Toilet paper, Vacuflush, and a search for PS testers

June 1, 2011 - Last month’s report on fast-dissolve toilet paper took on a new significance this past week as we began testing Sealand’s Vacuflush toilets, toilets that literally suck waste into the holding tank. The chief advantage of the Vacuflush system is the reduced requirement for water for flushing. These units required very little water to flush, but this also makes it harder for toilet paper to dissolve.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 09:23AM Comments (11)

Summer Dreams, Brad Van Liew, and Moitessier

May 27, 2011 - I can feel it. This will be a very big summer. The solstice still lies ahead, and look what the year has brought us already. The America’s Cup slips into San Francisco. Brad Van Liew sashays into La Rochelle with a clean sweep in the Velux 5 Oceans around the world race.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 05:37PM Comments (0)

Deadly Accident, Swing Keels, and Mandatory PFDs

May 20, 2011 - This is a sad story about a sailboat accident that didn't have to happen. Apart from the obvious problems with a night-time adventure (likely involving alcohol) with 10 people on a 22-foot sailboat, a couple of details caught my attention.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 03:37PM Comments (22)

Big Adventures in Small Boats

April 26, 2011 - I've always admired adventurers in small boats. If I were to trace my sea addiction it would likely be to Kon-Tiki, a book that fell into my hands as a boy. So I was happy this month to get the chance to spend some time aboard Kevin Jeffrey's Norseboat 21.5, the sort of craft that inspires small boat adventures. In fact, two Royal Marines were so taken by Jeffrey's Norseboat 17.5, that they sailed one through the Northwest Passage.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 11:24AM Comments (4)

Welcome (Part II) and Meet the Skipper

April 8, 2011 - In keeping with this blog's theme of offering a glimpse of what's going on "inside" Practical Sailor, this post—our second since we've revamped the new website—will offer a brief introduction to who is behind these missives. Most of the posts from the old Inside Practical Sailor blog have been transferred over here, but a few entries, including biographies of other crew at Practical Sailor have not. We'll find a home for these at the Practical-sailor.com soon.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 03:53PM Comments (1)

Welcome to the new Practical Sailor Website

March 18, 2011 - Practical Sailor is pleased to announce its completely redesigned website. Practical Sailor is the independent resource for sailboat and gear tests for the serious sailor.
Posted by at 04:33PM Comments (28)

Port of San Diego Publishes Antifouling Paint Study

February 7, 2011 - San Diego port officials forwarded the “Final Report on Safer Alternatives to Copper Alternatives to Antifouling Paints for Marine Vessels” to the EPA on Feb. 4. Presenting data on a wide range of alternative antifouling paints that contain limited or no harmful biocides, the 152-page report is based on both controlled panel tests and field tests on several different powerboats and sailboats that berth in the port district.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 10:04AM Comments (1)

Quickline Recalls Cast Stainless-steel Flip Swivels

December 15, 2010 - Quality Marine Importer, Quickline, Recalls UFS8 Swivel Designed For Use With 1/4- and 5/16-inch Anchor Chains.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 10:18AM Comments (0)

Build Your Own Long-range WiFi Antenna for Less than $100

November 22, 2010 - As most sailors have found, trying to use a typical laptop WiFi card to connect to a marina or yacht club hotspot doesn’t cut it. A more acceptable compromise is an amplified WiFi card which can theoretically boost transmission power to about 1,000 milliwatts.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 11:13AM Comments (10)

New High-Tech Rope from Yale

October 13, 2010 - Tom Yale, of Yale Cordage, unveils the company’s new Ph.D. (Performance Handling Delivered) single-braid Spectra 1000/polyester line.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 11:42AM Comments (0)

Attack of the Mutant Barnacles?

August 31, 2010 - Several alert Practical Sailor readers passed on news reports regarding new research by Professor Anders Blomberg at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Blomberg reports that his team, along with researchers in Finland, has discovered the gene that reacts to a medetomidine, a veterinary medicine that has been shown to prevent barnacle larvae from attaching to boat hulls.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 12:31PM Comments (0)

PS Reader’s Letter Sparks West Marine Tether Recall

June 30, 2010 - In response to a Practical Sailor query regarding the design of a popular offshore safety tether, West Marine issued a voluntary recall of its tether (Model 9553512).
Posted by Ann Key at 12:43PM Comments (1)

The Ultimate Underwater Camera Housing Endurance Test

June 15, 2010 - Annie Greenberg’s Associated Press story of the underwater camera housing that kept its Nikon camera in pristine condition and survived a 2,000-mile voyage, including a possible turtle attack, kept me chuckling this morning. Sounds like a good protocol for a Practical Sailor test. According to the story, the camera and its housing were lost off the coast of Aruba by a diver, only to arrive months later in Key West, Fla. The housing was encrusted with…
Posted by Darrell Nicholso at 03:09PM Comments (0)

Online Learning Worked for Me

June 14, 2010 - A little voice said “check your ego at the door” when I plunked down my $700 for the Mariners Learning Systems’ online course for OUPV, Master’s 100-Ton Upgrade and Sailing Endorsement.
Posted by Tim Cole at 05:11PM Comments (0)

Abby Sunderland Awaits Rescue

June 11, 2010 - Like any sailor, I was very relieved to hear that Abby Sunderland (right) was alive and well after a harrowing dismasting in the Indian Ocean. The 16-year-0ld teen was attempting to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate when her boat was dismasted in the Indian Ocean.
Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 05:20PM Comments (1)