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Belowdecks & Amenities

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.

New Sailing Books for a New Year

There are approximately 32,000 species of fish, including 60 to 70 species of flying fish. Although our interactions with these flying wonders may be limited to deck-clearing duties on the sunrise shift or a thwack in the face during the dog watch, renowned naturalist Steve N.G. Howell dedicated several-hundred hours perched on the bows of boats in the sweltering tropics to capture the unique images featured in the informative The Amazing World of Flyingfish (Princeton University Press, 2014, $11). With 90 color photos shot mainly in the western tropical Pacific and in the Gulf Stream near Cape Hatteras (using a Canon 20D), Flyingfish differentiates two-winged and four-winged flyingfish from fish that merely jump; it outlines species, habitats, and sizes, analyzes flight methods and colors, and offers tools on identifying these butterflies on the water. Howell-author of a half-dozen books on birds, including Hummingbirds of North America and A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America-has been affiliated with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory for 20 years and is currently a senior birding tour leader for WINGS. Howells Flyingfish also addresses the environmental challenges our oceans face and encourages readers to promote environmental awareness and protection. Flyingfish is a good read for information hounds and marine biology buffs.

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?

Design for… A Portable Galley

I’ve always loved small boats: day sailors, trailer sailors, runabouts, and skiffs. In many ways they give the most joy for the limited time most of us can spend on the water. While not cruisers in the usual sense of the term, it’s often pleasant to spend a night or weekend aboard a small boat, especially if you are young, flexible and unarthritic. A couple of sleeping bags and air mattresses, a tent over the cockpit, and a galley add up to happiness and freedom for the young and young at heart.

Dirt-cheap Winter Insulation for Liveaboards

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.

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.

LED Interior Lights Part 2

After several fits and starts, the LED lighting revolution has hit its full stride. Sure, el cheapo LEDs with their flickering beams and buzzing radio frequency interference (RFI) still flood the market-the number of LED bulb factories in China is staggering-however, thanks to this report, the second in a series that began in the June 2014 issue, you can now invest with confidence in that long-postponed interior lighting overhaul.

Right Track Offers a Creative Storage Fix

Even the best laid-out boat interior has areas of wasted space begging to be utilized. Right Track Designs storage system puts that dead space to use. Right Tracks system, distributed by Sailing Angles Inc., comprises removable storage bags and tracks to hang them on. The zippered bags come in standard and custom styles and fabrics, ranging from laminated sail cloth or clear PVC plastic (so you can see the bags contents) to mesh fabrics for wet gear.

Build Your Own Boot Dryer

The advantage of a home-built boot dryer is that you can make it fit any number of boots and gloves, and add extensions for drying foul weather gear, options that are not available on the retail market