Mailport July 2011 Issue

Mailport: July 2011

Drain Surgery

Photos courtesy of Fred Bagley

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.

Rob Ransone’s lament about difficult-to-clean cockpit drains (PS, May 2011) struck a chord with me as the drains on our Caliber 38, while generous in diameter, have a right-angle bend that clogs easily and is tough to clean.

One solution: Search out your local laparoscopic surgeon, the ones who for example remove gallbladders through tiny incisions using video cameras and long, skinny instruments. Most hospitals use plastic instruments for these operations, and they all must be discarded as they cannot be re-sterilized. These instruments make awesome tools for going into narrow, deep places, like cockpit drains with right angles or under your engine.

Ask your local surgeon (it helps if he or she is a sailor) to have the operating room team give you the tool instead of discarding it. Clean it in boiling water, and you have one of the most useful tools you will ever put on your boat.

Fred Bagley
Catamount, Caliber 38
Mendon, Vt.

Practical Sailor attempted to contact Teak Marine by email a few times, but the company has not yet responded. Have any other readers had good or bad experiences with this company that you’d like to share? Post them online or email them to

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Comments (1)

Hey. This letter is two jammed together with some text missing.

Regarding the epoxy testing, please also consider testing products from Progressive Epoxies ( The proprietor, Paul Orman, has a rather cacophonic website, but he seems to have a very good product line at practical prices. I'm doing a huge hull blister re-lamination using their "Premium No Blush" cycloaliphatic epoxy, and I'd love to know how that stacks up to West. I've never had trouble with West, but I want the best epoxy on my bottom & blush is just more work. Are non-blushing epoxies really a free lunch? I considered Raka, East, System 3, and MAS before settling. Initial results are good, but I cannot test like PS can! Thansk!

Posted by: PAUL S | September 1, 2011 1:12 PM    Report this comment

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