April 2014

C&C 40 Still Turning Heads

The C&C 40 Corsair, owned by PS reader David Risch sets out in the 2009 Marion-Bermuda Race with a bone in her teeth.

Subscribers Only While C&C did not invent the racer/cruiser, the Canadian-based company has remained dedicated for two decades to the concept of the dual-purpose boat. With the notable exception of a few pure cruisers—the relatively low-performance Landfall 35, 42, 43, and 48—a racer-based cruising boat (the Landfall 38), and a real oddball (the Mega 30), most C&Cs have paid at least lip service to contemporary trends in racing boats.

Deck, Hull-to-deck Joint, and Keel Merit a Close Look

Subscribers Only As is typical of C&Cs, owners give the boat high marks for quality of construction, and in general, their enthusiasm is justified. The boat does, however, have a potential weak point. Hull: Like most C&Cs, the 40 was built with a balsa-cored hull. The result is a hull that is extremely stiff for its weight, but balsa coring is not without its potential for problems. In the event of delamination or rupture of the hull skin, the balsa coring can absorb moisture. Moisture penetration of the outer laminate could ultimately reach the balsa coring. It is imperative that a balsa-cored hull be carefully examined by a knowledgeable surveyor before purchasing a used boat.

Heavy-duty Rubbing Compounds

Testers used a Shurhold electric buffer and Shurhold wool compounding pads to apply 11 medium-coarse and coarse rubbing compounds to the heavily oxidized hull of a 1974 O’Day Javelin.

Subscribers Only Gelcoat provides a fiberglass boat with a hard, water-resistant protective shell. When new, it’s polished and waxed to a bright shine, but after a few years of facing the elements—especially damaging UV rays—gelcoat will begin to oxidize and turn into a dull, chalky film on the surface. There are a few ways to remedy an oxidation problem (see “Tips & Techniques”), but for this article, we focused on coarse and medium-coarse rubbing compounds, which can be buffed on to remove the chalky layer and fine scratches. The tests evaluated ease of use, ability to remove oxidation and scratches, and whether they left swirl marks; testers also considered price, availability, and eco-friendliness.

Tired Daysailer Hull Serves as Test Platform

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor tested the compounds on the badly oxidized hull of a neglected 1974 O’Day Javelin daysailer that has been stored uncovered in the Florida sun and salt air for years. Formerly the platform for gelcoat restorer and wax tests, the Javelin’s once dark-blue hull had degraded into a chalky, light blue mess.

When Choosing Pilots, Err on Side of Caution

The EV-1 heading sensor can be mounted above decks or belowdecks, but it must be oriented so that an arrow on the top of the unit (not visible) is aligned with the boat’s fore-and-aft axis.

Subscribers Only In a nutshell, autopilots have one main function: to assume control of a vessel’s steering and control its heading, be it a specific course or on a selected route or to a waypoint. As with any crucial piece of gear (anchors being a great example), cost should not be the primary consideration in the selection process. It’s crucial to select a unit that has both the power and ability to steer your boat effectively in all sea conditions you’re likely to encounter.

Rotary-Drive Autopilot for Worm Gear Steering

Subscribers Only Autopilots are one piece of electronics gear that truly has something to offer every sailor—from gunkholer to bluewater cruiser. Having this extra crewmember onboard not only eases the burden of shorthanded sailing, but also helps prevent helm fatigue. An autopilot allows solo sailors to use the head, more easily raise sails, or grab a bite to eat. Crewmembers can enjoy a passage, passing the time reading a book or watching the scenery without being a slave to the helm.

Beaming Down Satcom Surgeons

Wind generator blades sliced Polish sailor Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski during the 2010 Velux 5 Oceans Race.

Telemedicine, the ability to remotely treat patients in far-flung corners of the world, was still in its infancy in 1998 when it was put to a highly publicized test aboard a storm-tossed sailboat in the Southern Ocean. Russian competitive sailor Viktor Yazykov was participating in the solo Around Alone Race. His boat was about 900 miles below the tip of South Africa when his rig began falling apart. While Yazykov was repairing a broken shroud, an elbow he had injured earlier in the race grew inflamed with infection.

The New Bad Boy

Testers evaluated the Bitstorm Bad Boy Xtreme MJ Wi-Fi booster during a months-long coastal cruise.

Since we last looked at onboard Wi-Fi antennas/boosters (PS, April 2010), there have been no notable newcomers to the field, but there have been some technological advancements, particularly by the Canadian company Bitstorm. In 2010, we favorably reviewed the Bitstorm unit, so we decided to check out the latest version of the device to evaluate the improvements. Testers put the 2014 Bitstorm Bad Boy into long-term testing during an extended cruise along the Florida Gulf Coast.

DIY Rigging Hacks

Australia-based live-aboard cruiser and PS contributor Jonathan Neeves uses bungees to tension the furling cord on his cage-less furler and to keep lazy sheets from snagging mast-mounted hardware.

Subscribers Only Over the years we’ve owned Josepheline, our 38-foot Lightwave catamaran, we’ve figured out a few simple fixes to some niggling onboard problems—some boat hacks, if you will—and we thought we’d share a few in the hopes that other boat owners may benefit. If you have any little fixes of your own that you’d like to share, email your story to practicalsailor@belvoirpubs.com.

Shurhold Buffing Pad Cleaner

Subscribers Only During our April 2014 performance test of rubbing compounds, we sullied a dozen brand-new wool buffing pads, all of which were Shurhold brand. Since quality buffing pads are reusable (and not cheap), we thought the rubbing compound test was a great opportunity to also check out Shurhold’s new, professional-grade Serious Pad Cleaner (No. 30803). Mixed with water, this powdered concentrate is formulated to dissolve compounds and waxes from wool, polyester, cotton, microfiber, and foam buffing pads or cloths.

Mooring’s Soft Side

The new soft buoys from Island Mooring Systems have a rim along the top to keep mooring line and pickup stick out of the water when the boat is off the mooring.

Subscribers Only Every decade or so, local sailing clubs go through a re-evaluation of their mooring fields, looking for ways to improve or upgrade equipment without straining their budget. Island Mooring Supplies, the same Rhode Island-based company that introduced the splinter-free Deluxe Pickup Stick we featured in the April 2010 issue, has developed a new, soft mooring buoy designed to put an end to the annoying hull-knocking of conventional mooring buoys.

Do I Need a Life Raft?

The six-man DSB 6-ISAF is a compact life raft that would be a good choice for those inclined to rent a raft for a coastal passage.

I’m planning to take our Catalina 36 from our Chesapeake Bay homeport to Newport/Narragansett Bay. The trip may include offshore runs between Cape May, N.J., and Block Island, N.Y.—a distance of about 200 nautical miles, maximum offshore about 30 nautical miles. I’m deliberating what, if any, life raft I should have aboard for the trip, mainly for the offshore runs. Life-raft options that I’m considering are: none; inflatable dingy lashed to the foredeck; coastal life raft (like the Revere coastal cruiser); full-spec offshore life raft. I have the usual VHF communication gear, as well as a radar, AIS, and a new Class 2 EPIRB. I would like your thoughts.

Mailport: April 2014

Robin Leigh’s Gemini 3000 ghosts in light air.

In regard to the March 2014 wind instrument reviews: I installed a Garmin package, including a GWS10, a little over a year ago. The unit works well enough, but the flimsy windvane has fallen victim to birds three times. The biggest threat to a windvane is birds, not rough weather. This applies to all models, from a simple Windex (estimated life expectancy about three months) to the old Nav5 all-metal vane.

Where Credit Is Due: April 2014

All Mantus anchors sold after Dec. 8, 2013, have new, stronger shanks. According to Greg Knutsen of Mantus, owners of older models with mild steel shanks can get the new shank free—paying only the shipping costs—just as reader Ian Marshall did.

In November 2013, I bought a 65-pound Mantus Anchor. Living in Maine, I had not yet had the pleasure of using it but was disturbed by your recent report (PS, February 2014) regarding their shank strength. I contacted Mantus about getting a replacement shank.

An Experiment in Boosting Wi-Fi the DIY Way

In November 2010, Practical Sailor posted a Reader Workbench article written by subscriber Ed Mini of Mystic, Conn., on a do-it-yourself Wi-Fi booster/antenna assembled from parts ordered primarily from Data Alliance ( www.data-alliance.net ) and Home Depot ( www.homedepot.com ). The system did a good job of boosting the distance users could connect with onshore hotspots, and the cost was under $100, not counting labor. About a year later, PS tester Ron Dwelle decided to put together a similar system, but he used the components that commercial vendors use. Here’s a rundown of his system, which has stood up well for three years.

Testing Telemedicine’s Limits

Early into the 645-mile race between Marion, Mass., and the island of Bermuda in 2009, trouble brewed aboard the C&C 40 Corsair. The bizarre situation that the crew of Corsair faced is described in detail in a 2011 article, “Lost at Sea,” written by Diane Kelly in Ocean Navigator magazine. It all began when the navigator, 75-year-old Ron Chevrier, started acting strangely.

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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