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Safety & Seamanship

Steering Our Way to Safer Passages at Sea

With so many conveniences aboard the modern cruising boat, it’s easy to forget that the bare...

In Search of Stability

Good stability for a racing sailor may be the ability to carry a #1genoa upwind in 20 knots of breeze. Stability for the cruising sailor involves a different and more serious set of questions. What happens when a boat is knocked down so far that it doesn't come back up? What if it comes back up, but is full of water and is at risk of sinking? From what degree of capsize should a boat be able to right itself?

Marine Systems: Wire Exposure Test Update

There are a variety of wire types that exceed government and industry standards for onboard wiring. Because these types of wire can be 10- to 15-percent less expensive than high-quality boat cable, Practical Sailor wanted to determine whether any of these other options would be acceptable for the cost-conscious sailor.Using a moisture chamber designed to mimic years of use in a harsh marine environment such as a bilge, PS's test focuses on the durability of tinned wire, non-tinned wire, and various wire connectors. It also examines whether using a corrosion-inhibiting product could help extend the life of these wires and connections. The test led to some definitive conclusions on which wire types are best in specific onboard uses, and also showed that long-term wire protection begins with well-sealed connections. Our July 2010 issue reported the six-month results, and here, we offer the one-year update.

Solo Sailor Safety

Is an auto-inflate PFD the right answer for solo offshore cruisers?

Fee-Based Weather Forecasts

We compared four forecasting services — three for pay, one free, on an East Coast passage to Bermuda.

Practical Sailor Tests Lightweight 10-foot Rigid Inflatable Boats

Eight fixed-transom Hypalon and PVC rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) from seven manufacturers were put through their paces as testers inspected each for on-the-water performance, inflation ease, lifting, seating, storage space, transom design, and hull design. RIB brands tested were AB, Avon, Achilles, Brig, Mercury, Caribe, and Zodiac. With a 9.9-horsepower Mercury outboard four-stroke engine pushing it, each dinghy was tested for speed, ability to plane, handling, tracking, stability, comfort level, and how well it deflected spray when powering through 1- to 2-foot wakes. The test RIBs from Achilles, Caribe, and Zodiac rated the highest in the field of fixed-transom rigid inflatable boats. Testers liked the ring-type oarlocks on the Caribe L10 and the Brigs bow handle. Practical Sailor pet peeves included bad oar stowage on most of the boats and thin rub strakes. Although classified as lightweight, the average weight of these test boats was 136 pounds.

PS Advisor: 10/01/04

Quick-Stop Defined Dan Dickison's editorial mentions "the Quick-Stop." I thought I knew of most of the MOB-type products, but I haven't heard of this...

Emergency Rigging Cutters

The new Toolova Shootit 12 is a no-brainer at the high end-it cuts wire and rod almost like butter. At the low end, the old hacksaw does pretty well, too.

Rhumb Lines: 04/07

At Practical Sailor, we approach every product review and test that we carry out with a high level of seriousness, and when it comes to safety gear, the level of responsibility is elevated a notch further. These are devices where the smallest detail can have grave consequences.

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.