Mailport September 2011 Issue

Mailport: September 2011

Chafe Gear For Moorings

In field tests, the original Crocs (above) provided excellent grip for certain tasks, but they turned us into klutzes when we were rushing around deck during a race.

Since boat shoes have come up recently (PS Mailport, August 2011), I thought I’d add my 2 cents. The best “sailing” shoes I’ve ever had are for people who work in restaurant kitchens, where the floors are usually tile and often are slippery with grease and water. A friend sent me a pair of sneaks from Shoes for Crews (, which supplies shoes to many big restaurants. With these shoes, I feel like Spiderman. The company offers over 50 styles—from Mary Janes to combat boots. The prices are low compared to “boat shoes,” and they have a 60-day “wear and compare” policy.

The newer ‘Marion Batali’ Croc (above) comes reader-recommended, so we’ll be sure to test it out in our next look at boat shoes.

I also recently purchased a pair of Crocs “Mario Batali” chef’s shoes with a similar sole, and the grip is phenomenal. I think PS needs to test these.

Ken Jacks
Edgewater, Md.

We had not heard of the Shoes for Crews line, but like you, we have found the grip on Crocs to be excellent for some boat applications. The downside to the original Crocs design, which we’ve only tested in the field, however, is that they are large and more cumbersome than athletic-style shoes. The large, rounded toebox had a tendency to cause us to stumble on deck. We’re curious to see how the Shoes for Crews line and newer Crocs fare compared to the “boat” shoes we’ve tested before, so we’ll get our hands on some and let you know what we find out.

Washing Dock Lines

Your article on rope-cleaning (July 2011) was spot on and welcome as I just started cleaning the lines on my boat—except for one thing: the use of pillowcases to contain the lines in a washing machine. No, no, no! The green stuff can’t get out! I use mesh laundry bags (sock bags are great for shorter lines) secured by the giant “safety pin” made for laundry bags.

Stan Stumbo
Chariot, Gulf 32 pilothouse sloop
Bainbridge Island, Wash.

We found that if the line is thick with growth from hanging in the water, the pillowcase does hold in the dirt, but this was not a problem if the line was only soiled with deck grime. A mesh laundry bag would be an improvement, but we would still try to pre-soak and physically clean an algae-encrusted line before putting it in our washer. Its a lot easier to wash a rope twice than to deal with a broken washer. Safety pin closures should work, too. We liked the cable ties as they were 100-percent effective, cheap, and made for minimal banging.

Nonskid Suggestion


I note that you are working on an evaluation of deck nonskid products. I hope that you are including KiwiGrip ( I applied it to the deck and the cabintop of my 1985 Herreshoff Cat Ketch 31 last year and have found it to be a most satisfactory product: easy to apply, excellent nonskid qualities, very durable (thus far), easy to clean, and easy on the (bare) knees.

Ralph Maust
Herreshoff Cat Ketch 31
Via email

Thanks, Ralph. KiwiGrip is among the test products we’re including in the upcoming evaluation.

Anti-chafe by Design

Your chafe gear article (July 2011) reminded me of something I noticed at a boat show years ago. On some boats, there were massive cleats and impressive fairleads built into the coamings, along with the appropriately impressive chafing gear. I also happened to notice the Hunter sailboats, and what caught my eye was that they had the bow and stern cleats mounted on surfaces that tilted outward. One boat had the stern lines crossed and tied off to the dock, and the lines didn’t touch the hull or railings anywhere! It was the same with the bow lines! Hunter had designed out chafe!

Gary H. Lucas
Via email

Chafe Gear For Moorings

The ChafePro 08-HB-02 was designed for use on 1- to 2-inch lines; however, it offered good protection for our 3/4-inch test docklines. It also could be rolled into a smaller diameter than some chafe guards we tested that were designed for smaller lines.

For the mooring for my 40-foot schooner in Nova Scotia, I use 1¼-inch three-strand nylon (scope of 2) from the ¾-inch chain that mostly stays on the bottom to the buoy. I use the same line for two painters to the vessel. I cover the underwater portions of the nylon with 1½-inch pool discharge hose (blue flat stuff) to keep marine life from growing in the line. “Ocean Navigator” has an article in the July-August issue on latex-, neoprene-, and urethane-infused/covered line, which to me is the best solution for all parts of moorings exposed to water.

I have used the same pool discharge hose as anti-chafe, but it does not stand up to movement. I recently split 1½-inch red rubber hose and attached it with duct tape where the painters encounter whisker and bobstays. So far, so good. When splitting the hose, a 10-inch scalloped bread knife is the best tool for the job.

Gerardus Olsthoorn
Via email

Good ‘Getters’

In the July 2011 Mailport, a reader suggested using a laparoscope to clean boat drains. Excellent idea, but if you don’t have a surgeon friend, you can get alligator forceps from eBay ( to do the job. One seller offers a 14-inch and a 6-inch alligator forceps for $19.99, with free shipping. You will be surprised at how handy these things are.

Dwain Lovett
Montserrat, BWI

Photo by Ralph Naranjo and courtesy of Patrick Shannon

Reader Patrick Shannon uses this “getter” to get into hard-to-reach places on board his Catalina 30.

I noticed the suggestion of using a laparoscope for accessing hard-to-reach places (Mailport July 2011). An alternative to this is the “getter” that I use, which I got at Home Depot. I have found it indispensable both at home and on boats for reaching into difficult places and recovering bolts, screws, etc. from places too difficult to reach any other way.

It consists of a 3/16-inch diameter, 20-inch long steel “snake” with a spring-loaded handle at one end and a small flexible, retractable steel core ending in four hooks at the business end. The spring-loaded core keeps the claw normally retracted. Pressing the button on the handle extends the hooks into an open position. It goes almost anywhere and grabs just about anything.

Patrick Shannon, Ph.D.
Free Spirit, Catalina 30
Pensacola, Fla.

Fiorentino Responds

In response to your July 2011 test of chafe guards for dock lines: Your readers need to know that the pro choice guard (08-HB-02) tested in the “Anti-chafe Solutions for Lines” comparison in the July issue may not be right for their boats. According to the manufacturer, this commercial guard fits 1- to 2-inch dock lines, instead of the more common 5/8-inch lines found at most marinas. The company has a Barracuda guard for smaller dock lines.

Also, Practical Sailor singled out Fiorentino in the July article, saying our product might have mold issues. The polyethylene fibers we—and most other manufacturers—use can’t mold. Water can be trapped between any guard and dock line and possibly permit mold to grow on the surface cover of the guard, but a simple freshwater rinse cures that issue.

More importantly, all the guards mentioned in the July article, in our opinion, are too short for storm use. We feel chafe protection in storms should be at least 36 inches long (3 feet), which is why Fiorentino provides longer RodeRaps that are built out of the same materials as their LineRaps you tested.

Zack Smith, Fiorentino Para Anchor
Newport Beach, Calif.

Fjord Inc.’s recommended line size for its Chafe-Pro 08-HB-02 (, which was the PS Best Choice product in the July 2011 report, is 1 to 2 inches. The Value Guide accompanying the evaluation in the July 2011 print edition included incorrect information (see “Correction,” page 7); the online version has been updated with the correct data. While the Chafe-Pro 08-HB-02 was made for larger dock lines, our testing showed that ¾-inch nylon line could be well protected when tightly rolled up in the 08-HB-02. Putting the same cordage through guards that used a tie-on attachment point rather than ChafePro’s hook-and-loop method resulted in a much less secure fit.

Fjord markets several “yacht-grade” chafe guards, including the Barracuda, that are actually designed for smaller dock lines. We plan to test these for an upcoming issue.

In regard to the mold issue: Since mold grows in moist environments, it’s always a good idea to dry any chafe gear after freshwater rinsing. PS has not found rinsing alone to be an adequate preventative for mold.

We agree that some of the guards tested in the July issue were shorter than what we’d recommend for storm use; we prefer guards of at least 24 inches. However, most makers offer chafe gear in a range of lengths, so consumers should find one that matches their needs.


The Value Guide that appeared with the July 2011 report on chafe gear (page 10) incorrectly listed the price and recommended line size of the Fjord Chafe-Pro (model 08-HB-02) that was tested. The correct price for this commercial-grade gear is $50 per guard; the maker recommends it for use with 1- to 2-inch docklines. Fjord also offers a less expensive “yacht-grade” line of chafe gear for lines 3/8 inches to 1.5 inches. PS will report on these in a future article.

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