Rocker Switches, Pin-Stop Lead Cars, FendFast
One of the good names in marine electrical equipment is Cole Hersee, maker of switches. Boat owners are probably most familiar with its line of battery selector switches. The PS evaluation of June 1, 1993 rated them well.
Cole Hersee also makes a large line of smaller electrical switches. We’ve used its push-pull switches for years, most recently for bilge pump operation that we wanted separate from the ship’s distribution panel.
Recently Cole Hersee introduced a new line of rocker switches that come with a variety of colored lenses. They have black plastic housings and bezels plus replaceable faceted lenses in clear, amber, red and green. This allows you to choose the color you want illuminated when the pilot light is on. Both dependent (light goes on when switch is actuated) and independent (light not controlled by switch) models are available. The switches are press fit into laminate boards between .093" and .187" thick.
Five configurations are available: OFF-ON SPST (single pole, single throw) with dependent light; OFF-ON SPST with independent light; ON-ON SPDT with dependent lights; ON-OFF-ON SPDT with dependent lights; and OFF-ON SPST with one independent and one dependent light. They are rated for 25 amps at 12VDC with brass blades and silver contacts. The base part number is M-58328. Boat/US sells four of them; they are on page 503 of its 2001 catalog, and priced between $9.49 and $13.99.
We showed sample switches to Don Watson, owner of Ocean Instrumentation in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (401/683-6320). Don makes custom distribution panels for all kinds of yachts and other uses. Following our joint inspection we concluded that we like the looks of these switches and think the interchangeable color lenses is a clever feature. The only downside is the use of blade connectors rather than screw connectors. While simpler to use, perhaps, blade connectors are always at risk of falling off, especially when you’re working on the backside of the panel. Screw-type connectors can be a pain (ever try to find one of those little screws dropped into the tangle of wires?), but do offer positive fastening.
(Cole Hersee Co., Old Colony Ave., South Boston, MA 02127-2467; 617/268-2100.)
Adjustable Pin-Stop Cars
Many conventional lead cars can be used with the pin stops locked in the up position. The pin can be lifted and turned 90°; it may then be moved to its new location before lowering the pin. With this feature, you don’t have to hold it up while sliding. Schaefer uses a screw pin. But without a towing eye, you’ll have to rig your own control line, probably taking it around the base of the sheave cheeks, to hold the car where you want on the track. While this might work, it’s far from ideal.
Nearly all the major hardware manufacturers offer genoa lead cars for 1-1/4" T track. Here are a few new ones: At left in the foreground of the photo on the previous page is Ronstan’s RF3186, which discounts at West Marine to $115. MWL is 3300 lbs. It’s made of black anodized aluminum. The sheave is 1-1/4" diameter and 1-1/2" wide for twin sheets. Weight is about 18 oz.
Behind it are two Garhauer blocks, the small one for 1" T track, the larger for 1-1/4" track. Both are called “Lite” blocks because the axle has been removed in favor of a larger round bearing on which the Delrin ball bearings turn. This represents Garhauer’s second generation hollow block, as some of the cheek material has been cut out to reduce weight. SWL for the 2 lb. 14-oz. big block is 3,000 lbs. with Torlon bearings ($90), 2000 lbs. with Delrin ($60). It has 1/8" Delrin rod sliders imbedded in the car. The smaller 10-oz. block has a SWL of 1000 lbs. with Delrin bearings ($35). At far right, is one of Harken’s Barbarossa blocks, B154. It has a SWL of 1895 lbs. and weighs 2 lbs. 2 oz. Sliders are nylon. Sheave diameter is 2". List price is $173.
(Garhauer Marine, 1082 W. Ninth St., Upland, CA 91786; 909/985-9993. Harken Yacht Equipment, 1251 E. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee, WI 53072; 262/691-3320. Ronstan International, 7600 Bryan Dairy Rd., Suite F, Largo, FL 33777; 727/545-1911.)
Yet Another Fender Hanger
Our view that it’s lubberly to hang fenders from the lifelines places us in the minority. One sees it done everywhere… and the marine catalogs show a considerable variety of gadgets to do so. They include Golden Eyes’ zig-zag Fender Grippers, a Garelick device that resembles a rope clutch on a strap, Velcro’s Fender Straps, Davis’s plastic snap-on Fender Tender II, Lurnar’s plastic jam cleat, Sea-Dog’s nylon brackets, New World Marine’s push-button Fendergrip, Hank International’s Gorilla Straps, and three or four kinds from Taylor. They’re also a favorite of basement inventors.
In the interests of free enterprise and healthy competition—a.k.a. the more the merrier—here’s another.
It’s called Fendfast™. A one-piece UV-resistant nylon molding, it’s principal virtues are that there’s nothing to wear out—no snaps, no straps, no buttons, no loops—and it can be placed on the lifeline with one hand, adjusted easily, locked securely if desired and removed with one hand.
The principal of Fendfast goes back to a line-locking system that involves two, or better three, holes in a piece of wood or metal through which a line can be rove. The two-hole arrangement is used on tiller locks, for tent-erecting lines or in any application where quick adjustment of a line is needed.
This Fendfast application, which was devised by George Steiner, uses but two holes, which means that after leading the line through the two holes, the bitter end must be fed through the upper part of the Fendfast. That top bit of a bend in the line creates just enough friction to lock the line in the two holes. Better still, a bight can be created and a half hitch applied (a loose one will do).
Steiner suggests that a Fendfast be kept permanently on each fender. The price is $15.95 each, available from Steiner at Montour Marine Systems, Inc., 58 Hillcrest Ave., Lachine, Quebec, Canada H8R 1J2, 514/488-7646.