Mailport: December 2015

We recently purchased a Webasto Airtop 3900 do-it-yourself (DIY) kit from Defender Industries. The instructions were very comprehensive, and the installation and product work exactly as they should, which typically would lead me to recommend this as a great DIY product. The issue, however, came when we tried to register the product for warranty.

PS Advisor: Resurrecting a Windlass

I’ve got an old manual anchor windlass with a badly corroded gypsy that needs to be replaced. There is a 1:1 bronze "cross" on the outside of the gypsy—where the lever fits to turn it when not using the geared mechanism. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to get the bronze cross off, which needs to happen in order to replace the gypsy. There’s a grease zirk/fender washer on the outside of the cross, but unscrewing it still doesn’t get the cross off.

Mailport: Jack Russell is on watch

Regarding your recent Inside Practical Sailor blog post on ideal dogs for boats, I believe Jack Russell terrier, Parson Russell Terrier or many of the smaller terriers are ideally suited. Nimble, determined and easily adapt as long as their people are there. Easy to board the dinghy or back on the boat. Their food storage doesn't gobble up too much storage space and never will a rodent live for more than…

Mailport: What about Bon Ami?

Thank you for the distillation of basic cleaning agents (see The One Bucket Cleaning Kit, May 2017). The presentation is clear and will be cost-saving. Id like to add a plug for a small sponge and Bon Ami. Most gelcoat blemishes disappear with this basic combo. Other abrasive cleaners (e.g. Comet) mar the finish. In my experience Bon Ami is the most friendly to gelcoat. Just make sure you use boat soap to clean afterwards, or it leaves a residue.

Mailport: November 2010

Letters to Practical Sailor from our readers. November 2010's topics include cleaning products, sail hardware, galley stoves and anti-fouling paints.

Mailport: 09/06

Cooking FuelsI am writing to inform you that for the evaluation of cooking stoves and fuels in the July 2006 issue of Practical Sailor, you did not get the alcohol fuel at anywhere near the lowest price. Alcohol fuel can be purchased at Home Depot and other home improvement and hardware stores at a much lower price. I priced it at Home Depot at $5.56/quart or $12.77/gallon. They call it "Shellac Thinner." In fine print…

Reliable Chain Connections

We often get asked about joining two shots of chain together without compromising strength. You have a number of options-including some that are just plain bad. The important thing is to make sure the connector is of the highest quality and that it matches or exceeds the strength of your existing chain.

The Ins and Outs of Aftermarket Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.