Repairing Plastic Water Tanks

In our recent report on plastic tank repairs, we explore several different methods of repair, including heat-welding using commonly available welding kits. As that article points out, the manufacturers of these tanks do not recommend such repairs. However, our long-term tests of steel-mesh reinforced repairs of water and holding tanks (not fuel!) have so far been very promising.

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First Look at Interlux’s latest marine coatings

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.

Farewell to the Wood-Trimmed Boat?

Do we still want exterior wood on our boats today? Is synthetic a fair substitute?When we stepped aboard the 36-foot Island Packet Estero for a test sail, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see that the familiar teak caprail was gone. For more than 30 years, the varnished caprail (usually finished in Cetol these days) has been one of Island Packet's signature features.With a teak bowsprit and additional teak trim in the cockpit, IP yachts held the course that most production boatbuilders had left behind by the mid-1990s. If you see exterior wood on a Hunter or Beneteau these days, chances are its synthetic teak. That teak toerail on the new Beneteau 34? Synthetic. The Hunter e33 we tested had teak pushpit seats, the rest - including a cockpit table top (to keep the salsa bowl from sliding, I suppose) - was synthetic. Catalina dropped exterior wood years ago. If history is any guide, even the faux wood trend may soon run its course. "Good riddance," some might say.

Quick and Dirty Anchor Shank Strength Test

So you've read our many reports on anchor shanks, and you're thinking, "I wonder what kind of steel my anchor shank is made of?" You could go to the maker, but you might find, as we did, that some manufacturers consider this proprietary information - as if the strength of the steel is not worth sharing with the consumer. So you decide to find out for yourself.

Check Chafe Before Switching to Fiber Lifelines

Fiber lifelines exhibit two kinds of chafe. There is visible chafe that occurs when lifelines are used as handholds (a bad habit), or where sails and sheets bear on them. More troublesome is the chafe that occurs in the stanchion holes. Clearly, if youre considering switching to a fiber lifeline, youll want to closely inspect any possible chafe points, and deburr and polish (with 600 grit sandpaper) any places where the line makes contact with stanchions.

Steer Clear of the Marine Cleaner Con

Lest you think multi-billion-dollar chemical companies and their geeks in white lab coats have a lock on cleaning your boat, there are numerous homebrewed solutions that have the ability to bring back that new boat shine.

Sailing Helmets and the Risk of Head Injury

Should sailors wear helmets? As we gain greater awareness of the risks of long-term brain injury linked to concussions in various sports, it is only natural that sailors would reexamine the risks associated with sailing. After all, one of the first things we learn upon boarding a sailboat is to avoid a boom-strike to the head.
marine toilet test

Marine Toilet Maintenance Tips

Early in the sailing season, the things we overlooked during winter storage can come back to haunt us. And with regard to our boat's...

Bilge Pump Installation and Maintenance Tips

The best bilge pump in the world won't keep your boat dry if its not properly installed and maintained. While bilge pump installations are fairly straightforward-and definitely within the scope of DIY projects-there are several factors to consider (capacity, wire size, hose diameter, fuse size) before you begin, and there are some good rules of thumb to follow.