I live aboard a Cal 25, and I use the original Homestrand range that came with the boat in 1967. Both burners work. I have never had troubles with slow cooking; it boils water readily.
Anyone who uses the range for both cooking and heat like I do will appreciate the availability of fuel in gallon containers.
Joseph "Sailor Joe" Kozak Jr.
The protocol for that test required using fuel recommended by the manufacturer, which in this case, was the Soot-Free variety. We’ll try the cheaper stuff and see what differences in cooking time, odor, and soot we can detect. Thanks
for the tip.
Sealant Update: Several readers have inquired about the results of our recent sealant test, appropriately named "Sticky Situation." Some of the results run contrary to years of first-hand experience. We are reviewing the data again and will likely revise the test protocol for the next test. There are clearly some good, less-expensive "non-marine" sealants and caulks available for certain applications, but conservative thinking suggests trying to match proven marine adhesive-sealants with your project first. Before selecting a caulk, we encourage readers to review all three recent PS articles on this topic—"Caulk and Sealant Test" (April 1, 2005), "Update: Caulks and Sealants" (Nov. 15, 2005), and "Sticky Situation" (August 2006). These are posted on our website. Just click on the "Sample Articles" menu option.
All other factors being equal, we recommend selecting the digital charts that best suit your particular needs first, then choosing the plotter that best runs those charts. Price can be a big factor in the decision. Rather inconveniently, the Standard Horizon CP1000C, our favorite in the test of big screen plotters under $2,000 (May 1, 2005), does not use the charts we rated best in our test of digital charts, Navionics Platinum (February 2006). Apart from going whole hog for a Raymarine Series E charplotter with Navionics Platinum software, you can opt for a mid-priced option that still uses Navionics cartography–that would be PS’s favorite big screen chartplotter, the Raymarine C120 with the Navionics Gold cartography, our Budget Buy in the digital chart test.
Spray nine query
We forwarded your message to Spray Nine, and one of their specialists contacted you directly for more information. Upon learning that the surface was approximately 30 years old with an unknown maintenance history, they concluded that there was no way for them to determine exactly what occurred or why. The company will "keep the file open" on this subject. The company encourages users to spot-test any surface in an inconspicuous place before using Spray Nine. As for the sickly yellow coating that dissolved onto your deck, perhaps a chemist among our readers will venture a theory.
I still have the Samson fids I purchased more than 20 years ago. Back then, there weren’t many other choices.
Incidently, I believe the original instructions for the Samson fids said to tightly tape both the cover and the core with tape, then cut a diagonal on the taped end. This end is jammed into the fid, and the pusher is jammed in over the top of either rope part. Over the years, I have had very few pieces ever escape the fid. The pusher just about doubles the length you can run the fid without popping out and going back in on a long splice.
Another reader wrote us after having trouble finding the Selma fids. The contact info we listed with the article is accurate; however, not everyone wants to call Norway to order the fids. You can also find the Selma kit (five fids) for sale at
www.fisheriessupply.com/ for $60.
The folks at Interlux reported that in general, all bottom paints pick up water. Those based on polymeric resins, copolymers like Micron 66 and Micron Extra, will pick up water and can retain that water; those based on rosin, hard and ablative types, allow the water to pass through the film as the rosin hydrolyzes and enhances the release of the biocides accordingly (from within the film). Polymeric antifouling paints release their biocides primarily on the surface as the polymer hydrolyzes. There may be some effect on sailing performance, but given the film thicknesses of antifouling paints, especially on racing boats, it is doubtful the extra water weight would cause any loss of speed.
Saildrives in Florida
By outdrives, I’m referring to powerboat applications with the outdrive hanging off the stern. I don’t know about saildrives, but for a boat that is kept in the water all year, I wonder about boot failure. The penalty for not keeping a close maintenance eye on these systems might be sudden and severe.
Anyhow, I wonder if you will have different data and different ideas depending upon where the boat is kept.
Fort Myers, Fla.
In regard to the Marine Kettle 2, the article incorrectly stated that the round rail mounts are plated steel. Our rail mounts are 100 percent stainless steel and hard-anodized aluminum. The mount is not mirror-polished like our grills as this adds considerable expense to the consumer. Because of this, it may develop "surface rust," which is easily cleaned.
You also say that "both kettles would benefit from more deeply set racks to cut down on food falling overboard." The lip surrounding the grates on our Marine Kettle is high enough to keep hot dogs and sausages from falling overboard.
Magma Products Inc.
Our testers recognized the lid latch could be fixed to prevent it from locking while cooking, and it should have been mentioned in the article. The testers said the latch was "aggravating" because the latch’s location makes it awkward to apply the required torque to secure it in the "unlock" position. The mounts are stainless steel and wiped clean except for some small stains that should polish out. The rectangular grills clearly contained food better than the round kettles, which make it more difficult to use the side of the grill to "scoop" burgers onto the plate. The Catalina Gourmet, our Best Choice in that test, is still bright and shiny, three months after being stored outdoors. Very impressive.
Kids’ life jackets
I have been sailing with each of my kids since they were about 3-6 months old. The first time I took my son, Joshua, on the boat alone, he was 3 years old. We had a great day sailing on our Catalina 34. The safety lines were up as the launch approached. In the few seconds it took me to turn around and pick up one of our carry-on bags, Joshua somehow slipped beneath the lower safety line and into the water.
The launch operator was quick as a whip, and in less than a minute the launch operator pulled him out, grabbing the collar grab strap on the Mustang Type III life jacket Joshua was wearing and properly strapped into.
The kid was wet, but did not even know what happened to him. That fall, Joshua started swimming lessons. Now, he is 12 years old, but still is required to wear a life jacket when on deck, just as I wear my Sospenders inflatable whenever we are underway.
When I see a family or a child on a boat without a life jacket, I have no hesitation to go over to the people and tell them my "Joshua story."
Dream Extreme, Catalina 34
Great Neck, N.Y.
The importance of requiring children, particularly non-swimmers, to wear their life vests when on or around the water was made clear recently when we wrapped up our comparison of infant-toddler life jackets The parents of three of our eight "testers," ages 1 to 4, said their children were likely saved by life jackets. Two of them fell in at the dock. The results of that test will be appearing in an upcoming issue.
12-Inch winch handle?
What source are you referring to? I have been looking for these for years and have called all the major players (Harken, Lewmar, Titan), and no one is making them now.
We also had a hard time locating a 12-inch winch handle for sale. We talked to well-known rigger Brion Toss, and although it’s not listed on his website, he said he sells a 12-inch bronze handle for about $90. Check out www.briontoss.com for more information.
Reducing the results to a ranking system without reporting the raw data leaves us clueless as to how important efficiency testing really is. The statement that "Andersen’s ribs and Harken’s smooth aluminum drums are easiest on the line" is based on what? An abrasion test? We have Lewmar and Barient winches that are completely satisfactory, and I have not noticed any particular wear in the sheets.
Mark Van Baalen
As mentioned in the article, the data and rankings that resulted from our testing were clear. However, the differences in abrasion and in efficiency are too small to outweigh the other factors that come into play when selecting a winch. The testers concluded that all of the winches in our test will provide many years of good service, if properly maintained. We typically try to print as much as possible of the useful raw data that emerges from our tests. Circumstances did not allow this in this case.
Magic Turtle Wax
Vancouver, British Columbia
This suggests that bluewater cruisers who want parts and service in the third world should choose another brand.
Kris and Sandra Hartford
...Where Credit Is Due
So, I called Alpenglow. Its owner, Bob Stoeckley, answered the phone and after a few questions, suggested I return it to him to see what the problem was. Because I love the product and know that it takes a special ballast, I decided to go ahead despite the potential cost. I had no receipt and know it is at least 10 years old.
My wife and I went sailing for three days, and boy did we miss the light when compared to our halogen and incandescent lights. Our cabin seemed gloomy.
Low and behold, upon our return, there was a package with our light. The ballast had burned out, and Alpenglow replaced it along with a bit of wiring. The charge: nothing. All I can say is thanks to a great firm for an excellent product and outstanding service.
Gig Harbor, Wash.
My wife and I decided we needed to do "something" about our engine control set-up on our Catalina 25. We had a bad experience near Cholla Bay, Mexico, in 2004. A sudden strong and shifting wind, along with a powerful Sea of Cortez tide change, quickly pushed us near the rocks of Pelican Point. We learned three lessons that day: 1) Don’t sail too close to the lee shore; 2) Don’t sail too close to the wind (we did three jibes and couldn’t believe how fast the rocks were coming); and 3) We needed engine power and speed to maneuver, and we needed it fast!
The necessity of standing up to lift the access hatch for the engine controls on the Catalina 25, now seems like a design flaw. Then you must reach over the stern rail, while being tossed about, shift gears while trying to adjust the throttle to keep the engine going, and steer clear of rocks. I kept glancing at my depth indicator as we went from over 40 feet of water to only 9 feet within a few minutes. We finally had the engine revved and ever so slowly crept from a near disaster. Remarkably, I’m still married to the same wonderful woman, and she still sails with me when the wind is calm.
We have incorporated the knowledge from our lessons learned, and as for lesson No. 3, we love our Power Tiller. Launching, docking, and retrieving are now much easier. I am also writing to express thanks for Power Tiller’s great customer service. The staff’s knowledge, along with their tips and installation assistance, made the entire experience quite painless. In this time of poor quality products, and disregard of customer satisfaction, my experience with Power Tiller was truly above exceptional.
My Power Tiller has so increased the safety and ease of maneuvering my boat that I recommend it to my sailing friends. As for me, I will never go back to using a "dead stick" tiller.
In late May, my wife and I took delivery of a Beneteau 423. It came equipped with a gennaker and sock. The sock, called ChuteScoop, produced by V.F. Shaw Co., tore the second time I used it. The reason for it tearing a 10-foot long stretch of fabric remains a mystery. It is possible a line was tangled on deck or that the line did not feed correctly to the top of the chute. I explained the problem to the company, which, at no charge, repaired the top of the chute. The turn-around time was about 10 days, from leaving my house until the repaired unit was back on my front step. On the telephone, the owner was horrified that the sock had ripped. She told me that she had never heard of this happening and asked me to return the chute.
I could not explain the origin of the problem, could not blame the manufacturer, and was prepared to pay repair or replacement costs. When I received the chute back, I was told "no charge." This was outstanding service by a company that produces an outstanding product. I would encourage folks looking for a spinnaker or gennaker sock to give them a look.