June 2018

Air Conditioning for Sailboats

To prevent any air leaks, Armaflex insulation tape was used to seal duct transitions.

Subscribers Only — One of the great joys of sailing is the state of near nakedness (literal and figurative) to the wind, air, and sea—and the wisdom that comes with it. From that perspective, climate control seems antithetical to the sailor’s art. But being Practical Sailor (not Philosophical Sailor) we recognize that even the hardiest round-the-world racers seek temporary refuge dampness, cold, and heat. And for one looking to make the transition from the landlubber’s life in temperate climates to full-time cruiser in the tropics, the idea of air-conditioning—despite its huge power demands—is alluring.   More...

Sailboat Test: Bruce King Ericson 34

The Ericson 34 shows a springy sheerline and even proportions throughout. Note the signature Ericson mirror-image portlights.

Subscribers Only — To begin with, let’s make clear which Ericson 34 we’re reviewing about here because Ericson Yachts has a handful of boats in the 35-foot range. Back in 1967, the first Ericson 35 was a typical Cruising Club of America cruising boat, with a long keel and attached rudder. In 1978, an IOR-inspired Ericson 34 was introduced along with the 34T (same hull with a different deck). The boat we are describing here was built by Ericson and then by Pacific Seacraft, post 1991, where it evolved into the new Ericson 35.   More...

Deck Leaks, Mast Step Are Top Concerns

The Ericson 34’s fiberglass-bonded hull-to-deck joint is one less thing to worry about as the boat ages, or when the boat is heeled sharply and the rail is buried.

Subscribers Only — The Ericson 34-2 hull hand-laminated monocoque structure made from a single mold.   More...

Chest High Jacklines

Chest high lifelines have the advantage that the jackline (also called a jackstay) is out of the way, yet still easy to clip into.

Jacklines (also called jackstays) are rigged along the deck on either side or down the centerline. This is where you are supposed to clip your safety tether.   More...

The Pros and Cons of Chest-high Jacklines

World sailing offers fairly explicit expectations regarding jackstays. And PS offer its own additional advice, including one that recommends jacklines ideally be installed so that a sailor who is clipped in can’t go over the side (see “Jackline Installation Advice,” November 2015). This is not always possible, especially on monohulls. In most cases, he chest-high lifeline on Mahina Tiare will keep above water the head of the person who is overboard.   More...

Simple Sail Repair

Relatively cheap, polyurethane adhesive is a good stop-gap solution, but sailmakers don’t like the extra clean-up. So if you are planning to later have a sailmaker stitch a more permanent repair, a sail tape is probably a better option.

Often an old sail won’t hold stitches, and some sailors hate to sew. A number of products proved strong enough and flexible enough to make serviceable repairs. In “Stitch-free Sail Repair,” (see November 2017) we reviewed repair tapes, epoxy, polyurethane, and a few other common adhesives for usefulness as no-sewing options for sail repair, and in September 2017 we reviewed options for Sunbrella repair. After two years in the Maryland sun, the rankings have changed…   More...

Make a Mini Dodger

Even from up close, the DIY dodger could be mistaken for an expensive modification.

Subscribers Only — A companionway slider and hatch boards are the most common type of cabin entry on sailboats. It’s seaworthy, lightweight, and inexpensive. Unfortunately, you can’t leave the hatch open when it’s raining without getting water below. Swapping the hatch boards for a hinged door is a popular upgrade, but in many boats there simply isn’t space for an opened door.   More...

Reliable Chain Connections

Chain connectors, by row from top: claw hook with chain and omega link, C-link, various hammerlocks, Crosby screw-pin shackle, Omega links.

We often get asked about joining two shots of chain together without compromising strength. You have a number of options—including some that are just plain bad. The important thing is to make sure the connector is of the highest quality and that it matches or exceeds the strength of your existing chain.   More...

Mailport: Aligning Alternator?

I read your recent Inside PS blog on alternator care, “Ten Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Alternator.” This article was extremely helpful and much appreciated. I was hoping someone would be kind enough to explain the best method to align the alternator pulley with the other engine pulleys. I have not been able to locate anything written about how this would be achieved. If it makes a difference, I have a Yanmar 4JH5E with a stock alternator. Let me explain further that my question is how to make an alignment adjustment. I understand the idea of using a straight-edge across the face of the pulleys to check alignment, but if I discover mis-alignment, how do I correct it. Perhaps this is dead simple, but in just looking at the owner’s manual and searching the internet, I haven’t come across an explanation of how to do this. My next move is to just grab some wrenches and see if I can figure it out, but thought I might ask first.   More...

Safety Gear Recalls

As you gear up for another summer of sailing, it is also a good time to double check that none of your essential safety equipment is subject to a recall. Two helpful websites track recalls that can impact sailors. the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) focuses primarily on mainstream consumer goods like the Kidde fire-extinguisher (see below). There is also a U.S. Coast Guard site (www.uscgboating.org/content/recalls.php). Here are a couple recalls you should be aware of.   More...

Sailing in Gusty Winds

The Chicago skyline make for fun, gusty sailing. A favorite landmark is the MV Abegweit, the 372-foot long icebreaker that is home to the Columbia Yacht Club.

One of my biggest mistakes in life was waiting so long to sail the Great Lakes.   More...