For maximum maneuverability, the control lines-one port, one starboard-should attach at the widest part of the boat. This maximizes leverage and places the effort close to the center pivot point. On a catamaran, closer to the transom works because of the wide beam, but for monohulls, attaching near the pivot point at the keel will be more responsive. For maximum responsiveness, the drogue should be as close to the transom as practical-this results in more responsive steering and minimal drag. We found the best compromise to be around 65-80 percent of the way aft, where there is still enough beam, but less risk of the control lines fouling.
While replacing all of the halogen bulbs on my boat with LED bulbs, I accidentally broke the plastic lens of one of the fixtures that fits flush into my salon ceiling. Beneteau no longer stocks replacement parts, and the glass and plastic fabricators I went to could not duplicate one thin enough to fit the fixture.
As Practical Sailor carries out a series of structural and cosmetic repairs on our various test boats, well have the opportunity to test several different brands of epoxy products in real-world situations ranging from bonding to laminating and sealing. Recently, a couple of small bonding projects allowed us try a relatively new product from West System, G/flex. The two-part epoxy system comes two ways: pre-thickened in squeeze-tubes or bottled in a liquid form that can be used for laminating or thickened to a desired consistency for bonding.
The simplest mounting method for rigid panels is directly to the deck using z-brackets, studs, or glue-on brackets. If mounting to frame above davits or a Bimini top run -inch x 2-inch aluminum bar crosswise under the panel, attach it to the factory-supplied mounting holes, and then attach with rail clamps or brackets (photos 1 & 2).
On the recommendation of Practical Sailors water filter test (see PS June 2015), I bought a two pack of Camcos RV Taste Pure water filters through Amazon after finding sediment in my water tank. One of the filters dumped 1/8-cup of the carbon/KDF granuals all over when I took the protective cover off the filter, and it continued to shed the media when I shook the filter. If I had connected the filter to my water supply, it would have contaminated my water system and probably ruined my water pump. Only one of the two filters is dumping carbon/KDF material, so I assumed that this is a product defect.
Id like to offer kudos to Becky in the customer service department at Gill North America (www.gillna.com). I sent Gill a note that my Gill foul-weather gear (see PS, February and March 2015 online) was no longer shedding water the way that it should. Customer service instructed me to send in my gear, and after testing it, they sent a replacement; no further questions asked. This is a great company, and now, Ill be a Gill customer for life!
Its not sailing, but weve got to talk about it because its not fun when it goes wrong. The head. Weve reported on the best hoses, joker valves, toilet paper, and holding tank treatments. Recently readers have asked about cleaners that are safe, and sure enough, over the years weve run into evidence that improper cleaning can do real harm.
Practical Sailor tested a field of 10 tubs of paste waxes for ease of application, gloss, texture, finish, and price. Most of the products did a fairly good job of producing initial shine. The two waxes with the most glossy fiberglass test patch were not the easiest to apply nor were they the least expensive. The boat wax test included marine paste waxes and car waxes-some with carnauba-from Meguiars, Turtle Wax, 3M, Collinite, Kit, Mothers, Nu-Finish, and Star brite. You need only dip a toe into this topic to realize that there are almost as many recipes for a glossy hull as there are sailors whod rather do anything than wax their hull. As long as marketeers keep alive our hopes for a glossy finish that will last forever, there will be people who will plunk down hard-earned money for the latest and greatest gelcoat elixir. We generally define gloss as being the surface ability to reflect light. Gloss, along with ease of application and the ability to repel dirt and water, are the features that Practical Sailor focused on for this report (see "How We Tested," page 32).