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Sodablasting 101

When deciding on a process for clearing antifouling paint and coatings off the bottom of your boat, first define your goals and try to be as minimally invasive as possible. If your boat bottom needs more than a scrubbing but less than a full peel, sodablasting is a technique that will strip bottom paint but leave gelcoat intact. The unique softness of the calcium carbonate powder in sodablasting is effective, and the tented setup keeps the old coating contained. This report outlines the sodablasting process, calculates the cost in time and money, and compares its performance and cost-effectiveness to other bottom-stripping techniques we've tested.

Mailport: April 2012

Letters to Practical Sailor, April 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Engine Free, Climbers' Tether Fix, Waterproof Fabric, and More!

Polishing Solar Panels

After years in the sun, even the best quality plastic begins to take on some surface roughness and hazing. The diligent boat owner immediately reaches for his buffer and compound, certain that a shiny panel is a happy panel. In fact, panels are often ruined by attempts to restore the plastic.

Fast Flow Pump: The Name Says It All

Originally designed for pumping operations on land, the Fast Flow engine-driven pump has a tremendous pumping capacity, with the ability to move nearly 5,000 gallons of water per hour (at 800 rpm). Thats nearly five times the amount of the average electric bilge pump. The Fast Flow Pump comes in a variety of sizes, but a close look at installation and fittings is necessary to determine if the pump will fit on a particular boat.

DIY Materials Testing

While many potential failures are easy to spot, some flaws are hidden under paint or within the structure, or are so small that a routine visual inspection won't pick them up. Standing rigging, hulls, decks and hardware fittings are the most common places where hidden structural weaknesses can lead to big repair bills, or even loss of life.

DIY Topside Paint Test: Two-part Linear Polyurethanes Face Off

While our topside paint panel test (Practical Sailor August 2008) seeks out the most durable topside paint, this test was to determine which two-part LPU is the most user-friendly for the amateur painter and whether the project is manageable for the average do-it-yourselfer. We chose to use the roll-and-tip painting method, and selected two-part polyurethanes from manufacturers that historically have done well in Practical Sailors topside paint durability tests: Interlux and Epifanes. On the port side, we applied Epifanes Poly-urethane No. 800 white thinned with Epifanes poly-urethane thinner, and on its starboard side and transom, we painted Interluxs Perfection Mediterranean White and used 2333N brushing reducer.

Mailport: Penetrating Oils, Coppercoat, and More!

In regard to your article on freeing seized hardware (see PS January 2016 online), Ive found Kano Kroil (www.kanolabs.com) to be very effective, and I keep it on the boat. In a Practical Machinist website post (www.practicalmachinist.com) on penetrating oils, Kroil was reportedly the second best solution, after a homebrew mix of automatic transmission fluid (ATF) and acetone. Theres also a good discussion on penetrating oils in the Cruisers Forum (www.cruisersforum.com) titled Penetrating oil for old bolts/studs on exhaust manifold. I recommend readers interested in penetrating oils also check these out.

Beneteau Responds to Seacock Query

Beneteau wrote a detailed response to our recent query from a reader regarding seacocks in his Beneteau (Seacock, Through-hull Caution Mailport, PS July 2017). We are continuing to look at seacocks and seacock materials. Our last big report was in 1994, so this is long overdue. If you have a relevant seacock story to share, send it to the editor at practicalsailor@belvoir.com.

Stay Warm, Stay Safe

About this time of year, sailors creeping southward are either accelerating their migration or looking for inexpensive ways to warm the cabin. You don't have to install an expensive, built-in heating system just to get you south of the Mason-Dixon line, but when opting for one of the less-expensive options, you do have to use commonsense.