April 2017

Best Boat Bottom Paint 2017

Be sure to read your paint’s application instructions. After test showed thinner coats yielded better performance in some of its newer paints, Pettit now recommends 1/4-inch nap or even 1/8-inch nap foam rollers, instead of the usual 3/8-inch nap.

Subscribers Only — The list of contradictions that define our sailing affliction is long. We need an anchor that buries deep but can be freed at a moment’s notice. We want a sealant that sticks to anything, but releases its grip for easy disassembly. We want a boat that can weather any storm, and still make way under sail in a whisper. And we want an antifouling paint that repels every sea creature, but will never harm the sea.   More...

Tests Include Panel Testing & Field Trials

We supplement our panel testing with head-to-head field trials, usually limited to two paints per boat. Our test boats are quartered to ensure equal exposure of both paints.

Our test fiberglass panels are taped into sections and paints are applied following the manufacturer’s instructions. Testers rate the paints with no reference to the paint name or manufacturer.   More...

Conductive Greases vs. Corrosion

Subscribers Only — Many marine installations call for dielectric grease to seal out moisture and prevent oxidation at electrical connections. During the course of our multi-part reporting on greases, several readers asked if a conductive grease would be better for these connections. We have reviewed several conductive greases (see “Marine Wiring: Are the Pricey Options Worth the Cost?” Practical Sailor, December 2010), testing their ability to protect wires and terminals for extended periods in a salt spray chamber,…   More...

Used Boat Review: Vineyard Vixen 29

Designer Tom Hale, took inspiration from the lines of Nat Herreshoff’s Rozinante, and gave his boat the more contemporary split underbody that separated the keel from the skeg and rudder (left). Its 8.5-foot beam makes it trailerable without a special permit in the U.S.. The original design had single lifelines (below), although some owners have retrofitted double lifelines to offer more security.

Subscribers Only — The Vineyard Vixen 29 was born of another time—a fact that confers upon her some limits, yes, but also an undeniable magic. She is a canoe-stern monohull, 23 feet on the waterline and usually sloop-rigged, that arguably delivers as seakindly a sailing experience as any vessel of her size. While her cabin may edge over toward the camping side of the comfort continuum, her cockpit is more spacious and accommodating than that of some 40-footers, including Passports and Valiants. And while she won’t be the first on the course to get going in light air, once the breeze is up past 8 or 10, the Vixen’s romp is incomparable.   More...

Know Your Raft’s Checkup Regimen

Spring is when many sailors have to bite the bullet and have their liferaft inspected, an expense that costs 10 to 30 percent of the price they paid for the raft—or more.   More...

Miami Boat Show Highlights

Chris Burton displays the Rainman’s watermaker system, including the all-in-one 12-volt pressure supply system and the reverse osmosis unit (lower right).

At the Miami Boat Show this year we stumbled upon a morning ritual that made the circus-like atmosphere seem almost sane. The first stop was always the “Visit Columbia” booth, where we sipped free coffee and chatted about export possibilities. Next stop was the Max1 miracle glue booth, where the German glue-meister repaired our broken world with two drops and a flair that turned more surreal with each deep breath. Finally, we would make a loop around the floating docks, where a fleet of rocket-fueled Cigarettes brought home a reassuring truth: the faster any peril approaches, the faster it is gone. Caffeinated, glue-stoned, and temporarily enlightened, we we’d set a course for the Strictly Sail, in search of anything else that might further bolster a sailor’s noble aspirations.   More...

A Wood Finish for the “Efficient” Sailor

I have a boat with a good amount of teak. As a lazy—er­­, efficient! that’s the word, efficient—owner I have waited out the previous owner’s Bristol Finish. This product was great when new, but difficult to patch as it aged. It has finally flaked off after 10 years or so. For me, the most important characteristic for a coating is that it be easy to remove without damaging the teak, and be easily and imperceptibly patched, because coatings don’t go all at once. Also formulations change. It sounds like a mix of Cetol Natural covered by Cetol Gloss is the way to go?   More...

Mailport: Multihull Lover, An Anchor Story, and More!

Randy Grigg’s bright red trimaran Arizona is pictured moored on Machodoc Creek, Va. She is a performance-oriented Chris White 34 Explorer model.

Regarding your recent article on the evolution of the cruising multihull (see PS, March 2017): I have owned a 34-foot Chris White-designed trimaran for the last 10 years and thoroughly enjoy great sailing and exploring shallow waters on the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Chris White’s book The Cruising Multihull is a good resource for those interested in cats and trimarans. My biggest problem with the boat is finding a place to get her out of the water for maintenance. The 24-foot beam is too wide for the local travel lifts. Thanks for the interesting article.   More...

Where Credit is Due: Promariner Steps Up with Inverter Fix

I just wanted to take a moment to pat ProMariner on the back for superb customer service. We appreciated our ProMariner True Sine 1500 for about 6 months when it apparently overheated in our warm engine room. The failure resulted in some melted fuses and burned traces. We were able to repair the unit at sea. When querying PM’s support team about the problem, they insisted on replacing the unit. No hassle, no argument, even though the warm engine room contributed to the melt-down. This customer service is rare in our experience. My hat is off to team ProMariner.   More...

Do You Want to Go Sailing?

The late Sheldon Lance, founder of Defender Marine, stares back enigmatically from the 2017 Defender Marine catalog.

It’s hard to describe the curiosity I felt when I first saw the above photograph on the cover of the 2017 catalog for Defender Marine. The man reminded me of my late grandfather, Howard Nicholson, someone I’d never expect to see on the cover of anything related to boating.   More...