Luck and the Urge to Duck

At night, when only the counted seconds between the lightning flash and thunder-crack offer any clue of what is to come, the intertropical convergence zone seems otherworldly.

Build Your Own Boot Dryer

The advantage of a home-built boot dryer is that you can make it fit any number of boots and gloves, and add extensions for drying foul weather gear, options that are not available on the retail market

Chandlery: February 2012

Practical Sailor Chandlery: February 2012. This month reviews include: Sailor Gloves, Plumbers Putty, and more!

PS Tests Firstwatch Float Coats

If the first rule of boating is to stay onboard, then the second must be to stay afloat in the event that rule number one is broken. There are several types of products that can help you keep from drowning in an MOB situation, but float coats also offer defense against hypothermia, a real danger in waters below about 70 degrees. Foam-filled float coats also double as foul-weather gear, so users are more likely to…

Mailport: March 2010

The March 2010 issue of Practical Sailor features letters from readers on such subjects as: household adhesives, Union 36s, foggy electronics, digital freezer controls and converting a boat from gas to electric.

How to Measure Boat Humidity: Psychrometric Charts Do It Right

Insulation is a greater energy-saving expedient; if our heater or air conditioner is undersized, fixing drafts, shading or insulating windows, and insulating non-cored laminate are all ways to reduce the thermal load. For boaters, however, that is only half of the equation.

Earth, Wind, and Water

Each foul-weather garment was subject to a series of rigorous tests designed to measure resistance to the elements, breathability, wearability, reflectivity, functionality, and abrasion resistance.

Staying Warm

Hard-core dinghy sailors affectionately refer to their drysuit as the bag, and until recently, its been an appropriate, descriptive nickname. But in our last look at drysuit technology, we recognized the contribution to comfort made by breathable fabrics that do a great job of keeping water on the outside and still allow water vapor to migrate across the semi-permeable barrier. In past testing, we liked Gills drysuit and Ocean Rodeos Soul suit.

Foulie Fashion

Its no new revelation that the shape of a womans body is distinctly different from a mans, but until recently, most foul-weather gear makers seemingly ignored the fact. It was difficult for women sailors to find a jacket and bibs that fit well because the options were limited to mens designs. But the times, they are a changing, and now, women sailors can choose from an array of quality foulie gear tailored for their bodies, with tapered waistlines, more narrow shoulders, and less boxy cuts.

Foul-weather Gear Must-haves

At the very least, foul-weather gear must be warm, dry, and comfortable. It also should be easy to adjust and fasten, which means zippers, Velcro, buckles, and pull cords must function without a hitch-and do so repeatedly, thousands of times. But what makes the ideal foulie set? Here are our criteria for top-notch gear. Foulie jackets and bibs/trousers should be made of durable material resistant to abrasion and marine elements, especially sun, salt water, and the unforgiving hardware and rough surfaces found aboard most sailboats.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.