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Systems & Propulsion

Strippers and Crimpers

One crimp or two? In our test and survey, we again find that the well-made multi-purpose tool will suffice for most wiring jobs. If you have more serious work to do, try Klein's #1005 crimper and Ancor's 702030 automatic stripper.

Cabin Heater Update

After a test report was published in the Jan. 1, 2005 issue on eight small portable electric heaters, a number of readers contacted Practical...

Stainless-steel Hose Clamps

Practical Sailor evaluated stainless-steel hose clamps from 11 manufacturers, including Shields, ABA, Murray, AWAB, Breeze, American Valve, Ideal/Tridon, Trident, Koehler, and Norton. The test clamps, both T-bolt and worm-drive designs, were all size 28 (for hose sizes 1 5/16 to 2 1/4 inches) and 32 (for hoses 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 inches). Bench tests included torque to compression and torque to failure tests, and a magnet test and long-term saltwater bath test to determine corrosion resistance. All clamps were closely examined for quality of construction and workmanship, and price was considered in final ratings.

Test Checks Burst Point and Freeze Protection

We tested each product for glycol content using a refractometer and either the ethylene glycol or propylene glycol scale, as appropriate. In the case of Camcos Arctic Ban and Sudburys Winter Stor, some portion of the freeze protection is provided by ethanol, and such mixtures cannot be easily evaluated by any field method (test tape, gravity, refractometer) unless the exact proportion is known, which we find troublesome.

Folding vs. Feathering Props

For the past 40 years weve sailed an average of 10,000 miles annually between Australia, Alaska, Antarctica and Spitsbergen motoring or motorsailing between 400 and 600 hours, depending on the area - more hours in high latitudes of Antarctica and the Arctic, fewer in the tropical trade winds.

Testers Tinker with Tinker Bell-sized Fuel Tank

If you really must know how we compared the fuel additives, here are the particulars.

Stuffing Box Care

Only boats with inboard engines have stuffing boxes. To locate yours, trace the propeller shaft from the transmission to the point where it exits the hull. Thats where your stuffing box will be (unless you have a newer, dripless style shaft seal installed instead).

Solutions for a Stinky Holding Tank

Practical Sailor testers looked at a large field of holding tank additives and found that chemical treatments that rely on disinfection, surfactants, and deodorants are better than nothing, but they still left that distinctive public-restroom smell. We also compared eight top-performing additives from a new generation of tank treatments that use enzymes and bacteria cultures to reduce odors. Tests showed that these bio-augmenting treatments—including Odorlos, SeaLand Max Control, Camco’s TST Citrus, Thetford Eco-Smart, Nature-Zyme, and Aqua-Kem—reduced odors and reduced solids in the tanks, without the port-a-potty smell. We look at the pros and cons of these newer tank treatments, and examine the importance of tank ventilation in reducing odors.

Plastic Tank Report

The leading cause of death of metal tanks, on land and at sea, is corrosion. Industry standards for fuel tank farms require internal inspections starting at 15 years, and as a licensed API tank inspector, our Tech Editor Drew Frye knows well why these interior inspections are required.

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.

Exploring the Ins and Outs of Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.