August 2012

Ultrasonic Antifouling Test Update

Subscribers Only In April 2012, we launched a long-term test of SmartAntifouling’s M20, an electronic antifouling solution that the maker claims uses ultrasonic waves to prevent algae and barnacle growth on boat hulls. The M20 transducer emits a high-frequency vibration that creates a thin layer of moving water around the hull, making it difficult for organisms to attach to the hull. The evaluation was set to run for a few seasons. However, after just three months of testing, disappointing results prompted testers to put the experiment on hold until the test boat’s bottom is re-painted later this year.

New Boat Review: A Look Inside the New Leadership 44

The new Leadership 44s test their wings near the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn

Subscribers Only The U.S. Coast Guard Academy recently received its newest sail training boat: the Leadership 44. Built by Morris Yachts, a company best known for high-end, custom sailboats, the Leadership 44 was designed by David Pedrick, whose resume includes America’s Cup boats and many capable cruisers. The Leadership 44 has all the necessary features of a 24/7 underway workboat—offshore sleeping berths, ventilation in rough weather, a galley and head that work well underway, and a sail plan that’s efficient and easy to handle. With a displacement of 26,000 pounds, the L44 is strong and stiff, yet reasonably lightweight for a boat of that size. Civilian versions of the design will be making their way to the market soon and would be worth considering for bluewater cruising duty.

Leadership 44 is Strong, Stiff, and Lightweight

A peek behind the clearly labeled main breaker panel reflects Morris’s commitment to serviceability (left). A single-point chainplate transfers rig loads to a sizable knee that’s bonded into the hull and deck (above).

Subscribers Only The Leadership 44 is built in Morris Yachts’ factory on Mt. Desert Isle, Maine, using advanced building materials and construction. Known for its precision semi-custom boat building, the company was launched in 1972 by the late Tom Morris. His son, Cuyler, is now the president and chief development officer.

E-10 Fuel Additives that Fight Corrosion

Dinghy engines that spend days or months in storage and spend their working hours close to the waterline are particularly susceptible to carburetor problems.

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor’s original goal with this evaluation was to run a long-term test of fuel additives. Instead of adding heat or oxygen or excessive corrosive materials, we would substitute time. After six months of testing additives in E-10 gasoline, we found no measurable corrosion, so we elected to add a small amount of seawater and compare fuel samples after one month. The results were surprising to even our testers. The additives we tested were: Hammonds’ Biobor Ethanol Buster, CRC’s Phase Guard 4, Mercury Marine’s Quickstor, PRI-G, Sea Foam Engine Treatment, Sta-bil Ethanol, Star Tron Ethanol, and ValvTect Ethanol.

Testers Tinker with Tinker Bell-sized Fuel Tank

Metal coupons were immersed in the treated fuel for one month before being removed for comparison.

Subscribers Only If you really must know how we compared the fuel additives, here are the particulars.

PS’s Best Practices to Combat Fuel Problems

Subscribers Only Additives can’t solve real gasoline-quality problems. At best, consider additives to be only a final tweaking opportunity, something to supplement the following fuel management practices.

Marine Stereos on a Budget

Sound tests of the three marine stereos and amplifier were conducted in a carpeted room with high ceilings

Subscribers Only When it comes to onboard stereos, most small and mid-size boat owners want a simple, affordable sound system with a decent audio that can withstand life in the marine environment. To find out what the options are for the cruisers who just want a basic stereo system, Practical Sailor took a look at marine stereo-speaker kits priced under $200. Testers evaluated four budget-friendly audio packages: two kits from Dual Electronics, the AMCP400W and the MXCP43; the CDX-M20 from Sony Corp.; and the ME-52 amplifier from Poly-Planar.

What to Look for in Quality Marine Stereos and Speakers

Subscribers Only When shopping for a new stereo system, be sure to evaluate the following closely to be sure the package meets your needs.

Marinco’s Shorepower Solution

Marinco’s latest innovation, the EEL, makes connecting to shorepower a one-handed task, and the contacts are compatible with standard dock power..

Subscribers Only We’ve seen a slew of new shorepower cords, plugs, and accessories coming onto the market in recent years, and with good reason. The majority of AC-related onboard electrical fires occur at the vessel’s shorepower inlet. The twist-lock connector used in shorepower cords and at the boat outlet has been around since the 1930s, and the design has seen little updating to make it better suited for use in the marine environment. The electrical contacts are small, exposed to the elements, and often required to support the plug and cord, all factors that beget corrosion and loose connectors, which can lead to electrical arcing, overheating, and fire.

Is the SEND Device Message Loud and Clear?

Distress calls from 406 EPIRBs and PLBs are automatically routed to mission control centers via a global network of satellites and land-based stations (above); SENDs messages are first handled by a commercial emergency call center such as GEOS Alliance.

Subscribers Only Sometime around 1:30 a.m. April 28, while participating in the Newport-to-Ensenada Race, the Hunter 437 Aegean sailed directly onto the rocky cliffs of North Coronado Island off Mexico’s Pacific coast. Fellow racers came upon pieces of the boat and reported their findings to the U.S. Coast Guard. The bodies of three crew were discovered with the wreckage. The body of the captain was recovered 16 days later. Contrary to news reports stating there “was no sign of distress” aboard Aegean, an SOS distress call went out from one of the crew—but by the time the Coast Guard learned of it, it was too late. Someone sent a distress alert form the captain’s personal SPOT Connect, a portable satellite emergency notification device (SEND) that delivers SOS messages and vital information—ship’s position and user identity—via Globalstar satellites to a third-party emergency call center.

Mailport: August 2012

Reader Jimmy Stewart nominated Rustler Yachts to our list of tough boats. Here, his Rustler 36, Adamantine, is in its last stages of production. The boat is hand-laid solid fiberglass and has a solid lead keel.

Letters to Practical Sailor, August 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Anchor Rhodes, Ultrasonic Antifouling, Inflatable PFDs, and more

A Non-standard Issue

One of the first things we research when designing a new product test are industry standards already in place. Frequently, there are none, or those that exist have little to do with the real world.

Chemical Varnish Strippers

I want to varnish my companionway hatch boards, but I need to remove the old finish. Is there a varnish remover that works well and doesn’t ruin the wood?

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

Boat Insurance Shopping Tips

by Darrell Nicholson on October 27, 2014

If you’re in the used boat market, late fall usually offers a good opportunity for buyers. Owners in snow-bound states face haulout and storage expenses for a boat they will only put on the market again in the spring. But before you can start filtering through the used-boat websites looking for desperate sellers (hint: add the search term “reduced”) you’ll want to get a clear picture of what your insurance options are. Back in October 2012, we probed the insurance market for the best rates in various regions and the experts we spoke with offered a number of excellent tips on how to find the right insurance policy at the best rates.

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