January 2017

Risk Management and Renting Adventure

The 2015-2016 Clipper Race fleet wraps up this year’s around-the-world race at St. Katherine Docks in London. The Clipper Race sets no sailing experience requirements for its crews, who set out on the 40,000 nautical-mile race aboard 75-foot, ocean-racing yachts.

Subscribers Only — Oceans may interconnect the planet, but they also act as a barrier, isolating the sailors on opposite shores. Some cruisers and racers bridge the gap, while most keep track of international sailing events and incidents online. Well-run international regattas, around-the-world yacht races, and the globalization of the boatbuilding industry help to spread the word, but—despite such publicity—not all sailing trends reach the opposite shore. That’s why the crew at Practical Sailor does its best to note what’s trending. Usually, it’s a new boat design or piece of hardware that draws our attention, but in this article, we focus on a seafaring controversy: the growing inclination toward renting adventure.   More...

What’s the Best Anode Material?

When it comes to anodes, there are quite a few options to choose from. We wanted to get to the bottom of the anode debate and find out which ones are good, bad, or the right/wrong kind for specific uses.

Subscribers Only — Every fall, as the hauled-out boats are sardined into boatyards, a walking tour reveals the casualties from the underwater war. Saildrives are deeply pitted and shedding paint. Bottom paint is burned near seacocks. Folding props no longer fold. Most often, these losses are blamed on the zinc anodes—or lack of them.   More...

Measuring Anode and Cathode Degradation

When it comes to anodes, there are quite a few options to choose from. We wanted to get to the bottom of the anode debate and find out which ones are good, bad, or the right/wrong kind for specific uses.

Subscribers Only — The anodes were cleaned, weighed, and installed on 2-foot lengths of 3/4-inch, copper pipe (type M), which were also weighed. We hung the samples between slips in the mid-Chesapeake Bay near Rockhold Creek for one year, cleaning quarterly to mimic light use. At the end of the test period, the samples were cleaned with a plastic scraper and scrub brush, and their interiors were scrubbed with a snugly fitted multi-knotted rope. Testers gave them a light acid cleaning to loosen barnacle residue and scrubbed them again before weighing them. We also measured potential driving force and current for each anode before and after exposure. Salinity at the test site varied from brackish to seawater salty. We will be testing in full-strength salt water for a followup article.   More...

PS Tests Adhesive Removers

The test products were used to remove the lens from an aluminum hatch.

Subscribers Only — Many years ago, one of our editors had an old wooden boat with lovely wooden handrails just inside the companionway that his sailing partner decided could use new varnish. The original coat, which was peeling around the base and worn where hands had gripped it, was sanded smooth and meticulously coated with varnish. Subsequent coats were applied according to the process that had served well for years—varnish, scuff, wipe, varnish, scuff, wipe . . . repeat.   More...

Anchor Shackle Re-Test Modifies Initial Findings

Practical Sailor carried out its shackle load testing (above) at J.L. Robertson’s in Australia. The test shackle is retained by larger shackles, then pulled horizontally until it fails. Testers recorded elongation throughout the pull, as well as the failure point. In industry standard tests, the diameter of the attachment should not be greater than the pin diameter of the tested shackle.

Subscribers Only — In the August 2015 and October 2016 issues, we reported the preliminary results of our anchor-shackle tests. However, more recent testing has raised questions about the conclusions—most notably our Best Choice designation of the Peer-Lift brand anchor shackles, sold by Peerless.   More...

Editors’ Picks: Winter Reading for Sailors

Practical Sailor editors have put together a roundup of marine-related books that we think are deserving of a spot in your library. Most are new titles, and they run the gamut from fiction to how-to guides. Enjoy.   More...

Bottom Paints for Freshwater Sailors

Only a few paints that we tested on Lake Superior had significant slime growth.

I am a relative novice to sailing, and my new-ish boyfriend is thinking about bringing his boat to Lake Superior, Mich. He’s one of those sailors who needs the best of everything, and he hopes to race, with me as crew. He asked me to inquire with the local racers what bottom paint they used, but there seemed to be no real agreement. Some use no paint at all. Does he even need any bottom paint?   More...

Mailport: Vesper AIS and ‘noise’, Helio Shower, & More!

The apps that work with Vesper’s AIS devices feature AIS status pages (Android, above left; iOS, above right), which show the received signal strength (RSSI) and how efficiently the radio-frequency power is being transmitted (VSWR).

Subscribers Only — In regard to your December 2016 review of the Vesper AIS products: We’ve used the Vesper XB-8000 for some time now with exceptional results. Be aware, though, that if you are using a masthead antenna with LED navigation lights, such as a masthead tricolor, it can create electrical “noise” that can reduce the effectiveness of the AIS send/receive capabilities. We had this happen using an Imtra LED masthead light. When we switched back to a standard incandescent bulb, the problem disappeared. Vesper’s technical support was extremely helpful in diagnosing this, and the XB-8000 even has a built-in display showing signal noise to verify this.   More...

Durabak Nonskid Coating Long-term Test Update

We applied Durabak’s textured nonskid coating to a test boat’s coachroof in 2011 (above, left). Five years later (above, center and right), the change in the paint’s color over time is evident, and it’s time to recoat the nonskid.

In the January 2012 issue, we evaluated the application ease and traction performance of do-it-yourself nonskid options. A few months prior to the report, a Practical Sailor tester applied the test’s Best Choice pick, Durabak, to the coachroof of his Chesapeake Bay-based 1978 Union 36; this served as a real-world test of the coating system’s application ease and coating longevity. That field test has reached the five-year mark, so we wanted to offer an update on the coating’s long-term performance.   More...

Caught Between Two Homers

Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo’s report on risk management in this month’s issue sent me scouring the Internet for the origins of “risk.” Most dictionaries trace the word back to the 17th-century Italian “riscare” or “rischiare,” translated as “to run into danger.”   More...