July 2011

Chafe Protection for Dock Lines

Practical Sailor put five anti-chafe solutions for docklines through their paces: (from left to right) Fjord Chafe-Pro, Taylor Made polyester Chafe Guard, Taylor Made rubber Chafe Guard, Davis Secure, and the Fiorentino LineRap.

Subscribers Only The best anti-chafe material to rely on in a storm is the one that resists abrasion, doesn’t cause heat build-up in the line, and can be easily installed—even if the line already has been deployed. Practical Sailor tested five commercially made products marketed as chafe protection for lines on boats: the Davis Secure, from marine accessories maker Davis Instruments; LineRap from Para-Anchor manufacturer Fiorentino; Chafe-Pro from the North Carolina-based Fjord Inc; and two sets of Chafe Guards by Taylor Made. Products ranged from single-skin webbing designs to tough Dacron double-layer designs, and the chafe gear’s attachment, or locking, methods were an integral part of the ratings. (The products don't work if they don't stay in place.) Chafe gear was put through a series of abrasion tests and was rated on price, ease of use, and performance.

T’is the Season for Planning

The lead on this pop-up cleat (top photo) requires a sharp, chafe-inducing bend at the chock. In a storm, chafe gear would be a must here. When inspecting cleats, leads, and chafe points, be sure to check out what’s behind the cleats. This aluminum backing plate (bottom photo) isn’t pretty, but unlike glassed-in plates, it can be easily inspected and replaced. Stainless fasteners threaded into alloy plates raise the corrosion factor. A G-10 backing plate with stainless nuts and washers is a better choice.

Subscribers Only Chafe protection for docking and mooring lines is essential for securing a boat ahead of a storm, but boat owners should also be sure to inspect the cleats themselves. The cleats should be beefy enough to handle the task at hand, and they should be properly supported with sturdy, easy-to-inspect backing plates. In addition to ensuring your cleats are structurally sound, it’s also important to pay attention to line leads. If a line must make a sharp bend at a chock or cleat, the risk of chafe increases significantly, and attaching anti-chafe gear at the bend is imperative. Find out whether your cleats are up to snuff—and how to replace them if they’re not—in our look at chocks and cleats in the March 2010 issue.

Old Salt’s Anti-chafe Solution

Subscribers Only Being a team of diehard do-it-yourselfers, we decided to try our own hand at devising a workable solution to defeating line chafe. After fiddling with canvas, old fire hose, and even messing around with some Kevlar, we settled on leather—an old rigger’s standby. It proved to be rugged and remained unholed after a ride on the belt sander. The fabrication process was kids craft 101, and there was something quite seafaring about the result. …

Dear Editor, Please Stop Encouraging My Husband

Contributor Drew Frye explores the dark underbelly of his washer.

A few months back, I received an email from Laura Frye, the apparently very tolerant wife of Drew Frye. (Drew is pictured above repairing the family’s washing machine—again.) In the most polite way, she suggested that Drew’s ongoing study of holding-tank deodorizers for Practical Sailor might be better carried out in a remote location, rather than at the Frye household. (Without giving too much away, the project involves large amounts of iguana poop.)

Mailport: July 2011

Reader Fred Bagley flies the asymmetrical aboard his Caliber 38 (above). A laparoscope is a tool every sailor should own, according to Bagley, a retired surgeon.

Letters to Practical Sailor, July 2011. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Boat Shoes, Rope Cleaning, Rigging Care, Drain Surgery and More!

Flare Mishap Highlights Need for Caution When Firing

This Orion flare malfunctioned during an emergency training course.

In a recent emergency procedures training course at the Annapolis School of Seamanship (www.annapolisschoolofseamanship.com) a handheld Orion flare melted through its handle and began dripping hot slag. Course coordinator Matt Benhoff said, “The trainee operating the flare was wearing heavy leather gloves and goggles and dropped the malfunctioning pyrotechnic flare in a disposal bucket before the problem led to an injury.” If a similar scenario played out in a life raft, hot slag could injure a sailor already in trouble, or result in raft damage if the molten slag landed on an inflated buoyancy tube.

Where Credit is Due: July 2011

Letters to Practical Sailor, June 2011. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Whale Pumps, Rigging and More!

What's the Best Way to Clean Rope?

Pillowcases could not protect some ropes from the rigors of machine washing.

Every spring, there are numerous online forums discussing the best rope-cleaning methods. Practical Sailor’s interviews with technical representatives from major rope makers Bluewater Ropes, New England Ropes, Samson Cordage, and Yale Cordage yielded uniformly conservative guidance on how to get the grit out of old lines without destroying the rope's integrity. Testers also took to the laundry room to determine the effects of detergent, wash cycles, acids, bases and solvents, fabric softeners, power washing, bleach, hot water, and heat on rope strength and stretch.

Pros and Cons of Lowrance’s BR24 Broadband Radar

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor reports on its test of the new Lowrance BR24 broadband radar. Unlike conventional radar, the BR24 transmits a low-power, frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) signal that varies in tone and frequency. It has low power consumption and is very quiet with very low emissions from its transmit power. It has a high resolution at close range, but can be less effective than conventional radar at picking up distant storm cells and difficult shorelines and has an overall limited range.

Solar-powered Bilge Pumps Bail Out Small Boats

Testers installed the pumps (EasyBailer pictured here) in the cockpit of a 14-foot daysailor filled with 60 gallons of water. Makers don’t recommend submerging the pumps, but we did it to simulate extreme conditions.

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor tested two small solar-powered bilge pumps: the Easy Bailer (500 gallons per hour) and the SeaJoule Solar Bilge Pump (360 gallons per hour). Each self-contained unit has a small re-chargeable 12-volt battery, a fused low-capacity electric pump, and a pump switch, all housed in a plastic box with a 3/4-inch discharge hose and a remote solar panel. Testers evaluated each product’s performance and its components' quality of construction, features, how easily the unit could be maintained, and how well the electrical bits were wired and protected.

Some Salty Reads for Summer Cruising

America’s Cup sailors Peter Isler’s “Little Blue Book of Sailing Secrets” and Gary Jobson’s “An American Sailing Story” recount the American sailors’ lives and experiences aboard many race boats and among other sailing legends. Other great titles on the list include “Cruise of the Conrad” (Alan Villiers), “Small Boat to Freedom” (John Vigor), “Compass Rose” (John Casey), “Bull Canyon” (Lin Pardey), and “Storms and Wild Weather” (Dag Pike).

Gelcoat Restorer Durability Test

The test boat was taped off in seven sections, and seven products were applied. From left: 1. Vertglas, 2. Star brite Glass Cote, 3. NewGlass2, 4. Higley Fibergloss, 5. Poli Glow, 7. Presto Gelcoat Rejuvenator, 7. Klasse High-Gloss Sealant Glaze.

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor reports on how the gelcoat restorer test products are holding up after three years in the field. Testers also take a look at what acrylic fiberglass restorers can and can’t do, and at the benefits and limitations of these “miracle cures” for aging gelcoats. In our search for the products that produce the best, longest-lasting gloss, we tested seven products: Poli Glow; NewGlass2; Vertglas; Presto Gel Coat Rejuvenator; Star brite Glass Cote; Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze; and Higley Fibergloss Restorer.

Test Looks at Durability, Gloss, and Application

The area above, was also scrubbed with a 3M pad and rinsed with a garden hose equipped with a spray nozzle.

Subscribers Only For a test subject, testers turned to the smallest—but most gelcoat-challenged—vessel in the Practical Sailor fleet. Our 1974 O’Day Javelin’s highly oxidized blue gelcoat was pushing the limits of these products—it was probably a better candidate for a paint job. But the oxidation was consistently spread from bow to stern, and in the end, testers were happy with the job done by the top performers—and it was easier than painting it.

Taming the Anchor Dancer

One solution for boats that dance on the hook is an anchor-riding sail like this one, the FinDelta from Banner Bay. The sail has three panels, and as the boat tries to swing, the sail’s forward fin generates a thrust vector to one side only, gently realigning the boat.

In any wind, our Jenneau 39i charges around an anchorage like a scalded cat, fetching up at the end of each tack (bow more than 90 degrees from the direction of the rode) with a noticeable jerk—even with a scope of more than 5:1. Comparing the behavior of other, more traditional boats in the same anchorage suggests that our centroid of windage is well forward, and that the cutaway foot and high-aspect keel offer limited resistance to the turn.

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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