The fastest way to attach light hardware to a cored deck is a self-tapping screw. It is also the fastest way to have hardware rip out of the deck and end up with a wet core and delaminated deck. But how to replace screws that have gotten loose or prevent a wet deck in your future? One method is to drill and over-sized hole, remove some core, fill the enlarged hole with epoxy, and then replace them with small through bolts (see Spreading the Load Practical Sailor, August 2016). But what if the backside is inaccessible? Can we create an improved repair by filling and reinstalling a self-tapping fastener, without major surgery? What sealing and filling material is best?
Sooner or later, chafe, UV rays, and sharp edges take their toll on our canvas. A misplaced screw or simple friction will eat holes in a dodger. A seam gives up, a boom rubs through the fabric, and a few snaps come loose.
While permeation of waste gases through flexible sanitation hose is a major source of odors in the head, it is not the only one. This article looks at the possible sources one by one.
Practical Sailor often supplements panel testing with product challenges aboard our test boats to see whether top products still earn their keep in the real world and to try out new products. Two such evaluations are our exterior wood finish tests. In the January 2011 issue, we introduced a head-to-head matchup of varnish alternatives—market-newcomer PolyWhey from Vermont Natural Coatings versus perennial favorite Interlux’s Sikkens Cetol Natural Teak—that had been applied to our Cape Dory 25 test boat. For that test, we’ve just let nature run its course: no band-aid touchups, no maintenance coats, no freshwater rinses, no TLC at all.
For those who enjoy fishing or charcoal cooking, here's a design for a stern rail mount work surface useful for fish cleaning and meat cutting, and big enough to hold a hibachi when moored. I got the idea from yacht designer C.W. "Chuck" Paine, and Chuck got the idea from some Caribbean charter boats. You could also clamp a vise to the work surface and thus have a handy little work bench for onboard repairs and modifications. Mounted as it is on the stern rail, it is at a useful height, and offal and mess are easily cleared overboard. A hibachi used on the surface demands careful use, of course — as with any open flame on a boat — but it's about as far outboard a position as can be found. It's also a lot cheaper than those charcoal grills designed to be clamped to the stern rail.
Theres little debate over the adhesive quality and toughness of epoxy resin-just look at where its being used. We hear about its presence in crucial structures such as aircraft wings, race car bodies and high-end custom racing yachts. But it takes a little familiarity with engineering lingo to help us understand why epoxy trumps its ester relatives.
Most teak cleaners don't just clean; they also remove weathered woods surface fibers and expose new wood. As much as 0.010 inches of surface teak can be removed in a single cleaning when using some common teak-cleaning products. Regularly cleaning with these products will shorten a teak decks life. Some also contain strong alkalis that can harm paint, caulk, and aluminum.
Pulling hoses is generally low on the fun list. They are in bad places, jammed onto crusty hose-fitting barbs, and have stiffened over the years. As part of our 2016 update on long-term tests, we needed to wiggle loose a few of the sanitation hoses were testing to see how they were looking on the inside-a job much less pleasant than new installation.
In this article, our semi-annual report on antifouling paints for sailboats, testers rate two sets of paint panels-one that has been in the water 26 months, and the other for 15 months. We also take a peek at our newest panel, which has been in the water for only four months. Testers found a few surprises-especially among eco-friendly bottom paints-and tapped the top antifoulings for specific needs, like the best racing paint and the best aluminum-safe paint.
The February 2010 issue of Practical Sailor has letters on the following topics: requests for more used boat reviews, foggy electronics, hard varnishes, propane fridges and Iphone apps.