Editorial June 2006 Issue

The practical griller

PS intern Ben Barnard scrubs the Dickinson Sea-B-Que, one of the easier to clean grills in our test.
We get a masochistic sort of pleasure out of our messier tests, but we donít typically share those details. This monthís grill test is a good case in point. Sure, we got to grill some burgers and eat them, but before that there were boxes of hardware to unpack, instructions to decipher (some of which seemed to be written in some long-lost language), then finally, the arduous job of cleaning them.

As our luck would have it, the last task came just as our heroic intern, Ben Barnard, was winding down his stint here at Practical Sailor. He hung around long enough to scrub the grills with soap and water, but erasing the signs of our saltwater spray test required a more aggressive approach. The result of three solid hours of cleaning can be seen in the product shots with the article in this month's issue. I believe we are the only sailing magazine that will present virtually new grills in all their gory. Our photos show about what they will look like on your stern pulpit.

For polishing, we used the Miracle Cloth, the winner in our metal cleaner test ("Metal Polishes" article). That answered one nagging question we still had about the cloth: How long will it last? Answer: About six very dirty grills. It still worked after polishing our test grills, but it lacked the bite to tackle the toughest stains.

Though not wholly by design, this issue has a fishy scent to it. You can use your Navman Trackfish 6600 ($1,500, "Plotter-Sounder Combos" article) to locate your quarry, fillet it with your Dexter Russell knife ($34, "Fillet Knives" article), cook it up on your Magma grill ($300, "Some Like It Hot" article), and then polish your grill with a Miracle Cloth ($7, "Metal Polishes" article). It turns out that if Iíd had all these goodies while cruising, I would have paid more per pound of fish that I caught and grilled over the course of 10 years than I do today at the local oyster bar, where I can enjoy the fruits of someone elseís laboróand a cold draft beer.

The appropriate conclusion would be that catching and grilling your own fresh fish is about as cost effective as sailing to Tahiti, when you could jet there for far less. Itís no secret that if you are simply trying to get somewhere, sailing is rarely a practical endeavor.

Funny thing though, the oyster barís fish never taste as good as my own grilled fillets. And Tahiti, as alluring as it looks from the air, is far more beautiful to me rising on the horizon. So hereís a toast to impractical sailors: May our destination forever be to leeward and our grills always clean as a whistle.

Darrell Nicholson

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