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Sails, Rigging & Deck Gear

Pros and Cons of ‘Fathead’ Mainsail

The triangular mainsail of a Marconi rig has never been the most aerodynamic shape. The narrow...

The Case of the Painted Jib

Polyester sailcloth is amazingly strong and durable stuff, often completing trips around the world or decades of weekend sailing. Its Achilles heel is the sun. After just 2-3 years in the sun, depending on the latitude, it becomes so rotted by UV that its little stronger than a cotton bed sheet. Mainsails are safely bundled under a Sunbrella cover. Nylon Spinnakers are bagged and stored below. Genoas, on the other hand, remain furled on the headstay, often year round, with the last 12 inches of the leach and foot continuously exposed.

Mailport: Iron Keels, Clothes for Cold, Anchor Roll Bars

It would be useful for PS to list which manufacturers use iron encapsulated in their keel. I am surprised to learn that many old sailboats have iron instead of lead as encapsulated ballast.Edward Addeo via PS Online

Webbing Uses For Sailors

When a sailor needs to connect point A to point B, he reaches for rope. We make an exception for jacklines because rope rolls under foot and webbing doesnt.

Product Update: From Solar Panels to Electronic Flares

Several products caught our eye at the Newport Boat Show in Newport, Rhode Island in September, along with some updates to past tests.

A Handy Cockpit Vise Is Ready in a Pinch

Most times when I need a third hand, I can secure whatever Im working on by jamming it in the groove between dock boards, or against a piling and placing a knee on it, or some combination. Work surfaces can incorporate cleats or holes for this purpose, but sometimes more specific clamping measures are required.

Chafe Protection for Fiber Rodes

Our plunge into chain-free rode takes a new twist. How do we protect against bottom chafe?

Genoa Furler Refit: a Semi-DIY Project

Selden's 'complete package' approach to headsail furlers opens the door to the hands-on sailor.

Gear of the Year Roundup

The bulk of the past years testing focused on maintenance products, safety essentials, and do-it-yourself substitutes for higher priced marine gear. This was a deliberate move as the staff here at Practical Sailor tries to buck the trend toward high-priced, budget-busting marine-grade gear that is out of reach of many sailors.

Tips on Choosing and Sizing Anchor Shackles

Jonathan Neeves Stainless-steel shackles, even high-quality ones, don’t belong in the anchor rode in our view because of the...

Too Many Layers of Bottom Paint?

So, a couple of years back, you acquired a good old boat at a pretty good price-thanks to the market-but now youre wondering how many coats of bottom paint it has. And what kind? Youve put on a few coats of ablative antifouling since youve owned the boat. It has adhered well and has done its job. But each year, the bottom looks rougher and rougher-with big recesses where paint has flaked off. You sweated out some extra prep-work this season, and thought you had a nice, durable subsurface for painting, but each pass of the roller pulls up more paint. Whats going on here?