Mailport October 15, 2004 Issue

Mailport: 10/15/04

Knives Revisited
[Re: "Sailors' Knives: 18 Blades," March 2004] I agree that the Boye Cobalt knife is great, especially as a lightweight folding knife. In a conversation with rigger Brion Toss, he mentioned the Cutco knife as best for cutting high-tech lines. Cutco makes a sheath knife that is really good. I have one with an orange handle and an excellent leather sheath. It cost only about $60 (compared to $100 for the Boye). Cutco is sold like Avon—through independent salespersons from their homes. You can contact company reps by looking in the business white pages of the phone book.

-Merrill Newman
Santa Cruz, CA/ El Salvador

We think you're referring to Cutco's Drop Point Hunting Knife (the company makes several models so it’s difficult to be sure). An endorsement from Brion Toss comes with good credentials, but we've never tested that knife and thus can't recommend it ourselves. You can find out more about it on line at


Synthetic Teak
[Re: "Synthetic Teak Test," July 15, 2004] Thank you for including Flexiteek marine decking in your article. It should be made clear to the readers that the price displayed for our deck panels given was for the finished, preassembled deck panel. Also, Flexiteek is actually based in Norway with product extruded in Sweden for material sold in North and South America, Europe, and the Caribbean.

-Bob Helewski
Flexiteek Americas, Inc.


Consumer Advocacy
In Dan Dickison's August 1 editorial, he wrote about how PS tries to promote safety through the testing of the equipment that we all rely so much upon. One aspect of this that he did not mention was the benefit we all gain as a result of the manufacturers' dislike in having their products fall short in your tests. By shining the spotlight on their shortcomings, you raise the bar and force them into a competition to produce better products, and we all benefit greatly (even the manufacturers).

-Mark Anderson
Via e-mail


Outboard Motor Locks
[Re: August 1, 2004] Three years ago, I took my Cal 20 from Georgia to Punta Gorda, FL, for two months. I used my outboard about 10 hours during this time and the new Master Lock was sprayed with salt water. The remainder of the time the outboard bracket was raised while I was sailing and the Master Lock was not exposed to spray. When it came time to return to Georgia the Master Lock was totally frozen. Although I could get the key in, it absolutely would not turn. I had to hacksaw the lock off and can attest that this is not an easy task.

-Don Lachowski
Via e-mail


I was pleased to see the "Outboard Motor Locks" article because it included a practical option for sailors whose engine is on an lifting stern bracket. The typical bar lock that works on both toggles interferes with the lift mechanism. There used to be a two-part lock that relied on one section being clamped to the motor mount and the other covering a single toggle; the two parts had holes through which a padlock was affixed and, since it was only on one side, it did not interfere with the lift mechanism. That lock no longer seems to be in production, but the Stazo SmartLock is clearly the answer for those of us who have outboards that need to be lifted while sailing.

-Ken Pole
Ottawa, Canada


You mention the code-card for the Abus Lock in the Stazo Marine Smart Lock. Abus has hundreds of authorized dealers in Germany, and each will gladly order a key based on the code-card. Contact them via their website at Under Service you'll see the word "Nachschlussel," which means replacement keys, and that's where you'll find a link for "Bezugsquellen" (points of sale). Pick one in a big city in Germany and call.

-Jan Dreier
Venice, CA


I bought an Island Marine Islander Lock and epoxied some rubber tape inside the lock to prevent the rattle. I like this better than using foam tape, which can hold salty water in contact with the metal inside for long periods, enhancing corrosion.

-Brett Nelson
Benicia, CA


Long ago I had my 8 hp Yamaha outboard stolen. It was secured to the outboard bracket with a Master Lock Outboard Lock. The thieves apparently pried the lockbar off and then, because the clamp handles were gone, they used vice-grips to easily unscrew the clamps. The police said that it probably took less than five minutes.

Since then, I've secured my outboard with the same Master Lock Outboard Lock (other than a couple of scratches, it was fine) and a Krypton motorcycle cable. I feed the cable through a space in the outboard and around the stern rail. It's been that way for 12 years with no problems.

-Gary Lageman
Columbus, OH


Watery Fuel
In the past, we've pumped water out of the bottom of the diesel tank on our Catalina sailboat and removed "gloop," as well as having to frequently change the primary fuel and water separator filters. But I always wondered, how does the water get in?

While I had considered bad fuel, I think I've finally found the culprit. The O-ring on the diesel fuel fill cap had deteriorated and vanished. Temperature changes (we live in Massachussetts) can create a vacuum in the tank and pull rainwater or sea water in through the cap. Replacing the O-ring or fuel cap will keep the fuel in and the water out and the Humbugs at bay.

-Joe LaFreniere
Lowell, MA


Engine Lift
Several years ago PS published an article describing a carrier for outboard engines, made of sturdy webbing, with a handle that fit over the outboard engine. We happily used this when cruising, but lost it in New Zealand. Do you know if it’s still manufactured and by whom?

-Carol Kornfield
Via e-mail

You're referring to the EasyLift Motor Tote. We introduced that in our April 1, 1994 issue. Yes, it's still available, and guess what? The price remains the same—$39.95—but the design is a little different. We found it on line at, or you can reach the company at 800/998-8683.


Our August 15 feature "Furlers: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down," incorrectly listed the contact information for Reefrite furlers. The correct contact in the U.S. is Anzam Yacht Refurbishing in Sacramento, CA. The phone number is 916/489-5431; e-mail; and website:


...Where Credit Is Due
To NewMar: "In my experience, NewMar has the best and widest selection of electronic power products around. More recently, they proved to me they have the best customer service.

"About a year and a half ago I installed a NewMar Tri-Phase (PT-24-95) battery charger on my Swan 53. After about six months, I began to get an intermittent charge alarm and the unit automatically switched off. I called NewMar and spoke to "Mac" MacFarlane, who immediately shipped—via overnight at no cost to me—a new circuit board, which corrected the problem. I might add that my boat was in the Caribbean in St. Lucia; still no charge.

"I thought the problem was solved and I was ecstatic about the service. However, about six months later the same problem showed up. I again spoke to "Mac" and he again sent a replacement circuit board at no cost to me. Sure enough it fixed the problem, but it came back a third time, this time in only four months. This time I was offered a new replacement charger, overnight at no cost.

"A few days after I got it, Mac called and asked if the unit was installed where water could drip into the top panel. I assured him it wasn't possible, but before installing the new unit I decided to check. We ran water over the deck for 15 minutes above where the unit was located. Not a drip. So I began to install the new unit when a drop of water hit my cheek. Water was somehow finding its way down the threads of a silicone embedded fitting. We pulled the fitting, rebedded it and then installed the battery charger. It has functioned beautifully ever since.

"I'm embarrassed. NewMar gave me a new battery charger with no questions asked, but the fault was mine. I called and told Mac what we had found, and offered to pay for the new charger. His answer: 'No.' I've never seen service like this in any industry, let alone the marine industry. My hat is off to NewMar and Mac MacFarlane. I will never buy anything other than NewMar."

-Randy White
San Diego, CA

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