Belowdecks & Amenities

The DIY Hanger Hook

It was a given that anything added to the cockpit locker of our F-24 test boat had to be quickly removable. All of the bolts for cockpit gear, fuel lines, and half of the wiring is accessed by worming through this narrow locker into the space under the cockpit, and any obstruction would render it inaccessible. Because the backside is the hull, through-bolting was not an option. The previous owner had epoxied on a few hooks, but gluing plastic to fiberglass is pretty hopeless and only the scars remained.

Synthetic Ice Test

In Making Ice Last (PS August 2018) we explored cube ice, block ice, dry ice and frozen bottles. Of course, many of the cooler manufactures sell reusable icepacks, touting convenience, decreased mess, and in some cases, lower temperatures. Most are not much use on multi-day trips, since they can't be re-frozen underway, but perhaps they are just the thing for the one- to three-day trips that make up our weekender reality, at least most of the year.

Stowing Bicycles on Boats

One of the blessings of a multihull is its wide expanse of deck space that opens up possibilities that you might not consider on a monohull-like a bike rack. No, you don't want to cross the Atlantic with a ye ol Raleigh strapped to the pulpit, but for bay cruising, a rack will work-especially on a multihull.

Sailing Gifts for 2018

No one really wants just practical gifts, so weve tried to locate a few items that go beyond pure utility for this holiday season.

Combatting Weevils

Most rice and grain sold in western countries is fumigated, generally with phosphine. However, this often kills only the live insects, leaving the eggs able to germinate. Surely there are other ways available to the cruisers to extend the life of rice and grains.

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.

Controlling Porta Potty Odor

Another consideration is that many day sailors avoid using the boats head at all, often going for many months at a time without needing it. When it is used, once in a blue moon, is it worth the hassle of hauling it home to clean it out, knowing that most likely it will not be used for another 3 months? When Katrina hit New Orleans, the Red Cross handed out WAG (waste alleviation and gel) bags by the thousands to provide an emergency option. Weve been living with these too, evaluating them as an option for small boats.

Making Ice Last

Does block or bottled ice last longer than cube ice? What about dry ice? Will wrapping a blanket around the ice chest really help? What about moving the ice into a smaller cooler?

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.

Air Conditioning for Sailboats

One of the great joys of sailing is the state of near nakedness (literal and figurative) to the wind, air, and sea-and the wisdom that comes with it. From that perspective, climate control seems antithetical to the sailors art. But being Practical Sailor (not Philosophical Sailor) we recognize that even the hardiest round-the-world racers seek temporary refuge dampness, cold, and heat. And for one looking to make the transition from the landlubbers life in temperate climates to full-time cruiser in the tropics, the idea of air-conditioning-despite its huge power demands-is alluring.

The Pros and Cons of Leaving Your Mast Up for Winter

If you are like us, you may feel strangely guilty about leaving a mast up during winter storage. In our case, it is probably those old wooden spar days calling. Ideally, wooden spars need to come down and be sheltered and coddled at regular intervals. Aluminum masts really don't, and the sky is actually a decent place to store them.