While the polar vortex was pummeling the northern states last winter (ahhh, remember those days?), Practical Sailor contributor Drew Frye was knee deep in glycol antifreeze and engine coolants. One of the test's most important findings was that how you use antifreeze is as important as what product you use. The only sure way to know how effective your antifreeze will be this winter is to measure the glycol as it comes out the other end of the plumbing. There are a couple ways to do this.
If youre in the used boat market, late fall usually offers a good opportunity for buyers. Owners in snow-bound states face haulout and storage expenses for a boat they will only put on the market again in the spring. But before you can start filtering through the used-boat websites looking for great deals youll want to get a clear picture of what your insurance options are. In the upcoming January 2020 issue, we explore the topic of consequential damage, a potential loophole in some policies that your insurer might use to deny coverage.
Once a boat has been shored and blocked, its a good idea to layer tarps or plastic sheeting beneath it. That keeps cleaners, paint, paint removers, and other chemicals from contaminating the ground. Layering the tarps means you can remove a soiled one and have a clean surface to kneel or stand on.
While many North American sailors have already hauled out their boats for winter, there are plenty of cold-weather diehards who refuse to bow to the season. In a recent issue of Practical Sailor, contributor Drew Frye shares his tips for sailing year round above the frost-line. It has always seemed a shame to me that the great majority of boats in the country are only used in the summer," says Frye, who sails through the winter on Chesapeake Bay. "[In winter] I have the waters virtually to myself.
If youre getting ready to put your boat into storage in a wet or humid location, then youll probably be interested in some of the cheap and easy mildew "cures" we've come upon in our testing. PS tester Drew Frye made a pleasant little discovery when he was researching and testing various anti-mildew protectants. Two inexpensive homemade concoctions did as well as or better than retail formulas that are 20 to 100 times more expensive.
Given boaters' wide range of expectations for anti-corrosion sprays, it is simply impossible for one spray to fit all our needs. Some spray petroleum products are good for loosening bolts, some seal electrical connections, some protect against corrosion, some even claim to improve conductivity. Unfortunately, not all of these sprays live up to their lofty claims.
If you are planning to add a new mainsail or genoa during the Northern hemisphere winter, now is the most likely time to be able to negotiate a good price. While the migration to high-volume lofts abroad has smoothed the peaks and valleys of sail prices, there are still seasonal bargains to be had. Generally, the lull occurs October through December. By the time spring rolls around and the sailmakers find themselves swimming…
Although you can allow your varnish and hull paint to fade, crack, or peel with no more penalty than the disdain of those who mistake shine for soul, you dont want to let your non-skid deck paint lose its grip. Even the most soulful boat evokes a sense of pity if its owner is lying flat on their back asking for help.
Sometimes it is not what has been added to your fuel that matters, but what is missing. Anywhere between 5 to 20 percent of the contents of a portable or installed polyethylene tank can vanish during the course of a year, the result of breathing losses and permeation. The remaining fuel is lower in octane, contains fewer of the volatiles that are so essential for easy starting, and has reduced solvency for gum and varnish. It often looks perfectly good, but is perfectly rotten and potentially harmful as fuel.
As any cold-weather sailor will tell you, the battle against the elements involves more than just bibs and a jacket. Keeping out the wind and wet begins with underlayers, boots, and gloves. Whether youre dreaming of high latitude adventures, or just want to keep sailing through October, weve got you covered. Here is a summary of past reports on cold-weather sailing apparel.
The problem with survival suits is that theres no telling when the big wave or brutal wind gust will hit, and it may not leave time to don a survival suit. Some survival suits have sewn-in gloves that make it almost impossible to turn on the radio or deploy a personal locator beacon. Thats why wearing a comfortable, breathable drysuit makes sense. It leaves you much more ready to manage the boat in heavy weather. And should the unexpected happen, your odds of survival in the water are better than they would be in foul weather gear.