Mailport: January 2013

Bubi Bottle Feedback LED Lighting TipDIY JackstandsPreventing MildewHunting CrocsStanding Rigging QRadar ReflectorThat's my boat!ClarificationCorrection


I recently saw the October 2012 Chandlery review of the Bubi bottle ( and ordered one. Despite problems ordering through Pay Pal (I ultimately went through, I got one of the bottles, and can tell you that it works great. When youre finished using it, you can roll it up and stick it in your pocket. It made a great crew holiday stocking stuffer!

Dieter Hugel
s/v Tigi Too
Lake Pontchartrain, La.

I recently bought a folding bike for a family cruise aboard my Tanton 43. I outfitted the bike with a pair of waterproof LED lights with built-in handlebar straps, but once I got underway, the red light quickly found its way to a lifeline stanchion behind the helm. And since then, Ive strategically added more of them to various stanchions around the deck. Ive even bought a high-intensity model designed for mountain bikes that I point toward the mainsail for trimming at night.

I love these things, and now I have a dozen. They are bright, cheap, waterproof, and nearly indestructible. My current favorite for reading charts at the helm is the Seattle Sports Blazer Red Rear Bike Light (, which sells for $8 at REI ( Id like to see a review of other bike lights in a future issue of your magazine.

John Konrad, Tanton 43

Via email

Congrats to Gene Smith (PS Mailport, December 2012) for pulling his boat through Hurricane Sandy.

An improvement on his DIY jack-stand design, for those who plan to make their own, would be to buy one more 8-foot 2×4, cut it in half, and use it to make a knee brace running just under the handybilly to complete the triangle and keep the stands main legs from falling toward the keel, should the boat rock over to one side or float up. Its always best to be the one who does the final check on your boats stands, since a boatyard is a very hectic place just before a storm.

Capt. Phil Hardwick

Hurricane Hugo survivor

Charleston, S.C.

In regards to your article on chemical desiccan’ts (PS, November 2012): I have been mooring-out a boat in Puget Sound since 1995 and turned to calcium chloride products to combat dampness due to the absence of AC power. I have used Dri-Z-Air (, DampCheck (, and DampRid ( My selection of refill material has always been dictated by price and availability, always purchased at a military commissary, and frequently with a coupon. However, I found the Dri-Z-Air dehumidifier pot to be my holder of choice as it presents more of the calcium chloride to the surrounding air, giving a greater moisture recovery.

I used one aboard my San Juan 28 for 11 years and now use three aboard my Tayana Vancouver 42, located high in the galley, saloon, and forward berth. I empty the pots during my boat-checks and before sailing; this has succeeded in controlling mildew.

What does PS recommend to minimize mildew during long offshore passages? My recent research found two incidents of boats sailing from Hawaii to Alaska and Washington incurring unacceptably high levels of mildew on their interiors.

Mike Hirko

Destiny, Tayana Vancouver 42

Gig Harbor, Wash.

Offshore, proper ventilation and hull insulation are the keys to keeping mildew at bay. If you allow humidity belowdecks, and there isn’t enough solar heating to keep the boat interior warmer than outside temps, mildew will happen. In cooler weather, heat helps a lot, but thats often not practical underway.

In the December 2012 issue, you reviewed sailing shoes. One of the test products, Crocs Ace Boating shoe, is my all-time favorite deck shoe. Unfortunately, my last pair lost their grip (rubber hardened) mid-2010. Since then, I have searched in vain to find another pair. Can you please tell me where you found them?

Rob Powell

1976 Ericson 35-2

Boston, Mass.

Our test pair was supplied by the manufacturer, Crocs. As we noted in the article, the style is no longer being produced, but there are a limited number of them still on the market. Using Googles shopping search, we found the Crocs Ace Boating Shoe in select sizes and colors at a few online retail outlets, including

I have a Morgan 382 with Navtec wire rigging and turnbuckles. The boat spent most of its life in the Pacific Northwest, and the standing rigging is more than 20 years old. I bought her used, and I think some of the rigging may be original (34 years old). But it looks great: no barber-poling, no loose strands, no cracks on the fittings, no spots at the swages where water collects. I sail off the Pacific Coast for a few days each year, but mostly cruise inland waters of the Salish Sea.

I regularly read advice suggesting I should replace the standing rigging every 10 years, but I am almost afraid to touch stuff that looks so good. What advice would you give?

Terry Thatcher

Via email

We recommend having a good rigger inspect your rigging for you. (Brion Toss,, is a great resource in your area.) There is no hard and fast rule on rigging replacement, but in our opinion, 10 years is a little too soon, given the kind of sailing that you describe, if corrosion is not apparent; however, 20 years is definitely a concern, when you consider cycle loading. Always remember that the way stainless steel looks is not a good guide for judging integrity; shiny surfaces can be hiding flaws and weak spots.

If it were us, we would not trust 34-year-old stainless-steel rigging in an offshore passage. The swages in particular would be a concern.

For your limited sailing-and with a riggers advice-you might get by with replacing only the essential stays first, but we would still consult a rigger before going that route.

I own an Etap 37, which PS reviewed in the September 2004 issue. Im looking to install a new radar reflector on my boat. Can you please advise what would be the best radar reflector for my boat? The boat has AIS, a 50-foot Seldn mast with two spreaders, and a radar on a 10-foot Edson pole.

Waldemar Wasiliew

Elizabeth, Etap 37

We last reported on radar reflectors in the Aug. 15, 2001 issue. (Looks like we are overdue for an update!) In that test, the Tri-Lens was our top pick for a passive radar reflector. Check it out at

We saw in the Practical Sailor November 2012 issue (in the keel article) a picture of a beautiful boat that we happen to be the proud owners of! The boat is a 41 Royal Huisman aluminum sloop, designed by Sparkman and Stevens. Six boats in all were built in 1978 and 1979. The prototype was one of the Morning Clouds of Sir Edward Heath, former UK prime minister. Another of these boats was solo-circumnavigated twice by David Scott Cowper in the early 1980s, the fastest journey ever, both ways.

Sif Konradsdottir and

Olafur Valsson

Iceland and Belgium

There was apparently a mixup with my posting to your website and its publishing in the November 2012 issue. My comment was with regards to diesel fuel, although ethanol in gasoline is a pain as well. Your suggestions were largely still appropriate, as the biggest issue in filtering crap and separating water from diesel is still the flow rate and dealing with 200 gallons or more of fuel.

Rick Fricchione

Via email

Sorry for the mixup. The offending editor has been summarily flogged.

The holding tank chemical article in the December 2012 issue listed an incorrect phone number for Forespar. The companys correct phone number is 800/266-8820.

Where Credit is Due:
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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