Mailport November 15, 2002 Issue

Mailport: 11/15/02

More Cockpit Table Ideas
Regarding Randy Hasness' request for  a tiller-compatible cockpit table [PS Advisor, July 15] I saw an excellent solution described at Bo'sun Supplies' website. They suggest the use of angled rail fittings to allow for supporting the table from the rear cockpit bulkhead, thereby keeping it clear of the tiller. Of course in this case a picture is worth a thousand words, so go to for details.

-Bradley Clark
Via e-mail

The illustration there is adapted from "Best of Sail Magazine's Things That Work," a good compendium published by International Marine/McGraw Hill.


I came up with a very nice solution on my boat, a Kettenberg 32. I made a table from marine plywood with a Formica top and teak rails.  I cut it into three parts lengthwise and hinged it together so that it will fold up for storage in the cockpit locker. 

I bought the same type of removable pedestal that is used forconverting a settee table to a double berth. I cut a hole in the cockpitsole to flush-mount one pedestal base and installed the other base on thebottom of the table. 

When I want to use the table while at anchor or at the dock, I fold the tiller back to the stern rail, and simply stick the pedestal into the base in the cockpit sole and stick the table on top of thepedestal. I can fold out the table to full width or drop one or both of the sides to make more maneuvering room in the cockpit without taking the tabledown.

The table will swivel so it can be aligned in the cockpit the longway or the short way.  I sized it so that it is the exact width of the cockpit and installed two teak rails opposite each other on the front of each cockpit seat.  With the pedestal removed, the fully opened table will sit on those rails, filling in a good portion of the cockpit (with another piece of plywood to fill the rest) so that the cockpit can be used as a "queen-size" bed for sleeping under the stars. 

The only drawback is, of course, you can't use this table while underway because it interferes with the tiller.

-David Turpin
Santa Barbara, CA


Horns and Whistles
I read your article on Handheld Horns and Whistles [September]. I would like to share my experience with the West Marine Admiral Hornblower, oractually the same item from the original manufacturer. As you probably discovered, this device makes its sound by passing air over an extremely thin layer of Mylar. This has proved not to be reliable in use. This diaphragm breaks or tears extremely easily, and the housing cracked on mine, rendering it useless. I would rate it as unacceptable due to its fragility in actual use.

-Keith Emmons
Houston, TX

We didn't run into a problem with it, but passed your letter along to Chuck Hawley at West Marine. Here's his reply:

"The diaphragm can tear, but it can also be replaced with a variety of thin plastic sheets. You simply pull off the clamping ring and discard the old diaphragm, and place a plastic bag or other thin plastic in place. When you replace the ring, trim the plastic to fit.

"I haven't experimented with many plastics, but I suspect that HDPE shopping bags would be about the best, and they are easily recycled."


In your article on horns and whistles you have discovered what I and others who fell into the ecology trap have already discovered, and that is that horns such as the Ecoblast, which use compressed air (rather than a "chemical") for generating the signal do not give many blasts per filling.  The reason for this is simple, since the number of blasts you can get, for a given whistle design, depends on the quantity (mass, in grams, or ounces or whatever) of gas.  The "chemical" used is liquid at the pressures in the can, and since a liquid has a much greater density than a gas of the same substance, a relatively small can hold a lot of material.  Air, on the other hand, does not liquefy at reasonable temperatures. 

If you go to your elementary chemistry or physics text book and get some numbers, and assume, for instance, that the container for compressed air of the Ecoblast has a volume of 0.5 litre, it is easy to calculate that for this container to hold 8 oz. (224 grams) of air at 0° C, the pressure would have to be about 5,145 psi—no mean feat with the hand pump provided, not to mention the required upgrading of the container. 

All similar horns will suffer from this inescapable fact, and none can possibly give many blasts per filling.  To preserve the environment, it's probably best to consider one of the lung powered horns you also evaluated. 

-Emanuel Laufer
Halifax, Nova Scotia


Hand-Bearing Compasses
I enjoyed the August 1 issue, with the article on hand-bearing compasses. A few years ago I was contemplating buying a Vion hockey puck at a catalog price $125, if I remember right, but instead bought a pair of Nikon binoculars with a built-in hand bearing compass for $300 on sale from Defender, and have been very happy with them, killing two birds with one stone.

Keep up the good work.

-Alex Nislick
Brattleboro, VT


Check Your Spade Nuts
I have read with great interest your excellent anchor test reports wherein you rated the Spade holding ability very highly in various bottom conditions and current reversal situations (even at fairly short scope). Because of these reports, I bought the 22-lb. Spade (ordered it from France) and have used it extensively with 1/4" HT chain for about three years.  Its holding power and instant setting is absolutely fantastic compared to the other plow and Danforth designs that I have used over the years.

However, I had occasion to remove the anchor from my bow pulpit the other day and noticed that the nylox nut that holds the two main parts of the Spade anchor together had loosened to the point where it was ready to fall off!  This would of course be a potential disaster if the anchor came apart during a windy evening while all on board were sleeping.  Close scrutiny reveals that the nut works slightly as the main shaft of the anchor works up and down under varying chain loads (as the bow rises and falls in swells). 

I have re-tightened the nut and now examine it after each use.  I plan to do a permanent fix with a longer bolt and double nylox nuts with a lock washer in between (plus some 5200 or epoxy added).

-Bob Stevenson
Via e-mail


Where Credit Is Due
To Marinco/Napa, CA:  "I enjoyed the use and benefits of two Nicro marine solar ventilators on my Hunter Legend sloop.  When they both failed within a short time of each other, I was dismayed.  I replaced the Ni-Cad cells to no avail.  A call to Marinco informed me that there was no other remedy other than replacement.  Even though they were installed in 1998, Marinco agreed to take them back.  I promptly received a pair of replacement Nicro ventilators.  I would not hesitate to recommend Nicro marine ventilators or Marinco for standing by their products.  Thank you for your good service."

-Jeffrey Adams, S/V Just Dandy

To Taylor Made, Gloversville, NY: "I have 10-year-old Taylor Made fenders for my Catalina 30.  This season, several of the fender valves failed when I was re-inflating the fenders.  No marine stores in my area stocked replacement valves but  one suggested I contact the company.  I e-mailed Taylor Made to ask where I could purchase new valves, and received an immediate reply offering to send me the valves I needed.  I had them within days.   What great service from a company patronized 10 years ago.  I will certainly buy their products in the future."

-John Lancaster, via e-mail 

To Garrity Industries, Madison, CT: "You did a comparison of flashlights some time ago, and rated  Garrity just under one of their competitors. We had two Garrity flashlites on our Shannon 38. This year we visited the Abacos for a few months.  During our trip, our two flashlights developed a problem: They worked just fine, but the cases started leaving a black substance on anything they touched. So my wife wrapped them in Saran Wrap. Problem solved for the trip. 

"We returned home and I wrote the Garrity Company.  Within 10 days I had a letter back requesting me to return our two units and they would replace  them.  This I did, and within two weeks we had two replacements in hand. This is excellent product guarantee and customer service."

-Don Sheda, Cortez, FL

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