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.

Wrapping Stainless Steel for Better Grip

The very first project tackled on my new-to-me catamaran a decade ago was to wrap the helm wheel with line. Our delivery trip home took place in late December on the Chesapeake Bay, and I didn't want to spend the next three days with an icy stainless steel wheel sucking all of the heat from my fingers. Instead, I spent a productive hour before dinner wrapping the wheel with line.

Winterizing the Engine: Maintenance that Is Truly Preventive

Winterizing an inboard engine installation means a lot more than filling the cooling system with antifreeze and stuffing a rag in the exhaust outlet. It means taking care of the exhaust system, the fuel system, the engine controls, and other components of the drive train, such as the shaft and prop. If you want to do these things yourself none of them is difficult, only time consuming plan on a long day of work, or perhaps a leisurely weekend.

Pot Skirt: DIY Cooking in the Wind

The writers and editors at Practical Sailor are perpetual tinkerers-always looking for creative, do-it-yourself solutions to even the smallest onboard problems. We figure our readers likely suffer the same challenges on their boats, so were obliged to share such projects.

Design For: Accessible Radio Rack

Radios occupy an important place in the contemporary sailing scene, supplying weather reports, time ticks, entertainment, and news. High quali­ty radios are also expensive. In other words, they're valuable pieces of equipment and deserve to be pro­tected. One way of protecting a radio is to store it securely chocked in a locker. Unfortunately that means it must be taken out to be used — always a bother and limiting accessibility — and when in use it's vulnerable, since it is not secured as when stowed

Stop That Leak!

Alot of water has gone over the dam since the days when boats were caulked with cotton, and storm windows were snugged up with putty.

Making Engine Oil Changes Easier

Some boat manufacturers have no concern for simplifying things, like changing the auxiliary engines oil, once the boat leaves the factory. But the process should not be more than a 15-minute job, and at most, only a few drops of oil should need to be cleaned up.

Rust Busters: Spray Solutions for Seized Fasteners and Other Metal Hardware

For those of us living, working, and playing on the water, rust can show up all too often, as the trailer for one of Practical Sailors test boats recently reminded us. Testers tried four aerosol products marketed as penetrating oils-WD-40, Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, and CRC Freeze-Off-on the rusted U-bolts, and seized nuts and bolts of the neglected trailer to determine which is the best rust buster.

Seacocks for Thin Hulls

A proper below-the-water line sea cock consists of three parts: the outside portion or mushroom, which threads into the flanged valve, the flanged valve, and the backing plate.

Mildew-resistant Caulks for Boats

We recently tested shear strength of many caulks on many different materials and delivered a few tentative recommendations (See Marine Sealant Adhesion Tests, December 2016). Here is the two-year follow-up focusing on resistance to weathering, dirt, and mildew, as well as the ability to maintain a good bond above the waterline when flexed. This is one of nearly a dozen similar tests that weve done in recent years. Be sure to see the online version of this article for links to previous reports covering other key characteristics (underwater bonding, sealing teak decks, sealing hatch glazing, etc.).

Overheating in Docklines and Rodes

With hurricane season hitting full stride, many of us are going over our rope inventory, making sure we have more than enough lines to secure the boat. Chafe gear fights external friction on our lines, but how do we combat internal heat build-up? Dock lines are particularly susceptible to overheating. If the boat is exposed to short-period chop from the side, the frequency can be high and the force can exceed the 10:1 safe working limit, and even with rain or spray to cool the rope there may be significant weakening due to internal friction.