Cabin Comfort

Non-Skid Tapes for Boats

Slips and falls will probably always be the greatest hazard on a sailboat, whether the result is a trip over the side, a knee slammed into the deckhouse, or a tumble down the companionway.

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.

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”.

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.

Practical Sailor LED Lightbulb Test

In this LED cabin light test, Practical Sailor looks at 17 light bulbs from seven manufacturers. The LEDs were tested to see which was the most worthy replacement for a 20-watt xenon bulb in a bulkhead-mounted reading light. Testers measure LED beam angles and intensity, LED power consumption, LED color temperature, LED radio frequency interference, and LED reading and cabin illumination. The LED lights tested include: Alpenglow TR LED complete brass fixture; three lights from Cruising Solutions; three lights from Doctor LED; four from Imtra; two from Opto Technology, two from Daniel R. Smith & Associates (DRSA) manufactured by Mast Products; two of Scad Technologies (Sailors Solutions) Sensibulbs; and one LED light from West Marine.

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, wont 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.

Troubleshooting AC Units

I have an air-conditioning unit with more than 14,000 BTUs. Here in Florida, with a 38-foot boat, that just doesn’t hack it. The unit’s been checked for efficiency by a technician. My prior boat (also 38 feet) had two units totaling over 20,000 BTUs. Those were effective, but that output is enough to cool a small store ashore. How are boat A/C BTUs determined? I suspect the temperature of coolant water is a major factor. Also, what is the effect when coolant water is suppressed by a clogged filter? Are they built to automatically shut down the compressor?

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 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.

How to Measure Boat Humidity: Psychrometric Charts Do It Right

Insulation is a greater energy-saving expedient; if our heater or air conditioner is undersized, fixing drafts, shading or insulating windows, and insulating non-cored laminate are all ways to reduce the thermal load. For boaters, however, that is only half of the equation.

Winterizing Your Boat’s Water System

Much of your winterizing success will depend on the initial condition of your existing water system. If it is nearly sterile (effectively chlorinated water), there may be too few bacteria and fungus present for infection to start. However, if you use less than 20 percent alcohol or glycol (after dilution with water left in the system) you are at risk of biological growth; the lower the concentration the greater the risk. This is the reason why vodka and other alcohol-based winterizing fluids should be avoided. In our testing these solutions acted like an invitation to a microbial feast.