Mailport & PS Advisor

Mailport: April 2013

I recently purchased the cord, and as packaged on the plastic spool, the shore end of the new 25-foot EEL cord has a very tight bend at the plug, in order to force it into the package. The bend is much tighter than Id normally allow on a power cord, and upon inspection, I noticed what appears to be a separation of the seal between the cord and the plug. I checked other packages on the shelf at my local West Marine (one of many retailers of the cord), and found all of the 25-foot cords have the same tight bend at the shore end, and most have the same apparent seal issue.

Where Credit is Due: March 2013

I am in the middle of a complete refit of a 1978 CSY 44. A while back, I purchased four bronze portholes from New Found Metals ( Recently, I had ordered three more custom portholes from NFM. Because of a miscommunication, they arrived at the boat in stainless rather than bronze. I called Terry at NFM, who said she would check with the owner and get back to me.

Mailport: March 2013

In your article on bow design trends (PS, January 2013), you feature a picture of a Gozzard to illustrate the downside of a long bowsprit while anchoring or in a dismasting. Anchoring hasn't been an issue with my Gozzard. I simply run the nylon snubber alongside the chain over the bow roller. If large waves become an issue, I can run the snubber directly to the bow cleats, but that hasn't been necessary in 10 years and 4,000 miles. Of course, with a 6-foot bowsprit, theres little chance of marring the topsides while hoisting the anchor.

The Hassles of Hockles

Taking the advice of a PS review, I installed a Lewmar V2 windlass on my boat in 2008. I went with the installers recommendation of 100 feet of galvanized chain and 100 feet of eight-part braid, connected with a rope-to-chain splice, and I have a Delta 35 anchor. I found that a chain hockle (a twist in the chain that jams the windlass) will terribly mangle the vertical windlass. I have just completed my second mangling and ordered replacement parts-but these parts will not save me from the next mangling. The Lewmar distributor told me to install a chain swivel, but PS has warned about this (PS Advisor, May 2010). Is an all-chain rode a dumb idea? Is there some solution?

Mailport: February 2013

Thank you very much for the excellent review of the Firstwatch Flotation Bomber and Coat (PS, January 2013). I apologize that I did not provide Practical Sailor the design buoyancy of our coats. I provided the 15.5-pounds minimum buoyancy requirement of the USCG Type III standard, but the Firstwatch coats actual production buoyancy ranges from 16 pounds (size small) to 20 pounds (size XXL).


Ross Johnston

General Manager, Firstwatch Gear

How Can Silica Gel Have Out-performed Carbon?

In the wake of our report on fuel-tank vent filters in the January 2013 issue, a few readers asked how silica gel could have out performed activated carbon in controlling VOC emissions. To clear up any confusion, we thought an explanation was in order:

Where Credit is Due: February 2013

This winter, we needed to fix a keel bladder valve on our 25-year-old Avon inflatable dinghy. A Web search revealed it was a Honeywell A8 type and that Honeywell Leafield is now Leafield Marine ( A retail source could not be found, but an email to Leafield was answered overnight by Sue Reynolds, letting us know the valve was still available, along with a request for our address since we needed just one.

Attack of the Zebra Mussel

For 20-plus years, I have removed my mooring buoy from the water at the end of the sailing season on Lake Champlain. This year, however, I was surprised to find that my mooring chain was totally covered by zebra mussels. The 3/8-inch chain was about 3 inches thick with mussels when I hauled it up! Do the zebra mussels affect the chain strength or its life expectancy?

Mailport: January 2013

I recently saw the October 2012 Chandlery review of the Bubi bottle ( and ordered one. Despite problems ordering through Pay Pal (I ultimately went through, I got one of the bottles, and can tell you that it works great. When youre finished using it, you can roll it up and stick it in your pocket. It made a great crew holiday stocking stuffer!

Holding Tank Vent Fittings

As I plumb the archives for holding tank replacement info, I find excellent related articles (PS, February 2012, March 2012, and April 2012); all remind me to build in good ventilation. However, I am unable to find guidance on the merits of ventilation fittings. These stand at the interface of tank gasses and other contents trying to get out, and the marine environment trying to get in. Issues such as shape, location, mounting, and materials concern me. Can you bring some fresh air to vent fitting merits?

Sizing Up the Autumn List

Some of the best sailing I ever had was September on Narragansett Bay, pretty close to heaven in my mind. But before we let a long September reach carry us away-and hopefully carry us through winter-its a good time to take out a pen and pad, and start to build the winter work list.