In the quest for speed, sailors endlessly debate sail trim, the best cloth, the hottest cut, and which folding prop will do everything. In reality, nothing slows you down more than a dirty bottom, the primary motivation behind Practical Sailors trademark bottom paint trials.
Our upcoming report on lifelines, stanchions, and stanchion bases brought to mind several past articles we've run on stainless steel failures. Although high-quality stainless can provide years of reliable service, sailors need to be aware of its limitations. Owners of used boats with hardware of an unknown age should be particularly scrupulous when carrying out routine inspection of stainless-steel rigging and hardware.