Mailport February 2019 Issue

Mailport: Dustless Sanding

Regarding your recent Waypoints article about making your own dustless sander (see “Dustless Sander, PS April 2016 online) I added a Dust Deputy (~$50 Ace Hardware) upstream of my shop vac around 3 or 4 years ago. I plug in to table saw, router table, sanders or use for clean up as needed. I have emptied the 5-gallon bucket at least ten to twenty times by now with no accumulation in the shop vac and only a very fine residue on the filter with no loss in suction. These things work so well that I see no reason to lug a big shop vac around. I wish the vortex was integrated into the shop vac itself or the shop vac pump could be purchased as a more compact unit.

Bob Rohwer

Voyager, Valiant 42

Annapolis, MD

Drew Frye's do-it-yourself dust bucket collects dust between the sander and shop vac for easy disposal. Readers recommended the Dust Deputy as another option.


Yves Lemoine is exploring air conditioning options for Rochana his Hunter 37

Air conditioning at anchor

In your report on air conditioning for sailboats, I didn’t notice any reference to power requirements beyond amperage. I’m assuming the portable units are AC only. Can the permanent installed units be powered by DC, and if yes, what considerations are required to be factored into the install to make running air conditioning when disconnected from shore power? Is an inverter the only option for this or are there systems that can be switched ­between AC or DC depending on what’s available like my NovaKool fridge does, automatically switching to AC power when it senses voltage on that circuit. At 7 amps continuous 168 amp-hours of battery capacity would be required per day. That’s about the full capacity of my two 4D lead acid batteries combined taken down to 50 percent, so this would definitely require a significant source of either wind, solar, generator or other source for extended use. What are readers/sailors practical experience with AC under sail or at anchor?

Yves Lemoine

Rochana ,

Marlow-Hunter 37

Toronto Lake, Ontario

PS reader Gary Gerber modified the chain locker on his 1970 Morgan 33 to accommodate a portable 5000 BTU window air conditioner.

Yes, AC off the grid is possible—in a limited way. But as you point out, you need an ample battery bank and charging system to keep up with the demands. We look at a couple of options in an upcoming issue of ­Practical Sailor.


Winterizing fuel tanks

Regarding your recent article on winterizing: A “full” tank with cold fuel left in storage for the winter is not correct since the fuel will expand on hot days in the spring. Given the coefficient for thermal expansion of diesel fuel (0.00046 per degree F), an 80 F increase in temperature would add more than 9/10 gallon of fuel to a 25 gallon tank. Gasoline will expand slightly more than this. Translucent tanks make it easier to see the level and there is much to be said for the old-school dipstick method and a straight vertical fill hose down to the tank. Typical fuel gauge devices lack the precision needed for filling to optimum level so one should opt for less fuel if in doubt.

Darrell Street

Intermezzo , Cal 29

Scituate, MA

We should have clarified that we meant the “safe fill level,” which allows for ­expansion. This is the working definition of full, since a fuel tank should never be filled above the safe fill level, which is commonly defined as 96 percent for fixed tanks and not more than 90 percent for portable tanks. In fact, we have witnessed tanks overflowing because they were overfilled and temperatures rose. It’s a mess, an environmental problem, and a fire hazard. To be safe, a fuel tank should not be filled beyond about 90 percent full, and never filled beyond 96 percent full.


Dutchman Boom Brake

I am using Dutchman boom brake for few years. Beside firmly holding the boom in any position you would like without any additional lines, bungee cords, braces, etc, it helps prevent any accidental jibes. Since I installed the Dutchman boom brake, my wife was able to steer the boat wing and wing downwind without being scared of accidental jibes. So I would strongly recommend to use this boom brake. Clearly, it has many benefits.

Greg Davydov

via PS Online


Prop Paints Vs. Barnacles

Responding your recent request for propeller paint experiences, my sailboat lives in the Southern Chesapeake Bay. After trying a number of prop treatments, I’ve settled on Rustoleum Zinc-rich cold galvanizing spray paint, 2-3 coats on a clean prop. Not perfect, but will protect through a complete season with minimal barnacle growth (no soft growth). Desitin sort of worked, but quickly wore off the leading edges, which rapidly grew a line of barnacles, fouling the prop. A large tube costs as much as a can of the Rustoleum (about $12). My sailing buddies using yard-applied Prop-Speed and other fancy coatings all had more fouling than I did, at far greater expense.

Roland Anderson

Chesapeake Bay, via PS Online


Susan Hadlock’s Havanese Tagus strikes a pose aboard their 28-foot Crowley Beal.

Havanese for boat dog

You recently asked for advice on acceptable boat dogs, I have a Portuguese Water Dog and a Havanese. Both are amazing and wonderful boat companions who live with me on my 28-foot boat during the summer. My Porty (60 pounds) loves being on the water and in the water, is very athletic and enthusiastic, and loves being on the boat. I thought he was the ideal boat dog until I got the Havanese. The Havanese looks like a mini black Portuguese. At 15 pounds, it is easy to lift out of the boat and jumps readily into the inflatable. It uses the “astroturf patch” while the Porty refuses and both dogs don’t shed. The Havanese swims but prefers wading so I don’t have to worry about him leaping from the dinghy to swim alongside. The Havanese is very “chill” on the boat.

Susan Hadlock

Crowley Beal 8, Tangent,

South Freeport, ME


Meet Sparkles

I sail with a Rat Terrier and she is simply the best IMHO. Rat Terriers have a sailing heritage that goes back to the 16th Century (cats were fair mousers but messier and sailors thought they were bad luck). It is said that the skeletal remains of a rat terrier was found on the HMS Mary Rose. My “Sparkles” has been sailing with me for four years now with no complaints from her or any crew!

Gerard Hanson


(Sail Away) O’Day 28,

Lake Lanier, GA


Rebedding Hull deck joint

I just recently bought a 1978 San Juan 28. After some other repairs—new depth sounder/knot meter, glassing a redundant through hull—I got her back in the water. On a shake down sail while reaching on a port tack (toe rail in the water) I detected a leak at what I believe to be the deck-to-hull seam as water was streaming down the ceiling. My questions are: What am I looking at for this repair? How involved is it—how many hours of work am I looking at? Do I “only” have to remove the toe rail and rebed underneath it, or do I have to pull the deck off and reseal that as well. I would certainly welcome any feedback I could get from anyone who has taken on this “project.”

Barry Antler

San Juan 28

via PS Online

How far you have to disassemble depends on the scope of a leak, but it is generally a big project. We’ll discuss a variety possible solutions in an upcoming issue, and we’d be interested in hearing other people’s take on this project. Email us at


Age Correction

Technical Editor Drew Frye made many excellent points on avoiding the “marine-grade” trap. However I believe, the oldest issue of “The Practical Sailor” in my basement dates from January 1978, making the “30 years” cited in Drew’s first paragraph in error by a wee bit.

Armond Perretta

Kerry Deare of Barnegat,

Cape Dory 28, Lake Lanier, GA

A true fan! Officially, we count this as our 45th volume year. How quickly the years go by.

Comments (1)

Re. Boom brakes, PS is still experimenting with them. We too have found the best use is as a light duty, releasable jibe preventer. We've not found them very useful for actually jibing--we would rather control the boom by controlling the sheet--but as a shorthanded preventer, they have merit. It's not exactly the same thing, but it may work for some folks.

Wing-and-wing is a particularly good application, for example, jibing down a winding channel. It's not worth attaching a conventional preventer since you are often only on a given tack for minutes, but something is needed. All it takes to rig it as a preventer is to snug it down tight after the jibe.

Posted by: Drew Frye | February 2, 2019 3:11 PM    Report this comment

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