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.

A Permanent Mount for the Sensibulb LED Reading Light

I have always been a big fan of brass berth lights, but have never really liked the halogen bulbs commonly used in them. The little halogen bulbs run hot, use a lot of power, and are prone to vibrating loose. When Sailor's Solutions ( introduced the Sensibulb, I quickly ordered a couple to test in our custom built boat Suzy. They worked so well that I converted all six of our berth lights. The original Sensibulbs were nice units, but the mounting system was iffy. I elected to bypass the mounting system by removing the ceramic bulb holder and directly gluing the bulb support post to the back of the Sensibulb.

Sailboat Cockpit Seating

The proportions of the human body are the basis of all design. Cockpit seating, as with any seat or chair design, is one of the most complicated problems facing the designer. Niels Diffrient, an industrial designer and one of the world’s leading authorities on aircraft seating, says that, “Chair design is the acid test for designers”.

How to Prevent Head Odors Aboard Your Sailboat

While permeation of waste gases through flexible sanitation hose is a major source of odors in the head, it is not the only one. This article looks at the possible sources one by one.

The Complete Propane Appliance System

Of course, everything on a boat is a compromise, and so it is with propane. It has two nasty traits that must be dealt with: Propane is heavier than air, which allows the gas to collect in the bilge in the event of a leak; and propane is explosive when it collects in such places.

The Canvas Air-Conditioner

Even the most dedicated sun worshipper craves shade after a bright, hot day on the water. For those of us whose goals include keeping our skin intact over time, a way to get out of the sun is imperative if we are to enjoy being in the cockpit at anchororinaslip. The problem is that few sailboats come equipped with usable shade, at least when the sails are down. The solution to the shade problem is a sun awning. A sun awning also solves another problem, particularly in tropical climates. By keeping the deck shaded, and by preventing the sun from streaming through deadlights and open hatches, an awning is a big help in keeping the temperature of the cabin interior at a habitable level.

Right Track Offers a Creative Storage Fix

Even the best laid-out boat interior has areas of wasted space begging to be utilized. Right Track Designs storage system puts that dead space to use. Right Tracks system, distributed by Sailing Angles Inc., comprises removable storage bags and tracks to hang them on. The zippered bags come in standard and custom styles and fabrics, ranging from laminated sail cloth or clear PVC plastic (so you can see the bags contents) to mesh fabrics for wet gear.

The Top 4 Drink Holders for Your Boat

Weve spilled our share of drinks on board, and while its a shame to see a fresh drink go to waste, some beverages can stain cushions and decks. Drink holders can help minimize onboard spills, but there are a million types marketed to boat owners-from basic lifeline-mounted wire baskets to expensive Starboard or teak binnacle boxes. To find out which is most effective, Practical Sailor field-tested a sampling from several manufacturers. Three of the 10 test products were of the old-style, gimbaled wire-basket variety that hang from a lifeline: the Sail-Buoy, the Sail-a-long, and one from Snap-It. From Edson and Snap-It, we evaluated rail- or pulpit-mountable holders made of stainless and Starboard (high-density polyethylene) and three binnacle-mounted products that can accommodate multiple drinks. The two products we tested designed to mount on vertical surfaces like a bulkhead were the Sea-Fit and the Bar-buoy.

Mailport: April 2010

Letters to Practical Sailor's April 2010 issue include: MOB drills, tethers, nav lights, cleats, no-buff shines and tankless water heaters.

HeatMate Takes the Chill Off

When temperatures decrease, the search for viable heating options by shivering sailors invariably increases. A recent cold winters night provided the perfect opportunity for one blue-nosed liveaboard Practical Sailor tester to check out the HeatMate 5200 heater-stove from Contoure International Inc. The HeatMate 5200 is a portable, non-pressurized alcohol heater that easily converts into a stove. Weighing in at about 5 pounds, the fairly compact, aluminum unit measures approximately 11.75 inches tall by 11.5 inches in diameter, and it comes assembled and ready to go.