May 2013

Boat Test: The Last Sabre 34 Mark II

The Sabre 34 Mark II’s fuller, U-shaped transom, and twin-spreader rig are among the obvious differences from its predecessor.

Subscribers Only In 1985, after nearly a decade of building the popular Sabre 34, Sabre Yachts significantly revamped the design. The resulting boat—beamier, roomier, faster, and more powerful than the original—is usually referred to as the Sabre 34 Mark II. The Mark II, like its predecessor, still hews the performance-cruising line that Sabre established with the introduction of its very first boat, the Sabre 28, in 1971. The Sabre 34 Mark II is not without quirks, but its many positives far outweigh its downsides.

Anchor Tests: Bending More Shanks

According to the owner, this Chinese-made Rocna bent during a thunderstorm in the Bahamas. Rocna replaced the anchor, and the brand’s new owner, Canada Metal Pacific, has taken an active role in monitoring quality control in its products.

Subscribers Only In the first part of this series on anchor-shank strength, we examined how the shanks of anchors that supposedly met the most stringent industry standards could bend under loads that a typical cruising sailboat could encounter. With this installment, we wanted to demonstrate how that might happen in a fact-finding field test. Based on our previous findings, we concentrated our study on a specific group of anchors and specific type of load. The anchors are regarded as “super” high holding power (SHHP) anchors, and the load was a sudden, snatch (or dynamic) load applied at a 90-degree angle to the direction each anchor was set.

Field Testing Kannad, McMurdo, and Mobilarm MOB Beacons

PS tester Bill Bishop compares the various MOB alerts displayed by chartplotters from Raymarine, Garmin, and Simrad.

Subscribers Only We’ve been following man-overboard (MOB) beacons, flags, and lights for more than 30 years now. In our testing, we’ve found that a major shortcoming of many electronic MOB transmitters is their inability to track the person in the water; most simply alert the crew that someone has fallen overboard. But in the past two years, with the integration of the Automated Identification System (AIS) and Digital Selective Calling (DSC), MOB-recovery technology has changed dramatically. We recently put it to the test with field trials of the Kannad SafeLink, McMurdo Smartfind, and Mobilarm V100 MOB beacons.

Gift Ideas for the Sailing Family

With Mother’s Day upon us and Father’s Day just around the corner, we put together a few gift ideas for sailing families. Our grab bag includes gear for warm-weather and small-boat sailors, the galley slave, and the boat-maintenance aficionado.

Mailport: May 2013

In regard to your review of portable seats (PS, March 2013): Be careful! We purchased a low-cost, but works-well folding cushion seat (don’t remember the brand) and stored it in the aft cabin. For a while, we could not figure out why our autopilot steering was way off. It turned out that the fluxgate compass for the autopilot was located under the aft-cabin bunk. The folding seat’s frame was magnetized and threw off our compass.…

Where Credit Is Due: May 2013

While replacing all of the halogen bulbs on my boat with LED bulbs, I accidentally broke the plastic lens of one of the fixtures that fits flush into my salon ceiling. Beneteau no longer stocks replacement parts, and the glass and plastic fabricators I went to could not duplicate one thin enough to fit the fixture.

Crew Learns Along the Way

Joe and Lee Minick’s Mason 43, Southern Cross, is nearly ready to launch after a long, 11-month refit in a boatyard on the Greek island of Corfu. Among the repairs was topside paint, on-deck teak, and stainless deck hardware.

When a storm packing gale-force winds with gusts to 115 knots and torrential rain left contributor Joe Minick’s Mason 43, Southern Cross, in shambles off the Greek island of Lefkas, he sought assistance from his insurance company. The boat’s gear casualty list was long, and the extensive damage to the boat included the hull and electrical systems. For cruisers in the far-flung corners of the world, successfully carrying out such a sizable refit can be challenging, even with the help of a knowledgeable surveyor and a reputable insurance company. But after nearly a year on the hard, the mission was complete, and the Southern Cross crew gained first-hand knowledge about insurance policies and claims, and how to tackle extensive repairs far from home. This is their story.

Curing the Hardened Sole

Photos by Drew Frye (top) and courtesy of Bill Crowley

My closet is full of boat shoes and sailing boots that are in excellent condition on the topsides, but to a sole, their bottoms have become hard and slippery. Is there any known cure short of replacement?

Buying into the MOB Fear

The Mobilarm V100 proved to be the easiest to activate in an emergency.

This month’s review of man-overboard devices that both alert the crew and help them track a person in the water is a pretty good opportunity for what I call “fear factor” marketing. Like any active sport that takes place on the water, sailing has risks, but many of the most persistent fears held by non-sailors (pirates are often high on the list) seem to be inspired more by fiction than fact.

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

PS Tests and the Death Spiral of Curiosity

by Darrell Nicholson on April 28, 2015

Being blessed with product testers who are passionate about their areas of expertise can be a double-edged sword. Their intense interest means they'll be particularly thorough in their research and testing; but their testing can spiral out of control as fascinating minutiae piques their curiosity. As it turns out, the best cure for a PS tester trapped in this downward "more-research-is-needed" spiral is the imminent approach of sailing season. Spring, therefore, is harvest time for the editors at Practical Sailor—and this spring has been particularly fruitful. Here's a glimpse of what's ahead:

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