at press time, we were still awaiting answers. In the meantime, we've purchased an armload of different tapes, and we'll be testing them to get our own measure of these problems.
Longer Winch Handles
[Re: PS Advisor, August 15, 2004] Bob Dryer's problem is surely not winch handles, but one of the things the Corsair rep mentioned. That's not a big main for one person to hoist. I routinely hoist a J/36 main, with my wife tailing the slack. While this J/36 has slugs, we did it the same way with bolt rope mains in the past on a J/36, J/35, Beneteau 35, and J/30, etc.
A neighbor at the marina has a Corsair F-33, which he routinely single-hands. I think Mr. Dryer should be looking at sources of friction.
For reference, I am not a big jock. I'm a 68-year-old geezer, overweight, but in otherwise kinda-sorta decent shape. My neighbor with the F-33 is much younger, and looks fit.
I have modified two Corsair mainsails in the last month to remedy the exact problem encountered by Bob Dryer. The original sailmaker in each case was overzealous in re-inforcing the inboard end of the batten pocket trying to forestall chafe from the mast on the batten end. The fix in each case was to remove the extra thickness under the luff tape just behind the bolt rope.
Eliminating batten chafe in these situations, while a worthy goal, is virtually impossible in the long term. It must be accepted as a fact of life for a grooved-luff, full-batten sail. If one doesn’t want to deal with the maintenance/repair, the only fix is the track system, which adds significant cost and weight aloft.
Knowing this might save Mr. Dryer from fabricating a handle, and it will make the sail easier to get down as well, which was the real issue with one of my customers.
Please advise Bob Dryer that you were incorrect when you said, "It's clear that you aren’t going to find a production-built winch handle longer than 10 inches." I've encountered two or three sources over the years, although my fading memory only permits me to remember one at the moment: the Emergency 20-inch winch handle (www.eshipstore.com/handle.htm).
A couple of other thoughts about the referenced discussion are—one doesn't have to use a long winch handle in a continuous circular fashion since one can crank through, say, a 120-degree arc to avoid hitting lifelines, for instance. Also, I and people I know have used long winch handles to operate a windlass in the event of motor and/or power supply failure, or to hoist a mate up the mast.
Though it would be nice for Bob Dryer to upgrade his luff and mast track, no one should demean him for admiring the mechanical characteristics of levers. My 12-year-old niece isn't strong enough to take "full advantage of a 30-inch arc," but she could quite successfully use the long winch handles we keep on board to gain otherwise unavailable leverage in various circumstances.
Your response to Bob Dryer missed the simple solution to the problem of difficult to hoist mainsails—make the main halyard 2:1! Put a high-quality block at the head of the main and run a longer halyard back up to the masthead crane. You will need to move more line, but the mechanical advantage will effectively double the "power" of your winch.
The benefit of a longer winch handle is to help you get around the lateral part of the stroke so that the handle is in position to be powered by the operator pushing or pulling from his body, so that the winch generates maximum torque.
About 30 years ago, I purchased a ratcheting winch handle from the Barlow winch company. Unfortunately, Barlow shut down about 10 years ago, but I still have my handle and the ratcheting function works like new. It's wonderful for snugging up a halyard or flattening the jib. I am amazed that no one seems to manufacture such a device.
Longboat Key, FL
Barnacles Be Gone
Here's a tip I got from an old-timer at the local boatyard for removing barnacles from your hull:
Head to the garden supply store and buy a 2-gal. plastic weed sprayer. Swing by the swimming pool supply store and buy a couple of gallons of muriatic acid. Mix the acid with an equal amount of water and start wanding your hull. Of course you'll want to wear a lot of protective clothing and keep a charged water hose at hand.
...Where Credit Is Due
To Paul Luke, Inc.: "I'm the fifth owner of a 1961 Knutson 35 yawl. This mahogany, Sparkman & Stephens designed CCA racer/cruiser came with a Heritage propane stove as original equipment. Even after more than 40 years, the stove and oven perform perfectly. However, at some point during its long life, the thermometer fitting on the oven door came loose and was missing when I bought the boat. As a result, the door had a hole in it—not the best configuration for baking. So I called the Paul E. Luke yard up near Boothbay, ME— they still make the Heritage line—and spoke to Frank Luke. He said "send us the door and we’ll see what we can do."
That sounded easy enough. So I shipped off the door and went back to varnishing. A few weeks later, unannounced and unpaid, my middle-aged door arrived, repaired and ready to go. Oh sure, they charged me. But not before returning the door. Including shipping, the whole invoice added up to less than $50. So you can bet that if the damned thing ever quits working, I'll replace it with another Luke. Assuming I'm around that long.
-Harry Pattison, Eugene, OR
Here's our initial installment of readers' recommendations regarding reliable sources for assistance in the marine industry. This month we feature Chesapeake Bay area businesses.
Trio of Gems
While dealing with the upkeep of our home, Lady Jane (a Hunter 420), we've encountered three real gems in the marine service industry. Karl Allen (410/280-2667) is a superb diesel mechanic from Annapolis who travels all over the region. He does the commissioning work for several Annapolis dealers.
Atlantic Yacht Basin (800/992-2489) in Great Bridge, VA, handles all marine repairs and service. They were thorough, thoughtful, and fairly-priced.
And Gleam Inc., is the name of a business whose proprietor is an artist in fiberglass repair and touch-up. He can be contacted through Bob Walker at Tidewater Marine (410/269-1343).
Northern Neck Marine
I would like to recommend a marine technician I've used for the last several years while restoring my 1987 Fisher 25 motorsailer. Bryan Treakle is super competent, very honest, stands behind his work 100%, and does work at a fair price. If he goes over his estimate, he only charges the estimated price.
Bryan's company is Northern Neck Marine (804/325-3837), based in White Stone, VA. His shop isn't on the water, but he does make boat calls, and performs almost every type of marine work including diesel and gasoline engine repair, outdrives, marine electrical work, air conditioning repair, and fiberglass work. He works on anything from trailerable boats to mega-yachts, and works all around the Chesapeake Bay between the Potomac and York Rivers.
White Stone, VA
Coastal Marine, Inc.
I heartily recommend an outstanding service yard—Coastal Marine, Inc. in Deltaville, VA (804/776-6585). Located on Broad Creek at the mouth of the Rapahannock River, this is a small yard with three people who have never failed me nor any of the dozens of people that I have sent to them. They conduct a full line of service work. In short, they are candid about performing work (or advising not to), do what they say, when they say, and for the amount that they quote. Those are tough qualities to find. And their rates are reasonable too.
Glen Allen, VA
I recommend an excellent engine mechanic located in the central Chesapeake Bay area. Specifically, Duane Brashears, who owns and operates Precision Marine Engine Service Inc. (410/757-7337), is a very talented and skilled marine mechanic. I had the pleasure of using him exclusively for over 12 years for work on my O’Day 40. Duane religiously calls the day repairs have been made to update you and stands fully behind his work. Hats off to Precision Marine Engine Service for providing excellent engine service and repairs.
Submit items for Running Fixes via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org