Pressure Cookers Test

Most galley cooks argue that the pressure cooker is the most versatile, most valuable pot on a boat. Pressure cooking is faster than regular cooking, better preserves flavors and nutrients, saves cooking fuel and water, and having a lid that is locked on is a bonus. Practical Sailor tested four 4- and 6-quart pressure cookers from three manufacturers: Presto, Kuhn Rikon, and Fagor / Pro-Selections Inc. Testers assembled and used the cookers according to instructions, then cooked a pound of quartered potatoes under pressure in each pot. Finally, we cooked a selected recipe from the recipe book provided with each pot to gauge the quality of the recipes and the cookers performance in real-world use. In our search for the best pressure cooker for the galley, we also considered each cookers construction, ergonomics, user-friendliness, clarity of instructions, price, warranty, and the accessibility of customer help and spare parts.

Mailport: November 2010

Letters to Practical Sailor from our readers. November 2010's topics include cleaning products, sail hardware, galley stoves and anti-fouling paints.

Stove-top Baking: How Sweet It Is

Theres nothing like the smell of fresh-baked treats wafting from the galley, and thanks to the Omnia Oven, the crew of any boat with a cooktop, grill, or hotplate can enjoy fresh baked goods onboard. The Omnia Oven, a new take on the old Dutch oven, can bake anything from cookies to meatloaf without the need for a conventional oven.

Mailport: July 2010

Letters to the editors of Practical Sailor in July 2010 include questions and comments about mildew, galley blenders, teak cleaners, online captains courses and personal hydration.

Tailgating Afloat

Always on the lookout for gizmos that bring aboard some small luxury and help reduce the "roughing it" factor too often associated with cruising, our testers immediately recognized the potential of the DC-powered Tailgater Blender by Waring Products of Connecticut. A classic Waring blender with a heavy-duty chrome-plated metal base, the Tailgater is a full-sized blender with the look and heft of a household unit. Features include a fuse-protected 15-foot cord that plugs into any standard 12-volt cigarette lighter outlet, a removable stainless-steel blade assembly for easy cleaning, a large 48-ounce, shatter-resistant plastic carafe, and a handy "shot glass" measuring cup built into the lid.

Mailport: June 2010

The June 2010 issue featured letters on subjects such as: spiders, addition of color to handheld electronics, DIY boatyard recommendation and propane fridges.

Galley Lighting

When we last dropped in on the realm of interior lighting (Practical Sailor January 2009), we looked at light emitting diode (LED) replacements for incandescent bulbs in a traditional bulkhead-mounted reading light. The test revealed some significant advances in LED technology, and those advances continue today at a lightning pace. Responding to the call for energy efficiency, LED makers are packing more and more luminosity output into smaller and smaller packages. As our reading light test showed, LED technology has developed to a point where finding LED "bulbs" that can provide enough illumination for reading is no longer an issue. Results from that comparison prompted PS to consider whether another key light on our boat-the galley light-could soon go the way of the incandescent reading light. Unlike reading lights, a galley light needs to cast a very wide beam angle to illuminate a large area, something LEDs alone are not very good at.

New Clear, No-rust Propane Tanks

Unlike aluminum or steel propane tanks, clear composite tanks allow users to see how much fuel remains, a nice feature in an LPG tank.Following our year-long evaluation of Ragasco’s 9-kilogram one-piece blow-molded tank, Practical Sailor tested the American-made Lite Cylinder, a two-piece composite tank. The two tanks have nearly identical dimensions, and may be a challenge to fit in a standard propane locker designed for metal tanks. In fire tests, composite tanks melt rather than “explode” like metal tanks, giving them a slight edge in safety, and the non-metal tanks resist rusting, a common problem of aluminum LPG tanks.

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.

The Search is on for the Best Degreaser for Marine Grit and Grime

Practical Sailor searched for the top liquid degreasers to tackle heavy grease on marine stoves and marine engines. Eleven products were tested, including Chomp oil eater, Holy Cow degreaser, Kafko degreaser, Krud Kutter degreaser, Mary Kate Grease Away, Star brite All Purpose Citrus Cleaner Degreaser, and Star brite Sea Safe Cleaner Degreaser. Practical Sailor tested the liquid marine cleaners on grimy fiberglass panels and on aged, greasy farm equipment engines.