March 2017

Multihull Madness

The lashed-together Polynesian voyaging catamaran Hokule’a (top) stands in stark contrast to the crossbow-taught carbon-fiber hull and rig of the Gunboat 62 (bottom).

Subscribers Only — Some say that markets afford a true test of a product’s value, if so, then boat shows are a great place to test the waters. Over the last two decades, in-water show attendees have noticed how catamarans and trimarans have taken over more and more slip space. Apparently, a growing number of boat buyers are convinced that two or three hulls are better than one. Skeptics still question whether this is a case of design breakthrough or more an example of a marketing success. We think it’s probably a good dose of each, and it’s time to take a close look at what’s really driving this multihull mania.   More...

Fast Cats Call for a Constant Watch on the Main

One of Team Oracle’s foiling catamarans pushes the limits of stability during the team’s preparation for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda.

Subscribers Only — When the heeling moment of a multihull overwhelms the righting moment, the boat’s going to turn upside down. The optimist points out that you’ll still be afloat, albeit inverted. The bottom line is the cruise or race is definitely over and the trick is not getting trapped under in the cockpit, side deck netting or tangle of a crumpled spar and rigging.   More...

Propeller Paints that Last

For our field trials, we used a twin engine catamaran and one prop with Velox (left), and one prop with Prop Gold (right).

Subscribers Only — A cheap, effective antifouling paint for a propeller is as rare as a good pun. The coating must not only ward off all marine growth, it must present a smooth slick surface that can stand up to the constant water friction when the boat is under power. And in the case of a folding prop, the coating must also adhere in nooks and crannies and, in some cases, even withstand metal-to-metal contact. These demands are well beyond the reach of any run-of-the-mill marine coating. Thus, our search for—wait for it—a prop(er) paint.   More...

Rope-to-Chain Splice Test

Keeping a rope-to-chain splice from jamming in your windlass takes on a new twist when you try to maintain the same strength as high-tensile chain.

Subscribers Only — If you’ve ever struggled to retrieve a balky rope-to-chain back splice with your windlass, you’ve probably wondered if there wasn’t a better approach. The problem becomes especially acute if you’ve upgraded to higher tensile chain and want to use nylon rode with the same approximate tensile strength.   More...

Galley Gadgets

The charterboat chef Jade Konst, one of the experts we consulted in our report on galley design, relies on variety of stainless steel products. That report and other galley-related tests are available in a three-volume ebook at www.practical-sailor.com/books.

The combination of metal elements in stainless steel make stainless the metal of choice in the harsh marine environment. Stainless steel is comprised primarily of iron combined with a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium. Other metals, such as nickel, molybdenum, titanium and copper are added to the alloy to enhance strength and toughness. Marine grade stainless resists corrosion and maintains its strength at high temperatures. Stainless steel is commonly used in boat rigging, boat fixtures and fittings, and stainless steel items are also an excellent choice in the boat galley. Stainless steel appliances are a long-time staple in commercial kitchens and homes; they’re long-lasting, easy to clean and germ resistant. Note, though, that while stainless is corrosion resistant, it is not corrosion proof and saltwater must be rinsed off galley items with a fresh water to prevent corrosion. Saltwater can rust kettles, knives and thermoses through oxidation. Practical Sailor editors have selected the following stainless steel items as top choices for attractive and long-lasting additions for the galley.   More...

Winter Sailing Apparel

Mustang Survival’s EP 6.5 Racing Dry Suit is the crème de la crème of its drysuit line. The dry suit is part of an impressive line of EP 6.5 apparel and gear including dinghy smocks, dry bags, and foul weather gear designed for the professional racing sailor.   More...

Tef-Gel vs. Lanocote

In the static corrosion tests, a portion (lefthand side) of the coupons were coated. The Tef-Gel samples fared slightly better than those that were coated with Lanocote.

Subscribers Only — In this update of our review of greases (see PS February 2017) we compare Lanocote and Tef-Gel, greases that are used to prevent metal corrosion. Tef-Gel, from Ultra Safety Systems, is often prescribed to prevent stainless-steel fasteners from seizing in aluminum. Lanocote, made by Forespar, is commonly applied to prevent seizing in turnbuckles and other components that need lubrication.   More...

Astute Views on the Art of Sailing from around the Globe

As a (long term and digital) subscriber I find your articles extremely valuable, but most of all the bottom paint evaluations. I live in Punta Gorda, 50 miles to your south and have to do a bottom job in the next two months. Any recent observations/suggestions on a good ablative that for the coast of Southwest Florida?   More...

Eliminating Radio Interference from Fridge Compressors

I’m a marine installer and we’ve come across another boat with a radio-frequency (RF) issue coming from a Frigoboat refrigeration system. The boat started with two Danfoss compressors and when one was replaced recently, the SSB whines when the new compressor is running. We’ve run though the normal RF isolation procedures, but haven’t had too much luck yet. It seems like RF leakage might be a good topic to explore. What really works to solve it? What installation procedures are necessary?   More...