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Topside Paint Exposure Test Checkup

In August 2008, Practical Sailor launched a topside paint test in search of a high-gloss, easy-to-apply, durable coating for fiberglass hulls. The initial report focused on the application characteristics for 29 topside paints, including multiple white coatings and a handful of colored topside coatings. This report taps the best topside paints after their being exposed to the New England weather for a year. Testers rated each paints appearance, abrasion resistance, scratch resistance, hardness, and stain resistance. PS compared seven enamels, 12 mono-urethanes, eight two-part linear polyurethanes (LPUs), and two water-based paints. After 12 months exposure, the majority of the topside paint test field was holding up admirably. Test paints included products from Interlux, Crystalac, Epifanes, Insignia Coatings, Kirby Paint Co., Pettit, Sherwin-Williams, Signature Finishes, and West Marine.

Mailport: December 2013

Your tape test (PS, October 2013) did not include 3M 256, but I thought Id pass on a lesson learned to your readers. Having recently completed painting my deck, for the first time in 37 years, I encountered an unforeseen problem.

Choosing a Bottom Paint

This month's report on freshwater bottom paints is another reminder that the most effective paint in our testing might not always be the best for your circumstances or location.

Where Credit is Due: July 2011

Letters to Practical Sailor, June 2011. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Whale Pumps, Rigging and More!

Mailport: November 2011

Letters to Practical Sailor, November 2011. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Eastport Pram Fan, Coppercoat, Lightning strikes and More!

Mailport: June 2013

How thick is too thick for the buildup of old layers of bottom paint? This question arises because I have just finished painting the bottom of my boat. Even though I diligently sought out potential flaking spots with my knife, while rolling on the paint (Pettit Ultima Eco), I would frequently get a mess caused by the paint flaking off. I have only owned this boat for three years, so I really do not know how many layers there are.

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.

Are Copper, Zinc, and Brass Mucking Up Our Fuel?

Something we have long noticed at PS is that gasoline and diesel control samples in our aging and corrosion studies never really age much. Only when the samples include metal samples do they generate gum and discolor. One explanation is refinery stability treatments, but the primary difference is that copper and zinc ions are powerful catalysts for polymerization. Shore-side fuel storage systems do not experience this type of break down because copper tubing, brass fittings and galvanized pipe are forbidden by code . The following requirements are quoted from standards groups and OEMs.

Foam Filters Make Little Sense for Air Intake

Probably the biggest takeaway from our report is the surprising prevalence of deteriorating foam oil filters on...

Cape Dory 25 Do-It-Yourself Refit

Cape Dory sloops-even those like the 25, which was not designed by Carl Alberg-have one of the most loyal followings among production boats. These loyal owners, added to a reputation for quality construction, enables Cape Dory boats to hold their resale value well, making them prime candidates for a do-it-yourself project boat like Practical Sailors test boat, Satori, a 1981 Cape Dory 25.Satori was purchased in 2008 in Sarasota, Fla., for $1,500. Although structurally sound for a boat her age, the interior had been gutted.Satoris sale price included an inventory of like-new sails, a new 5-horsepower Nissan outboard, and ground tackle. Completely rebuilding a boats interior would seem daunting to many, but Satori owner Jon Perkins is a carpenter by trade so he had the tools, resources, and know-how to get the job done. Cape Dory is an ideal fixer-upper boat, if the owner is up for the project. On today market, the Cape Dory 25 can fetch $3,000-$8,000. The pocket cruiser is also an excellent boat to fix and sail as a nice weekend cruiser for a family or a coastal cruiser for a couple.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.