Round 2: Chafe Gear for Mooring and Dock Lines

With hurricane season in full swing and volatile fall weather approaching, storms can threaten the safety of sailboats by placing extra loads on dock and mooring lines. In the July 2011 issue, Practical Sailor evaluated rope chafe protection and found Fjords Chafe-Pro chafe guard trumped products from Taylor Made, Fiorentino, and Davis Instruments. This followup report-the result of aggressive bench testing and long-term field testing-compares the top pick Chafe-Pro to new mooring and dock line protection from Fjord and Robship, as well as do-it-yourself options like fire hose, leather, and a homemade Kevlar/Acrylic sandwich.

SpeedsealLife Puts a New Spin on Keeping Cool

Picture this: You fire up the iron jenny in preparation to exit a crowded anchorage. As the anchor slides onto the bow roller, the engine overtemp alarm shrieks a noisy reminder that youve skipped item number 2 on your pre-departure checklist-open the engine cooling water seacock. Your water-pump impeller typically would be toast at this point, but youve got an ace up your sleeve, SpeedsealLife. So you simply duck down below, open the seacock, verify the engine temp is good, and then continue on your way. At your destination, you check the impeller, verify that its fine, and life is good.

Ground Tackle Inspection Tips

Your anchoring system is only as strong as its weakest component, which includes not only the rode, but also shackles, splices, mooring bitts, cleats - in short, any gear used to secure your boat while at anchor. Proper maintenance includes inspection of these as well as laying the rode out for thorough examination at least annually.

Soft Mud Anchors for $200 and Up

The XYZ, Bulwagga, HydroBubble, and Talon XT are top performers.

How Much Drag is in a Drogue?

Weve long been interested in drogues, devices specifically designed to be towed behind a boat to reduce speed and to produce directional stability in heavy weather. Our last major drogue test was in 2009, when noted marine writers and circumnavigators Evans Starzinger and Beth Leonard shared their storm tactics (see Heavy Weather Sailing Tactics". Another relevant article, Sea Anchors and Drogues, compared a variety of drag devices. If you are interested in purchasing a drogue, we recommend reading the archive articles along with this report.

Reducing the Nylon Rode Sling-shot Effect

Again we speak heresy! Practical Sailor has published at least four articles explaining why stretchy nylon bridles and snubbers are vital. But if the rode is nylon instead of chain, this no longer applies. The rode provides all the impact absorption we need, perhaps more than we need. By analogy, a bridle should function like an anti-sway bar on an automobile, keeping the boat centered.

Chafe Protection for Dock Lines

The best anti-chafe material to rely on in a storm is the one that resists abrasion, doesn’t cause heat build-up in the line, and can be easily installed—even if the line already has been deployed. Practical Sailor tested five commercially made products marketed as chafe protection for lines on boats: the Davis Secure, from marine accessories maker Davis Instruments; LineRap from Para-Anchor manufacturer Fiorentino; Chafe-Pro from the North Carolina-based Fjord Inc; and two sets of Chafe Guards by Taylor Made. Products ranged from single-skin webbing designs to tough Dacron double-layer designs, and the chafe gear’s attachment, or locking, methods were an integral part of the ratings. (The products don't work if they don't stay in place.) Chafe gear was put through a series of abrasion tests and was rated on price, ease of use, and performance.

Mailport: August 2010

Letters from the August 2010 issue of Practical Sailor. Subjects include: Shore anchoring, feathering props, earth-friendly cleaning products, staying hydrated and dink repairs.

Mailport: Tourniquets at Sea

Add a tourniquet to your first aid kit and know how to use correctly - it is less likely to accidentally loosen or inflict additional tissue damage.For further training, I would refer you to the American Red Cross, they have a Basic and Advanced First Aid certification, and along with the American Heart Association offer classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Anchors for Muck, for Under 200 Bucks

In soft mud, the low-priced Lewmar Claw stands out in short- and long-scope testing

Exploring the Ins and Outs of 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.