Spring is but a month away, so I am plunging once again into polishing and waxing fiberglass boat hulls. This post covers almost everything you need to know about cleaning, polishing, and waxing your boat. It includes links to our online "how-to" resources and links to our tests of various classes of products mentioned. The main purpose of the article is to provide an overview of the many archive articles we have in our library on this topic, so that you can choose which reports best apply to your situation and then dig in as deep as you like.
Our PS Advisor article on barber haulers illustrated an arrangement that relied on a low friction ring to control tension on the sheet. Although you can buy pre-rigged control lines that terminate with low friction rings, sailors should be able to do this themselves.
We had a cold and chilly front blow through Florida last week, which gave us an opportunity to look at something we haven't paid much attention to in a few years: waterproofing coatings for fabrics. Textile technology has seen some significant new developments since our last complete test of waterproof coatings. Chemical engineers have found new ways to impregnate fibers with coatings that can last through dozens of wash cycles. Some new after-market spray protectants have emerged as well. The end result is clothing that -- if you choose right and don't put on too many pounds -- you won't have to think about replacing for 10-15 years, or even more.
Odor control doesn't necessarily start at the marine head (hoses are often the chief culprit), but that seems like the logical place to start. A big step toward reducing head odors is to use fresh water for flushing. Salt water is alive with microscopic critters that add to the odor problem when they die and decay in your holding tank.
One of the most startling conclusions from our jackline test was that despite the International Sailing Federations (ISAF) generalized approach to jackline standards, the ideal material for a jackline changes as boat length increases. But material selection is just one of many details regarding jacklines that deserves careful thought. If you are re-installing your jacklines or installing for them for the first time, be sure to read our complete test report online. In the meantime, here are some other details to consider.
This week we're moving onto hardware, winches in particular. If you haven't serviced your winches in a couple years, or you notice squeaks, groans or slips as you grind, it is high time to tackle this project. We like to inspect our jib-sheet winches every year, but we sail our boats hard and they are exposed to some pretty harsh freeze and thaw cycles. Fortunately, winch servicing is a pretty easy, and for the wanna-be watchmaker who marvels at moving parts, it's fun—until you start dropping parts overboard. Thus, our first bit of advice: make sure you have the right winch servicing kit, including pawls and springs, before you start pulling your winches apart.
If you’re contemplating some major build or repair projects involving fiberglass this winter, then you are probably trying to decide whether it is worth...
'Twas the night before Christmas, and the crew couldn't sleep. The waves were relentless, with troughs dark and deep. The windvane was holding a course straight and true, toward a spot on the chart that read: "isles inconnues."
John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal of Mahina Expeditions bluewater voyaging school have weathered a few earthquakes and tsunamis in their decades of teaching others aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46 sailboat, Mahina Tiare III. In the wake of the 2009 tsunami on Samoa, they devised an earthquake/tsunami awareness and response system that they now include in the Mahina Expeditions curriculum. With the goal of helping other sailors, the Neals have allowed Practical Sailor to post this strategy here on Inside Practical Sailor.
Last fall, I embarked on one of the most time-consuming boat projects I've done in years, one I hope never to repeat—remove six layers...