Reconciling Romance and Reality

There is no denying that Practical Sailor is a publication preoccupied with the material world. Our very existence depends on hulls, spars, sails, cordage, and all the other gear and gadgets that go into boats. One of the great ironies of my own fascination with boats and gear is that it is so far removed from the notions that first led me to lands end. Each sailor has his own reasons for going to sea, but I like to believe that theres a common impulse behind that choice.

Check for Abrasion Before Switching to Fiber

To see how chafe points can develop on stanchions, we ran standard steel cable through our test stanchion holes for an hour. As expected, the sawing action wore a rough-edged groove, but several other things became apparent.

Float Coats Tested

Cool weather sailors looking for something that keeps them warm as well as keeps them afloat if they fall overboard may want to consider a float coat. We look at six coats that cover the range of options available waist-length coats, mid-length coats, inflatable jackets, and foam-filled jackets. For the budget-minded sailor, the Stearns Powerboat Jacket offers good value, while the Mustang Integrity rated as our Best Choice. Two other jackets, the auto-inflating Float Tech jacket and the Stearns Windward Jacket earn our recommendation.

Stopping Anchor Chain Twist

When an anchored boat spins, the anchor chain twists, and the anchor can come up backward. One solution is an anchor swivel, but failures with some poor designs are a concern-a lovely stainless swivel on one of our test boats had an interior crack that became visible only when disassembled. And as we found in our most recent test, many swivels arent very effective at reducing twist due to the inherent friction in the swivel.(see How Well Do Swivels Reduce Twist, Practical Sailor March 2016 online).

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.