Online Help for Autumn

Its getting to be that time of year, when many skippers haul out or head south. Fall also heralds the beginning of boat show season. Here are some PS articles from the online archives that are suited for the season.

A Busted Mast Step and a Popped Shackle

Shortly after we published the July 1, 1998 article on mast steps, reader Jim Lyons mailed off a little box. He lives in...

Riding the ‘A’-train

Prices, advice vary greatly when it comes to asymmetrical sails.

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.

Solid Vang Showdown

Vang Master pushes to the top; steer clear of the Ocean Vang

Mailport: December 2010

Letters to the Practical Sailor editors in December 2010 include: paint colors, sailmaker services, bilge pumps, pest control and the Wirie v. a DIY WiFi antenna.

Harken’s Carbo Ratchet Blocks

Made from fiber-reinforced plastic, these blocks are stronger and lighter than their predecesors, but a little more costly as well.

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.

Sail Track Lubes: Slide-All Lasts Longest

Whether fitted with slides and shackles on a metal track or plastic slugs in a mast slot, mainsails can be difficult to hoist or strike.

Market Scan: Running Rigging

Replacement guidelines for sheets, halyards, and topping lifts.

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.