Picking the Best Bottom Paint

This months report on bottom preparation is another reminder that the most effective paint as determined by our past testing might not always be the best for your circumstances or location.

Local Loft Versus Web-based Service

Not every sailor has a selection of local sailmakers to choose from. He or she must instead rely on Internet research and phone conversations to find the best sail for the best price. As most of the world’s sail production takes place in a handful of high-volume production lofts abroad (China, Sri Lanka, and Africa), U.S. sailmakers have taken on the role of sail designers—rather than sailmakers.

PS Guru on Tour this Fall

Those who enjoyed our recent three-part special report highlighting the trends in sailboat design and construction-focusing on structure, stability, and performance - can thank PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo, who called upon his decades of experience as a voyager, boatyard manager, and marine safety consultant to weave those pieces together. The articles offer a peek at what youll find in his outstanding opus, The Art of Seamanship, which was published last spring and is now available in the Practical Sailor online bookstore, www.practical-sailor.com/books.


Coast Survey also has launched a new product, free PDF nautical charts, on a trial basis and is seeking mariner input. From now through Jan. 22, 2014, sailors can download about a thousand high-resolution printable charts-nearly the entire NOAA suite-as PDF files. The PDF charts, which are almost exact images of the traditional print charts, will be updated weekly.

Varnish Exposure Update (and Coatings Recap)

Paint and varnish shouldn't be too difficult to understand: They're coatings you apply with a brush, roller or pad to protect or beautify the...

Mailport: November 2010

Letters to Practical Sailor from our readers. November 2010's topics include cleaning products, sail hardware, galley stoves and anti-fouling paints.

Iron vs. Lead Ballast

Whether it is, as the iceboaters say "soft water" or "hard water," the principles are exactly the same. However, because when iceboating the apparent wind behaves so much more radically, the sailtrimming techniques are considerably different. By the way, an airplane wing is just a sail turned horizontal; thats why so many airplane pilots own sailboats or iceboats.

Where Credit is Due: April 2012

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

Bottom Paint Test Report: Panels Rated at the One- and Two-year Marks

Looking for the best marine antifoulant to keep your hull clean? Check out Practical Sailors semi-annual bottom paint test report, which offers performance ratings on nearly 80 marine antifouling paints. Multiple sets of submerged fiberglass test panels-two in the Florida Keys and two in Long Island Sound-were pulled and examined for their resistance to hard growth and soft growth. Detailed charts show the results of the one-year and two-year tests for ablative paints, hard paints, and specialty paints (white paints, eco-friendly paints, bright paints, water-based paints, and racing boat paints). After the ratings were logged, testers retired the two-year panels to make room for the 2008 bottom paints. This lineup-72 paints in all-includes several low-copper paints and no-copper paints, which are becoming increasingly popular as sailors look for viable alternatives to metal-based paints. Paint manufacturers and distributors participating in the test include Blue Water Marine Paint; Donovan Marine; Epaint Co.; Flexdel Aquagard; Interlux Yacht Finishes; Kop-Coat; Pettit; New Nautical Coatings; Seahawk Paints; West Marine; and Boaters World (Seabowld). Among the top-rated paints are Interlux Micron 66, Interlux Super Ablative, Pettit Ultima SR, Pettit Trinidad SR, Pettit Unepoxy Plus, Pettit Vivid, and Sea Hawk Biocop TF.

Clearing the Air Around Odor Testing

After several rounds of chemical testing for holding tanks, we have got this stink detection down to a science. Because the masking chemicals are more effective in in port-a-potty applications, there is only one true measure of effectiveness: whether the toilet still stinks after it is flushed.

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.