Fast Flow Pump: The Name Says It All

Originally designed for pumping operations on land, the Fast Flow engine-driven pump has a tremendous pumping capacity, with the ability to move nearly 5,000 gallons of water per hour (at 800 rpm). Thats nearly five times the amount of the average electric bilge pump. The Fast Flow Pump comes in a variety of sizes, but a close look at installation and fittings is necessary to determine if the pump will fit on a particular boat.

Quick-dissolve Toilet Paper Test

Just when you thought Practical Sailor had covered all marine head topics, we found another subject our readers are interested in: toilet paper. We followed up our reviews of marine toilets (PS, March 2011) with a look at some of the toilet tissues available for use in marine toilets and on-board sanitation systems. Practical Sailor evaluated 10 TPs from seven manufacturers: Coleman, Dometic, Kimberly Clark (Scott Paper), Thetford, West Marine, Camco, and Charmin. The test centered on well and how quickly the different toilet paper brands dissolved in water. TP that doesn't readily break down can eventually clog marine toilets, holding tanks, and the rest of the sanitation setup. The toilet tissues also were evaluated on tear strength, weight, softness, sheets per roll, and price per square foot.

Four-Stroke, 9.9-hp Outboard Motors Test 2009

Practical Sailor last tested four-stroke, 9.9-horsepower outboards in the June 2007 issue, with the Mercury 9.9 coming out the clear winner. These engines are well-sized for large, rigid dinghies or as auxiliary power for smaller keelboats, but their weight can be an issue. This report compares the Suzuki 9.9-outboard and the Yamaha 9.9 to the Mercury. Both the Suzuki and the Yamaha are carbureted, water-cooled engines. On-the-water engine performance tests found the Suzuki to be the loudest and the heaviest 9.9 we tested. The Yamaha is more compact, but at 91 pounds, it is no lightweight.

A Foursome of Eights

With highly refined features and an ergonomically superior tiller, Yamaha’s 8-hp four-stroke stiff-arms a trio of competitors.û

The Fine Art of Sensing the Wind

The cheapest wind indicators are bestowed at birth: your nose, the back of your neck, and your fingers. Forget digital precision; these wind indicators are dialed in. They even sense changes in temperature that, in squally weather, can signal a sudden backing wind. Even the most sophisticated wind sensors can't compete with a direct skin-to-brain link. The next step up from our dermal cells is a bit of yarn in the shrouds-super light Angora wool, if youre a stickler. Here, the eyes intervene in the process, so the brain must do a bit more exercise. Well call this soft technology.

A Permanent Mount for the Sensibulb LED Reading Light

I have always been a big fan of brass berth lights, but have never really liked the halogen bulbs commonly used in them. The little halogen bulbs run hot, use a lot of power, and are prone to vibrating loose. When Sailor's Solutions (www.sailorsolutions.com) introduced the Sensibulb, I quickly ordered a couple to test in our custom built boat Suzy. They worked so well that I converted all six of our berth lights. The original Sensibulbs were nice units, but the mounting system was iffy. I elected to bypass the mounting system by removing the ceramic bulb holder and directly gluing the bulb support post to the back of the Sensibulb.

Avoid Plugging with Proper Vent Installation

The effectiveness of activated carbon comes both from surface activity (a result of activation by partial combustion of coal or woody products) and the vast pore structure formed during this partial combustion. Anything that clogs the pores will dramatically reduce carbon life, potentially ruining it within minutes.

Portable Gas Generators

Excellent voltage stability gives the Yamaha top honors among the inverter-type gas generators. For a less expensive, but louder, option we'd take the Briggs & Stratton.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.