Mailport October 1, 1999 Issue


Varnish on Gelcoat
In the June 1999 issue, Frank Ficken sought help removing dried varnish safely from his gel coat.

I suggest he try a Bruce Bingham super solvent suggestion (from The Sailor’s Sketchbook by Bruce Bingham). The “super solvent” is paint brush cleaner, the type that is followed by a water rinse. Be sure to read the directions on the label and use only a brush cleaner that specifies a water rinse. This stuff is really good for many things both around the boat and the house.

Willis W. Allred
via e-mail

We at MDR/Amazon have developed a fairly new product (about 2-1/2 years old) called STRIP AWAY (SA 925). It was formulated to remove varnish, Cetol or virtually any other teak coating from teak without harming the gelcoat. Because it’s gelcoat friendly it will take multiple coats of varnish off of gelcoat too. It’s also great for taking boat names or painted graphics off of gelcoat without harming the surface. Caution: painted gelcoat such as Imron, Awlgrip, etc. could be a problem as it will take that off, too.

STRIP AWAY is methylene chloride-free and has no real odor or hazardous fumes and can be used with little ventilation. Also, being water-based the surface can easily be washed down after removing the coating. The product can be found on our web site at, clicking on “catalog,” then “teak products.”

Bill O’Brien
Vice President Sales/Marketing
Merrick, New York

We tested STRIP AWAY on very old cured varnish on the deck of Viva, our Tartan test boat. It did work, though there was some residue left. Perhaps if we had left it on longer we’d have gotten it all, but this was before we did a prolonged test of strippers on gelcoat to see if any did damage. The STRIP AWAY did not harm the gelcoat test panel. We had less success getting STRIP AWAY to remove splattered Cetol. Ideas anyone?

DIY Radar Pole
I refer to your article on radar poles (February 15, 1999), which discussed 10 or more different units from seven manufacturers, and listed costs of $225 to as much as $2,400.

Here is one alternative for the DIY’er: I purchased a 20' length of 1" stainless tubing from our local fabricator of dodgers and had it bent to a design I drew.

The frame was installed with two fittings attached to the deck and held to the stern pulpit with U-clamps. A piece of marine plywood was attached to the top of the frame with U-clamps, and the radar positioned on this piece. I did not attempt a gimbaled set-up.

Total cost was about $120 and my radar is a good 13' or 14' above the water.

In the photo (top right), the unit mounted below the radar is an antenna for a 12-volt TV. The frame also holds our Loran antenna and horseshoe buoy.

The frame has been installed for almost five years and has never had a problem.

Bruce Beh
Port Townsend, Washington

Double Digit Sailboats
In response to the letter from Philip Morgan (PS Advisor, May 1, 1999) about the possibility of fast motorsailors, the boats exist. While I was working with Gold Coast Yachts in 1994 we built a 54' day charter cat for Capt. Andy’s Sailing Adventures in Kauai, Hawaii.

Andy needed to be able to cover the 20 miles from his harbor to the dock at the hotel in an hour, every day. He had to do it under the lee of the cliffs on the west end of the island, where there’s little breeze, then take 49 passengers out for a thrilling sail on the north shore. Spirit of Kauai was designed to carry two 250-hp. diesels, and the standard GCY rotating mast sail rig. She has been clocked at over 26 knots under power. We were surprised to find that she will also sail at over 26 knots, while dragging her two 27" three blade props. The boat averaged 11 knots from Mexico to Hawaii, with the crew prudently slowing down from sunset to sunrise. Similar boats built since but fitted with a pair of 80-hp. diesels have top speeds around 12 knots.

These boats do not in any way plane. Planing is the use of dynamic lift as water strikes the underbody at an angle of about 5° and pushes the boat up to the surface. Most multihulls exceed the calculated displacement speed by spanning several crests of the extremely small bow wave they produce. A fairly light hull with high prismatic coefficient (near .80) and length-to-beam ratio of at least 8 to 1 (and more is better up to about 18 to 1) simply doesn’t produce a big enough bow wave for the long hull to fall into its trough, so the hull never has to sail uphill.

Roger Hatfield, Malcolm Tennant, Lock Crowther, and Kurt Hughes have all built boats of this type.

Thanks for printing Ian Farrier’s comments and statistics on capsize. If you don’t know when to let the gas pedal up off the floor, you shouldn’t drive, and if you don’t know when to reef, you shouldn’t sail ANYTHING.

Ted Cary
via e-mail

In your response to Mr. Morgan you stated that a “ trawler catamaran is not going to give you speeds in the teens.” I am pleased to inform you that we represent a catamaran trawler that has a top speed of 19 knots! You can learn more about this product on our web site at the following location: The Maryland 37 uses a semi-displacement hull which was specifically designed for this application. Using a 300-gallon tank and cruising at 10 knots this vessel boasts a 1,000 nautical mile range.

Please call 800/369-2445 if you have any more questions regarding sail or power catamarans.

Chris Smith
Marketing Director
Sailaway Yachts
West Palm Beach, Florida

When you mentioned the Lancer, you were right on the money. As one who lived aboard a Lancer 45 “Powersailer” for almost 10 years, I heartily endorse that selection, and would recommend he find one, give it whatever retrofitting it needs, and enjoy it indefinitely.

There were three basic sizes—the 39/40, the 44/45 and the 65. A few of the 45’s had flybridges, as did all of the 65’s. They had different engine combinations, both single and twins. Maria IV had two Perkins 85’s and would hit 11 knots if it had to, but liked about 8-1/2 a lot better. I’ve seen the same hull with a larger pair, and that one would do an honest 15 knots. Conventional knowledge dictates that large pilothouse windows are a weak point; these were 1/2" Lexan, mounted against the outside of the house. I watched one take the bowsprit of a Westsail 32, and turn the other boat away, with just the slightest scratch to itself.

There are a couple available most of the time, but the few on the market would suggest that most of their owners are hanging onto them. Another friend, financially able to make many other choices, elected instead to do a multi-thousand dollar refit on his 45 Powersailer.

Under sail, it points to about 30° apparent, and we’ve had it at 10-knots-plus a number of times. With roller-furling main and jib or genoa (we used both) it was designed to single-hand. It was delightful to handle under sail or power, backed into a slip with little effort, and could approach a dock with just feet to clear bow and stern. Although it was not “everybody’s” boat—which may have been Lancer’s misfortune—skippers with Mr. Morgan’s stated preference would be well advised to give one a look.

William G. Goldberg
Monterey, California

Another alternative recommended by a reader is the Ultimate Concept 32. It is offered for purchase or charter in the classified section of Multihulls magazine. The claimed speed is 25 mph.

Hunter Warranty Transferable
We read your article regarding new boat warranties (July 1, 1999) with interest, and commend you for the good information and advice that you have offered your readers.

We keep a close watch on warranty matters as this is the area of our company that gives us the critical feedback for our quality control programs, and more importantly provides a key information channel of customer satisfaction issues.

Hunter has worked hard to pragmatically improve our quality control process both from our in-house design team to our manufacturing operations. As part of this process, we have developed a Customer Satisfaction Index for all models, including individual features and components to measure in detail the level of satisfaction our customers are reporting. This information is fed into our manufacturing process, plus into our new model development program to ensure that we design out any areas where the results are less than desirable.

The boating community is unusual in the durable goods sector in the fact that boat owners congregate in small villages (marinas), which are great forums for discussions of experiences they have had with their boats, dealers, manufacturers, etc. Combined with the information-sharing Internet, news (good or bad, but, especially bad) travels extremely fast in the boating world. This environment works for you or against you, depending on the quality of your customer service program.

Your article indicated that our warranty was not transferable, which is not accurate. We firmly believe in transferability, as it provides additional value to our customers. It is not unlikely for a boat owner to trade before five years, therefore this transferability becomes a good sales tool for his current sailboat.

Our Pre-Delivery Service Record is a checklist we have our dealers follow in the preparation and hand-over of the sailboat to the customer. During handover, we ask the dealer to review these items in detail with the customer, and have the customer sign and make any remarks for follow-up. If a problem exists, we want to catch and rectify it early, saving the customer from the aggravation of time-delays, as pointed out in your article.

Eddie Breeden
Customer Service Director
Hunter Marine Corporation
Alachua, Florida

Force 10 Stove
I would like to bring to your attention some mis-information that was passed along by your May 15, 1999 issue. The article, “After 20,000 Miles,” discusses the stove on board Beowulf. The writer said that the Force 10 stove on board does not have a thermostatic oven temperature control, and for that reason he would not purchase that brand again. I would like to point out that Force 10 has offered a thermostatic control as an option since late 1995. At present, approximately 60% of production has this feature.

Paul Windover
Sales Manager, Force 10 Marine
Richmond, British Columbia

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