August 2014

Cheoy Lee Clipper 36 & 42

The Cheoy Lee Clipper 42, the Nancy Dawson,.enjoys a tradewind-fueled reach in the waters off the Virgin Islands.

Subscribers Only Cheoy Lee Shipyards of Hong Kong has been a commercial builder since the early 1900s and is one of the first molders of fiberglass boats in Asia. Production of fiberglass boats began in the early 1960s and continues today, although the company—like many big yards around the world—has turned its focus toward commercial ships and the mega-yacht market. Looking at the line of 78- to 100-plus-foot yachts catering to Far East millionaires and billionaires, it is clear that any concerns about what would happen to Cheoy Lee when Hong Kong reverted to China were way off target.

Owners Say Beauty, Solid Hull Outweigh Clipper’s Flaws

The Cheoy Lee Clipper 42’s full keel takes groundings well, but the external iron ballast is not as forgiving as lead, and is vulnerable to corrosion problems. When hauling out, the front strap should be secured to prevent it from slipping forward.

Subscribers Only We spoke with several owners of Cheoy Lee 42s and 36s for this article, and among the most seasoned was Kieron O’Connell, a two-time owner of Cheoy Lee boats—first an Offshore 31, now a Cheoy Lee Clipper 42. O’Connell sailed the 42 from California to Australia. He had this to say about the Cheoy Lee Clipper 42.

Reading the Wind Series, Part 3

PS tester Bill Bishop weaves together various displays and sensors to check compatibility during our wind-instrument evaluations.

Subscribers Only Whether you’re contending with the violence of an abroholos or the gentle puff of a zephyr, it helps to have an idea of wind intensity. For the last several months, testers have been closely examining the tools sailors use to measure and display wind information. This article wraps up our review of mechanical vane sensors and displays, focusing specifically on choosing the best combination to meet your needs. Future reports will look at ultrasonic wind sensors, which have no moving parts, and a build-it-yourself wind sensor that uses an Arduino open-source electronics platform.

Wired vs Wireless

Subscribers Only To wire, or not to wire? This is a good question, and there are certainly some pluses and minus to consider. For sailors with wiring-unfriendly masts, the wireless approach is a good one. These include wooden spars, ones with conduits that are already full with other wiring, and masts that are regularly unstepped. The downside of going wireless is that the batteries will need to be changed on occasion, and in some cases, signal interference is possible.

AWAB, ABA Top Long-term Test

The hose clamps before (above left) and after 18 months in a salt bath (above right). The ABA and AWAB clamps (below) clearly have better corrosion resistance than the others that we tested (above right).

Subscribers Only General-purpose, relatively inexpensive hose clamps are all over most boats, but there are some applications where using a higher quality, “corrosion resistant” clamp is critical—such as engine hoses and through-hulls. Most quality clamps are stamped “stainless steel,” but there are many grades of steel, and making an alloy stainless and corrosion resistant is complicated and costly. You start with iron, which rusts easily, and through multiple processes, you add proportions of elements such as nickel, manganese, molybdenum, and chromium. Different percentages of these elements will improve the desired strength, hardness, and flexibility, as well as corrosion resistance, of the steel.

A Stern Look at Sterns

Subscribers Only In the January 2013 issue of Practical Sailor, we took a close look at the bow and noted the trend toward plumb stems, multiple furlers, and a longer resting waterline. We also recognized the tradeoffs involved, such as the need to perch the anchor further forward on a mini sprit or small strut in order to keep the flukes from chewing away at the topsides. When it comes to ground-tackle handling, it’s clear that for decades, cruisers have understood and retained a commitment to anchor deployment and retrieval—and designers and builders have responded appropriately. However, an even bigger shift in yacht design has overtaken the aft end of the modern production sailboat—and the implications are hard to miss.

Shoe Test Update

Running shoes offer great comfort and foot protection, but the soles are not designed for slippery decks

Subscribers Only About 20 years ago, the conventional sailing moccasin started losing ground to more specialized footwear for sailors, but only recently have major sports apparel companies like Adidas and Puma entered the on-the-water footwear fray. Boat shoe style has come a long way since Paul Sperry—whose namesake company, Sperry, originated the nonskid grooved-sole moccasin—carved a zig-zag pattern into an old gumshoe back in 1935.

Electrical Panel Upgrade

As part of a system upgrade, the author replaced the original electrical panel (above and above left inset) with a custom-made panel from Blue Sea (right).

Editor’s note: Designing, installing, and wiring a new main circuit panel on a full-fledged cruising boat is an extremely challenging refit project. The writer is a professional engineer who made sure that his installation met or exceeded American Boat and Yacht Council Standard E-11. Failure to adhere to the standard could result in fire, injury, or death. We offer the following article, which outlines the steps involved in constructing a custom panel, as a rough guide. In our opinion, such a project should not be carried out without the consultation of an ABYC-certified electrician.

Gadgets Powered by the Sun

Testers tried out two solar-powered chargers for small electronics: the SolLight SoliCharger 2000 and the Secur Solar Sun Power Bank 4000.

Testers recently took a look at two portable solar-powered chargers for small electronics—one of them is new to the market, the Secur Solar Sun Power Bank 4000, and the other, Davis Instruments’ SolLight SoliCharger 2000, is an updated version of a product we reviewed a few years ago.

VHFs for Hearing Challenged

Subscribers Only Like an increasing number of senior sailors, I require hearing aids to effectively communicate. However, in the cockpit of a sailboat—with the wind blowing or the engine running—hearing aids are not helpful when trying to carry on a VHF radio conversation. What I need is a VHF marine radio that will accept headphones (preferably noise cancelling). Of the many VHF radios that you have evaluated, have any been wired for headphones?

Mailport: August 2014

Reader Mitch West sails Varuna, his Pearson 36 cutter, off the coast of Monterey, Calif. West is a strong proponent of AIS aboard cruising boats, and he reports that his Vesper AIS splitter has served him well.

In regard to your December 2013 Chandlery article on the Vesper SP160 VHF splitter. After too many near misses with merchant ships, we installed an AIS in 2012, using the Vesper splitter to the masthead antenna. Your article mentioned target reception at 1.5 miles without and 11 miles with the SP160. In our experience, we sometimes see merchant vessels at 80 miles or more, and other cruisers at 30 to 40 miles with the Vesper. When approaching Colon, Panama, the display was “maxed out” at 50 miles (it only shows the closest 100 contacts).

Where Credit Is Due: August 2014


The bolt in the handle on my Shurhold buffing machine vibrated out and fell overboard in 16 feet of water—most likely because I had not tightened it sufficiently. I called Shurhold ( to purchase a replacement bolt. When I asked what I owed them, I was told not to worry about it, and I received two replacement bolts and the tool for their replacement, even though I admitted responsibility for the problem. In short, I am impressed with Shurhold’s customer service!

A Shoe Tester’s Epiphany

A tester balances on our shoe-testing device. The shoes are tested in two directions on wet and dry teak and nonskid.

I had a bit of a problem last month when we scheduled our latest shoe test. PS Managing Editor Ann Key, our premier shoe tester who has become something of a sailing-shoe expert over the last eight years, was expecting her first child. Anyone who is familiar with our medieval shoe-testing device would understand why I had to find a substitute—and why no one else in our office immediately volunteered.

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

Decontaminating a Tainted Water Tank

by Darrell Nicholson with Drew Frye on May 26, 2015

Those of you who missed Practical Sailor's report on how a weak winterizing solution can create a Sandals Beach Resort for waterborne bacteria may be noticing a pungent odor coming from your galley tap. Regardless of the cause of your onboard water woes, our favorite chemist-sailor Drew Frye offers a series of simple steps to decontaminate that tainted water tank.

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