Preserving a clear view through clear plastic on dodgers or enclosures is one of the most challenging tasks in boat maintenance. Restoring a vinyl window is almost impossible, but that doesnt stop the tide of products that claim to make this job easy. Practical Sailors eisenglass cleaners test looks at 27 products touted primarily as cleaners or treatments for vinyl windows. The test products were divided into type: cleaners, scratch repairers, polish protectants, and UV protectants. After a week of testing, we found Imar Strataglass Protective Cleaner and Imar Strataglass Protective Polish, distributed by Defender Industries, to be the Best Choice. Collinite No. 845 Insulator Wax and Mer-Maids Plexiglass Plastic Cleaner and Polish were the Budget Buys. The test also included products from the following manufacturers: 303, 3M, Aquatech, Armada, Davies, Marykate, Meguiars. Mothers, Novus, Plexus, Sailors Solutions, Star brite, Turtle Wax, West Marine, and Yacht Brite.
Breathing life into an older fiberglass boat always entails more work than was expected, but for a person with the time, skill, and do-it-yourself inclination, it is often worth the extra effort. The DIY approach makes even more sense when the boats structural quality and big-ticket components meet the grade, and the skipper and crew are ready to tackle the cosmetic makeover. These fairing compounds are perfect for structural and cosmetic fiberglass repairs.
Practical Sailor May 2012 Product Updates
Avon is offering a new 10-year warranty on their line of inflatable boats. “We’ve had less than 1% return on our former warranty for defects and deterioration of material” states Avon West’s General Manager, Dave Geoffrey, “that’s why we feel confident in extending the warranty to 10 years.”
At the end of two years, after a hard life and no protection from the elements, the paints on our 'Bracelet' are given a final rating.
When I searched the internet for advice on repairing a small leak between the lens and sealant on a 20-year-old Lewmar Ocean 60 hatch, on my 1996 Valiant 42, I was dismayed by the dearth of information. Even the Lewmar site does not provide a schematic of the hatch or a service manual. You can purchase a new gasket but that is not what is leaking. There is no mention of the sealant. Hatchmasters quoted a repair cost 1/2 the price of a new replacement with a greater than four-week turnaround. I would still have to remove and replace the hatch. I will wing it, but thinking that if it came to that, I would definitely not want to replace it with a hatch I could not readily service myself. In my subsequent search I found a reference to a PS July 1, 1994 comparison of Offshore Deck Hatches. I was then dismayed to find that the PS archives stop at year 2000. Fortunately, after some rummaging I found the print version. It was still relevant and useful. In fact as far as I can tell, it is the most recent hatch comparison out there.
Ordinarily, we don't enlist animal subjects for our testing at Practical Sailor, but our report of odor-eating chemicals this month called for special measures. Ziggy the iguana stepped up to the plate, and I can assure you he was well treated throughout the process. I had hoped to feature his photo here so that you might admire his healthy green complexion, but he was a bit camera shy, and I couldn't bring myself to use a photo of just any old iguana.
Approaching Singapore, we spotted a debris-coated slick about a mile long and 50 yards wide. Concerned about sucking debris into the engine raw water intake, we gingerly picked our way through a narrow gap in the spill.