Mailport November 15, 2000 Issue

Mailport 11/15

Greatest Small Boat Voyage?
In your August 15 issue you give credit to an Irishman (Shackleton) and an Englishman (Bligh) for historyís greatest small-boat voyages. Shackleton sailed 700 miles in a 22-foot whaleboat with five crew. Bligh sailed 3,618 miles in a 23-foot launch with 18 crew. But arenít we forgetting something? In the early 1980s, an American named Web Chiles sailed three-quarters of the way around the world singlehanded in an 18-foot, open Drascombe Lugger. He sailed the Chidiock Tichborne from California, across the Pacific Ocean, across the Indian Ocean, and up into the Red Sea, where his boat was damaged in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities seized his boat and threw him in jail. If this isnít the greatest small-boat voyage of all time, itís at least right up there with Shackleton and Bligh. How soon we forget.

John Vigor
Oak Harbor, Washington

Garmin vs. Magellan
Recently, Iíve been considering buying a handheld chartplotter so I was interested to read your review of the Garmin 175 and the Magellan Nav 6000 in the April 1 issue. In a publication whose selling point is informed and unbiased product evaluation, I was dismayed with what I read.

You fault the 6000 because of its lack of a detailed base map. Who cares? You donít buy a $600 chartplotter to navigate with the base map! You also fault its ergonomic design. Both of these units are too big for single-handed operation (I tried them). Iíll bet 95% of these units are used with a mount attached to a pedestal or cabin bulkhead, making ergonomics a non-issue. Finally, you say itís unacceptable that you have to open the battery compartment to change the cartridge. As if youíd be changing cartridges frequently! As you stated for the 175, most people will never need more than one or two cartridges. Probably only one.

However, the problem isnít just your misleading and uninformed comments. Itís what you donít talk about thatís really surprising. The Magellan costs an extra $100. Do you get anything for that? The 6000 has higher resolution than the 175, with twice the pixels. On a small screen, that might be good. Since no one (with a brain) is going to use either of them without a cartridge, how do these compare? A salesman at Hamilton Marine in Searsport, which sells both units, told me the following. ďThe C-map NT cartridges cost $199, cover a smaller area than the Navionics, and will zoom to 1/10 mile in all areas of the chart. The Navionics cartridges cost $299, cover a greater area than the C-Map and will zoom to 1/8 mile in some but not all areas.Ē

I suspect both of these units are excellent. To ďnot recommendĒ one for reasons no one cares about is insulting to your readers.

Bruce Olson
Waterville, Maine

I am a sailor and a private pilot. I have used Garmin, Magellan, Raytheon, and Lowrance products for years. I am currently using panel-mounted Morrow equipment in the aircraft, with Apollo moving map display and VHF nav com built in, as well as an old Garmin 100 with data base. On the boat, a Gulfstar 47, I have the Raytheon chartplotter, with C-Maps, linked to Loran and GPS, and also displayed on the radar.

But, my favorite piece of equipment, and one that travels with me everywhere, is the Lowrance 100. It has excellent versatility. Its map display is quite good. It is the only GPS which has both an aviation data base (Jeppesen) and marine data base. I load current aviation data through a floppy disc. Then, when getting on the boat, I download the database from a CD ROMóthe IMS Mapcreate system with all the nav aids, plus the area land data for the area in which I am sailing. All buoys are named and numbered. The accuracy is fantastic. The unit can be positioned on the yoke of an aircraft or the instrument cluster on a sailboat.

I prefer the Lowrance as my primary navigational aid. Itís the best thing on the market. Garmin is good, but the use of the cartridges, as distinguished from CD ROM and floppy discs, make it an antediluvian machine.

John H. Haley
Little Rock, Arkansas

Several months ago I shopped for a new handheld GPS to supplement my old Magellan DX5. I wanted the new unit to be as waterproof as the old Magellan since the new unit could possibly find its way into a life raft at some point in time. In researching, I was surprised to find that the Garmin series 12 models were the only handheld GPS that could be submerged (IPX-7 standards) and continue to operate. I think this feature is important in any small craft and certainly would be important in a life raft situation.

The Garmin 48 would have been my pick, but since it and all the remainder of the choices were basically splashproof only, I had to compromise on the navigation functions and purchased a 12 series Garmin. I am only guessing that because the majority of handheld GPS are purchased by non-boaters in todayís market that the manufacturer puts emphasis on bells and whistles and not being waterproof. As a boater, I think that is a big mistake. In fact, I think this should have been included in your evaluation.

Charles Wilsdorf
Henderson, Nevada

Clean Prop
Regarding Al Barryís letter in the July 1 issue on using Tempo Outboard/Outdrive antifouling for speedometer transducers, Iíve found that the stuff also works wonderfully on my bronze sailboat propeller and Monel shaft. I had previously tried just about everything (hot paraffin, Tobasco sauce, Teflon tape, etc.); the barnacles loved Ďem all. But during the last two seasons the Tempo has kept them very nicely at bay and Iíve not had to clean the prop underwater several times a year as previously.

The Tempo product comes in a two-part spray can kit that is recommended for application to metal. First apply several coats of the barrier spray and then follow with multiple coats of the antifouling spray. I continue to use a shaft zinc, just in case, and it does erode somewhat during the season.

Manfred Meisels
Hartsdale, New York

Stain Remover
A few issues ago, Dan Spurr was having a bad day, ending with grease on his pants that he figured turned them into rags. Hold on, Dan! Iíve found a pretty good solution to this problem. If adding plain old ammonia to the wash water doesnít do it, try hand cleaner. You know, the stuff mechanics use after working on car engines. It has removed everything from collar stains to transmission fluid spills for me. Rub it into the stain, rinse with water, and throw those pants into the wash. Sometimes it takes more than one try, but I donít think Iíve had it fail yet.

Noemi Ybarra
Lafayette, Indiana

Iím gonna run out right now and buy me a can of Gunk!

Just read your article on self-tailers (August 15) and I have to put in the good word for Winchers, the devices that attach to older winches like my Lewmar 6s. I have four on my 20-year-old Paceship PY 26ótwo halyards and two sheet winchesóand they work like a charm. In fact, when two of them started leaking blue gooey stuff onto my clothes and lines, I replaced them. A bargain!

Cliff Moore
Via e-mail

Where Credit Is Due...
To Sea Air Land Technologies, Marathon, Florida: ďAbout three years ago I purchased a battery monitor unit from the Sea Air Iand Technologies Co. in Marathon, Florida. Being very inexperienced, I often called the service people for their advice and was always courteously received. A few months ago, a repairman made a mistake in the wiring of my boatís batteries, resulting in low voltage and subsequent damage to the main circuit board of the SALT monitor. It was replaced without charge even though the part costs several hundred dollars and was no longer under warranty.Ē

Pierre J. Putter, MD
Marathon, Florida

To Shakespeare, Newberry, South Carolina: ďAfter my marina managed to lose an adapter connecting my Loran antenna to a rail mount I discovered that these adapters are very hard to come by. The standard Loran antennas have a 3/8" x 24 male thread while all rail mount attachments have a 1" x 14 male thread. Hence the need for an adapter to attach the antenna to the rail mount. I couldnít find one in any of my marine catalogs, nor at the local West Marine store so I emailed West Marine. Roy Kiesling responded, suggesting how one might be constructed. Then came another email from him suggesting that I talk to Shakespeare directly.

ďI did. Chris Catoe of Shakespeare told me the company manufacturing the adapters had gone out of business but they still had one, albeit not new, that should serve my purpose. He mailed it out no charge.Ē

Pat MacDonald
Ashland, Massachusetts

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