Mailport February 15, 2004 Issue

Mailport: 02/15/04

Teak Treatment All-Stars
I think there is something wrong with your teak finish tests, as youreport white streaks developing under my finish. This usually indicates delamination, and is normally seen only where a finish is too thin or has torn due to substrate movement (neither of which I believe to be the case, especially after only six months) or due to moisture intrusion into the wood.

Since (as I understand it) youapplied my finish and others to the same piece of wood, with barespaces between the various finishes, this allows water to intrude through unprotected surfaces and rapidly migrate (as water does) along the grain under the finish.

A better test structure would have been to finish all the exposedsurfaces of each piece of wood for each manufacturer, using separatepieces of wood cut from the same larger piece.

Considering that a year or two ago you had good things to say about my finish even four or five years later, does it not seem illogical thatyou are now reporting it failing in six months? None of my customersare having this problem. Please consider restarting the test withproper test panels, and also please consider reporting results of anearlier test when presenting contradictory evidence in a later test;not all your readers have been following your publication for 5-10years, and the present tests imply varnishes give better performancethan two-part polyurethanes, which we all know is not the case.

-Steve Smith
Smith & Company


We were quite surprised at the results you have posted for some of the products being tested. Particularly of note are the comments regarding blemishes and edge failure for Bristol Finish and the Smith & Co. product.  Both of these products were included in your last round of testing, and both showed very good performance long past the six-month point.  Since both of these products are on the same test panel, we are inclined to question the integrity of the actual panel with respect to moisture intrusion and permeation. Whatever the cause, it stands to reason that if these products tested significantly better in the last test and not as well in this one, there must be some specific reason for the dramatic difference in performance that you are reporting. Given that the products are the same as before, the only likely place to look for this difference in performance is the application procedure itself, or a difference in the substrate that is used.

As you have mentioned in the article, we have changed the formulation of Bristol Finish this year, after your test was started. You have accurately listed the reasons that we did this. We did not send the new product for testing, as this test had just started, and we did not want to "throw a wrench in the works." However, since our older formula is no longer manufactured, it would be more helpful to your readers if your report covered what is available.  If you decide to rework the panel that Bristol Finish is applied on for the reasons listed above, we would be happy to send you our new product for inclusion.

-Marshall Nix
C Tech Marine (Bristol Finish)

We, too, think that water intruded between the wood and the undersides of those two products, and said so in the body of the article. For Smith & Co 5-Year Clear, "The film surface appears intact; the lighter-colored streaks are between the film and the teak." As for Bristol Finish we said it "displayed some pronounced fading at the end-grain edges of the panel, suggesting that something is getting under this high-gloss finish. It probably means that moisture is permeating the end-grain." So we, too, are prepared to blame the panel, and not the finish. However, two other finishes on the same panel, Armada and Honey Teak, did not exhibit lifting or water intrusion. This raises a question: Is it possible that the finishes that did not allow water intrusion underneath them, or at least did not lift or show streaks, are somehow more adhesive and stalwart at the edges?

In the caption to the lead photo in the story, we said that the 5-Year Clear and Bristol Finish were showing signs of breaking down. We should have made it clear in that caption that it was most likely because of an attack from below, not from above.

A reminder: This review did not rate products against each other—it was simply a report of what was happening at six months. The experiment involves finishes that have already shown themselves to be superior. That's why we put "All-Stars" in the title.


Engine-Run Radiatior
I would like to make an addition to the options for "Heating Your Boat," in the October 15, 2003 issue. My brother has a Pearson 33, with a freshwater-cooled Westerbeke diesel engine. He installed a heat coil about amidships in the panel under the main cabin berth. The heat coil was connected to the engine via hoses. (Each hose had a shut-off for both heat control and safety if the coil should spring a leak.) The heating coil had a small multi-speed fan controlled at the coil by means of a small switch. Effectively, it was a radiator.

Obviously, this unit would only supply heat when the engine was running. However, it supplied a lot of heat when called for. Plus, it was a dry heat. The midships location warmed the V-berth, head area, and main cabin.

The unit was placed so that it did not take up usable storage space. Also, because it was located at sole level, you didn't get as much "thermal layering" as you do with a heater that is located at waist or chest height.

Finally, because it heated a relatively large area, it proved to be a good clothes dryer.

When we were cruising Nova Scotia and Maine, that dry heat was really wonderful in the damp and cool conditions that we encountered.

-Cy Cady
Delmar, NY


...Where Credit Is Due
To Wichard USA, Portsmouth, RI: "I recently had trouble with my Wichard inner forestay adjuster.  It's been great for about 5-6 years, but on commissioning the boat this year, the +/- tab that controls the ratchet tightener failed.  I sent it to Wichard for a check-up and was told that it could not be fixed. They returned, at no cost, a new one!  Thanks Wichard, for your very kind attention to this customer.

—Don Henderson, Toronto, ON

To Weems & Plath, Annapolis, MD: "I purchased an Eastport combination barometer, thermometer, and hygrometer in August of 2002. In July of 2003 I called Weems & Plath to complain that the thermometer was approximately 10 degrees off on its readings. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, but says that it must be returned postage prepaid. However, when I spoke with customer service, they were very pleasant and with no questions asked, sent a UPS driver to my home the next day with a prepaid shipping label to pick up the unit. Instead of repairing the unit they shipped me a new replacement in short order. Great service and pleasant people to deal with. Will buy from Weems & Plath again.

—Dave Post, West Palm, Beach, FL

To Lewmar, Havant, Hampshire, England: I couldn’t figure out how to take apart the 23-year-old Lewmar 16 winches on my Bristol, so I sent an e-mail to Lewmar asking for advice. They sent the request to their service deptartment in England. I shortly received a call from their service rep, Rich Chowns, who gladly talked me through the process and sent, via e-mail,  a drawing of the winch. I'm most grateful for this kind of excellent service.

—Jim Meara, via e-mail

To The Bosworth Company, East Providence, RI: For the past year I have been trying to locate a replacement deck plate for my Guzzler 500 hand pump.  My plate, over 26 years old, was badly cracked and chipped and the last remaining item in my cockpit for renovation.  Without success I searched until the Annapolis Boat Show, when I came across the booth of the Bosworth Company of Rhode Island.  They didn't have any for sale but promptly took my name and address and offered to send me one for free.  It arrived three weeks later and has been proudly installed.  

—Rick Gay, Herrington Harbor Marina North, MD

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