November 2018

Sailing Clothes for Cold Weather

Zippered outer layers allow you to remain comfortable under shelter, but ready to go on deck at a moments notice.

Subscribers Only — Whether you want to cruise the higher latitudes or extend your sailing season this winter, you’ll need to think about clothing. Over the years, Practical Sailor has published a number of tests and reports on garments that we can count on to keep us warm when the wind chill dips toward freezing. In this report, we’ll take a broader look at the essentials, focusing on the first principles; under layers, accessories, how to wear them, and what materials stay dry.   More...

Tips to Protect Cold-weather Sailing Gear

Protect zippers for storage. See PS Mailport December 2013 for more tips.

Subscribers Only — We’ve ruined as much gear through improper and inadequate care as we have through use. Proper care isn’t about appearance, it’s about function.   More...

Mailport: Low Budget Navigation

Touchscreen tablets can become hard to manipulate in rough weather, and the screen glare is a problem, but when loaded with charts and navigation apps, they offer a lot of bang for the buck.

Regarding the article on recycling gear for cruising in the September 2018 issue, I found that an old Windows laptop, with an external GPS puck and running OziExplorer, makes a fabulous chartplotter. The software is just a hair over $100 and is capable of using NOAA charts, USGS topo maps, aerial photographs, and any other map that can be put in registration, using only latitude and longitude of a couple of points on the map.   More...

Long-term Clear Vinyl Protection

Regular protection will prevent dirt buildup and sheet water away. Our five-year-test did not offer a sure indication of UV protection, since none of the panels showed significant UV deterioration.

Subscribers Only — When the clear vinyl on one of our multihull test boats began to crack and fade after approximately 10 years, the costs estimates for window replacement began at around $1,500. Thus began our investigation into ways to prolong the life of clear plastics. In previous issues we’ve reported findings at the six-month and two-year marks. Here, we present a last look at products and best practices to preserve clear plastics, and the five-year performance of four popular types of clear plastic in the marine environment.   More...

Making Sail Repairs Last

Before making any repairs with glue or tape, the surface around the repaired area needs to be cleaned with a solvent. We used xylene to prepare the areas we fixed.

Polyester has long been the workhorse sail fabric; durable, easy to sew and handle, and relatively stretch resistant. It is also relatively easier to repair (see “Sail Repair Tapes vs. Glues,” PS November 2017). Racers needed something that was lighter and held an aerodynamic shape better, and so laminate sails were born, using Mylar films and non-stretch fibers such as carbon and Kevlar.   More...

The Cruising Sailor’s Sail Repair Toolkit

A cruiser’s sail repair kit will include a combination of tapes (left) and glues (right), as well as the tools required to make the repairs.

If you’re going to sail you’ll be doing some stitching. No two ways about it. Don’t jump into the $100 do-everything kit. Start with a modest kit, adding tools and materials only as your skills grow and projects require them.   More...

Dyneema Abrasion Test

HMPE rope was unimpressive during side-to-side chafe testing against cinder block.

Subscribers Only — As outlined in our previous report on lifelines, high modulus polyethylene (HMPE) fiber rope has revolutionized sailboat rigging during the past decade (see “Fiber lifeline Protection Plan,” PS September 2015 online), however sailors aren’t the only ones benefitting from the introduction of this super-strong, low-stretch cordage. Virtually any application that once employed a stranded wire-rope—ranging from tow cables to hoists—is now also served by HMPE. The widespread availability of generic brands of this super-strong, low-stretch cordage made us curious. How do these non-marine brand products compare to known marine brands? And what types are best suited for the various sailboat applications?   More...

Combatting Weevils

Freezing temperatures knocked the weevils out cold—so to speak.

Most rice and grain sold in western countries is fumigated, generally with phosphine. However, this often kills only the live insects, leaving the eggs able to germinate. Surely there are other ways available to the cruisers to extend the life of rice and grains.   More...

Fixing the Storm-Damaged Boat

Unless you’re a carpenter, mechanic, and fiberglass repair expert, this storm damaged Morgan 41 Out Island would be a challenging project. Several nearly cruise-ready Out Island’s are on the market that might be a more cost-effective option to this salvage job.

With $655 million dollars marine vessel insurance claims from the 2017 hurricanes Harvey and Irma, there is no shortage of broken boats accumulating in salvage yards. The nation’s three big damaged boat liquidators — Certified Sales, Cooper Capital and U.S. Auctions are gradually thinning out their listings from Irma and Harvey, but Florence will surely bring a new crop. But just how “salvageable” are these boats?   More...