May 2012

Y-valve Installation Advice and Troubleshooting

Subscribers Only All waste plumbing hoses should be kept as short and straight as possible with no dips where waste could collect. The diverter valve should be located for easy access to the selector handle and free of other stored “stuff” that could bump the handle. The handle positions should be clearly marked for no confusion as to tank or overboard. Before mounting, make sure there is enough room for all three hose fittings and hose bends. Use 120- or 90-degree hose fittings where necessary to prevent tight bends in discharge hoses, and make sure to use the correct reinforced hose designed for sanitation systems.

Y-valves Under Pressure

Testers worked each valve’s handle during pressure testing

Subscribers Only Continuing with our most recent evaluations of marine sanitation systems, Practical Sailor tested eight marine-grade diverter valves (Y-valves), the valves that control the flow of liquid from one source to two different outlets or from two sources to one outlet. The test field comprised seven manual diverter valves and one electric valve from seven manufacturers. Testers looked at construction, performance, ease of use and install, price, and warranty. The manual Y-valves tested included products from Bosworth Co., Jabsco, Forespar, Groco, Johnson, Whale, and Trudesign (distributed in the U.S. by Raritan). Testers also looked at an electric Y-valve from Trudesign.

Funding the Dream

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, more than 1 million new and used boats were sold in 2010, two years after the U.S. financial crises set in. Of those, 26,800 were sailboats, and most of them were used—a sign of the times no doubt.

Subscribers Only In the June 2001 issue, Practical Sailor looked at financing boats and recommended that prospective boat buyers “stick with the pros.” We recently set out to see what had changed in boat financing since the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. After interviewing industry experts and related organizations on the state of the marine lending and boating industries, we assumed a boat-buyer’s role and sought financing help from marine loan specialists, large banks, and small lenders. We looked at cash versus financing, borrowing against your home, finance products, rates on boat loans, collateral on the loans, insurance issues, pre-approvals, repossession, and borrower qualifications.

Lighting the Way

The LED Light Divider illuminates charts without compromising night vision.

While electronic navigation plays a dominant role on most of today’s boats, paper charts still have their place at the prudent sailor’s nav station. No chartplotter can match the “big picture” view offered by paper charts, or the backup benefit in a power outage, hardware failure, or lightning strike.

Grill Griddle Faceoff

The Little Griddle Sizzle-Q adds versatility to outdoor cooking options and is designed for cooking for large groups

Practical Sailor recently tested three grill-top cooking griddles to see what benefits they could add to the outdoor cooking experience—a highlight of the summer boating season for us. We pit the rectangular, stainless-steel Little Griddle Sizzle-Q griddle against the reversible, non-stick rectangular and kettle-style griddles from Magma Products.

Safety at Sea Part III: Rambler 100 capsize

In our final review of three 2011 sailboat tragedies investigated by US Sailing, we offer a clear look at how even the best-equipped, most highly trained sailors can run into trouble at sea. Rambler 100—touted as the fastest monohull super-maxi on the planet and representing millions of dollars in research and design—lost its canting keel and capsized while competing in the August 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race. Sixteen crew struggled to stay on the overturned hull, while another five floated adrift in the Celtic Sea, trying to fight off hypothermia. Practical Sailor looks closely at US Sailing’s report, directed by retired U.S. Navy Captain Ron Trossbach, the Rambler 100 crew’s post-accident recommendations, and the safety lessons we can all learn from the accident.

US Sailing Investigator’s Recommendations

Ron Trossbach, the lead investigator for US Sailing in the Rambler 100 incident, recommended the following changes to US Sailing’s Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) and US Sailing Prescriptions. He also recommended that these be forwarded to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to be included the ISAF Special Regulations Governing Offshore Racing for Monohulls. The items in parentheses reflect the OSR section that would be amended.

Lessons learned

Ron Trossbach, head of the US Sailing investigation into the Rambler 100 accident, offered the following lessons that sailors can take away from the capsize.

Rambler 100 Recommendations

The crew of Rambler 100 made the following recommendations/observations regarding safety equipment. The recommendations were taken from crew statements provided to US Sailing and do not represent US Sailing’s own recommendations.

Anchor Testing and Rode Loads

Many published anchor tests focus on “holding capacity,” and most conclude that newer, concave fluke-design anchors such as the Spade, Rocna, and Manson anchors perform better than older, traditional anchors such as the plow-design CQR, claw anchors like the Bruce, and Danforth-style anchors such as the Fortress. But how useful is this data? Rather than just testing anchors to specific, fixed loads, PS’s recent evaluation raises questions about the various wind-induced loads placed on anchors in real-life situations and how future anchor tests should be carried out.

Antifouling for Aluminum Boats

Subscribers Only When Achim and Erica Ginsberg-Klemmt upgraded to an aluminum sloop, they had to confront one of aluminum’s major pitfalls: copper-based bottom paints don’t like aluminum. After years of good performance from a foreign-made, expensive-to-import inorganic zinc-silicate coating called Inversalu, the couple sought an affordable option distributed in the U.S. Their research led them to a PPG Amercoat product, a hard two-part zinc-silicate paint called Dimetcote 21-5. Practical Sailor’s report covers their prep and painting experience, a look at how zonc-silicate paints works, and Dimetcote’s performance after eight months in Florida waters.

Mailport: May 2012

Reader Bob Fine's Catalina 350, Second Wind, rests at a dock in Illinois.

Letters to Practical Sailor, May 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: US Sailing Report, Tether/PFD Designs, Safety Snap Shackles and More!

Product Updates

Practical Sailor May 2012 Product Updates

Where Credit is Due: May 2012

Subscribers Only Letters to Practical Sailor, May 2012. This month's letters cover topics such as: Sail Rite, Taylor Made, and Inland Marine.

DIY Trysail Track Retrofit

PS contributor and Transpac racer Skip Allan had a trysail track installed so he could have his storm trysail bent on and ready to go at any time.

I am currently working with sailmaker Carol Hasse ( on a new set of primary sails. She is the best at making cruising sails, and it is a luxury I am surrendering to. However, that is why I’m considering a DIY project for the trysail track. Any input on details such as proper track size, length, placement, and preferred mast fasteners and track backing (to combat corrosion) would be helpful.

Adding Some Zing To Anchor Testing

Past PS tests have mostly been straight-pull tests in specific bottoms.

Quantifying anchor loads is tricky business, and our article on the topic, beginning on page 24, gives some insight into the trouble a tester faces when trying to compare the performance of various types of anchors. Apart from the obvious questions about the bottom type and the scope amount to be used for evaluating, testers need to sort out more subtle details, such as how the anchor should be set, how the load should be applied, and what the pull direction should be.

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

Decontaminating a Tainted Water Tank

by Darrell Nicholson with Drew Frye on May 26, 2015

Those of you who missed Practical Sailor's report on how a weak winterizing solution can create a Sandals Beach Resort for waterborne bacteria may be noticing a pungent odor coming from your galley tap. Regardless of the cause of your onboard water woes, our favorite chemist-sailor Drew Frye offers a series of simple steps to decontaminate that tainted water tank.

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