Steering Equipment Inspection

They were off the coast of Bequia in the Grenadines, near the end of a breezy passage on a 34-foot cruising sloop. Just as the boat reached past a rocky point, trouble struck. The steering wheel suddenly turned freely in the skippers hand.

Bilge Pump Basics to Keep Your Boat Afloat

Our research into bilge pumps and associated equipment stretches back several decades with the most recent bilge pump tests taking place in 2010 (See PS September 2010, and October 2010 online). When selecting a pump, keep in mind that sailboats rarely meet the ideal flow rate.

Coleman Wins Cooler Cool-Off

The Ultimate Extreme Marine from Coleman and the expensive Frigid Rigid hold ice longer than comparably sized portable coolers from Igloo, Rubbermaid and Icey-Tek.

Upgrading the C&C 33 Part I

In July 1990 we bought a 1975 C & C 33 to function as a test platform for Practical Sailor. We chose it above others for several reasons: The design seemed typical of many modern sailboats, with a fin keel and spade rudder and moderate displacement; C & C had a good reputation; and the price was right.

Beneteau Responds to Seacock Query

Beneteau wrote a detailed response to our recent query from a reader regarding seacocks in his Beneteau (Seacock, Through-hull Caution Mailport, PS July 2017). We are continuing to look at seacocks and seacock materials. Our last big report was in 1994, so this is long overdue. If you have a relevant seacock story to share, send it to the editor at

Mailport: fuel tanks, chain hooks, bilge pumps, and hypothermia

Simple tank fill advice from an old fuel oil delivery guy - when filling your boat diesel tank listen to the sound coming from the tank vent, it is attached directly to your tank. The fueling sound will change when the tank fills and fuel enters the vent line. Stop then. Dont leave fuel sitting in your fill hose in the off-season.

Vacuum-flush Toilets for Sailboats Reduce Water Use Onboard

Following Practical Sailor’s February and March 2011 electric-flush marine toilet reviews, this month we take a look at three vacuum-flush heads well-suited for use onboard sailboats thanks to their water-saving technology. PS tested two electric vacuum-flush toilets from Dometic Corp. (Sealand) and a manual marine head from Blakes Lavac Taylors. Testers used a controlled bench test to compare performance, size, weight, price, style, features, and technology. They also reviewed installation ease, parts inventory, construction and ruggedness of materials, and customer service.

Coexisting with a No Discharge Zone

Sanitation systems aren’t the sexiest part of sailing, but they are, well… necessary. And although the risk...

Avoiding Kinks in Flexible Hose Plumbing

When plumbing a boat's pressure water system, flexible tubing, with all its imperfections, is inevitably part of the equation. It is simple to install, and the connecting hardware (hose clamps) and fittings are readily available. Before beginning any plumbing project, the do-it-yourself should be careful to use the right hose for the job. Correct hose and coupling methods should be carried out as outlined by EPA, ABYC, and other regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard. But which tubing best withstands the bending needed to lead the water lines through the torturous routes they often must take?

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...