February 2012

New Boat Review: Beneteau Oceanis 41

Subscribers Only Beneteau’s new Oceanis 41 features a unique hull shape and a new cruising perspective, with a design that focuses on style, comfort, and ease of operation. After sailing the boat, Practical Sailor editors walked away impressed with the wide-body sloop. French naval architects Finot-Conq skillfully distributed the boat’s volume, placed the rig and foils exactly where they belong and revised the deck layout. A chine-like edge— affectionately known as the “kink”—interrupts the smooth curve of the topsides. Other new features on the Oceanis 41 include a transformable transom-swim platform and convertible cabin furniture.

Building a New Beneteau

The Oceanis 41’s deck is put on after most of the interior is installed, and it’s fastened with a urethane adhesive.

Subscribers Only The building process that gives rise to the Beneteau Oceanis 41 begins in France, where digital design files stir a five-axis cutter to life, and 3D foam patterns begin to take shape. These robotically cut male plugs are used to fabricate female molds, often referred to as “tools.” The hull and deck are the major molds, but there are often 20 or more smaller tools created that are used to mold other interior and exterior components—ranging from locker lids to a plinth for the marine head. All of the tooling for each Beneteau is made in the prototype shop in France and is shipped to factories around the world.

PS Sea-trials the iPad and Nav Apps

Screen visibility in bright sunlight is one of the drawbacks of the iPad. Polarized glasses make it hard to see the screen, particularly in portrait (vertical) mode.

With many of the 38-million-sold iPads winding up on board boats, it’s no wonder there are hundreds of iPad apps that are well suited for the sailing life. This begins Practical Sailor’s three-part series on those apps. Part 1 of the series reports on PS’s field tests of multiple navigation apps—using raster and vector charts—to see how well they perform and how they compare to traditional navigation software. They review looks at the top performers: iNavX, iPad Navionics, and Charts & Tides.

Solutions for a Stinky Holding Tank

Iguana poop and sanitary waste were evenly distributed in separate tanks. Odor and sulfide were measured two weeks after adding chemical treatment. Each chemical was tested four times: twice in the summer, twice in the fall.

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor testers looked at a large field of holding tank additives and found that chemical treatments that rely on disinfection, surfactants, and deodorants are better than nothing, but they still left that distinctive public-restroom smell. We also compared eight top-performing additives from a new generation of tank treatments that use enzymes and bacteria cultures to reduce odors. Tests showed that these bio-augmenting treatments—including Odorlos, SeaLand Max Control, Camco’s TST Citrus, Thetford Eco-Smart, Nature-Zyme, and Aqua-Kem—reduced odors and reduced solids in the tanks, without the port-a-potty smell. We look at the pros and cons of these newer tank treatments, and examine the importance of tank ventilation in reducing odors.

Ziggy the Iguana Puts Odor Control to the Test

A Honeywell Gas Alert Quattro gas meter was used to measure gas levels in parts per million (PPM). Hydrogen sulfide, (H2S, upper left corner of meter) is one of the chief causes of tank odor.

Subscribers Only For a real-world test, we created a series of small but real-world holding tanks containing real sanitary waste. The sanitary waste was supplied by a 20-pound iguana. Ziggy already poops in a tray of water and we know this mixture to be plenty foul. This was supplemented with additional sanitary waste during the start-up period each spring. Seawater flush was used, as the odor problems associated with seawater are known to be more severe, the result of bacteria-reducing sulfate into more odorous sulfide chemicals. Tank tests were supplemented with field testing aboard a test boat on the Chesapeake Bay.

Real-world Advice from Holding Tank Makers

Subscribers Only Before beginning a series of tests, we always involve the manufacturers. They have a wealth of information they are happy to share, in the interest of reducing problems with their products. In general, their advice forms a consensus.

Marine Holding Tanks Go Head-to-Head

Both makers let you decide where to place inlet, outlet, and vent fittings. On the Trionic tank (above, during pressure testing), the fittings were widely spaced across the top.

Subscribers Only In our 2002 holding tank test, SeaLand emerged as the winner. The material of choice for holding tanks continues to be rotationally molded linear polyethylene, which is light in weight, doesn’t corrode, allows for seamless tank construction, is relatively inexpensive, and won’t allow odors to permeate. This new test compares a pre-2009 model SeaLand tank to a new holding tank from Trionic Corp. The holding tank test looked at the tanks’ construction materials, price, size, valves, inlets, outlets, leaks, inspection ports, vent size, warranty, and performance-based panel deflection. Preventing threaded fittings from leaking was the hardest part of the test.

WipeOut Eraser vs. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Subscribers Only A few months ago, we noticed that our dock neighbors were cleaning their decks with spongy-looking nanofiber pads. Ditching a multitude of cleaners for one re-usable sponge was quite appealing, so a test was in order. We pitted the original Mr. Clean Magic Eraser from Proctor & Gamble against the WipeOut Eraser made by Ralph Perez. These rectangular, nanofiber pads resemble sponges but they don’t require added cleaner, and both use a unique cleaning action to lift and trap dirt. We used them to clean dirty gelcoat and nonskid, and to tackle the waterline, rust stains, and scuffs on our test boat.

Chandlery: February 2012

From left: True Grip green (by Big Time), True Grip blue, Flex-Tuff-II, Atlas Fit Thermal, and Global Ice Gripster.

Practical Sailor Chandlery: February 2012. This month reviews include: Sailor Gloves, Plumbers Putty, and more!

Clean Bottom, Fast Bottom

According to Interlux’s technical group, there is a formula that links speed to surface profile (measured in microns, peak-to-trough height) as shown in this chart (Y axis = speed in knots; X axis = roughness in microns). It shows that a drop from 254 microns (10 mils) to 75 microns (3 mils) gives a speed increase of about .225 knots. Simply translated: As surface roughness decreases, you’ll see marginal increases in speed.

Determining how much faster a boat can sail with one paint versus another would be difficult as the prep and application of both paints would have to be identical, as would test conditions, in order to have a fair trial. None of the antifouling manufacturers we spoke with are aware of any documented head-to-head speed tests of paints.

Mailport: February 2012

Reader and bluewater voyager Webb Chiles prefers sail-power to horsepower. Here, his 37-foot Heritage, The Hawke of Tuonela, runs at a good trot.

Letters to Practical Sailor, February 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Engine-Free, Titanium, Sabre Solace Twin, and More!

Where Credit is Due: February 2012

Lowrance GlobalMap 7600CHD

Letters to Practical Sailor, January 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: West Marine/Navico Reps, Raymarine, Garhauer Marine, and More!

A Toast to Ziggy the Iguana

Out of four products, Vanish Odor(second from left) was the only one claiming to have live bacteria that actually generated a culture.

Ordinarily, we donít enlist animal subjects for our testing at Practical Sailor, but our report of odor-eating chemicals this month called for special measures. Ziggy the iguana stepped up to the plate, and I can assure you he was well treated throughout the process. I had hoped to feature his photo here so that you might admire his healthy green complexion, but he was a bit camera shy, and I couldnít bring myself to use a photo of just any old iguana.

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

The Right Caulk for Your Boat

by Darrell Nicholson on April 14, 2015

Choosing the right sealant or flexible adhesive used to be fairly straightforward. There were fewer products and usually there was somebody to tell you which compound was best for bedding cleats or sealing joints. That's no longer the case. These days trying to find the right sealant for the right job is as complicated as choosing breakfast cereal, except that if you make the wrong choice you are—literally—stuck with it. Fortunately, we've carried out a number of tests on caulks and adhesives to help you make the right choice.

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