Brush choice depends on what the brush’s job will be (transferring paint, smoothing paint, etc.), the user’s preferences, and the project budget. The best brush isn’t necessarily the best brush for the project. You wouldn’t use a $40 brush that requires meticulous cleaning to paint the bilge or apply bottom paint, just as you wouldn’t use a throw-away chip brush to lay a final coat of varnish on the toerail—at least we wouldn’t.
Despite advances in imaging technology, keel bolts are still very difficult to fully inspect without a bit of surgery. Fortunately, some hints of trouble are obvious, like large gaps in the keel-stub joint, weeping rust stains near the keel-stub joint or crumbling bolt-ends in the bilge. A typical problem that many owners face is the ever-widening gap between the keel and stub, often referred to as a smile, since it usually appears at the bow of the boat and assumes the sardonic curve of a slack tightrope.
For those who care about reducing their impact on the ocean, the annual ritual of applying bottom paint this raises a question: If we want to stick with time-tested copper biocide in our paint (as opposed to copper-free antifouling), which type of paint-hard or ablative-is easier on the environment?
Noise impacts individuals differently. If your sailing partner complains about a noise that doesn't really bother you, it might not necessarily something that they can simply get used to. You will have to address it through active sound reduction measures. There are three basic approaches to making your boat quieter. The first step is to use flexible mounts to isolate the vibrating machinery from the hull. These help prevent the transmission of vibration through the solid structure of the boat, and the consequent reverberation of hull sections that can act like amplifiers. Correcting any engine-shaft misalignment will certainly help. The next step is to surround the noise-producing machinery in a tight, insulated enclosure to reduce air-transmitted noise. The final step is to line enclosed living quarters, such as cabins, with sound-absorbent materials.
After the challenges of the past couple of years, it's no surprise that many new sailors are regarding the cruising life away as an antidote to the madness ashore. We seem to have reached an interesting period in history when a retirement boom, a surplus of fixer-upper sailboats, the normalization of remote work, and a generation that celebrates the unconventional life is making cruising sailing—an endeavor once reserved to adventurers stricken by South Seas fantasies—seem like a perfectly logical path. While there is no shortage of books that tell you what you need to do to go cruising, but very few seem to caution about what not to do or what to avoid. Here are a few things that I found get in the way of a long-term sailing escape.
Six years ago (“Marine Sealant Adhesion Tests,” published November 2016) Practical Sailor began exposing samples of marine sealants to weather and sunlight to compare...
Technical Editor Ralph Naranjos recent market survey of mechanical rigging terminals in the June 2015 issue of Practical Sailor demonstrated just how long these terminals can last if they are installed correctly. That report came close on the heels of rigger Brion Toss's photo essay on what can go wrong if they are not assembled correctly, or assembled without any sealant. Yet manufacturers are still not entirely clear where they stand on the use of sealants in these fittings.
One of the easiest ways to improve the furling efficiency of all types of furlers is tackle the line-lead challenge. It starts with the angle that line leads on and off the drum, progresses into a sweeping arc as the line makes its way to the cockpit and ends with another change in direction that leads the line to the hands of a crew member or a winch drum.
For many in the northern hemisphere winter is the off-season, which means it's a great time inspect safety gear. Lifejackets and throwable rescue aids like the Lifesling which incorporate materials that degrade over time deserve particularly close attention. Even new safety equipment deserves close inspection. Probably the most startling safety equipment failure we've experienced was that of a newly bought child's safety harness with a polypropylene tether that immediately broke under very little load.
In all too many cases, a portlight leak on an old boat is a symptom of a larger problem. The underlying cause likely is that the holes in the monocoque structure create a loss of stiffness, resulting in excess cabin house flex. Rig loads carried to chainplates, mid-boom sheeting arrangements, and genoa track-induced flex can cause significant deflection.