Penny Pincher Pawl Lube

Winch pawls require a different lube the rest of the winch. The only time they are moving is under practically no load, clicking along the ratchet wheel until the handle stops turning. A heavy packing of grease can stick and prevent full engagement, resulting in broken pawls, gouged ratchet wheels, and in the worse case, crew injury when the handle spins backwards.

PS Advisor: Replacing Wire Rigging

Over the years, I’ve heard various timeframes for when to replace standing rigging, but I’ve never seen any empirical data to back up those recommendations. It would be very informative to know from a metallurgical/metal failure point of view estimated lifespans of the average wire used for standing rigging.

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 Fistful of Splicing Fids

The stainless set from Selma combines elegant design with durability.

Practical Sailor Takes a Close Look at the State of Boat Cleats

Boat cleats are an elegantly simple yet essential piece of marine hardware. Yet, after scrutinizing cleats at the Annapolis and Miami boat shows, it appears that while there a few innovative designs and tried-and-true classic models, many builders are using sub-par installations. The shape of a cleat needs to take in the significance of how a cleat locks a line in place and yet still allows a crew member to control the easing or snubbing process. Proper topping and backing cleat plates can greatly improve cleats durability and long-term performance. Some hide-away cleats or pop-up cleats have water drainage issues and less-than-robust support structures. Other designs use the less-secure rings and eyes instead of proper cleats.

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.

Setting an Anchor in a Small Boat

In our ongoing study of ways to compare, and hopefully improve the way our anchors set, weve learned that it takes time and slow, delayed setting to make best advantage of very soft mud. However, firm sand and weeds can have the opposite character-making it hard for the anchor to penetrate.

The Cruising Sailor’s Drivetrain

When a cruising sailor starts thinking about exploring fjords and glaciers, he starts putting a little more thought into his boat’s diesel engine and drivetrain components. High-latitude cruising sailor Andy O’Grady writes about several parts that has served him well in extreme conditions: the Kiwiprop, the Manecraft dripless prop shaft seal, the PRM150 transmission, and the K&N reusable air filter.

Do You Want a Headsail Luff-groove Device?

Unless the boat was equipped with two headstays, which adds considerable windage, the headsail change drill meant releasing the lowest hanks on the headsail in use, tacking down the new sail, hanking it on below the head-sail already up, taking a deep breath, letting the jib halyard run, then going like mad to get the hanks open on the old jib, all the time listening to the skipper scream to hurry up.

Sails and Summer Projects

While most of us are-hopefully-out sailing this summer, we know that many sailors are busy with system upgrades, do-it-yourself projects, and the usual marine maintenance adventures. Here are some archive articles we think will help you tick off the tasks on your to-do list.

Antifouling Paint Prices Follow Copper Surge

The antifouling coating industry is dominated by copper-based paint, so as copper prices reach their highest levels in recent history, I was curious to...