PFDs Set Straight

Confused about today’s growing number of types and styles of life jackets? No wonder. Here's a primer on the rules, as well as some common-sense advice.

Comparing Medivac Services

If your cruising plans include bluewater voyaging or sailing to the far-reaches of the world, then packing a first-aid kit and getting travel insurance may not be enough. Should you contract a company that offers tele-medical advice, air-ambulance, and remote evacuation contract services? To help you decide, Practical Sailor submitted questionaires to three medivac companies-Global Rescue, International SOS, and Remote Medical International-to find out what services are available and how to decide which suits your needs.

Deep Dirt: Whats the Best Inflatable Boat Cleaners For Stubborn Stains on a Dinghy?

The shelves these days are packed with an endless array of boat cleaners. A mild soap and elbow grease is often all that is needed. But when you are dealing with extensive coats of mold, mildew and dirt, deep cleaners are the ticket. Practical Sailor divided a neglected, filthy Avon Rover R250 into even sections and tested 11 inflatable boat cleaners. Three products scored an excellent rating. Products tested include the best products from Star Brite, MaryKate, Nautical Ease, Marine Development and Research Corp, Amazons, Seapower, Pennel & Flipo, Revival Ecological Paste, and Spray Nine.

Perfecting the Toss Requires Some Practice

Passing a line to a helper on shore is as basic a part of seamanship as tying a bowline. Youve probably seen an old salt seaman cast a line 40 feet as casually as passing the pepper, but more often youve seen the line launched with a huge arm swing, only to tangle and fall short of the mark. A few simple tips, all assuming you are right handed and you are throwing -inch line.

Help Us Design a Better PFD/harness

Do try this at home: Don your favorite inflatable-PFD/harness and inflate it. Dont waste a gas cartridge; use the oral inflation tube. Wade into the water. A pool is fine-make sure it is still shallow enough to stand. Now, imagine you are underneath an overturned hull and are trying to escape. Try to swim beneath the surface as you might do to get out from under the turtled boat. You don't have to dive deep, the imaginary overturned boat could be as small as a dinghy.

Safety Tethers Under Scrutiny

On November 18, 2017, Simon Speirs, an experienced sailor, went overboard while at the bow assisting with a headsail change on a Clipper Round the World Boat CV30. It was blustery, with sustained winds of 20 knots, gusting to 40 knots. Shortly after he went overboard, his safety tether detached and he was separated from his boat. His body was recovered 34 minutes later. The cause of death has not been determined but drowning is the suspected cause. While such accidents are tragic, they offer a chance to re-evaluate equipment standards within a real-world context.

Monochrome GPS Plotter-Sounders

Need a sounder and a chartplotter but don’t have the space or the money for two separate units? A monochrome combination unit might be the answer. Pickin's are slim: either Garmin or Lowrance.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Stainless Steel

When applying a paste cleaner, a toothbrush is useful for buffing tight spots and working into the pores of welds; follow by buffing with a cotton cloth. A green 3M scrubby pad helps for removing more aggressive stains. Continued rusting in welded areas might indicate a developing failure, requiring replacement. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and mild soap when done buffing.