Where Credit Is Due: April 2014

In November 2013, I bought a 65-pound Mantus Anchor. Living in Maine, I had not yet had the pleasure of using it but was disturbed by your recent report (PS, February 2014) regarding their shank strength. I contacted Mantus about getting a replacement shank.

Shurhold Buffing Pad Cleaner

During our April 2014 performance test of rubbing compounds, we sullied a dozen brand-new wool buffing pads, all of which were Shurhold brand. Since quality buffing pads are reusable (and not cheap), we thought the rubbing compound test was a great opportunity to also check out Shurholds new, professional-grade Serious Pad Cleaner (No. 30803). Mixed with water, this powdered concentrate is formulated to dissolve compounds and waxes from wool, polyester, cotton, microfiber, and foam buffing pads or cloths.

Favorite Bottom Paints by Region

Lately, readers have been asking us about which antifouling paints serve well for specific bodies of water (or type of water). So, in this article-our annual spring bottom paint report-we will try to answer these questions with some recent reader survey data and sales reports from the two biggest brands in the U.S. (Pettit Paints and Interlux Yacht Finishes). But before we get into the regional breakdowns, a quick recap on choosing bottom paint and our paint testing program is in order. If youre a longtime subscriber, feel free to skip down to the Current Testing section.

When Technology Catches the Wind

A lot can be learned from really small boats that carry no crew. In fact, sailing robotics-SailBot for short-is attracting sailors and engineering students from universities across North America and Europe. These competitive research programs are a proving ground for on-the-water autonomous craft, and they give us a glimpse of what the future of marine electronics may have in store.

Mailport: March 2014

PS Reader Mark Baldwin wrote: "I used Uni-Gard pink antifreeze (rated for -50 degrees) to winterize my boat. The leftover jugs all froze solid at -14-or perhaps they froze before the night got that cold. The consequence for my boats systems? No telling until the spring, I guess."

Aggressive Hull Cleaning Stirs Up Copper Debate

Early this month, irate boat owners from Marina del Rey, Calif., packed the regional water-quality board meeting, protesting a rule that would require them to switch to a copper-free antifouling paint by the year 2024. The board unanimously voted in favor of the rule, moving it another step forward in the legislative process-a bureaucratic cricket match that will drag on for several years.

Keeping Canvas in Tip-top Shape

Canvas dodgers and biminis are the hallmark of a cruising yacht, but they arent cheap to come by. We wanted to find the best way to protect the investment and get the most life out of the canvas. Sunbrella makers recommend that routine maintenance include frequent freshwater rinsing, plus spot cleaning, and applying a treatment to restore the fabrics repellency. In this article, we take a look at treatments designed to keep on-board canvas water repellent and looking its best. We tested seven: Aquatech, Marykate, 3M, 303 Products, NikWax, Star brite, and Iosso.

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.

PropSpeed in the Field

We first reported on PropSpeed-an expensive two-part etching primer with a silicone-based top coat designed to prevent propeller fouling by being super slick-in the November 2006 issue and gave an update on our field tests in the July 2010 issue. A recent field report from PS contributor and bluewater voyager Capt. John Neal of Mahina Expeditions confirmed our past findings: While the coating is intact, PropSpeed works. However, we've had mixed reader and…

Where Credit Is Due: February 2014

PS readers already know MacENC (PS, July 2013) is a good charting program. I recently experienced terrific customer service from the company. I used MacEnc (www.gpsnavx.com/macenc/) as my backup chartplotting software on a trip to Bermuda in 2007. A month ago, preparing for another offshore trip, I emailed their customer service, asking whether I could update the program and transfer it to a newer laptop.

Antifouling Paint Prices Follow Copper Surge

The antifouling coating industry is dominated by copper-based paint, so as copper prices reach their highest levels in recent history, I was curious to...