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.

Two Marine Toilets go Head to Head in Practical Sailors Test of Simple, Manual-Flush...

Practical Sailor contributor Mike Slinn installed two heads, the Raritan PHII and the Jabsco Compact Marine manual head, on his Beneteau First 435 and tested them during the summer cruising season in British Columbia. Two other brands of marine toilet were considered but for various reasons (fit in the head, et.), they werent chosen. The test looks at how both heads performed during the all-too-short Canadian summer and whether or not an expensive marine head does better in a long-term, real life test of marine heads. Our previous tests have shown that if you are looking for long-term reliable service from your head, you have to pay for it. Is the Raritan, at twice the price of the Jabsco, worth the investment? We also looked at fighting head odor and how it can be controlled and eliminated by the use of proper hose and proper hose connections.

Preventing and Treating the Tainted Tank

Foul tank water is completely preventable. Here are some dos and don'ts for a healthy water tank. Dont place glycol or other winterizing agents in the tank. Install valves as needed to winterize the pipes only; typically a tee and two valves located near the tank drain work fine.

The Fight Against Head Odors Continues

A few years ago, we launched a series of holding tank odor tests, including evaluations of holding-tank vent filters and sanitation hoses. After 30 months of testing, weve reached some solid conclusions on the hoses and vent filters. The sanitation hoses we tested were Trident Marines 101/102 EPDM hose; SeaLands OdorSafe Plus, a PVC and acrylonitrile butadiene rubber hose; Raritan Engineerings butyl rubber Sani/Flex Odor Shield; and Shields Marines Poly-X polyurethane sanitation hose. The four holding-tank vent filters we tested were our homemade system, Dometic SeaLand SaniGard, Big Oranges 5/8-inch filter, and the Vetus No-Smell NSF16.

Fighting Sulfation in AGMs

In recent years, the popularity of absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries has soared, yet few owners truly know how to take care of them. If you want to get your moneys worth out of a new AGM battery or battery bank, it should be installed as a system-not simply dropped in as a replacement for flooded batteries.

Mailport 05/01/00

Battery BurnupIn your January 1, 2000 issue, Mr. Dale Botwin reported his experience with an inexpensive Group 24 starting battery getting very hot and...

Mailport: June 2013

How thick is too thick for the buildup of old layers of bottom paint? This question arises because I have just finished painting the bottom of my boat. Even though I diligently sought out potential flaking spots with my knife, while rolling on the paint (Pettit Ultima Eco), I would frequently get a mess caused by the paint flaking off. I have only owned this boat for three years, so I really do not know how many layers there are.

PS’s Best Practices to Combat Fuel Problems

Additives can’t solve real gasoline-quality problems. At best, consider additives to be only a final tweaking opportunity, something to supplement the following fuel management practices.

AGM vs. Lithium in the Real World

When we last touched on electric propulsion conversion in September 2008, PS noticed several small companies catering to the niche. Among them was Above the Waterline Marine in Santa Barbara, Calif. ( Owned by James Lambden, the company specializes in alternative energy systems; it also builds and markets an electric propulsion system, made by subsidiary Propulsion Marine.

Monitoring Your Marine Battery Bank

Two recent tests graphically demonstrated the importance of monitoring state of charge in a boats batteries. hese tests demonstrated that a sealed batterys capacity will be reduced over time, if its never brought back up to a full state of charge. But just how accurate are the monitors we use to gauge our batteries states of charge?

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.