As Practical Sailor reported in the one-year update for our long-term wood finishes test in the December issue, Interlux Yacht Paints recently released three new exterior varnishes: Perfection Plus, a clear two-part polyurethane; Schooner Gold, a high-viscosity, quick-building varnish; and Compass, a fast-drying hybrid of classic tung oil and polyurethane.
In Practical Sailors last review of Code 0 furlers, in the March 2008 issue, testers found many benefits to incorporating light-air sails in a sailplan and to using a continuous furler rather than a sock to control some of those sails.
Ive seen several attempts to convert existing battery-operated power tools into power winches, and readers have suggested a few of them in the Mailport section of Practical Sailor. Not surprisingly, it is a popular topic with our long-term subscribers. Many of you have been with us for more than 30 years (amen!), and the years of winch grinding are inevitably taking their toll on wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
Practical Sailor hasn't tested any of these products yet, but weve evaluated plenty of Harken gear, a variety of gadgets from Blue Sea Systems, and various apparel from West Marine in the past.
The Superwind 350 was Practical Sailors top pick of the five wind-generators we reviewed in the July 2007 issue and it was named to PSs 2007 Gear of the Year list. Since that test, the Superwinds manufacturer has made some improvements in the units design and function, including the new carbon-fiber Silent Power Blades.
I just finished my first run-through on bottom paint prices and noticed that, for the first time in recent memory, I don't see any significant price jumps. Naturally, with the lagging economy, it behooves paint makers to offer the best value to consumers. Nevertheless, I was surprised by some of the prices, particularly since copper prices have regained much of the ground they lost last year. Several of our Good paints in our six-month checkup fell right around $100/gallon mark.
Several readers have forwarded me a press release on the latest high-tech nano-coating - a spray on glass coating designed to protect a wide range of surfaces from . . . well, just about anything. According to the press release, the nanotechnology product, developed in Turkey and owned by a German company, yields a harmless spray that can protect virtually any surface against dirt and mildew and weathering for up to a year.
The bottom paint update coming up in the March issue of Practical Sailor will feature more than a dozen new antifouling paints, and many of them are no-copper or low-copper varieties. While paint manufacturers could potentially save a bundle by reducing the copper content in their paints, the costs associated with bringing an effective alternative biocide to the market are a big impediment. (No, simply adding cayenne to a cheap bottom paint doesn't work.) If there is to be any motion in a green-paint direction, government policy will be the prime mover.