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Boat Maintenance

Tool Kits For Every Possible Boat Job

Like all sailors that have a home shop and work on their boats, we’re constantly schlepping tools back and forth. I have multiples of many tools, but not everything, and it’s not good having every tool on the boat— I’d have to repaint the waterline three inches higher and there would be no room for […]

PS Seeking Reports of 3M 4000 UV Failure

Six years ago (“Marine Sealant Adhesion Tests,” published November 2016) Practical Sailor began exposing samples of marine sealants to weather and sunlight to compare...

Hatch Tinting Test

UV is the enemy of both hatches and interior fabrics. Acrylic can resist UV for 15 years or more, but polycarbonate generally begins to haze and even craze within 5-10 years. Most hatches are tinted to keep heat and UV out of the boat, but the UV streaming through a clear hatch can fade fabrics […]

Another Look at ‘Dustless’ Sanding

In “Dustless Sanding,” (see PS April 2016), we described a simple modification to a 5-gallon bucket that would make collecting dust from bottom painting or slurping water from the bilge easier. It didn’t catch all of the fine dust, and when sucking mountains of sawdust, we couldn’t fill the bucket much past half-full without dust […]

Making the Dinghy Decision

Spring and fall on the Chesapeake Bay delivers cruising at its best. Last fall, we were ready to go, the crowds were gone, along with the heat and humidity. Last on our predeparture list was a quick check of the inflatable dinghy. Sadly, the old Avon had become a deflatable, and Plan B, our favored […]

Binos and Aging Eyes

A dockside expert told me that larger objectives made binoculars brighter, and that his optical view was actually brighter than ambient conditions. The problem with that statement is that it violates the first law of thermodynamics: It is impossible for a self-acting machine, unaided by any external agency, to convey heat from one body to […]

Folding Kayak Field Trials

Small boat sailors are plagued by a lack of storage space, and nowhere is this pinch felt more dearly than dinghy storage. Transportation to and from shore is vital for all but marina hoppers, but a dinghy that is large and seaworthy enough to do the job is too big to store on your average […]

Deck Core Repair, from Underneath

One of the “never-evers” of boat building is to use high density polyethylene (HDPE) as a backing plate or load bearing spacer, but the builder did just that. The plastic can split under load, allowing the fitting to wobble, gradually turning the bolt holes into egg shapes, and allowing water into the core. Yes, the […]

Scrubbis Test Defies Skeptics

We like premium multi-season paints, particularly for sailors who sail year round. The copper leaches into the water more slowly than single season paints and the costs of hauling, scraping, sanding, and repainting are reduced by half. Yes, the paint costs a little more, and two coats are applied, but there is also less buildup […]

Is Azek the New Starboard?

I’d heard Azek described as a low cost alternative to Starboard, but never paid much attention. I’d used a few boards around the house, and used it for a few non-structural spacers on the boat. I knew it to be weaker that wood and I was unsure of its durability. Then I heard of a […]