Spinnaker Furlers

The first in a two-part series, this article takes a look at the latest furling systems for nylon and other lightweight, off-the-wind sails dubbed A-sails, gennakers, asymmetric spinnakers, and other appellations referring to light-air, curved-luff sails. We compare the basic features of five systems: the Colligo CN3s; Selden GX15; Karver KSF2; Profurl Spinex 2.5; and Ronstan 120. In part two of the feature, we will report the test results and final ratings.

A Custom-fitted Clew Strap

After settling on the material, one of the most basic mainsail design questions is whether to have an attached foot or loose-foot. A sail with an attached foot, secured to the boom with a bolt rope or sail slugs, has a small advantage in area, while a loose footed sail is easier to adjust (flat for windward work and smooth seas, fuller for reaching and rough seas), slightly cheaper to fabricate, and much easier to take off the boom for storage. Both are used on both high performance and cruising boats. Most new mainsails are loose footed.

Riding Sails to Tame Those Anchor-Dancing Boats

Practical Sailor recently evaluated a radically new designed riding sail, the FinDelta Anchoring Sail from Banner Bay Marine, which uses three panels instead of the traditional single panel. According to Banner Bay, as the boat tries to swing, the sails forward fin generates a thrust vector to one side only, gently realigning the boat. By comparison, a traditional, single-panel anchoring sail still allows some degree of sailing at anchor as the sail backs and fills from one side to the other, often resulting in flogging. The FinDeltas design also reduces one of the most common complaints of traditional riding sail users: noise. The FinDelta doesn't require attachment to the backstay-an excellent conduit to transmit the vibration from flogging anchor sail-and so noise is greatly reduced. While the single-panel riding sail has served sailors well for centuries, this new design intrigued our testers, and a head-to head-comparison between it and the traditional Sailrite riding sail was launched.

Singlehanded Sailors Notebook

First contested in 1978, the Singlehanded TransPac (SHTP) offshore race crosses 2,120 miles of Pacific Ocean from San Francisco Bay to Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Though the singlehanded race has been dubbed a bug light for weirdos, world-class navigators and sailors often throw their lot in with the pack. Longtime singlehanded racer and cruiser Skip Allan took time out from his TransPac preparations to outline the equipment he keeps onboard Wildflower, his 27.5-foot Thomas Wylie-designed sloop/cutter. From his Sail-O-Mat windvane to boom vangs to tiller pilots, Allan discusses a range of gear helpful to all singlehanded sailors and small boat sailors. He outlines his sail inventory and storm tactics, along with his approach to provisioning and eating at sea. A second installment of the Singlehanded Sailors Notebook will take a look at onboard electronics and safety gear for the solo sailor.

Testers Compare Swivels, Look for Pin Creep

For this evaluation, each shackle was visually inspected, component parts were measured, and stainless-steel alloys were noted. During this initial inspection, we tested how easy each snap shackle could be closed with one hand; we also repeatedly measured how easily the un-clipping process could be executed using a simple tension spring-test on the piston-pin versions and by using a height scale on the Tylaska push-to-release latching model. We recognize the importance of pin security under load and felt that the reluctance of a shackle pin to be easily pulled under load was, in many cases, an attribute.

Seven Muscular Winches

Powerful and efficient, Andersen is our top pick.

Cape Dory 25 Do-It-Yourself Refit

Cape Dory sloops-even those like the 25, which was not designed by Carl Alberg-have one of the most loyal followings among production boats. These loyal owners, added to a reputation for quality construction, enables Cape Dory boats to hold their resale value well, making them prime candidates for a do-it-yourself project boat like Practical Sailors test boat, Satori, a 1981 Cape Dory 25.Satori was purchased in 2008 in Sarasota, Fla., for $1,500. Although structurally sound for a boat her age, the interior had been gutted.Satoris sale price included an inventory of like-new sails, a new 5-horsepower Nissan outboard, and ground tackle. Completely rebuilding a boats interior would seem daunting to many, but Satori owner Jon Perkins is a carpenter by trade so he had the tools, resources, and know-how to get the job done. Cape Dory is an ideal fixer-upper boat, if the owner is up for the project. On today market, the Cape Dory 25 can fetch $3,000-$8,000. The pocket cruiser is also an excellent boat to fix and sail as a nice weekend cruiser for a family or a coastal cruiser for a couple.

New Harken Blocks

Harken’s quest for the lightest, easiest-running yacht blocks never ends. Harken makes a huge line of blocks, from tiny “Micro Blocks” with 22 mm...

Synergy Dock Line Stands Up in Tests

In July 2008, Practical Sailor looked at products for docking, anchoring, or mooring in a storm. Among those mentioned was the Synergy docking line, an abrasion-resistant polyester braid with a short length of industrial-grade rubber in the core. Synergy also makes a stretchy, floating tow-rope for dinghies. We put Synergy dock lines into use for six months on a fixed dock and during a two-week Mississippi River delivery cruise. They held up as well as similar braided lines and proved to be more convenient to use than its nearest comparison, a dock line with a rubber snubber. One drawback noted was that the woven cover was more prone to snagging than more tightly braided lines.

Harken Boasts Best Overall Quality Among Backstay Adjusters

Others we like are the Wichard ratcheting model and for sheer value, the C. Sherman Johnson adjusters.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.