Mailport & PS Advisor

Tankless Gas Water Heaters

Tankless propane water heaters carry serious risk of causing carbon-monoxide poisoning or oxygen depletion when mounted in a tight or sealed space. Because a boat is more tightly sealed than a shoreside home, the carbon monoxide is more likely to become trapped. Multiple boater deaths have been attributed to tankless water heaters, and several brands have been recalled over the years-among them Wolter Water Heater, Paloma, and Rheem-Rudd-because they posed a carbon-monoxide poisoning hazard.

Mailport: February 2014

Sailboats have a bit of advantage over their power cousins in that we have more high spots that can be used creatively. In my installation, the diesel vent line (fuel-grade hose) loops high inside at the transom and back down to the through-hull. Through the use of a check valve, air flows out, but intake air comes in through the AVD, which is attached to the underside of the deck; no additional support needed. The unit is readily available for inspection or replacement through the transom locker, and it is not in the way of any equipment that needs to go in or out. Love the H2Out AVD2 vent filter; kudos to Pindell Engineering.

Boom Furler Test is Overdue

I was re-reading your review of in-boom furlers in which you compared five different manufacturers products. You did not review the unit made by Southern Spars, which is a spinoff of the Leisure Furl system by Forespar, but I wonder whether you have ever reviewed and compared the Southern Spars in-boom roller furling system?

Mailport: January 2014

Your mention of dissimilar metals and also chlorinated water rang a bell with me. The pressure-relief valves on many water heaters are made of bronze or another metal. One year, on the advice of a friend, I removed my water heaters valve for cleaning and found some of the most foul hydrogen-sulfide odor imaginable, along with some black gooey substance. Its a powerful smell. Since then, Ive been removing, cleaning, and flushing that valve at the start and in the middle of each season; 95 percent of my water odor problems disappeared.

Pondering a DIY Diesel Tank

I have often referred to (former PS Editor) Dan Spurrs book, Spurrs Guide to Upgrading Your Cruising Sailboat, and I was going to follow Spurrs advice and build a plywood/glass tank to add auxiliary diesel tankage to my Morgan 382. But the Gougeon Brothers / West System website ( makes it sound contrary to standards and potentially damaging to insurance coverage.

Terry Thatcher,
Morgan 382
Portland, Ore.

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.

Mailport: November 2013

Great article on navigation software for Macintosh computers (PS, July 2013). I have been having so much difficulty getting a GPS signal into my GPSNavX (via Keyspan HS19) that I rejoiced to read about OpenCPN.

Tender Tows: What A Drag

How much does towing the tender slow me down? Also, long or short painter? Outboard down, up, or on the rail? Obviously, there are an infinite number of combinations of sea state, speed, dinghy type, and so on to consider, but I know how you guys love your dynamometers and strain gauges. The towability of tenders should be another aspect to your ratings.

Where Credit is Due: October 2013

I couldnt ask for better service from Doyle Sailmakers ( The leach-line cleat broke on my 13-plus-year-old Doyle genoa, so I contacted Doyle for help in identifying it for replacement. After a couple of email exchanges, they sent me not one, but two replacement cleats-at no charge! These plastic cleats are not expensive, but would have been a pain to find otherwise. What great customer service!

Curing the Tainted Tank

We filled our water tanks (40 and 72 gallons) in May, and now the water is brackish, brown. Have you done a study on purifying water or tanks? Bleach is one remedy, but I wondered whether PS has ever done an article on this subject?

The Pros and Cons of Leaving Your Mast Up for Winter

If you are like us, you may feel strangely guilty about leaving a mast up during winter storage. In our case, it is probably those old wooden spar days calling. Ideally, wooden spars need to come down and be sheltered and coddled at regular intervals. Aluminum masts really don't, and the sky is actually a decent place to store them.