March 2014

Favorite Bottom Paints by Region

Tests on four sailboats and one powerboat (above) supplement test-panel data.

Subscribers Only Lately, readers have been asking us about which antifouling paints serve well for specific bodies of water (or type of water). So, in this article—our annual spring bottom paint report—we will try to answer these questions with some recent reader survey data and sales reports from the two biggest brands in the U.S. (Pettit Paints and Interlux Yacht Finishes). But before we get into the regional breakdowns, a quick recap on choosing bottom paint and our paint testing program is in order. If you’re a longtime subscriber, feel free to skip down to the “Current Testing” section.

Wind Sensor Testing

Marine electronics installer Bill Bishop, the man behind The Marine Installer’s Rant blog, led testing for Practical Sailor.

Subscribers Only For better or for worse, the modern cruising sailor is becoming more like an airplane pilot. Safely ensconced out of the wind, the helmsman relies on instrumentation to provide him with information about our environment. Should he bear off for more speed, set the screecher, or tuck in a reef? Increasingly, we’re seeking these answers in digital display rather than strips of yarn in the rigging and the hair on the back of our neck.

Some Propane Dos and Don’ts

Only LPG equipment should be stored in an LPG locker to ensure that the system’s e not damaged by other gear.

There’s nothing more satisfying than capping a pleasant day on the water with a good meal, be it burgers and dogs on the grill or some fancy, culinary extravaganza whipped up by the galley wizard. Most marine stoves and grills use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It’s efficient, relatively cheap, and widely available. It’s also highly explosive—particularly with regards to boat installations—which makes proper installation and regular inspection so critical in onboard systems.

Boat Review: Jackett Packet

Island Packet Yachts and designer Tim Jackett teamed up to create the Blue Jacket 40 performance-cruiser.

Subscribers Only When classical musicians start playing rock and roll, fans take note. When their first song’s a hit, everyone listens to the lyrics. Bob Johnson, Bill Bolin, and the Island Packet Yachts (IP) crew have decades of experience delivering traditional cruisers to appreciative owners, but IP’s newest player has increased the tempo.

BJ40: A Well-designed and Well-built Racer-Cruiser

Subscribers Only The fiber-to-resin ratio was increased through a vacuum-assisted resin infusion, a process that better wets out the laminate and simultaneously squeezes out all the excess resin. The mechanical properties and blister resistance of vinylester resin are better than its polyester cousin, and this uptick in materials and laminating process dovetailed with the use of Divinycell foam to deliver a strong, stiff, one-piece hull with a an inward-turning flange. The BJ40 hull carries a 10-year warranty against osmotic blistering.

When Technology Catches the Wind

The U.S. Naval Academy’s Gill the Boat may be a play on words referencing the USNA mascot, Bill the Goat, but when it comes to competitive SailBot racing, Gill has been a consistent winner.

A lot can be learned from really small boats that carry no crew. In fact, sailing robotics—SailBot for short—is attracting sailors and engineering students from universities across North America and Europe. These competitive research programs are a proving ground for on-the-water autonomous craft, and they give us a glimpse of what the future of marine electronics may have in store.

Real-world Anchoring

Subscribers Only After nearly four decades of being married to my CQR plow anchor, I decided to try a new anchoring solution aboard my Ericson 41, Wind Shadow, and mounted a Manson Supreme on her bow roller. I’ll be long-term testing the Manson, but here’s a preliminary look at the CQR and the Manson.

Performance Racing App for Sailors

PS tested the Regatta Recon app using an iPhone 4 housed in a water-resistant Otterbox Defender case. Above: The screen before a heading was selected, so there’s no directional trend data.

Two racing sailors from Charleston, S.C., got together last spring to develop an economical alternative to electronic compass devices like the $340 to $500 Velocitek (PS, May and September 2011), the $460 to $735 Tacktick (PS, November 2009), and the $600 Sailcomp. The result? The Regatta Recon performance sailing app for Android and iOS devices.

Seeing Beyond Polarization

Has Practical Sailor reviewed sunglasses since the 2009 article? The feature we’d really like to have is to be able to read our chartplotter’s screen without removing sunglasses. A review of that particular feature would be extremely helpful.

Mailport: March 2014

When reader Mark Baldwin found that the antifreeze he had used to winterize his boat had frozen, he was understandably concerned about the fate of his boat's systems.

PS Reader Mark Baldwin wrote: "I used Uni-Gard pink antifreeze (rated for -50 degrees) to winterize my boat. The leftover jugs all froze solid at -14—or perhaps they froze before the night got that cold. The consequence for my boat’s systems? No telling until the spring, I guess."

Where Credit Is Due: March 2014

Reader Shawnae Bratz reported "wonderful customer service" from Danforth Anchors when she had to replace her bent anchor in the Bahamas.

We trailered our boat from Montana to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and sailed across to West End, Bahamas. We cruised in the Abaco islands for 1˝ months, and on the night before the crossing back to Florida, we had a horrible night in an anchorage, and we ended up with a bent Danforth primary anchor.

Aggressive Hull Cleaning Stirs Up Copper Debate

Taking a scrub-pad to your new bottom paint washes dollars down the drain and leads to higher copper loading in harbors.

Early this month, irate boat owners from Marina del Rey, Calif., packed the regional water-quality board meeting, protesting a rule that would require them to switch to a copper-free antifouling paint by the year 2024. The board unanimously voted in favor of the rule, moving it another step forward in the legislative process—a bureaucratic cricket match that will drag on for several years.

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

Mechanical Rigging Terminals: To Seal or Not

by Darrell Nicholson on May 19, 2015

Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo’s recent market survey of mechanical rigging terminals in the June 2015 issue of Practical Sailor demonstrated just how long these terminals can last if they are installed correctly. That report came close on the heels of rigger Brion Toss photo essay on what can go wrong if they are not assembled correctly, or assembled without any sealant. Yet manufacturer's are still not entirely clear where they stand on the use of sealants in these fittings.

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Reader Questionnaire

Which of the following best describes your approach to bottom paint?
I choose my own paint, but I let a professional apply (521 votes)


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I apply paint that a local professional or boatyard recommends. (254 votes)