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Sailboat Reviews

Columbia 9.6

This late '70s coastal cruiser is somewhat plain but structurally sturdy.


Alan Johnstone’s first design for J Boats is a roomy performance cruiser that suffers only from a lack of organized stowage.

Used Boat Review: Vineyard Vixen 29

The Vineyard Vixen 29 was born of another time-a fact that confers upon her some limits, yes, but also an undeniable magic. She is a canoe-stern monohull, 23 feet on the waterline and usually sloop-rigged, that arguably delivers as seakindly a sailing experience as any vessel of her size. While her cabin may edge over toward the camping side of the comfort continuum, her cockpit is more spacious and accommodating than that of some 40-footers, including Passports and Valiants. And while she wont be the first on the course to get going in light air, once the breeze is up past 8 or 10, the Vixens romp is incomparable.

New Boat Review: A Look Inside the New Leadership 44

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy recently received its newest sail training boat: the Leadership 44. Built by Morris Yachts, a company best known for high-end, custom sailboats, the Leadership 44 was designed by David Pedrick, whose resume includes America’s Cup boats and many capable cruisers. The Leadership 44 has all the necessary features of a 24/7 underway workboat—offshore sleeping berths, ventilation in rough weather, a galley and head that work well underway, and a sail plan that’s efficient and easy to handle. With a displacement of 26,000 pounds, the L44 is strong and stiff, yet reasonably lightweight for a boat of that size. Civilian versions of the design will be making their way to the market soon and would be worth considering for bluewater cruising duty.

Paste Waxes Test Six-month Checkup

In February 2009, Practical Sailor tested a sampling of 10 paste waxes.After six months, two of these waxes clearly stood out for their continued ability to bead water and repel dirt. Collinite No. 885 Fleetwax and 3M Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax retained the best gloss and water beading abilities. Mothers Cleaner and the Nu-Finish Paste performed well. Among the automative products that we included in the test, Turtle Wax F21, and Kit waxes stood out.

Ericson 41, Used Sailboat Review

The Ericson 41, a classic, well-made sloop designed by Bruce King continues to draw followers with its classic lines and solid performance. With the right upgrades, the well-mannered Ericson 41 makes for an excellent cruising sailboat that stands apart from the crowd. Watch for deck core problems and hidden rudder-stock corrosion within the spade rudder.

The Catalina 270 LE vs. The Beneteau First 265

Two of the newest 27-foot cruising boat designs are from Beneteau and Catalina, both huge builders. Checking out both boats at a recent show, we noticed that the base list price of the Beneteau First 265 with inboard ($38,050) was less than 10 percent above the base for the Catalina 270 LE ($34,775). Their Euro-styled interior layouts were at least superficially similar as well, as were hull and sail plan dimensions. Which boat, we wondered, is the better buy, and for whom?

Standards: Costly Hurdles or Vital Guidelines?

The ISO 12215 standard gives designers and builders a detailed baseline for scantlings and specific guidance regarding material selection, workshop practices and structural details pertaining to hulls, decks, rudders and rigging for mono and multihulls. These scantling guidelines relate to specific skin pressures on the hull and stresses and strains that if not appropriately addressed can affect delamination and lead to structural failures. The codes are a complex amalgamation of data, but the University of Southamptons Wolfson Unit has recently developed a software program called HullScant that makes ISO compliance for builders and designers easier to work with.

Bluetooth VHF Streaming

There are VHFs on the market that use Bluetooth to pair with compatible headsets, but we dont know whether they use the same Bluetooth protocol as the Oticon streaming device that you have. A call to Oticon likely would confirm. The only Bluetooth-ready VHFs weve come across are the Standard Horizons fixed-mount Quantum GX5500S (PS Best Choice, October 2009) and its HX760S handheld (PS July 2009), which has been discontinued.

The Magic of Munroes Sharpies

There is magic in sailing. What is sometimes harder to grasp is the magic in boats. But it is there. It is undeniably there. It is there when first you step aboard and feel the boat come alive underfoot. It is there when the sails fill and quiet as you come out of the eye of the wind. And it is there when you take the tiller under a dome of stars and realize youre connected to something much, much bigger than a rudder. There IT is, as persistent as a heartbeat: a pulse, a throb, a jolt of I-cannot-explain-this magic.

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