August 2009

PS Advisor: ‘Weathered’ Teak

Isn’t there an old adage about rousing the rain gods by opening a can of varnish (or paint)? Having lived (and sailed) mostly in sub-tropical climes, we can definitely sympathize with a rain-delayed boat project. The rain actually isn’t doing any harm to the wood or varnish so much as it’s just a nuisance, adding more work and time to the job at hand. After the rain ceases, let the wood dry for several days. The higher the humidity, the longer the dry time. Denatured alcohol or Naphtha can remove surface moisture. Once the wood has dried, you will need to resand any bare wood areas so that you’re coating fresh wood.   More...

DIY Topside Paint Test: Two-part Linear Polyurethanes Face Off

Subscribers Only — While our topside paint panel test (Practical Sailor August 2008) seeks out the most durable topside paint, this test was to determine which two-part LPU is the most user-friendly for the amateur painter and whether the project is manageable for the average do-it-yourselfer. We chose to use the roll-and-tip painting method, and selected two-part polyurethanes from manufacturers that historically have done well in Practical Sailor’s topside paint durability tests: Interlux and Epifanes. On the port side, we applied Epifanes Poly-urethane No. 800 white thinned with Epifanes’ poly-urethane thinner, and on its starboard side and transom, we painted Interlux’s Perfection Mediterranean White and used 2333N brushing reducer.   More...

Cabin Fan Test Returns

Subscribers Only — In April 2008, Practical Sailor evaluated 11 cabin fans from seven manufacturers. Since that test, Caframo has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned its 748 Bora. The company also introduced a new weatherproof version of its Kona. Testers were pleased to see that the new fans clearly addressed complaints raised in our last test: The Bora radically changed its blade design to pump more air, and the Kona’s corrosion-prone metal grill was replaced with a plastic grill that will hold up better in salt air. Based on the new data, the Bora has climbed up into the recommended rankings. Stay tuned for this year’s Fan Death Match.   More...

Gripping Hitches for Loaded Lines

Subscribers Only — Testers evaluated five different knots to determine which would be the ideal for holding a tensioned line. Testers considered ease of tying and untying, ease of learning and recall, and holding power with various types of line. The old standard rolling hitch was pitted against the modified rolling hitch, icicle hitch, gripper hitch, and sailor’s hitch.   More...

Ground Tackle

Subscribers Only — As Practical Sailor prepares for a new round of anchor tests, we’ve been on the hunt for new anchors, as well as new accessories. One of the most interesting devices to come our way is the Anchor Rescue developed by Richard Provonchee, a sailor and principal in Boxer Marine Inc., based in Cushing, Maine. The most common complaint about anchors is their lack of holding, but an anchor that refuses to budge—can also have serious consequences. The Anchor Rescue uses an innovative two-part system to free fouled anchors. The typical antidote to fouling is to attach a buoyed line to the anchor crown so that it can be hauled backward out of its snag. Most anchors have an eye at the crown for attaching a buoyed retrieval line. (Danforth-style anchors are an exception).   More...

Crossing Over

Subscribers Only — When it comes to gear for the outdoor enthusiast, there are a lot of crossover products. Hikers, bikers, boaters, backpackers, and climbers share a need for lightweight, durable, and practical equipment. So as Practical Sailor editors geared up for our summer adventures, we looked for products that could serve double-duty on the boat and on the trail.   More...

Mooring Anchors for Sensitive Seabeds

Subscribers Only — Mooring anchors fall into two general categories: those that rely on sheer weight and mass to provide holding and the embedment types that penetrate the sea floor. There are also some hybrids that rely mostly on their weight, but also embed themselves in the sea floor over time. BoatUS projects and municipal tests on Sarasota Bay, Fla., support helical screws as the best option when it comes to choosing mooring tackle, particularly in sensitive areas. Practical Sailor’s evaluation of mooring anchor types includes the Helix screw, Manta Ray, Dor-Mor, Mushroom, and concrete blocks.   More...

A Look at the Latest Generation of Genoa Furlers

Subscribers Only — To get an idea of what’s on the market and see how the newer products fare against the simpler, tried and true furling systems, Practical Sailor rounded up 11 new headsail furlers suited for 30- to 35-foot sailboats. This, the first of a two-part report on the evaluation, focuses on the seven products that use a head-swivel design and range in cost from $950 to $3,200. (The report of integral systems will follow in an upcoming issue.) The following furlers were reviewed: Facnor LX 130, Harken MkIV and Cruising 1, Profurl LCI32, Schaefer 2100, Furlex 200S (Selden Mast), and US Spars (Z-Spar) Z-780.   More...

Used Sailboat Review: Morgan 30

Subscribers Only — On the water, the Morgan 30 is a fine boat to look at, with springy sheer and an attractive stern. Although the boat has a full 6-foot, 2-inch headroom, the freeboard is low. This graceful form predates World War II and can be found in late Cruising Club of America-era boats. Our sea trials aboard reader Ray Mummery’s Morgan 30 Wavedancer in South Florida’s Biscayne Bay, offered proof of the boat’s impeccable balance. In 12 knots of breeze, with a 130-percent genoa, Wavedancer easily steered herself to windward, even holding a course as deep as 120-degrees relative wind angle, with no attention to the helm. Compared to modern 30-footers with canoe underbodies and fin keels, the boat is far from nimble. What the boat lacks in thrills, she makes up for with a seakindly ride.   More...

Mailport: 08/09

Skimmer, a Cape Dory 25 test boat, was painted in November 2007 with Interlux Bottomkote and Bottomkote mixed with cayenne pepper. No difference between the two sections was noted. Initially, the boat was cleaned of soft growth every six to eight weeks. Now, nearly two years later, it requires weekly cleaning or else hard growth sets in. Bottomkote is a mid-priced hard paint that holds up well to scrubbing.

As a new boat owner, I have no end of questions, but here’s a quickie: I have recently had my boat hauled and sanded to the gelcoat, and repainted with all the right stuff. (The bottom was coated with Interlux CA Bottomkote.) Now, how often should I have a diver clean the underside, bearing in mind I live in San Diego? The service providers have a vested interest in selling frequent cleans—one company running a special at the moment wants me to sign a contract for a bottom clean every three weeks, but that sounds way too often to me. I realize it may well vary with geography and ambient temperature, but there should be some kind of general rule of thumb, perhaps?   More...

Charley Morgan's Lovely Legacy

Subscribers Only — Fifty-two years ago, a mongrel yawl named Brisote was launched on the waters of Tampa Bay, setting in motion a chain of events as improbable as they are inspiring. The hard-chined hull form was the creation of local designer Charlie Hunt and a 28-year-old sailmaker named Charley Morgan. Evolving during midnight "tank tests" of small scale models on nearby Lake Wales, the hull cut through the water with little effort. But with its boxy cabin top and hard chine, the boat was hardly a work of art. In the rush to make the start of the 1957 St. Petersburg, Fla. to Havana Race, the masts, sails, and keel were scavenged from other boats. The race committee initially snubbed Brisote, contending it wasn’t fit for a sailing race to Havana because it lacked an engine. The absurdity of banning a sailboat for being a sailboat prompted a few choice words from Morgan and the committee promptly retreated. The boat, true to its name, breezed to first in its class.   More...