Mailport: Tourniquets at Sea


Tourniquets at Sea

Tartan 37

Anthony Foglio

I’m an emergency medical technician with a local volunteer fire company and wanted to comment on your recent Inside PS blog post, Improvised First Aid Afloat.

The writer’s comments about tourniquets is factually correct but it is important to clarify two important points: 1. Tourniquets should only be used as a last resort for uncontrolled bleeding; 2. It is important to record the time the tourniquet is applied and make sure that information goes with the patient to the trauma center.

Medical theory and guidance have changed on tourniquets. Today, it is recommended that you tighten the tourniquet until ALL bleeding stops. And usage for true arterial bleeding is widely accepted for situations of less than two hours.

Add a tourniquet to your first aid kit and know how to use correctly – it is less likely to accidentally loosen or inflict additional tissue damage.

For further training, I would refer you to the American Red Cross, they have a Basic and Advanced First Aid certification, and along with the American Heart Association offer classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Anthony Foglia
Rambunctious, 1981 Tartan 37
Tuckerton, NJ

Cast vs. Drop-Forged Anchors

corrosion on anchor

Frank Lanier

In your recent Inside PS blog post, Rethinking Anchor Shaft Strength, you’d certainly want to talk about cast versus drop-forged construction and the difference in performance between the two under bending loads. The original CQR by Simpson-Lawrence was drop-forged, but they did make (maybe Lewmar still does) a cast version, identical in appearance, that they marketed only as a galvanized plow. I have one. It was much less costly and performs as well as the real CQR, but I do ponder the difference in construction. Of course, there are other cast anchors out there too. A real CQR is on my wish list, but for now I’ve convinced myself that, in the mud of the Chesapeake, sudden loading of the shaft and bending is not a big concern.

Bruce Barber
Via Practical Sailor online

We’ve frequently written about the advantage of drop-forged steel over cast alloy in anchor construction, most recently, in the Inside PS blog post, Is Stainless Steel Really the Best Metal for Use in an Anchors? In our view, hot-dip galvanized drop-forged steel has proven to be the most reliable material for anchors. In this process, a low-carbon alloy is shaped by forge-hammering when the metal is red hot. It results in a one-piece shank, or entire anchor.

This is very different from casting, even though the anchors may look the same. In a drop-forged anchor, the fine grain structure in the metal aligns so that the material is stronger and less brittle. The grain structure in cast alloy is more coarse and randomly arranged, making it weaker. According to one studyreferenced by shackle maker Columbus-McKinnon, forged crankshafts are significantly stronger, and more resistant to fatigue.

home built skiff

Parks Masterson

That doesn’t mean all cast and welded anchors are worthless. As we stated in the blog post; Welding low-carbon steel is a proven and reliable technology, but small critical joints that hold some anchors together require the best of a welders skill to make these connections properly. This is one reason why the U.S. Navy inspects small critical welds with X-ray. Many ads claim that an anchor is the worlds best, but very few mention anything about welds being X-rayed for welding flaws. Anchors with poorly executed welds sacrifice quality for price.

The Pitch for C-Links

Regarding your recent article on joining chain segments (see Reliable Chain Connections, PS June 2018), we used C-Links, assembled with 5200 in the fay gap (between the pieces). They were strong and easy to assemble. Evans Starzinger recommends assembling C-Links temporarily with lashings and safety-lines, but we carried a bolt-cutter big enough to cut the chain if we wanted to disassemble the chain sections.

Phil Rink
Cal 2-46, Brightwater
Newport Beach, CA

broken seacock

Frank Lanier

Air Conditioning & BTUs

With regards to your recent report on air conditioning, (see Air Conditioning for Sailors, PS June 2018), I find figuring out the BTUs to be a challenge. Not only is there a cost difference there is a space difference for an internal mount, water-cooled air conditioning unit. Actually, I’d be fine paying more for a high BTU unit in a smaller, lighter package. I have a 34-foot Sea Sprite, this is a traditional design with a 24-foot waterline. A lot different boat, in terms of interior volume, than say a Catalina 34.

I have been told by a professional A/C installer that I need a 16,000 BTU unit and the devastation to the interior for multiple ducts would be substantial. I really wonder about this-16,000 BTU seems big for this boat. Also I do not understand the need for multiple duct outlets that destroy the interior. Why won’t one outlet duct do the work on a smaller boat like mine with some small cabin fans to move the cold around? Admittedly the boat is in Sarasota, Florida with very high summer air and water temps. If you could address the BTU sizing issue in future articles, would be great.

Scott Rimmer
Freedom, Seasprite 34 (cover photo)
Sarasota, Florida

We will be doing a more in depth report on heating and cooling in the future. Estimating size has always been tricky, because it depends on the insulation value of the boat, climate, and how quick you want the boat to cool down. It also depends on window covers and awnings and how much window space you have. Houses, on the other hand, tend to have similar insulation values, and the rate at which they cool is not important because people leave the AC on all summer.

Finally, an AC installer has to be conservative. If he downsizes the unit and the cooling does not meet customer expectations, he is in a pickle. It is safer for him to oversize a little. The problems with oversizing is increased power draw at the dock, possible modifications to the power system (you may need a new panel), less efficient humidification, more noise, more space, and more expense. A 16,000 BTU AC will cool your boat quickly, and 10,000 BTU will probably do a fine job so long as windows are covered and you can wait a little while.

In the case of our tester, he went a little undersized because he wanted to be able to run the boat on 15 amps.

Duct size is specified by the manufacture. Too small and you lose efficiency, too big and the air does not mix well.

You want to blow the cold in high so that it can sink, and draw the return low. The duct area is typically proportional to BTU. Typically a 10,000-16,000 BTU unit will have three or four 4-inch outlets and an equal size return.

We would not want to use a single outlet, because that corner of the boat will be cold, however two ducts can work on a monohull. You can also position a fan near the cold outlet to help spread the cool air; this really helps.

Through-Hull Standards


Michael Macielag

The duplex brass that Beneteau refers to in its response is commonly called DZR Brass, dezincification resistant brass. It is approved by the CE standard but not by US standards. It has a much higher zinc content than the 85-5-5-5 [85 percent copper, 5 percent tin, 5 percent lead, 5 percent zinc] typical of U.S.-made thru-hulls and seacocks. DZR Brass is subject to dezincification, just not as fast as yellow brass. If I recall correctly, DZR Brass is about 20 to 25 percent zinc. The bronze US manufactures use is only about 5 percent zinc. I wouldn’t trust DZR Brass to last much more than five years in saltwater.

Parks Masterson
Glen-L Design Skiff
South Florida

With regards to seacock composition, The American Boat and Yacht Council refers to UL Standard 1121 Marine Through-Hull Fittings and Sea-Valves: The components of a through-hull fitting or sea valve shall be formed of galvanically compatible materials having the strength and resistance to corrosion necessary to withstand intended and abnormal use to which they are likely to be subjected. A part made of drawn brass or machined from brass rod containing more than 15 percent zinc shall be subjected to the 10-Day Moist Ammonia-Air Stress Cracking Test (Section 19). After being tested, a brass part containing more than 15 percent zinc shall show no evidence of cracking or delamination when examined using 25X magnification.

Blakes Seacocks

Regarding Beneteaus recent report on seacocks Beneteau Responds to Seacock Query (Mailport, PS August 2018), my PJ Nautor Swan 43, built in 1970, has bronze Blakes Seacocks.

The boat has been in salt or brackish water since then with a total of a few years on the hard. The seacocks are in perfect condition with a bit of a greenish tarnish. Blakes offers the exact same seacock for sale today.

When you design and build it right, you don’t have to think about it again. Granted, they are not cheap. I do not want to have to think about seacocks when I am offshore in a blow or when I leave the boat in a distant marina for months at a time. It is pretty simple, isn’t it? Why skimp on a seacock?

Michael Macielag
Katyushka, 1970 PJ Swan 43
Chesterton, MD

cal 31

Brian McMahon

Seasickness Cures

With regards to John and Amanda Neals article, Fighting Seasickness, (see PS July 2017) I have used Stugeron for years based upon John and Amandas recommendation and have found it very effective. My crews have used it as well and I would say it is about 85 percent successful. When it gets really nasty I add the electric Relief Band and it seems to really help when the going gets really rough. I also follow a pre-sail dietary regimen, refined over 50 years of sailing offshore, that is very similar to Johns suggestions. I believe a proper diet can a help to delay seasickness in very rough conditions but is not a complete preventative.

Chip Lawson
Passion, 1980 Pearson 40
Seabrook, Texas

We received a number of responses to the Neals’ report on seasickness, including some unconventional remedies ranging from aromatherapy to Rolaids. Many studies have shown a high percentage of sufferers respond positively to a placebo, and our own tests show that effectiveness varies widely among individuals. Bottom line: Keep a variety of cures on hand for guests, and if you find something safe that works for you, don’t fret over the lack of clinical trials confirming that it works.

Water Heater Corrosion

I am a 30-years subscriber to Practical Sailor. I have taken your advice on equipment more times than I can count and you have never steered me wrong. Until now.

In your 2013 test, (see Marine Water Heater Test, PS December 2013 online), you highly recommended the Isotemp water heater, despite its high price. A major advantage, you stated, was its stainless steel construction. Based on your recommendation, I bought one, and within less than a year, the inside rusted so badly that the water coming out turned yellow.

The part that rusted was a long metal tube that contains the temperature sensors as well as the AC heating element. When I first opened the machine, I thought the tank had rusted. It had not. It was just the rust residue that had clung to the stainless. One of the interior welds had also began to rust.

The company initially denied my warranty claim, asserting that I must have left some water in the unit over the winter. (I didn’, but that is actually irrelevant.)

After sending pictures and an email to Isotemp [copying also Practical Sailor], the manufacturer sent a replacement part free of charge. I think it helped that I copied Practical Sailor in those emails.

Now the unit is repaired, it is working well. The insulation is good and keeps water hot to warm a long time. I am a little concerned about the interior welds rusting, but it is a real pain to disconnect everything and haul the unit out for inspection.

At a minimum, I believe you should rethink your endorsement of this product.

Terence Thatcher
Adavida, Morgan 382,
Portland, OR

Our 2013 test found the Isotemp to be more robustly constructed than others in the comparison. After receiving your letter we checked on two installed units that were purchased prior to the test- one about eight years old and another about 12 years old. Both were operating without problem and showed no obvious signs of corrosion. We will continue to research this issue. If any other readers have had similar experiences, please send details to

What About Hybrid Life Jackets?

I have a question regarding your recent Inside PS blog post Inflatable PFD Care and Use. I routinely wear a fisherman vest PFD with traditional flotation so I can store various safety equipment in the pockets. I am, however, not happy with the low buoyancy value as compared to inflatables. As I am concerned about inflatable malfunction, particularly when single-handing, and wonder if there is a hybrid vest PFD that has both inflatable and traditional inflation-along with pockets.

My dream PFD would be a hybrid vest with pockets, crotch strap, and spray hood. It should be cool enough to wear in Florida. I usually wear a harness under the vest so the dream vest would need an opening for the tether connection or, better yet, have one built in. My thought is first priority is stay on board with harness and tether. However; if falling overboard, I would want to be wearing a foolproof PFD loaded with PLB, knife, mirror, and whistle.

Brian McMahon
Cal 31 Windchaser
Placida, Florida

Mustang has recently introduced a hybrid PFD, the Khimera, which has 8 pounds of inherent buoyancy that increases to 22.5 pounds when manually inflated. It sells retail for about $200. Well add it to our gear of things to test. Weve not seen a hybrid vest that integrates with a harness. One option is to wear an auto-inflating harness PFD over top a compact buoyancy aids like the Gill Compressor we tested in July 2013.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. 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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