April 2012

Marine Sanitation Hose Test

Testers determined how easy the hoses were to use by installing them on a PDQ 32 catamaran.

Subscribers Only Sanitation hoses are specifically designed to contain odorous gases. They are made of very different materials than the many similar-looking hoses used for fuel, coolant, and potable water—and they are not interchangeable. In a home, sewage is contained by rigid metal and PVC pipes, materials that are not practical on a boat. So what are the best hoses to use in an onboard waste system? Practical Sailor tested hoses made of butyl rubber, white vinyl, and polyurethane from Raritan, SeaLand, Shields Marine, and Trident to find. This report covers the test results at the one-year mark.

Installing Hoses Highlights Their Differences

Subscribers Only While model holding-tank testing allows side-by-side comparisons, there’s nothing like on-the-boat testing to sort out practical differences. Our test boat, a PDQ 32, had been plumbed with a mix of low-end vinyl sanitation hose and water exhaust hose; the rubber hose was permeated, cracked, and discolored, and the sanitation hose was permeated to the point of having a thin film of sticky goo that had condensed on the external surface. A textbook case of time showing the weaknesses of poor material selection.

Worthwhile Advice from Hose Manufacturers

Subscribers Only Before starting most tests, we like to interview the participating manufacturers. Below is a rundown of some advice we gleaned from the waste hose manufacturers.

A Practical Look at Sailboat Cockpit Design

Cockpits take on a whole new appearance when the boat begins to heel. Modern wide-beam boats benefit from a large diameter wheel, which allows the helmsman to steer on the windward rail, where sight lines are unimpeded by a dodger, mast, or headsail.

A sailboat cockpit’s design and layout can determine the process of boat-handling tasks, including everything from steering and sail trimming to what goes on when it’s time to reef. We’ve found that many cockpits are optimized for at-anchor enjoyment instead of underway usability, so boat shopping should include close scrutiny of how essential sailing and boat-handling tasks will be accomplished. Make sure that the cockpit of the boat you are about to buy is in keeping with the mission of the rest of the boat—whether you’re a marina hopper, a club racer, or an offshore cruiser. Our recent survey of cockpits covers the highs and lows of cockpit design for various types of sailboats, and also includes a DIY guide to rating cockpit ergonomics to help your boat-shopping process.

PS Bench Tests BilgeKleen Filter

There are two primary reasons why U.S. boat owners are required by law to display the familiar “Discharge of Oil Prohibited” placards aboard. For one, it serves as a reminder that we all must do our part to help protect the environment. Secondly, it helps enforcement officials because those carrying the placard can’t plead ignorance of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

PS Analysis: The 2011 WingNuts Capsize

The US Sailing panel found that WingNuts’ radical design (left) and a powerful squall line (below) were the primary factors in the capsize.

This is the second article in a Practical Sailor series that takes a close look at US Sailing’s recent reports on three tragic sailing accidents last summer. The first article covered US Sailing’s report on the Severn Sailing Association accident involving the drowning death of 14-year-old Olivia Constants in Annapolis, Md. This report focuses on US Sailing’s investigation of the tragedy involving the light-displacement sloop WingNuts, which capsized during the Chicago Yacht Club’s Chicago to Mackinac race. The US Sailing report focused on four key elements that might have been factors in the accident: crew experience, weather, boat design, and safety equipment. Practical Sailor’s own investigation and reporting fills in some gaps in the US Sailing report, particularly regarding safety gear—tethers, harnesses, and PFDS—and its role in the event.

Tether recall likely no factor

Subscribers Only In 2010, West Marine voluntarily recalled two tether models (SKU #9553512 and #9553504), the same model tethers worn by Mark Morley and Suzanne Bickel the night they died. According to West Marine’s recall notice on its website: “West Marine has discovered that under heavy load, the shackle end may not release. “

US Sailing Recommendations

Subscribers Only The US Sailing report makes several specific recommendations to prevent future accidents such as the one that involved WingNuts, among them:

Useful and Fun Nautical Apps for iPad

WeatherBug, AyeTides XL, and Fleetmon Vessel Tracking and Shipfinder

In the February and March 2012 issues, we looked at navigation software that allows sailors to use the Apple iPad as a functional chartplotting device. With more than 140,000 apps available, there are hundreds more apps suitable for onboard use. Testers tried out more than 400 weather apps, knot-tying apps, several just-for-fun apps—like Trip Lingo Pirate Edition—and apps for document storage. This report covers more than two dozen of our most used and favorite sailing-related iPad apps.

Holding Tank Test Followup

SeaLand’s new gasket for the holding tank inspection port cap is easier to seat than its round-profile predecessor. The cap allowed no leaks.

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor recently tested an updated version of the SeaLand 20 HTS-VRT holding tank reviewed in our November 2011 test, which found the Trionic SP-2020 super premium holding tank to be the Best Choice. For this test followup, SeaLand sent us a tank with the inlet and outlet fittings firmly installed and sealed with pipe sealant, as the maker recommends. (Aftermarket tanks are typically shipped with fittings separate.) The re-test found the revised SeaLand to be leak free, but the Trionic is less expensive and showed less deflection.

Mailport: April 2012

Reader Robert Burn’s C&C 30 runs wing and wing downwind. Having the right gear to optimize your boat’s performance in any wind means more sailing, less motoring

Letters to Practical Sailor, April 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Engine Free, Climbers' Tether Fix, Waterproof Fabric, and More!

Safety at Sea Seminar

If you don’t have any plans for the last weekend of March and beginning of April, you can still register and attend the Annapolis Safety at Sea seminar, presented by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland and the U.S. Naval Academy. The seminar runs March 31-April 1 and will be held in Alumni Hall at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Where Credit is Due: April 2012

Letters to Practical Sailor, April 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: ACR, Raymarine, and LCBS.

Finding Good Hose Clamps

In the December 2011 article, “Maintaining Stainless Steel,” you mention that there are hose-clamp makers that get the stainless-steel combination right, but never shared who those manufacturers might be. I’d love to know who’s your pick!

Of Safety Tethers and Comfy Cockpits

There are so many things wrong with this photo, I am not sure where to begin. Theresa, my wife, was steering our weathered 61-year-old ketch toward a tricky pass in the Solomon Islands. The photo is now more than 16 years old, well past the statute of limitation on the offenses described below, so I’m hoping I can fess up without too much shame. (The biggest wrong, I suppose, was that everything seemed just fine to me.)

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

Pocket Cruisers Unite!

by Darrell Nicholson on December 16, 2014

Anytime you talk about pocket cruisers you have to clarify what you mean, for the term is loosely applied to a wide range of small boats, some with very little in common besides displacement. Size is certainly a factor, but size is relative. I’ve seen 26-feet length overall (LOA) being a commonly cited as the upper limit for the “pocket” appellation, and that seems about right, although a few decades ago a 26-foot sailboat was called something else—a yacht.

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Reader Questionnaire

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