Adding a Solent Stay

Whether you view it from the top down or the bottom up, a Solent rig needs to be carefully thought out, well-engineered, and strategically located. Some sailors add a short bow sprit or U-shaped, tubular extension that includes a bobstay and supports the attachment of a new headstay. The old headstay chainplate becomes the new tack point for the Solent stay. Another approach is to retain the existing headstay and simply attach a new tang just a bit below the headstay sheave box. Then add a deck fitting to attach the Solent stay and tack the sail(s). The deck must be reinforced with a transverse member, or a tie rod must be mechanically fastened to the stem so that the tension loads don't damage the deck.

Going Soft on Shackles

Fiber shackles have been in use for centuries-the simple knotted toggles provided all manner of service on square-riggers and even older craft. When made correctly with the right material, fiber shackles are strong, can be released without tools, and are jam-proof in the most severe weather. Like cotton sails, this 200-year-old technology has been updated through the use of modern materials.

Sherardizing Alternative

In order to impart corrosion resistance to steel, the items are commonly galvanized, immersed in a bath of molten zinc. Hot-dip galvanizing is well established and accepted, but there are alternate technologies like sherardizing.

Top Whipping Twines

The term whipping twine is somewhat misleading, suggesting a single purpose for a product with seemingly endless uses. These are the thin-woven strands that all hand-sewing projects depend upon, and in the process of exploring various stitching projects, weve gone through spools and spools of it.

Tylaska Tops in Snap Shackles

Snap shackles have become as familiar to sailors as pots and pans are to a harried chef. From dinghies to mega yachts, the function of these ubiquitous bits of hardware remains consistent. Each affords a quick and reliable means of making that all-important halyard-to-sail junction. The absolute minimalist might say that a bowline can do the same, afterall, isn't it the favored means of attaching sheets to the clew of a sail? The knots-for-snap shackles debate loses out, however, when it comes to hasty halyard swaps, not to mention the release of a loaded spinnaker guy. And even if youre not quite ready to label these shackles as essential hardware, they certainly do make life on the foredeck a whole lot easier.

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.

Stainless Steel: Advantages and Ailments

When it comes to stainless steel, nothing seems more baffling than the latest array of alloys that have migrated into the marine market. Not so long ago, stainless steel was referred to as 302, 304, and 316. These differing grades of stainless varied according to chrome and nickel content and the corrosion resistance they afforded.

Testing Top-Down Furlers

Top-down furlers have proven to be a legitimate means of taking the drama out of spinnaker setting and dousing, and they represent a new breed of hardware thats carefully designed and manufactured to be durable for the long haul. In Part I (PS, January 2014) of this two-part report, we introduced five top-down furlers, detailed how they work, and made a good case for their use. In this article, Part 2 of the series, well take a closer at the furlers and the results of on-the-water and bench tests. Spinnaker furling systems we tested were made by Colligo, Karver, Profurl, Ronstan, and Selden.

Reader Experiences with Top-down Furlers

Following the publication of Part 1 of this report, we heard from several readers about their experiences with top-down furlers. Here are a few of their comments.

Keeping Canvas in Tip-top Shape

Canvas dodgers and biminis are the hallmark of a cruising yacht, but they arent cheap to come by. We wanted to find the best way to protect the investment and get the most life out of the canvas. Sunbrella makers recommend that routine maintenance include frequent freshwater rinsing, plus spot cleaning, and applying a treatment to restore the fabrics repellency. In this article, we take a look at treatments designed to keep on-board canvas water repellent and looking its best. We tested seven: Aquatech, Marykate, 3M, 303 Products, NikWax, Star brite, and Iosso.