Step-by-step Winterizing Tips

Winterizing agents should never be used in freshwater tanks or hot-water tanks. Doing so will greatly increase the chances of biological growth, which can result in foul-smelling, bad-tasting water. If your boats water system does not have bypass fittings that allow you to add glycol to waterlines, install them. The addition of a few simple fittings can reduce the annual process from hours to minutes for the cost of a few jugs of glycol.

Refractometer Takes Out All the Guesswork

What matters most, our testing confirms, is not so much which brand of pink stuff you choose, but how you use it. Even the best product, mixed with too much water left in the line, results in a blend with unknown and perhaps unsatisfactory performance. While this may not be critical in North Carolina, sailors in Wisconsin need to get it right.

AWAB, ABA Top Long-term Test

General-purpose, relatively inexpensive hose clamps are all over most boats, but there are some applications where using a higher quality, corrosion resistant clamp is critical-such as engine hoses and through-hulls. Most quality clamps are stamped stainless steel, but there are many grades of steel, and making an alloy stainless and corrosion resistant is complicated and costly. You start with iron, which rusts easily, and through multiple processes, you add proportions of elements such as nickel, manganese, molybdenum, and chromium. Different percentages of these elements will improve the desired strength, hardness, and flexibility, as well as corrosion resistance, of the steel.

Electrical Panel Upgrade

Editors note: Designing, installing, and wiring a new main circuit panel on a full-fledged cruising boat is an extremely challenging refit project. The writer is a professional engineer who made sure that his installation met or exceeded American Boat and Yacht Council Standard E-11. Failure to adhere to the standard could result in fire, injury, or death. We offer the following article, which outlines the steps involved in constructing a custom panel, as a rough guide. In our opinion, such a project should not be carried out without the consultation of an ABYC-certified electrician.

Winterizing an Outboard

For winterizing a small outboard engine, is it best to run the gas out of the engine or store it full with an additive mixed in? Is it the same for two-stroke and four-stroke engines? What about ethanol and non-ethanol gasoline?

Imtra, Hella Dome Lights Shine

In our previous cabin light reviews (PS, May 2010 and January 2009), the transition from incandescent lighting to fluorescent and finally to LED was favorably noted. Since then, the evolution has turned into a solid-state revolution, and LEDs bolstered by dimmers, touch switches, and watertight seals now own the show. And a clean-sweep conversion to LED cabin lighting can knock out the grotto-like ambiance that haunts many sailboat interiors. Often, its not a problem of having too few lights; its an energy shortfall revolving around too few amperes to spare. An LED makeover is also an opportunity to illuminate the lockers, engine room, and other cave-like confines that cause you to reach for a flashlight and wish for an extra hand to hold it. Not only is the timing right to tap into a new genre of energy-efficient lights, but the product range and pricing offer a gameplan for every budget.

Rotary-Drive Autopilot for Worm Gear Steering

Autopilots are one piece of electronics gear that truly has something to offer every sailor-from gunkholer to bluewater cruiser. Having this extra crewmember onboard not only eases the burden of shorthanded sailing, but also helps prevent helm fatigue. An autopilot allows solo sailors to use the head, more easily raise sails, or grab a bite to eat. Crewmembers can enjoy a passage, passing the time reading a book or watching the scenery without being a slave to the helm.

When Choosing Pilots, Err on Side of Caution

In a nutshell, autopilots have one main function: to assume control of a vessels steering and control its heading, be it a specific course or on a selected route or to a waypoint. As with any crucial piece of gear (anchors being a great example), cost should not be the primary consideration in the selection process. Its crucial to select a unit that has both the power and ability to steer your boat effectively in all sea conditions youre likely to encounter.

Some Propane Dos and Don’ts

Theres nothing more satisfying than capping a pleasant day on the water with a good meal, be it burgers and dogs on the grill or some fancy, culinary extravaganza whipped up by the galley wizard. Most marine stoves and grills use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Its efficient, relatively cheap, and widely available. Its also highly explosive-particularly with regards to boat installations-which makes proper installation and regular inspection so critical in onboard systems.

Diesel Tank Vent Filters

Through lab tests and years of field testing, weve found that silica-gel vent filters reduce tank corrosion and improve gasoline stability. But is the same true for diesel fuel and tanks? Thats what this test sought to find out. Testers put two silica-gel diesel tank vent filters through their paces: Pindell Engineerings AVD2 (for tanks up to 60 gallons) and AVD3 (for tanks up to 200 gallons). The results were compared to setups with a free vent and those with a sealed tank.

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...