Heart Replacement

Sixteen years ago, contributing writers Joe and Lee Minick equipped their Mason 43, Southern Cross, with a Heart Interface Freedom 20 charger/inverter and a Link 2000R from Cruising Equipment, both made by companies based in Valley Forge, Penn. When both of these units were ruined during a knockdown (see PS, April 2013 online), they were forced to look for a replacement.

LED Interior Lights Part 2

After several fits and starts, the LED lighting revolution has hit its full stride. Sure, el cheapo LEDs with their flickering beams and buzzing radio frequency interference (RFI) still flood the market-the number of LED bulb factories in China is staggering-however, thanks to this report, the second in a series that began in the June 2014 issue, you can now invest with confidence in that long-postponed interior lighting overhaul.

Some Propane Dos and Don’ts

Theres nothing more satisfying than capping a pleasant day on the water with a good meal, be it burgers and dogs on the grill or some fancy, culinary extravaganza whipped up by the galley wizard. Most marine stoves and grills use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Its efficient, relatively cheap, and widely available. Its also highly explosive-particularly with regards to boat installations-which makes proper installation and regular inspection so critical in onboard systems.

Mailport: August 2013

On strolling through Port Townsend (Wash.) Boat Haven, while I was having some work done on my boat, I saw this boat (photo at right) and the owners attitude written on a sign in front of the boat. It reminded me of your June 18, 2013 blog, Dont Let Refit Pitfalls Derail Your Cruising Plans.

Dehumidifier Field Tests

When boats are buttoned up in humid climates, the battle against mildew begins. With the goal of keeping onboard humidity below 65 percent, we compared compressor dehumidifiers and thermo-electric dehumidifiers, two active systems for removing moisture, with passive-drying desiccants to determine which is best for keeping mildew at bay. The test products included the Eva-Dry 2000, a small, quiet thermo-electric dehumidifier; two compressor dehumidifiers, the Mermaid Dry-Pal and a Sears 30-pint; and two desiccants weve tested before, Damp Rid and Absorbag. The test platforms were an outside garden shed and a 32-foot catamaran moored on the Chesapeake.

Portable Marine Toilets for Small Boats

A few steps above the old cedar bucket, portable marine toilets are essentially glorified waste containers, but a good one offers more comfort than a bucket, won't leak, and can be emptied and cleaned with limited hassle. We tested three porta potties made by Thetford-the Porta Potti 260, the Porta Potti 550P, and the Porta Potti Curve-and two West Marine-brand port potties made by Dometic/SeaLand, the Runabout 962 and the Cruiser 976. Testers rated performance, features, and construction quality.

Portable Chairs for Sitting Under Sail

In our search for stowable, seaworthy seating, we rounded up six padded chairs with self-supporting backrests and compared them to the reigning favorite, the Paradise Sport-a-Seat. The chairs have weatherproof covers and multiple reclining settings with self-supporting, padded backrests. The test field was: the Paradise Sport-a-Seat; Picnic Times Oniva and Ventura designs; G2 Products ComfortSeat; and retail giant West Marines Go-Anywhere Seat 2 and High-back Go-Anywhere Seat 2.

Chandlery: October 2011

Practical Sailor Chandlery: October 2011. This month reviews a pocket video, new mastclimber, and belowdeck comfort.

Ventilation Can be Improved in Almost Any Boat

Fresh air and a dry berth are two “rare," commodities in the belowdecks caverns of most boats. On deck you may be surrounded by endless quantities of fresh air. Below, fresh air frequently comes mingled with similar quantities of fresh or salt water, sometimes in the form of an emulsion that is difficult to breathe at best. Most boats are well ventilated at the dock or at anchor, or even under way in fair weather. But let the wind blow, the spray fly, and the rain fall, and the interior can quickly become a dank swamp if you leave an opening for ventila­tion, or an airless dungeon if you don't. Fortunately, ventilation can be improved in almost any boat, new or old. In the grand scheme of things, improv­ing ventilation is relatively cheap; far less expensive, for example, than installing refrigeration or a sophisticated propane system.

Shaken and Stirred – Toilet Paper Test

This toilet paper evaluation aimed to find out three things: how quickly the different TPs dissolved in water, how strong they were, and how soft they felt. Each brand was given a number (1 through 10) for blind judging. Four sheets from each roll were crumpled and placed in a clear plastic canister with two quarts of lukewarm water and were stirred for five seconds, or five swirls, with a plastic straw.

In Search of the Perfect Portable Boarding Ladder

Last year, we ran a review of a Union 36, and the opening photo of the boat featured a unique folding ladder that I hadnt seen before. The ladder, instead of hanging vertically, folded out at a comfortable angle in a way that seemed-at least in the photo-pretty practical for routine boarding. One problem: the maker-the American Ladder Corp., based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., appears to be out of business.