June 2014

Alberg 35 Offers Classic Escape

Tom Alley’s 1965 Alberg 35, Tomfoolery, still turns heads nearly 50 years after it came off the production line.

The Alberg 35 dates back to the dawn of big-time fiberglass sailboat building. Its production began in 1961, just a year after Hinckley stopped building production wooden sailboats. Two years earlier, in 1959, Pearson built the first Triton, the boat that was the prototype of the inexpensive, small family, fiberglass cruising sailboat. The Triton’s big selling point was a low-maintenance hull that Mom and Pop and the kids didn’t have to spend all spring in the boatyard, getting it ready for the summer.

Alberg Owners Love Their A35s, Warts and All

Nearly every owner we spoke to about their Alberg 35 had small gripes about the boat’s performance, cosmetic defects, and outdated equipment. Nevertheless, it was clear that each had great confidence in the hull design and construction, and took pride in the boat’s enduring classic aesthetics.

LED Interior Lights Part 2

Practical Sailor testers measured light source intensity, surface illumination, VHF interference, and current draw.

Subscribers Only After several fits and starts, the LED lighting revolution has hit its full stride. Sure, el cheapo LEDs with their flickering beams and buzzing radio frequency interference (RFI) still flood the market—the number of LED bulb factories in China is staggering—however, thanks to this report, the second in a series that began in the June 2014 issue, you can now invest with confidence in that long-postponed interior lighting overhaul.

Wireless Multiplexers

Turning your laptop into a nav station nerve center is easier with the new wireless multiplexers, which allow multiple electronic devices to feed data to your laptop.

Subscribers Only Before we plunge headfirst (again) into the world of multiplexers with this test report, here’s a quick review of what exactly we’re talking about. If you have older instruments or a GPS networked to send information to other devices (a multi-function display, laptop, etc.), the information is likely in “NMEA 0183” format and is sent in “sentences” in a set order. For example, the NMEA sentence “$GPAAM,A,A,0.10,N,WPTNME*32” is an “arrival alarm” sentence sent by a GPS to various networked devices upon arrival at a waypoint.

A NMEA 2000—and Beyond—Survival Guide

The ShipModul MiniPlex-2Wi had the best technical manual—including a thorough explanation of NMEA input and output.

Subscribers Only NMEA 2000 (aka NMEA 2K or N2K) is the communication standard replacing NMEA 0183. It is a technical standard (IEC 61162-3) used for connecting marine sensors and display units within a boat. The major differences from NMEA 0183: NMEA 2K operates at 250 kilobits-per-second, about 100 times faster than the 4,800 baud of NMEA 0183.

Looking into High Test Myth

Practical Sailor is comparing several sizes and tensile strengths of hot-dip galvanized chain to those treated with Armorgalv.

Subscribers Only In recent years, our chain tests (see PS September 2006, July 2007, July 2008, and October 2012 online) were limited to G30 and G43 (high-test) chain. Our conclusions were pretty straightforward: We would avoid stainless steel for several reasons, the most persuasive being its tendency to fail without warning—as our test sample did. Recognizing that corrosion is what ends the life of most chains, we were not convinced that shelling out more money for the extra strength of G43 chain made sense. It lasted no longer than G30.

PS Asks ‘Who Would Even Consider G7 Chain?’

Subscribers Only The value of catenary varies with the depth of the water. In shallower waters, bottom friction replaces gravity as a force of resistance against shock loading.

Making Sense of Marine Chain Standards

The Peerless 5/16-inch HDG galvanized chain is marked with ‘WLL 4,700 lb’ (working load limit of 4,700 pounds) and “A3K,” indicating it is G70 (G7) chain. The formula used to determine safe working load limits often varies by manufacturer.

Subscribers Only Chain is made from wire. The cross-sectional area and strength of the wire determines the strength of the chain. The weld of each link should be stronger than the wire, so if a chain breaks, it should break in the body (wire)—usually at the crown, or the curve in the link—not the weld.

Reads for Summertime Relaxing

Summer arrives this month, and hopefully, the long, sunny days will include some time for summer reading. Practical Sailor editors have compiled our biannual list of worthwhile marine titles for just that purpose. This year’s summer reading list starts with a scientific look at something all sailors know—being on or in the water enhances life—but the book answers “how” and “why.” An entertaining new release on curious nautical knowledge and the strange history of nautical terms also grabbed a spot on our list, as did long-time sailing writer and editor Herb McCormick’s book on the lives of Lin and Larry Pardey. The other titles range from a history of sailing warfare to a Scotland cruising guide; two distinctly different memoirs; a Matinicus, Maine-based fiction mystery; and a book on teamwork derived from lessons learned in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race tragedy.

Vertical LPG Storage Tanks

My 1979 Tayana Vancouver 42 came with two horizontal propane tanks and one vertical propane tank (all three 20-pound aluminum) when I bought the boat in 2007. I contacted Worthington Industries and learned that “horizontal” LPG tanks are those with the additional brackets attached for horizontal installation and must be used horizontally; those without brackets are vertical tanks and must be kept vertical, which is the norm from everything I’ve read. I’m a bit surprised that not more is published about horizontal LPG tanks.

Mailport: June 2014

Reader Clay Jones wrote in with a tip on putting the stick back in boat shoes. Here, his 1987 Sanibel 18, the S.S. Minnow II, and his 15-foot 1978 Newport Surprise are docked in Naples, Fla.

It’s not surprising that boat-shoe makers don’t have any suggestions for restoring grip to worn-out boat shoes. I just rubbed the bottoms of three pairs of mine with a rag soaked in acetone (in a well-vented area, of course). It seems to have softened the soles and improved the grip; time will tell how long it remains.

Find More PS Online

Practical Sailor is working on updating some used boat reviews and adding some new ones to our online library, and we need your help. We’re looking for opinions (and photos) from current or former owners of the following boats: Cabo Rico 38, Com-Pac 35, Cheoy Lee Clipper 42, Stuart Knockabout, Express 37, and CSY 37.

Tefcite Coating Fails Static Panel Test at 1 Year

After a year of being submerged in Sarasota Bay, Fla., without cleaning or moving, the Tefcite test panel was sporting its own ecosystem.

Our quest for new antifouling paints recently took us into the world of long-life spray-on coatings promoted in the commercial-shipping industry. While the spray-on, thermoplastic composite powder Tefcite may work well on a ship that’s moving at 13 knots for most of its working life, it failed surprisingly fast in our static panel tests.

Alberg’s Timeless Designs

The well-proportioned Alberg 35 is typical of Carl Alberg’s designs.

We’d tucked into Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera, when the pretty green sloop sailed through the narrow slot into the basin. A ballsy kid, he didn’t even furl the jib. I can’t recall his name. He was in his 20s—handy with tools and a brush. The boat’s coamings gleamed with nine layers of varnish. The boat, I remember well. It was the first time I got a really close look at an Alberg 30. She was, in many ways, the sort of sailboat an elementary school artist might render, if you asked him to draw a sailboat. Deceptively simple. Elegant and well-balanced.

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

The Mystery Chain from China

by Darrell Nicholson with Jonathan Neeves on November 17, 2014

Surprisingly, one of the best chains in our most recent test was one of the generic Chinese chains. This chain showed good strength, and had a thick galvanized coating that showed a high resistance flaking and abrasion. However, the other generic Chinese chain in our test showed appalling performance, so bad, that we believe it is unconscionable for any marine chandler to sell it. And here is the quandary. We’ve identified a promising, economically-priced chain, but it is virtually impossible for the average boater to distinguish it from junk.

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