Practical Sailors review of 11 cabin fans in 2008 launched an ongoing test of their durability over the longhaul. We evaluated 12-volt fans from Hella Marine, Fantastic Vent, Caframo, and HotWire. A test update in the August 2009 issue introduced some new players and cut those that had been discontinued. The ones that remained faced six months of continuous run time. This report wraps up the long-term test with a look at the last fans standing.
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.
In April 2008, Practical Sailor evaluated 11 cabin fans from seven manufacturers. Since that test, Caframo has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned its 748 Bora. The company also introduced a new weatherproof version of its Kona. Testers were pleased to see that the new fans clearly addressed complaints raised in our last test: The Bora radically changed its blade design to pump more air, and the Konas corrosion-prone metal grill was replaced with a plastic grill that will hold up better in salt air. Based on the new data, the Bora has climbed up into the recommended rankings. Stay tuned for this years Fan Death Match.
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?
It was mid-July 1990 on the Caicos Banks, a stretch of shallow, gin-clear water extending for about 70 miles east to west in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Along with a dozen other cruisers whod chosen to thumb our noses at hurricane season (ah, those were simpler times), we were pausing in Providenciales before heading south. …