Mailport: Headsets, Factory AC, Cowboy Coffee



A few months ago we purchased the Eartec UL2S UltraLITE Wireless Microphone System. We tested them at home and detected a slight and occasional buzz. I phoned Eartec and the customer service provided by Adam Carlson was fantastic. He immediately emailed me a return shipping label and a couple days later I sent them off. Within an hour or two of them being in transit to the company Adam emailed that the replacement was in transit. The next weekend we used them for what is often a fraught mooring at SF Bay’s Angel Island State Park. Calmly talking to each other made the task so much easier! Highly recommend the product.

Robert Larson
Wanderlust, Gulfstar 37
San Francisco, CA


Regarding “Air Conditioning for Sailboats,” (PS June 2018) We have a 1998 Beneteau Oceanis 321. We bought the boat in 2015. The first owner installed a Mermaid M6 6,500 BTU air conditioner shortly after he bought the boat. It has a heat cycle. It is designed to cool 550 cubic feet. We keep the boat on Lake Erie and sail six months a year. It works very well. No major repairs. The only repairs have been that we have had to replace the water pump in 2016 and 2022 due to wear and tear on the impeller.

We use the heat cycle in the spring and the fall. We leave it on most of the time at our dock. It keeps the humidity down in the boat. We have two effective 12v fans that we can run when we are not on shore power. We run it off 15 amp, 115 volt shore power.

I agree with the advice in your article and I would add the following suggestions.

1. If at all possible buy a sailboat with factory A/C. The installation should be neater and easier to maintain. As the article states, most faults are with the installation. The yard who installed ours did a good job but I have seen many others that are less than seamanlike.

2. If installing an A/C unit, ensure you have an easy way to bleed air out of the water inlet plumbing to the pump. We have to bleed the system every spring after winter haulout. It is a pain in our boat. There are self priming pumps available but they are two to three times more expensive.

3. If installing an A/C unit, ensure you have a relatively easy way to clean the inlet water filter strainer. We have to clean the strainer about once a month in the summer. It is a pain on our boat.

4. If you are installing an A/C unit, ensure you install effective sound proofing. Ours is a bit more noisy than the factory A/C units I have experience with.

Mark Corson
Moya-Manzi, Beneteau 31
Cleveland, OH


Regarding your blog post “Adventures in Onboard Coffee,” we make cowboy coffee ashore and mix a raw egg with the grounds. If simmered gently, the egg coagulates into a coffee omelet capturing the majority of the grounds. When done pour a teaspoon of cold water over the omelet and it sinks, leaving clear coffee to be poured. This is great for a calm anchorage, probably cooks too long to be effective offshore.

Lou Kates
via PS Online
Cleveland, OH


I use grocery store cold brew mixed with room temperature water. Luke warm coffee is an acquired taste. When I can I purchase Vietnamese instant coffee. It is very sweet and creamy but is also loaded with caffeine. I suspect that any method that uses coffee grounds contributes greatly to pollution as most cruisers will have few options but to dump their “biodegradable” grounds into pristine waters.

Daniel Swords
via PS Online

Darrell Nicholson
Darrell Nicholson is Director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division and the editor of Practical Sailor. A lifelong thalassophile, he grew up sailing everything from El Toro dinghies to classic Morgans on Miami's Biscayne Bay. In the early 90s, he left a newspaper job to sail an old gaff-rigged ketch across the Pacific and has been writing about boats and the sea ever since. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him at