Mailport: June 2012

Letters to Practical Sailor, June 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Safety Lessons, USCG Registration Fees, Waterproofing Fabric, and more!

November 2011 Product Updates

Canada Metal Pacific (CMP) of Vancouver has acquired New Zealand-based Rocna Anchors, a company embroiled in a controversy over anchor quality after production had shifted from New Zealand to China. According to CMP, Rocna anchors will continue to be produced in China, but at a different plant in Ningbao, China—one that is wholly owned by Canada Metals Pacific. Rocna anchors made in Shanghai were recently the subject of a “specification notice” issued by marine retailer West Marine, which was reported on in the September 2011 Practical Sailor. The notice informed Rocna anchor owners that some Shanghai-made Rocnas did not meet the company’s original advertised specifications.

Sailing into the Golden Age of Hook-and-Loop Fasteners

Hook and loop fasteners are familiar from jacket cuffs and companionway bug screens, but during our many years of fiddling around boats, weve come up with a few applications that even a Velcro-lover haven't yet tried. Lets look at some new tricks.

Spring Maintenance:Smith & Co. CEPS and Honey Teak Best Gloss Teak Treatments

A trend in recent years has been the gradual elimination of exterior teak on boats. This is understandable, given the amount of time and...

The Unsung Hero of Canvas Work

You can cut cloth, carpet, and rope with scissors or a knife, but the result is a frayed mess, as soon as the item...

Bottom Paint Tests 2009 Spring Update

Over the years, Practical Sailor has tracked the evolution in marine antifouling paints. Shaped by government regulations, environmental concerns, and industry innovations, the shift started with tin-based paints in the 1980s. After tin-based paints came under fire for the harm they cause marine life, copper-based paints grew in popularity. Now, concerns about the impact of copper on the environment have led to the development of copper-alternative paints, such as zinc-biocide and water-based antifoulings. We continue to sort through the data to help you find the best bottom paint for your boat. This report offers an update to our panel tests after six months and 18 months in the water as well as the head-to-head tests under way on our test boat fleet. Some of the best performers (out of 72 paints tested) at six months were hard paints and specialty antifoulings such as Copper Shield 45 Hard made by Blue Water, VC Offshore by Interlux, Copper Guard by Pettit, and Sharkskin by Sea Hawk. The best ablative paints at six months included Copper Shield SCX 45 by Blue Water, EP-21 by Epaint, and Hydrocoat and Vivid Free by Pettit. The top long-term bottom paints-those appropriate for multi-season antifouling protection-included Interlux Micron 66, Pettit Trinidad SR, and Interlux Epoxycop. These extensive tests also included marine bottom paints from Awlgrip, Flexdel, and Microphase Coatings. The lineup also covered re-branded products from West Marine.

Mailport: Cold Weather Suits

Regarding your recent Inside Practical Sailor blog post Drysuits vs. Survival Suits, I raft the Colorado river in Grand Canyon where water temps are around 50 F, even in the summer. The whitewater down there is furious and sometimes dangerous. I wear a 3 millimeter neoprene wetsuit under a full drysuit. If the drysuit rips, the wetsuit should slow down thermal loss. The problem is heat buildup in the sun. The solution is to jump in the cold water now and then to keep from over heating. On a sailboat that would be harder to do. There have been a few times sailing solo when I wore both garments, but it was pretty clammy inside. There is no perfect solution, just reasonable compromises by which to stay alive. Something to remember is that once a drysuit rips, it will take on hundreds of pounds of water. A high flotation PFD is mandatory, at least 26 pounds I would think.

Mailport: 07/09

Were trying our best to provide subscribers with the most value for their money, but for now, we must continue our policy of charging everyone to download articles published more than two months prior. Subscribers get a discounted rate on these archive articles, available at, and all subscribers have full access to this months issue and the previous months issue, as well as to other subscriber-only online content. Readers who register online get e-mail notifications, along with issue highlights, when each new issue is posted online. We encourage readers to download and save the articles (features are now available in PDF format) as soon as they become available. We recognize the value of having access to archive tests and are working to expand subscriber access.

Bottom Paint Care

Modern anti-fouling paints promise a hull free of marine growth for one to several seasons. But in nutrient-rich water and as the paint becomes expended, barnacles and green stuff take hold, slowing us down, increasing fuel consumption under power, and degrading handling.

The Liquid Image 310 Video Mask

For those of us who spend nearly as much time under the water as on it, the Liquid Image 310 video mask sounded like a great addition to our diving kit-and a good fix for our gadget addiction-so we had to give it a try when we came across it at a spring boat show.

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.