Doing ‘The Ditch’ Capt. Frank’s Way

Be aware that a less-experienced sailors report of a great anchorage with plenty of depth, or statements like We ran aground here! dont do you much good if they fail to include basic info such as their boat's draft, state of the tide, etc. Other sailors' facility reviews should also be taken with a grain of salt. For example: The dockmaster hates Algerian Snaggle-tooth Poodles (like our Fluffy), so were never coming back, and you shouldnt either!

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Finding the Right Mix of AntiFreeze

While the polar vortex was pummeling the northern states last winter (ahhh, remember those days?), Practical Sailor contributor Drew Frye was knee deep in glycol antifreeze and engine coolants. One of the test's most important findings was that how you use antifreeze is as important as what product you use. The only sure way to know how effective your antifreeze will be this winter is to measure the glycol as it comes out the other end of the plumbing. There are a couple ways to do this.

Boat Insurance Shopping Tips

If youre in the used boat market, late fall usually offers a good opportunity for buyers. Owners in snow-bound states face haulout and storage expenses for a boat they will only put on the market again in the spring. But before you can start filtering through the used-boat websites looking for great deals youll want to get a clear picture of what your insurance options are. In the upcoming January 2020 issue, we explore the topic of consequential damage, a potential loophole in some policies that your insurer might use to deny coverage.

Pro Tips to Hauling Out

Once a boat has been shored and blocked, its a good idea to layer tarps or plastic sheeting beneath it. That keeps cleaners, paint, paint removers, and other chemicals from contaminating the ground. Layering the tarps means you can remove a soiled one and have a clean surface to kneel or stand on.

Gearing Up for Winter Sailing

While many North American sailors have already hauled out their boats for winter, there are plenty of cold-weather diehards who refuse to bow to the season. In a recent issue of Practical Sailor, contributor Drew Frye shares his tips for sailing year round above the frost-line. It has always seemed a shame to me that the great majority of boats in the country are only used in the summer," says Frye, who sails through the winter on Chesapeake Bay. "[In winter] I have the waters virtually to myself.

Homemade Mildew Preventers That Really Work

If youre getting ready to put your boat into storage in a wet or humid location, then youll probably be interested in some of the cheap and easy mildew "cures" we've come upon in our testing. PS tester Drew Frye made a pleasant little discovery when he was researching and testing various anti-mildew protectants. Two inexpensive homemade concoctions did as well as or better than retail formulas that are 20 to 100 times more expensive.

In Search of the Magic Spray

Given boaters' wide range of expectations for anti-corrosion sprays, it is simply impossible for one spray to fit all our needs. Some spray petroleum products are good for loosening bolts, some seal electrical connections, some protect against corrosion, some even claim to improve conductivity. Unfortunately, not all of these sprays live up to their lofty claims.

Choosing a Sailmaker

If you are planning to add a new mainsail or genoa during the Northern hemisphere winter, now is the most likely time to be able to negotiate a good price. While the migration to high-volume lofts abroad has smoothed the peaks and valleys of sail prices, there are still seasonal bargains to be had. Generally, the lull occurs October through December. By the time spring rolls around and the sailmakers find themselves swimming…

Refinishing Your Boat’s Non-skid Deck

Although you can allow your varnish and hull paint to fade, crack, or peel with no more penalty than the disdain of those who mistake shine for soul, you dont want to let your non-skid deck paint lose its grip. Even the most soulful boat evokes a sense of pity if its owner is lying flat on their back asking for help.

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?