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Belowdecks & Amenities

Ultraflex Debuts Variable Speed AC

In the June 2018 article Air Conditioning for Sailboats, we compared several options for 12-volt air conditioning on boats, and more recently we looked at the power requirements for running our air conditioner without being tethered to shorepower, see Air Conditioning at Anchor, PS June 2019). Since that article was published, we were told about the new i-Line VSD Series of compact air conditioners from Velair-an Italian company that is part of the Ultraflex Group.

Giving Bugs the Big Goodbye

Were not naturally bug phobic, but when they eat our food, clothes, or boat, something needs to be done. Since we dont like heavy doses of pesticides in a space as small as a boat, lets first look at low impact approaches that focus on specific pests. After that, well look at the more potent approaches

Calculating the Right Air Conditioner Size

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.

Sailboat Accessory Hooks

Boats are always challenged by limited storage space. Many production boats share two common features: they have lockers that are either bottomless or wet at the bottom, and those lockers contained broken storage hooks installed by the previous owner. Over the years weve been on the lookout for storage hooks that wont fail and reconsidered the places where they can best meet our needs.

The DIY Hanger Hook

It was a given that anything added to the cockpit locker of our F-24 test boat had to be quickly removable. All of the bolts for cockpit gear, fuel lines, and half of the wiring is accessed by worming through this narrow locker into the space under the cockpit, and any obstruction would render it inaccessible. Because the backside is the hull, through-bolting was not an option. The previous owner had epoxied on a few hooks, but gluing plastic to fiberglass is pretty hopeless and only the scars remained.

Synthetic Ice Test

In Making Ice Last (PS August 2018) we explored cube ice, block ice, dry ice and frozen bottles. Of course, many of the cooler manufactures sell reusable icepacks, touting convenience, decreased mess, and in some cases, lower temperatures. Most are not much use on multi-day trips, since they cant be re-frozen underway, but perhaps they are just the thing for the one- to three-day trips that make up our weekender reality, at least most of the year.

Stowing Bicycles on Boats

One of the blessings of a multihull is its wide expanse of deck space that opens up possibilities that you might not consider on a monohull-like a bike rack. No, you dont want to cross the Atlantic with a ye ol Raleigh strapped to the pulpit, but for bay cruising, a rack will work-especially on a multihull.

Sailing Gifts for 2018

No one really wants just practical gifts, so weve tried to locate a few items that go beyond pure utility for this holiday season.

Combatting Weevils

Most rice and grain sold in western countries is fumigated, generally with phosphine. However, this often kills only the live insects, leaving the eggs able to germinate. Surely there are other ways available to the cruisers to extend the life of rice and grains.

Clearing the Air Around Odor Testing

After several rounds of chemical testing for holding tanks, we have got this stink detection down to a science. Because the masking chemicals are more effective in in port-a-potty applications, there is only one true measure of effectiveness: whether the toilet still stinks after it is flushed.

Too Many Layers of Bottom Paint?

So, a couple of years back, you acquired a good old boat at a pretty good price-thanks to the market-but now youre wondering how many coats of bottom paint it has. And what kind? Youve put on a few coats of ablative antifouling since youve owned the boat. It has adhered well and has done its job. But each year, the bottom looks rougher and rougher-with big recesses where paint has flaked off. You sweated out some extra prep-work this season, and thought you had a nice, durable subsurface for painting, but each pass of the roller pulls up more paint. Whats going on here?