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.
We’re pleased to present to you Practical Sailor’s brand-new website. On the site, you’ll find our sailing gear, equipment and boat reviews...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...