My wife and I leave our boat moored in Bahia Coyote, Sea of Cortez, BCS Mexico. Our mooring is a system of anchors and chain that has worked well for us since 1987. Last year, I hired some friends to dive it. They replaced the chains and reported that everything else was in good shape. Days later, a neighbor noticed the boat drifting and rescued her. The cause: a swivel had failed. The swivel was in good shape, but the nut holding the halves together unscrewed. I dont use jaw/eye swivels because cotter pin-related failures are too common, and I dont use Chinese swivels because the U.S.-made ones are more reliable. Have you heard of this happening?
When we last dropped in on the realm of interior lighting (Practical Sailor January 2009), we looked at light emitting diode (LED) replacements for incandescent bulbs in a traditional bulkhead-mounted reading light. The test revealed some significant advances in LED technology, and those advances continue today at a lightning pace. Responding to the call for energy efficiency, LED makers are packing more and more luminosity output into smaller and smaller packages. As our reading light test showed, LED technology has developed to a point where finding LED "bulbs" that can provide enough illumination for reading is no longer an issue. Results from that comparison prompted PS to consider whether another key light on our boat—the galley light—could soon go the way of the incandescent reading light. Unlike reading lights, a galley light needs to cast a very wide beam angle to illuminate a large area, something LEDs alone are not very good at.
Subscribers Only A recent ocean race—aboard a Cape Dory 25 sans lifelines in 30- to 40-knot winds and 5- to 10-foot seas—presented a good opportunity to sea-trial Wichard’s Lyf’Safe jackline kit. Wichard Inc., which is based in France and has an office in Vermont, has been making marine hardware and accessories for more than 30 years. Its Lyf’Safe kit offers a ready-to-go jackline setup and comes with everything needed to install the system.
Subscribers Only Practical Sailor tests the Seascoopa man-overboard device and compares it to our top pick in the previous man-overboard device test, the horseshoe buoy Lifesling2. Seascoopa solves many of the problems of other parbuckle-type devices in that it is compact, lightweight and has an interlocking three-piece carbon-fiber whisker pole that holds the trapezoid-shaped net out at right angles to the boat. The ultimate goal of the device is to make it possible for a single person to safely secure and lift a much heavier person aboard with minimal effort. In addition to reducing the risks associated with a vertical lift, the Seascoopa aims to simplify making contact with the victim. Because it can be employed while the vessel is slowly making way, the recovery involves less stationary bobbing, when the boat is at the mercy of wind and waves.
Subscribers Only Whether it’s wood flooring or boat decks you’re dealing with, cleaning teak presents special challenges. In March 2008, we tested one-part teak cleaners to see which ones cleaned teak decks without being too harsh on the wood, the applicator, or environment. In this report, Practical Sailor follows up with an evaluation of two-part cleaners and how they compare to one another and to the top pick from the test of one-part solutions for cleaning teak. Testers applied five two-part cleaners for this test. Four of these were liquids: Amazon’s Quicki-II Teak Cleaner, Nautical Ease Teak Cleaner and Brightener, West Marine’s Teak Cleaner and Brightener, and TE-KA Teak Wood Cleaner by Marinetex. Tip Top Teak combines liquid and granular powder parts. Two-part cleaners were compared to Iosso one-part teak cleaner.
Subscribers Only Practical Sailor frequently tests sailboat cam cleats and their applications and even developed a machine for testing cleats: Doomsday. For this test we requested production cam cleats designed to handle 3/8-inch line and received products from Harken, Seldén, Ronstan, Garhauer, Schaefer, and Spinlock. The Doomsday machine runs the cleat through a series of tests to evaluate fuzz, neck, and abrasion, with results showing what we can expect from a cleat after a season of use. The models tested are just a sampling of the range of cam cleats offered in various sizes and materials. A racing sailor, who probably uses cam cleats more frequently than a cruiser and who is keen to keep weight down should consider a composite model. At the other end of the spectrum, a cruiser who is more concerned about durability should consider one of the heavy-duty cam cleats in the test.
Subscribers Only After starting out in monohulls many years ago, I’m now cruising aboard my third catamaran. All of my cats—a Maine Cat 30, a Kelsall 40, and now an Outremer 45—could be classified as performance cruisers: light weight, narrow hulls, daggerboards, and generous sailplans. I try to stay out of the mono/multi debate—we’re all sailors, and all boats have their pros and cons. One of the first questions that comes up regarding cruising cat design is whether daggerboards or fixed keels are better. My Maine Cat had one daggerboard, and my Outremer has two. My Kelsall came with keels, which I eventually cut off and replaced with daggerboards. I like boards, but the pros and cons are worth considering.
Subscribers Only The BMW Oracle team’s recent win of the America’s Cup—along with a flood of e-mail from multihull fans—has given us good reason to revisit the performance multihull alternative. In this reader-requested sequel to our “Need For Speed” monohull report (September 2009), we focus on design features that make multihulls fast and fun to sail, and examine why many feel that two or three hulls are better than one. It quickly becomes obvious that today’s boats diverge sharply from the iconic Hobie Cat 16. To really get excited about performance in sailing catamarans and trimarans, lightweight, lean hulls and sizable sail area are a must. In this review we look at five terrific performance multihulls: The Hobie Getaway, Weta Trimaran, Windrider Rave, Corsair Dash 750, and Telstar.
Letters to the editor in May 2010 included topics: lightning, tsunami warnings, MOB retrieval and cam cleats.
Subscribers Only Confession: I did not bother to tune in to the last America’s Cup. Yep. Rather roll in poison ivy than endorse that billionaire’s game gone awry. Besides, even if I were paying attention, no coverage materialized on my bargain cable service. Sure, I admire the engineering feats and sailing expertise that went into the contenders as much as the next water rat, but if it takes a team of lawyers to wrangle over the meanings of "constructed" just to stage a sailboat race, I’m gone. Sure would like a ride on one of those machines though . . . (sigh).
Inside Practical Sailor Blog
by Darrell Nicholson on December 10, 2013
Look at any boat more than five years old, and chances are the clear dodger windows arent so clear anymore. By comparison, the windows on one of our test boats remained crystal clear for 15 years. Is clear vinyl really that vulnerable, or are boat owners doing something wrong to shorten its life? The answer to both questions, as it turns out, is yes. Here are some tips on preserving a view from the helm without spending a fortune on new Isinglass.
What major system on your boat is in most need of upgrade?
- a. propulsion (engine, prop, etc.) (155 votes)
- b. sails, rig (327 votes)
- c. electronics (215 votes)
- d. plumbing (78 votes)
- e. refrigeration (104 votes)
- f. electrical system (150 votes)
- g. HVAC (heating/ AC) (65 votes)