Mailport: February 2014

Sailboats have a bit of advantage over their power cousins in that we have more high spots that can be used creatively. In my installation, the diesel vent line (fuel-grade hose) loops high inside at the transom and back down to the through-hull. Through the use of a check valve, air flows out, but intake air comes in through the AVD, which is attached to the underside of the deck; no additional support needed. The unit is readily available for inspection or replacement through the transom locker, and it is not in the way of any equipment that needs to go in or out. Love the H2Out AVD2 vent filter; kudos to Pindell Engineering.

Mailport: April 2014

In regard to the March 2014 wind instrument reviews: I installed a Garmin package, including a GWS10, a little over a year ago. The unit works well enough, but the flimsy windvane has fallen victim to birds three times. The biggest threat to a windvane is birds, not rough weather. This applies to all models, from a simple Windex (estimated life expectancy about three months) to the old Nav5 all-metal vane.

Product Update: Facnor FX+ Furler, Caframo Scirocco II, and More!

With lighter summer breezes soon upon us, a retrofit to a furling light-air asymmetrical sail grows tempting. Facnor, maker of one of our top-rated gennaker furlers in 2009 and 2011 (Foil-less Furler Test, PS April 2011 online) has introduced its new FX+ range of high performance continuous line furlers for free-flying sails. The new furlers incorporate a lightweight carbon fiber drum housing, exclusive quick release attachment system for easy use, and a new ratchet type lock, which prevents the drum from unwinding while the sail is furled.Designed to be highly adaptable, the FX+ range works well with almost any free flying sailing sail-ranging from a Code Zero, staysail or storm jib. They can all be quickly converted to a top-down style furler using Facnors optional Fast Swivel system. Facnors push-spring release system allows for simple snap-on attachment, as well as one-handed removal activation. The FX+ range includes sizes and models to fit boats from 21 to 70 feet.

Update: Synthetic Teak Deck Test

After eight months with little change, Tek-Dek is still king.

Quickline Takes a Load Off

Using an elastic nylon riding stopper (aka snubber) is always recommended when deploying an all-chain rode. Snubbers act as shock absorbers between rode and vessel, while at the same time transferring surge loading caused by wind and waves from the windlass to a deck cleat. No windlass is built to bear the load of a deployed anchor, particularly the bone-jarring snatches of an all-chain rode fetching up short.

Top Flashlight: Dorcys The Boss

While the Pelican PeliLite proves the value of 'marine-grade,' The Boss has the edge.

Backyard Boatbuilding: A Father-Son Odyssey

For many sailors, boatbuilding can be the ultimate do-it-yourself project. The skills derived pay off as extra dividends when it comes to repairs or fitting out projects aboard larger sailboats. And as Matt Zephry and his 12-year-old son Alex found out, sharing the boatbuilding process with a loved one is like passing along an important piece of family history. The father-son duo began their boatbuilding project without any plans. Their intention was to create a boat that was easy to row and could double as a sailing skiff for father-and-son fishing trips. Their dream boat-and first boatbuilding project-was a success, and the Z&S team launched Odyssey in time for a Fathers Day sail.

Maintenance All-Stars

With the gazillion marine maintenance products out there, it’s an annual challenge to narrow the field down to just a few superior products for our Gear of the Year (GOTY) list. This year, our top maintenance picks came out of our endless antifouling-paint testing and our performance evaluation of multi-purpose cleaners—products we suspect most of you buy and use regularly.

Where Credit is Due: April 2012

Letters to Practical Sailor, April 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: ACR, Raymarine, and LCBS.

Special Maintenance Section:Newcomers Bristol and Woolsey Are Promising Teak Treatments

What lasts, what doesn't. Our latest exposure results.

The Ins and Outs of Aftermarket Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.