The Best of Bottom Paints


Blue Water Paints

Our Editors Choice roster would not be complete without the top performers in our semiannual bottom paints tests. The most recent test looked at 55 different paints from Blue Water Paints, Interlux, Epaint, Pettit, and Sea Hawk.

This years hard paint standouts were Interluxs Micron Extra with Biolux and West Marines Bottomshield. Made by Pettit, the West Marine-branded PCA Gold was the top ablative paint. Micron Extra and PCA Gold tied for best performance of the bunch.

Splice chafe protection

In a March 2015 report, we evaluated chafe protection for line splices. We tested coatings and physical coverings-everything from electrical tape to leather, webbing, heat shrink, and vinyl tubing-and coatings from Spinlock, Yale Cordage, West Marine, 3M, New England Ropes, and Loctite.

The top-performing anti-chafe coating was Yale Cordages Maxijacket ($8/4 ounces), while the best physical protection for splices was New England Ropes Dyneema chafe guard tubing ($2/foot). Both earned their places on the Editors Choice list.

Maxijacket is a quick-drying, waterborne polyurethane coating that soaks in deeply and stiffens line considerably. However, the 10-fold improvement in chafe resistance was very impressive. It is the Best Choice for protecting polyester line.

NERs Dyneema tubing is very similar to nylon webbing, except it is thinner and far more durable when wet. Testers noted that the Dyneema tubing will last longer than the line its protecting; its the best option for heavy-duty protection.

Turtlewax ICE spray wax

Spray-on Waxes

The December 2014 issue reported on our search for affordable spray waxes-liquid waxes that offer a glossy finish and some surface protection and that are applied after rubbing compounds, fillers, waxes, and polishes.

The test field featured 14 liquid spray-on waxes advertised for boat, RV, and car applications. We applied each product to a taped-off section of an old, white fiberglass hatch cover, left the panel exposed to the weather for 30 days, then rated the products for water-beading ability and gloss.

Overall, the best performer in both the water-beading and gloss tests was Turtle Waxs Ice Premium Care. Turtle Wax Ice-which is also one of the least expensive sprays tested (bonus)- earned our Best Choice pick and a spot in the Editors Choice roundup.

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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