Mailport: October 2010

Letters to Practical Sailor, October 2010. Subjects include an owner's comments about MacGregor boats, digital maps, teak cleaners, props and adhesives.

Where Credit is Due: February 2011

Letters to Practical Sailor, February 2011. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Metz Antenna, Tipke Manufacturing, Facet/Purolator, Standard Horizon and more!

Mailport: 01/09

In the December 2007 Practical Sailor Advisor, you requested feedback on Ultimate Sole, a product for coating cabin soles. Two years ago, I added a -inch teak-holly veneer plywood covering to my sole and used Ultimate Sole as the finish. I first put on a sealer and then two coats of Ultimate Sole. It went on very easily and performed better than I expected. It is a hard, glossy finish that truly does offer nonskid properties. You look at the finish and think you will slide all over the place, but you don't! It is a wonderful product, and I wouldn't use anything else.

Where Credit is Due

Id like to offer kudos to Becky in the customer service department at Gill North America ( 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!

Securing Your Solar Panels

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).

Where Credit Is Due: August 2013

Two years ago, I purchased a Water Witch bilge pump switch. When it developed a glitch, I called Kathleen at Water Witch Inc.s San Diego office ( She asked me a couple of questions, then assured me the replacement part would be shipped the following day. It was, followed by an email saying it had shipped. It arrived 10 days later (international), complete with a personal note. Does it better than this? I think not.

Mailport: December 2012

We got a half-taste of your Florida hurricanes here in New Jersey. I had my boat hauled out a few days before super-storm Sandy arrived. The yard blocked her with just four jack stands and a bow jack stand. I asked for four more for the hurricane, and they said no, so I built my own midship stands for $16! I wanted to share the how-to since they worked so well.

Years Later, Mast Mate Still Riding High

Mast steps are a great help when going aloft, but they add weight where it hurts most (aloft), and halyards love to get stuck behind them. One alternative is the Mast Mate webbing ladder, which hoists on your mainsail track.

Fall Maintenance: Don’t Wait Until Spring!

As the frost line marches southward over the next few months, it will signal the end of the season for sailors stranded to its north. The end of the sailing season, however, does not mean the end of boat responsibilities. A pleasure for some, a chore for others, off-season layup and winter's armchair sailing is all part of the game. Like it or not, a boat requires care when it is laid up, just as it does when it is in use. In a way, the fact that you may not get to use your boat for more than half a year is a plus. If you have ever looked at a boat that has been in the Caribbean charter trade for four years, you realize that the concept of the no-maintenance fiberglass boat with eternal life is little more than a myth. A boat is a big investment, and like most investments it requires some attention from the investor (you) to do its best.

Exploring the Ins and Outs of 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.