Taming the Wild Boom: Two Designs for a Gallows

A wildly flailing boom is one of the most dangerous ob­jects aboard a sailboat. If you could completely control the boom at anchor and under power, and while raising, lowering, and reefing the sail you'd avoid worry, save energy and be much safer. For this reason, many serious cruising boats have traditionally carried permanent boom gallows. They usually take the form of metal pillars bridg ed across the top by a wooden cross member. Bolted to the deck at the aft end of the cockpit or on the aft deck itself, they serve several functions: holding the boom firm­ly when the sail is down; catching the boom easily as the sail is lowered; and, perhaps most importantly, keeping the boom steady during reefing operations.

Stemming Troublesome Deck Leaks

Deck joints don’t leak as much as they used to. Most builders have switched to less leak-prone types of joints, and most are more conscientious about fastening and sealing them.

Fairing the Keel(s)

One of the more popular uses for fairing compounds is for shaping underwater appendages like keels and rudders so they are more efficient. Adjusting the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) profile, or airfoil shape, of a fin keel or rudder can create more lift to enhance windward performance. Altering the trailing edge can yield similar improvements.

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.

Battery Care Pays Off

Among the more neglected pieces of gear aboard most boats are the primary storage batteries, which faithfully crank the engine and light the lights. In the case of the typical lead-acid battery, even benign neglect is tantamount to abuse. It’s small wonder that many battery manufacturers refuse to recognize the warranty on batteries used aboard boats. The normal marine battery cycling - relatively high discharge rates with no charging, followed by rapid charging at a high rate by high-output alternators - is murder on conventional automotive batteries, and not exactly a piece of cake even for deep cycle batteries, constructed to absorb this type of abuse.

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?

Do-It-Yourself Fender Boards

Fender boards are practically a necessity when lying along side pilings. They are designed to ride outboard of two fenders, protecting a larger section of the topsides than the two fenders could provide alone.

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 didnt move the funnel. (Sure, the flow is faster with non-CARB cans, but you had to reduce the flow for the funnel anyway.)

Testing the B&G Zeus3 Nav System

Multifunction display manufacturers have pushed their products through a dramatic evolution in the last five years as they try to keep pace with technology that we take for granted in our other electronics. Better interfaces, screen resolution, and the ability to download useful software apps (beyond navigation) are just some of the improvements. Most of the major vendors are on their third generation of touchscreen interfaces, higher resolution displays, downloadable software, remote music control, and other functions far afield of what MFDs performed five years ago.

Stuck Like Glue

Just about every sailboat owner has at some point mixed up a batch of epoxy to fill a hole, glue parts back together, or tackle an extensive project. Practical Sailor testers evaluated four marine epoxy resins based on their mechanical properties (strength, adhesion, hardness, and flexibility) and key handling attributes such as wet-out, sag, curing, and overall handling. We tested West 105 Epoxy Resin, MAS Flag Resin, Raka UV-inhibited epoxy, and Interlux’s Epiglass HT-9000.

Sizing Up the Autumn List

Some of the best sailing I ever had was September on Narragansett Bay, pretty close to heaven in my mind. But before we let a long September reach carry us away-and hopefully carry us through winter-its a good time to take out a pen and pad, and start to build the winter work list.