Its been almost five years since your original article on synthetic lifelines (Long-term test Evaluates Synthetic Lifelines, Practical Sailor, September 2012). Since my coated lifelines are due for replacement, Im curious about long-term observations. That said, I plan on going up a size or two from the recommended numbers for an extra safety margin: 6 millimeters rather than 5 millimeters. Im still looking into manufacturers and products because I just learned how easy splicing 12-strand can be, but Im pretty sure almost any of them will be better than the plastic-covered stainless-steel wire, of unknown vintage, thats on the boat now.
In response to your May 2014 editorial on the passing of Hobie Alter, Id like to share a Hobie memory: At the ripe age of 14, my son, Jared, negotiated the purchase of a used Hobie 16, Airhead. On gusty days, I would be invited to take the helm, so he could dance on the wire as the hull flew. Eventually, our small lake became too confining, so we ventured into larger bodies, ultimately taking the Hobie to our favorite cruising ground and home to our 41-foot Sceptre, Penobscot Bay, Maine.
Practical Sailor testers compared Tackticks improved Race Master system to the Nexus Start Pack 3, a hybrid wired/wireless system. The Tacktick Micronet wireless wind instrument, a compact system featuring wireless display and a masthead sensor, has a strong following among racers. It has proven to be a good choice for those sailors serious about improving race performance as it has many options for tracking performance on the course in real time. Its ability to work with a 12-volt system makes it a good choice for small boats. The versatile, expandable Nexus hybrid has an impressive and intuitive interface and a graphic analog wind representation. It provides all of the basic functions a cruiser or racer uses most, and testers found the analog wind display appealing.
With an ever-growing number of boat wax products on the market, Practical Sailor settles on 25 liquid wax products to test for application, initial gloss, and water beading. Marine wax manufacturers included Star brite, Cajun, Collinite, 3M, Mothers, Interlux, Rejex, Imar, Yacht Brite, West Marine, Turtle Wax, and Island Girl. In many ways the waxes all look, feel and smell the same and their differences may be in what the market application the manufacturers are seeking. Most of the two dozen waxes did a good job in the initial testing, and Practical Sailor will watch these for long-term protection. Waxes with a slightly oily wax finish formula showed better results at water beading in our initial tests, including two products by Star brite, and liquid waxes Island Girl, Zaino Brothers Z-3, Collinite Nos. 845/925, two carnauba wax products by Meguiars and Turtle Wax F-21.
Eurostrips, Euroblocks, set-screw terminations-whatever you want to call them-they are here to stay. Many companies supply set-screw terminations as part of electronics installations, solar controllers, inverter/chargers, navigation lights, or even engine gauge panels. These set screws, if not protected by a pressure plate or a wire terminal, can cause damage to the wire stranding and eventually lead to failure. Attention to the details should always be top on the list when dealing with Euroblocks or any set-screw termination that bears directly onto the wire strands.
On the recommendation of Practical Sailors water filter test (see PS June 2015), I bought a two pack of Camcos RV Taste Pure water filters through Amazon after finding sediment in my water tank. One of the filters dumped 1/8-cup of the carbon/KDF granuals all over when I took the protective cover off the filter, and it continued to shed the media when I shook the filter. If I had connected the filter to my water supply, it would have contaminated my water system and probably ruined my water pump. Only one of the two filters is dumping carbon/KDF material, so I assumed that this is a product defect.
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.
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.