Onboard Fire Fighting

When a fire strikes at sea, you need to respond quickly, aggressively, and with a cool head, and you will not give up easily. At some point it is going to be prudent to leave the boat; serious burns will make survival in a raft difficult and gasoline and propane can explode. If the fire is well developed or started with an explosion, there may be time only for a quick Mayday call and to abandon ship.

Slow(er) Cooking On Board

Staples of the modern home kitchen, Crock-Pots and rice cookers are time-savers, enabling chefs to prepare long-cooking meals without tending the stove for hours. But theres another way to slow-cook foods, one thats easily portable and doesnt require a constant electrical source: retained-heat cooking.

Lessons Learned: Onboard Thermal Cooking

There is a learning curve when using retained-heat cooking. Here are a few of the lessons we learned during testing.

Types of Filter Media

Water filtration isnt rocket science, but some filter media is better suited for the marine environment than others. And, as we found in our test, some cartridge designs are better than others. Here are the most common types.

Filters for Water Tank Vents

Ever find a bug doing the backstroke in your water tank? We have. Would you leave a glass of water sitting uncovered for weeks and then come back to it? Of course not, but many builders either lead the hose to a mushroom-type through-hull fitting, or terminate it inside the cabin, with nothing to keep the ubiquitous critters from seeking shelter, fresh water, or a nesting site.

Water Tank Filters

You would think that with all the emphasis cruising sailors put on their boats and equipment, we would pay a little more attention to ensuring a clean and safe supply of water. This is less a concern in developed countries, where dockside water is safely treated or bottled water is affordable and readily available. However, once you begin to expand your horizons, ensuring a clean water supply requires more thought and effort. This is the first report in a three-part series on equipment and practices that no matter where you and your boat are, you can be reasonably sure that your on-board water supply is safe.

Taking the Other Way Home

Our 38-foot catamaran, Josepheline, was built by Lightwave Yachts near Brisbane, Australia. Josepheline draws 3 feet, 6 inches and has a 22-foot beam. It is a fairly conventional design: mini fin keels, two forward queen berths under the bridgedeck, a double berth aft to starboard, and a decent sized shower and head located aft in the port hull. Shes stood the test of time-and distance. Weve cruised about 35,000 nautical miles aboard Josepheline.

Some Propane Dos and Donts

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.

Brewing Coffee in the Galley

We compared four popular, portable coffee-making methods in search of the best java-brewing method for the galley. The test evaluated French presses, percolators, drip-cone coffeemakers, and various instant coffees. Testers tried out a handful of products using each method, including the BonJour, Nissan Thermos, and Bodum French presses, as well as the Aerobie AeroPress, the Melitta Perfect Brew, the Clever Dripper, Bialetti Moka Express, and the Farberware Yosemite and Medelco stovetop percolators.

Fine-tuning Fridge Efficiency

Do aftermarket smart controls really improve your fridge compressors efficiency? In this update to our marine refrigeration tests (PS, April and June 2009), we review Isotherms new automatic Smart Energy Controller (SEC) and take a look at trends in marine refrigeration.

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?