Protecting Clear Vinyl Windows

When we last tested clear-vinyl window protectants, we raised the concern that some products might actually damage the vinyl. PS tester Drew Fryes recent work with mildew cleaners brought up another concern: Can overspray from canvas cleaners and treatments, or other common chemicals, damage the clear-vinyl windows? We tested canvas water-repellents, cleaning chemicals, and common cockpit chemicals to see whether any overspray would harm Strataglass. A few totally ruined the window sample.

3M Masking Tape Matchup

Most sailors have discovered that when it comes to applying marine coatings, the type of masking tape used is as important as the type of paintbrush if you want clean edges. But what is the best tape to use for boat varnish projects, or bottom paint application? Testers compared eight of industry leader 3Ms general masking and specialty tapes to find out.

Curing the Tainted Tank

We filled our water tanks (40 and 72 gallons) in May, and now the water is brackish, brown. Have you done a study on purifying water or tanks? Bleach is one remedy, but I wondered whether PS has ever done an article on this subject?

Mailport: July 2013

A few issues ago, you had a short article on deck hardware (blocks, traveler, cars, etc.) that included Garhauer, and you mentioned that the manufacturer offered individual parts and complete systems that allow conversion from on deck to cockpit adjustment of the car position. We recently installed the EZ adjustable genoa car system from Garhauer and are very pleased with the results. This equipment fits on existing traveler tracks, is easy to install, and performs as advertised.

Anti-Mildew Weapons

I was wondering whether you might have any comments on using bottom paint on the boats interior to help fight mold and mildew. Many bottom paints are ineffective out of the water, but I was wondering whether some of the new eco-friendly paints might prove to be a new weapon in the fight to work less and play more.

Mailport: June 2013

How thick is too thick for the buildup of old layers of bottom paint? This question arises because I have just finished painting the bottom of my boat. Even though I diligently sought out potential flaking spots with my knife, while rolling on the paint (Pettit Ultima Eco), I would frequently get a mess caused by the paint flaking off. I have only owned this boat for three years, so I really do not know how many layers there are.

Indoor Sailboat Refinishing

I am restoring old fiberglass sailing club boats (Rhodes 19s) in a confined, heated space in winter, and I need to paint the topsides, decks, and bilges without poisoning the applicator. What do you suggest for a topside finish (white)? A repairable, long-lasting finish will be valued more than a high-gloss finish. Also, what do you suggest for the bottom paint? The boats will be in fresh water all summer; low environmental toxicity is a high priority.

Best Boat Soaps for Regular Washdowns

Sticking to a regular boat bath regimen not only keeps a boat looking good, but it also helps protect it from unnecessary, accelerated wear and tear. Practical Sailor tested a cross-section of 13 products-aerosol sprays, gels, powders, and liquids-advertised as either boat soaps or wash-n-waxes to find out which one was the best grime buster and which one left topside wax intact. The test lineup included products from well-known marine maintenance manufacturers-Star brite, Interlux, Woody Wax, Nautical Ease, 3M, Sudbury, and Marykate-as well as some familiar in the automotive and home cleaning industries-Mothers, Ecover, Eagle One, and K2r.

A Copper Alternative?

Prompted by several reader queries and our own curiosity, Practical Sailor recently launched a test of an electronic alternative to metal-based bottom paints: the M20, an ultrasonic antifouling device from the Canada-based SmartAntifouling. Electronic antifouling uses ultrasound waves to prevent algae and other organisms from attaching to a boat’s hull. A transducer, which is mounted on the hull skin inside the boat, emits a high-frequency vibration that creates a micro-thin layer of rapidly moving water blanketing the hull and making it difficult for barnacles and algae to take up residence there. PS installed an M20 on a Florida-based test boat and will be monitoring its performance this season.

Liggett’s Shampoo Soap

After reading PS’s November 2011 report on eco-friendly liquid soaps for onboard bathing, personal-care product maker J.R. Liggett sent us one of his Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoos to try out. Liggett has been making the 3.5-ounce shampoo bar from New Hampshire springwater for 30-plus years. (We reported on his Natural Traveler Kit in the December 2008 issue.)

Hot Water Heater Installation Tips

To keep pipe joints from leaking, use Teflon tape or pipe joint compound, and remember that hose barb-to-hose connections are much easier to make drip-proof with a hose clamp than the same connection made on a threaded pipe stub.