Mailport: March 2011

Letters to Practical Sailor, March 2011. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Wind Gens, Great Anchor Debate, Bottom Paint, Designs, and more!

Exterior Wood Finishes

After a brief-and for testers, much needed-hiatus from testing wood finishes, we recently launched a new long-term evaluation of exterior wood coatings. Our last round of tests, a two-year death match, wrapped up in 2011. Although the test field this go-around is smaller than the previous tests lineup, it includes some new products and some that have been reformulated since the last long-term test began in 2007.

Marine Systems: Wire Exposure Test Update

There are a variety of wire types that exceed government and industry standards for onboard wiring. Because these types of wire can be 10- to 15-percent less expensive than high-quality boat cable, Practical Sailor wanted to determine whether any of these other options would be acceptable for the cost-conscious sailor.Using a moisture chamber designed to mimic years of use in a harsh marine environment such as a bilge, PS's test focuses on the durability of tinned wire, non-tinned wire, and various wire connectors. It also examines whether using a corrosion-inhibiting product could help extend the life of these wires and connections. The test led to some definitive conclusions on which wire types are best in specific onboard uses, and also showed that long-term wire protection begins with well-sealed connections. Our July 2010 issue reported the six-month results, and here, we offer the one-year update.

Where Credit is Due: December 2011

Letters to Practical Sailor, December 2011. This month's letters cover subjects such as: ScanMarine, Midland Management, and more!

Freshwater Bottom Paint Test

We werent too surprised to learn that Irgarol 1051, an antifouling paint additive that last year was awaiting U.S. Environmental Protection Administration certification, has received approval to re-enter the market. As we reported last spring (see Bottom Paint Update 2017, Practical Sailor April 2017), Irgarol 1051s manufacturer, BASF, had moved its manufacturing to Asia, and was waiting for its new foreign-sourced formula to be certified by the EPA. By 2016, nearly all of the major antifouling paint manufacturers in the U.S. had exhausted their reserves. Now Irgarol is back, which means there may be some confusion as to what secret sauce is boosting the performance of your top-shelf slime-resistant paint.

Mailport: February 2012

Letters to Practical Sailor, February 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Engine-Free, Titanium, Sabre Solace Twin, and More!

Mailport: September 2013

In response to Whats in the Practical Sailor Toolbag? (PS, January 2012): How about a list of tools that a live-aboard cruiser should carry? Given storage, power, and workspace limitations, many of the suggested tools are not feasible and may require alternatives. For instance, I carry a major Dremel toolkit, and it cuts the very occasional holes I need for switch installation, etc., plus helps me with sanding and minor refinishing work. I use my Dewalt 18-volt right-angle drill probably twice a month for repairs and upgrades. I also use my cordless screwdriver several times per year, especially when removing and reinstalling my headliner while chasing wires. Most others are tools that don't require electricity, but there are many.

The Cruising Sailors Sail Repair Toolkit

If youre going to sail youll be doing some stitching. No two ways about it. Dont jump into the $100 do-everything kit. Start with a modest kit, adding tools and materials only as your skills grow and projects require them.

Flexible Tanks Require Special Protections

What about fuel bladders? Fuel bladders must meet a higher standard than water bladders, but many of the findings from our water bladder test apply to fuel as well (see Practical Sailor Drops, Drags, and Dissects Three Flexible Portable Water Tanks, PS October 2007).

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.