Favorite Bottom Paints by Region

Lately, readers have been asking us about which antifouling paints serve well for specific bodies of water (or type of water). So, in this article-our annual spring bottom paint report-we will try to answer these questions with some recent reader survey data and sales reports from the two biggest brands in the U.S. (Pettit Paints and Interlux Yacht Finishes). But before we get into the regional breakdowns, a quick recap on choosing bottom paint and our paint testing program is in order. If youre a longtime subscriber, feel free to skip down to the Current Testing section.

Electrical Panel Upgrade

Editors note: Designing, installing, and wiring a new main circuit panel on a full-fledged cruising boat is an extremely challenging refit project. The writer is a professional engineer who made sure that his installation met or exceeded American Boat and Yacht Council Standard E-11. Failure to adhere to the standard could result in fire, injury, or death. We offer the following article, which outlines the steps involved in constructing a custom panel, as a rough guide. In our opinion, such a project should not be carried out without the consultation of an ABYC-certified electrician.

Making a Do-it-Yourself Jerry Can Drip Catcher

The previous owner of our test boat swore by using a funnel. Of course, the funnel was too small to catch nozzle leaks, reduced the flow, required holding a heavy can on a rocking deck for three minutes while the CARB can dribbled along, hoping the wind or rocking didn't move the funnel. (Sure, the flow is faster with non-CARB cans, but you had to reduce the flow for the funnel anyway.)

Fixing the Storm-Damaged Boat

With $655 million dollars marine vessel insurance claims from the 2017 hurricanes Harvey and Irma, there is no shortage of broken boats accumulating in salvage yards. The nations three big damaged boat liquidators - Certified Sales, Cooper Capital and U.S. Auctions are gradually thinning out their listings from Irma and Harvey, but Florence will surely bring a new crop. But just how salvageable are these boats?

Heat-Seal Connectors

A typical cruising boat has thousands of electrical connections. The consequence of failure range from a light that doesn't work to a fire that can cost lives.

Loading Up Backing Plates

Our deck core samples for testing duplicated the deck core of our test boat, a 32-foot PDQ catamaran. Some other boat cores will be more strongly constructed; some will be lighter.

Testers Check Epoxy Sandability, Adhesion, and More

Testers evaluated sandability, resistance to sag, cure time, and adhesion using sample fiberglass panels with 3-by-3-inch test swatches. The fairing compounds were applied and cured in temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the mid-80s. Each test was repeated three times, and the results were averaged. The shaping test involved closely timed periods of even sanding using a block sander and new sheets of 80-grit sandpaper. Testers observed each materials tendency to clog the sandpaper, and measured the volume of accumulated dust after four minutes of sanding.

The No-sew Webbing Strap with Link Buckle

Weve sewn our fair share of eyes in nylon webbing, but heres an easy no-sew alternative for creating a webbing strap with a buckle (shackle) that can be used for easily lashing down the dinghy, a battery, or even holding up your pants in a pinch. It is based on stuff a sailor has on hand-webbing, a chain link, and a shackle-and is as strong as professionally sewn ends, plus it can be untied after loading. It has tested at greater than 85-percent breaking strength and 100 percent of minimum rate strength, and it works on both nylon and ultra-high strength materials like Vectran webbing.

A Homemade Tiller Tender

On my Catalina 22 I have a tiller tender which has served me well for many years — and it didn't cost a cent. On top of the tiller are two pieces of 3/8" x 3/4" hardwood about 5" long. The two pieces are drilled horizontally, at the joint line, about 2" from the end to accommodate a 3" length of split neoprene which has an inside diameter slightly less than the diameter of the braided line which runs to the coamings. Two holes drilled vertically near the ends are used to fasten the device to the tiller.

Shaping the Cruising Spinnaker

In designing an asymmetrical cruising spinnaker, most sailmakers begin with the boats fore-triangle rig dimensions (I and J), and combine those with information about the intended use of the sail (tight reaching, reaching, or running) and information regarding where the sail will be used.