Mailport March 2007 Issue

Mailport: 03/07

Soy Strip vs. Peel Away

Based on your recent ranking of Franmar Soy Strip as the top-rated antifouling stripper ("Stripper Showdown," November 2006), I purchased two gallons of that product to remove four coats of six-year-old Interlux Micron Extra self-polishing paint that we had applied over Interlux Interprotect 2000E on our Caliber 33. I tried

Peel Away II and Franmar Soy Strip
We re-tested Peel Away II and Franmar Soy Strip on a larger section of our test boat, a Union 36 (above). Soy Strip was still more effective, although some readers have done better with Peel Away II.
several methods of using the Soy Strip from leaving it on for six hours covered with plastic wrap, to scraping it off after one hour and I found that the Soy Strip was totally inadequate in removing this paint.

In desperation, I tried Peel Away Marine Strip II, which was easy to use and did an excellent job. It was quite easy to apply with the provided spatula, like icing a cake upside down. I applied the Peel Away stripper and paper one afternoon and went back the next morning to remove it.

It was quite easy to remove: I scraped the paste which had dried and mostly stuck to the paper and pulled the paper off at the same time. Quite a lot of red antifouling was left on the boat. However, when I washed it off with No. 4 wire wool and a course pad, all paint was removed back to the Interprotect coat with just a wipe, no scrubbing.

Franmar Soy Strip - Peel Away Marine Strip
Franmar Soy Strip - Peel Away Marine Strip
Based on this, I suggest that before anyone splashes out $150 for two gallons of Soy Strip, they buy a quart first to see if it works satisfactorily.

Christine Newell

Oceanus, Caliber 33
Cambridge, Md.

Soy Strip REPORT

I was reluctantly coming to the conclusion that the antifouling paint needed to be removed, so I eagerly read the article ("Stripper Showdown") in the November issue.

An e-mail and a couple of phone calls to the local Soy Strip distributor were most helpful. He pointed out that since the product is sensitive to both ambient air temperature and the temperature of the hull, I should tackle the job in the fall rather than wait for the hull to warm up in the spring. He also emphasized the need to cover the product with thin plastic sheets to hold it on the surface and prevent

Skip Allan
Practical Sailor tester and veteran racer Skip Allan runs his safety tether under the jackline and back to his harness. This takes out the slack for use while the wearer is stationary.
evaporation during the "dwell time." (This is, in fact, a big part of the job.) My 30-foot Catalina required about 2-1/3 gallons of Soy Strip. Application by a team of two took about three hours. Scraping off the residue, an unavoidably messy job, took another 3Ĺ hours by the two-person team. (The residue should not be left on for too long.) In the end, I would estimate that 75-80 percent of the paint came off. At least I avoided the risk of inhaling sanded paint a real plus. A little additional work in the spring and the hull will be in good shape for repainting.

Mike Gerhardt

Warren, R.I.

We repeated our stripper test on larger sections of our test boat with the same results as our initial test (see photo above). However, as mentioned in the original article, past tests lead us to believe that some paints remove easier with Peel Away than Soy Strip. Temperatures during our test were above 80 degrees, and humidity was very high. The manufacturers of Soy Strip do not recommend using their product in temperatures below 70 degrees.

Tether attachment

I read about tethers in "Sailing on a Short Leash" in the January 2007 issue with great interest since I have never had the occasion to use one. After reading the pros and cons of attachment devices on each end of the tether, I noticed that

The extra leg on a double harness just gets in the way, reports John Neal of Mahina Tiare Expeditions.
Skip Allan, in the photos, did not connect directly to the jackline, but looped the tether around the jackline, a method not discussed in the article. Is that a recommended attachment method? Is the tether as strong when it is attached this way?

Bob Bedell

Via e-mail

A safety harness tether should always be clipped to windward and be maintained with as little slack as possible. This prevents a tethered crew from being awkwardly launched, and possibly hurt.

In the photos to which Mr. Bedell refers, Skip Allan was wearing a 6-foot single tether. By looping the tether around the windward jackline and hooking it back to his harness, he halved its length and removed the slack in the system, reducing the chances of being launched out of the companionway, across the cockpit, or even over the lifelines. There is no practical reduction in strength to the tether when shortened in this manner. When moving around the deck in a vertical stance, tether wearers minimize friction between the tether and jackline by clipping the "boat end" of the tether snap hook directly to the jackline, still minding to keep as much slack out of the tether as possible.

Elastic Tethers

A note on tethers using elastic: My experience is that the elastic in these tethers doesnít last more than three or four years. My Wichard 3-foot/6-foot double tether is three years old, and the elastic may as well not be present. If youíre planning to use your tether more than three or four years, forget about paying extra for the elastic. Itís great while it lasts, but it doesnít last forever.

Of more concern to me is that your review ("Sailing On a Short Leash," January 2007) notes the importance of being able to quickly disconnect from any tether in an emergency. When using a double tether, the unused lead must be clipped somewhere, likely on your person it canít be left dangling. There is only one place to do this that is convenient and consistently available: the harness D-rings. Unfortunately, carrying the unused end of a double tether on a harness D-ring (or anything else attached to your body) renders the quick-release on the harness end of the tether ineffective. If the quick release is activated, you are still attached to the harness via the "inactive" tether which was clipped to the D-ring of the harness.

The only way around this problem is for the inactive tether to be clipped to the tether itself. Any double-ended tether should have a convenient attachment point for the unused end of the tether, such that an emergency disconnect will actually allow you to disconnect. The information supplied with the tether should note this potential danger and how to avoid it. Otherwise, you may as well use a locking carabiner on the harness end.

Gary Aitken

S/V Malakii

Via e-mail

mahina on harnesses

In regard to your tether article ("Sailing On a Short Leash," January 2007) and mentioning that we (Mahina Tiare Expeditions) recommend the West Marine tether with Gibb hook, here is some additional feedback.

Mahina Expeditions has had 815 sail-training students on board over the past 17 years, covering close to 200,000 miles, much of that in high latitudes. We ask our expedition members to bring their own harnesses and tethers, so we have seen many different types.

The double tethers seem like a great idea, but everyone who has brought them has ended up taping or cutting off the short end it just gets in the way too much.

We love the idea of (and recommend on our temperate voyages) inflatable PFD/harness combinations, but for passagemaking in the tropics, nearly everyone finds them heavy and sweaty behind the neck.

The Crewsaver Sovereign harness has been a favorite. The combination of fairly rigid webbing and the extra fabric section on the back make it easier to slip into than most.

We are big proponents of the Lifesling and after 17 years of having each expedition member conduct several rescues have developed a very fast, simple, and predictable method of singlehandedly retrieving a man overboard in less than 90 seconds. We have just documented this in our "Expedition Companion" textbook.

John Neal

Mahina Expeditions

electrifying tale

Older Power Cords
Loose terminals on older power cords and worn receptacles are common problems theyíre also common fire hazards.
I recently experienced a scary mishap with my shore-power cord that should be shared with others. And Iíd like to know how many others have had a similar experience.

I plugged my nine-year-old, "perfectly fine," 30-amp cord into the boat to provide power/heat for our night at the dock. During the night, I noticed that our 1500-watt electric heater was no longer working. I first suspected something was wrong with the heater or something in the boatís electrical system. In the morning, I discovered that two of the three receptacle terminals had burned off, and both the cord and receptacle had burned and melted.

Fortunately, the burning did not spread to the boat itself. The cord and all the boat wiring has worked fine for nine years, and everything was "properly" installed at the J-Boat factory. The boatís 110-volt breaker did eventually trip, but the 30-amp dockside breaker did not. The cord was plugged in straight and tight. Iím assuming that I had unseen corrosion inside the plug, and it created high resistance that caused the eventual melt-down. Is this a common problem?

The marine store "experts" claim that this problem can occur with cords about 10 years old when used continuously with a 1500-watt heater load and other "heat sources" as well. They claim a 30-amp cord is designed for intermittent 30-amp loads. On the day of the failure, my heater, the boat water heater, and the battery charger were likely all on at the same time. However, the cord actually failed during the night when only a 750-watt heater was running. Also, I do not leave the cord attached to the boat during the winter. It is usually stored below.

Bill Boyeson

Via e-mail

This is a common problem, most likely caused by a loose connection. On an older cord, the terminals inside the plug assembly can eventually get loose. Loose connections increase resistance in the circuit, which in turn creates heat. Often, there is enough heat to cause a fire. The electrical receptacles can also wear with age, creating a loose connection with potentially dangerous results. Scrupulous inspection of the integrity of the connections can help prevent this sort of mishap.


Has Practical Sailor ever tested the FilterBOSS ( This system provides two fuel filters, one online and one offline. The website indicates the device allows for easy engine bleeding. It also states that if your lift pump fails, the FilterBOSS will supply fuel to the injectors. Sounds like a great system to me. Any advice?

Bill Blair

Via e-mail

Great timing, Bill. We actually just wrapped up a FilterBOSS evaluation. Look for the review in next monthís issue. You will also likely be interested in our upcoming look at fuel tanks, also looming high on the horizon.

Stainless Steel

The magnet test suggested in the February 2007 issue oversimplifies the issue of applying stainless steel in saltwater applications. The most commonly available stainless steel is Type 304, which is non-magnetic, but also is notoriously susceptible to stress corrosion cracking in the presence of chlorides. This

FilterBOSS Fuel Filter System
Practical Sailor takes a look at the FilterBOSS fuel filter system, by KTI Systems Inc., in the April issue.
environment exists in all standing rigging on a sailboat in salt water. Type 316, which contains molybdenum and a slightly higher nickel content, does not suffer from this problem. (But, it is more expensive.) When stainless steel is used in a weldment, it can suffer from intergranular corrosion in the area of the weld. For this reason, low-carbon versions of these alloys (304L, 316L) should be used. The method of thread-forming on fittings and fasteners can also be significant. Rolled threads are far superior to cut threads because of the reduction in stress concentration and the lessening of sites for the initiation of cracks.

Tom Walder

Ericson 29

Wilson, N.Y.

The magnet photo was not meant to imply that all non-magnetic hardware is good. Past issues of Practical Sailor have discussed the various stainless-steel issues that Mr. Walder succinctly describes and we will delve deeper into metallurgy in our upcoming test of steel fasteners and fittings.

Pooch savers

Thanks Practical Sailor for your article on "Pooch Savers" (January 2007). Those of us who include our dogs whenever possible are always looking for sound ways to keep them safe. Our 16-year-old dog, Skyla, has been an avid swimmer all her life. But now that she is a bit long in the tooth, her West Marine doggie PFDís extra buoyancy means the difference between swimming and sinking! Keep up the good woof!

Crosby and Claire Roper

Tethys, Catalina 320
San Diego, Calif.

Doggie PFDs

I own several pet PFDs, but I have found a better alternative. I solo sail with my dog, who always wants to be by my legs. It only took him poking his head between

West Marine PFD
Crosby and Claire Roperís 16-year-old dog, Skyla, sports her West Marine PFD in San Diego, Calif.
the spokes of my Lewmar folding wheel once for me to realize that his roaming free in a PFD was not an option. Plus, the modern Hunterís stern swim platform is an inviting exit point for a canine.

When underway, I outfit him with a full harness designed as a seat-belt harness for dogs ( I use the Pet Keeper from Shockles ( as the tether since it is elastic. I could also use a single Wichard tether, but it is a little too heavy. I clip him in where he canít reach the wheel, but can otherwise roam around the cockpit and get on the seat. At anchor, I go with a full-bellied PFD until bedtime, mostly for my piece of mind.

Glen Koch

Hobie-g, Hunter 31

Havre de Grace, Md.

Bottom Paint for Metals

After reading the 2006 Bottom Paint Test review (February 2007 issue), itís evident that not all copper-based paints are equally compatible with aluminum saildrives. My Volvo MD 22 engine manual cautions to avoid copper-oxide bottom paints used on the hull itself because of corrosion interference with the saildrive, but "pure" copper-based antifouling paints containing "copper thiocyanate" seem OK.

I am considering an ablative paint for use in waters from New Jersey through New England for this year and the entire East Coast for next year. Only the Sea Hawk Mission Bay CSF rated better than Fair in NE waters (but only Fair in Florida).

So I am interested in looking into what copper-based paints would be compatible with my aluminum saildrive and will perform well in both NE and Florida waters. Or better rated copper-free paints in both NE and Florida waters.

I started checking the details on some of the paint sites, but gave up trying to read the MSDS sheets, individually.

Any idea which of the copper-based paints contain a more compatible form of copper and could work with boats with saildrives?

Charlie Kapeghian

Nelly Ruth, Bavaria 40 Ocean

Forked River, N.J.

Based on your own research and the results of our most recent antifoulant test (February 2007), weíd recommend Blue Water Paintsí Kolor, which was a top performer after 18 months and contains copper thiocyanate. The best performer in our last metal paints test was Pettitís Alumacoat. However, Alumacoat has since been replaced by Alumacoat SR, which rated Fair in the 2006 bottom paint tests. Look for an update to the metal antifoulant test in a future issue.

search for 12 inches

In previous issues of Practical Sailor ("Seven Muscular Winches," June 2006, and "Mailport," September 2006), you mention the benefit of 12-inch winch handles over standard 10-inch winch handles as having 20 percent more cranking power. Having a 40-foot sailboat and using/straining with a 10-inch winch handle for years, I wanted one ASAP.

After months of research, I found out that the 12-inch winch handles are made by LVJ of Holland. I called Taylor and Snediker LLC, (800/599-0800) in Connecticut, the U.S. distributor of LVJ winches and winch handles.

The 12-inch, locking winch handle is made of a brass-aluminum alloy and is available for $120 (discounted) plus $6 for shipping. It is available in a single-handle or double-handle version. They also manufacture 8-inch and 10-inch standard-brass, aluminum-alloy handles.

My 12-inch, locking winch handle was shipped the same day I ordered it. The winch handle is an impressive brass color and is very well made. I look forward to more winch cranking with less strain this spring.

Jerry Boudreau

Swansea, Mass.

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