Mailport: 06/08


Teak oil for Cap Rail?

I have been following your articles on teak maintenance with great interest. I have an Oyster 56 with teak decks and teak toerail. I live in South Florida, and this is my second Oyster. I damaged my first teak deck as well as the metal fittings around it with too much love. With this deck, I have been very careful and only lightly wash.

The deck is OK, but I have a toerail that overhangs the sides. I was reluctant to varnish it as it often gets scratched, but it is beginning to look bad. After reading your April 2008 article, Im thinking that applying one of the teak oils may be a solution.

Did any of those you tested seem suitable for touch-ups when scratched or nicked? Was there one that could be easily wiped off gelcoat without staining it?

Jim Mayes,
Amayesing, Oyster 56,
Coral Gables, Fla.

You should do well with one of our recommended “synthetic” coatings featured in the August 2007 article such as Cetol Natural or one of the oils featured in the April article such as Semco. To be safe, all of the teak products we have reviewed should be removed immediately, if they get on gelcoat. Once some of them dry, you may have to use a solvent or heavy-duty cleaner to remove the resulting stain.

In addition to the wood coatings panel tests, we are conducting some field tests on three different boats. Reports from those boats point to Semco, TeaQua, and Cetol Natural (without gloss) as possible choices for your project. The Semco is probably the easiest to apply of the bunch, and you are less likely to have any issues with touch-ups not matching the existing coat. TeaQua cleans up with a wet rag and soap while wet; Semco will “wipe right off;” for Cetol, youll want mineral spirits.

Teak Cleaner

Im in the oil-for-teak crowd, so every year, I clean it off and add a coat or two.

Cetol Natural


Long ago, I learned that by oiling teak until it will accept no more oil makes it last the longest. I apply about nine coats-of course, they go on pretty fast in warm weather.

While cleaning the teak last year, I noticed a few really stubborn areas I could not get clean using any of the teak cleaners.

A friend turned me on to Greased Lightning (, available at most Ace Hardware stores) for cleaning stubborn stains. It not only cleaned the areas I was having trouble with but also cleaned some I had long before given up on ever getting clean. A soft nylon brush makes it faster yet.

There was one drawback with Grease Lightning: It does and will remove any wax on fiberglass.

Ken Palmer,
Last Penny, Catalina 22

According to the MSDS sheet on Greased Lightning, it contains two ingredients found in some of our other teak cleaners: 2-Butoxythanol and sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. Dissolved in water, this high-alkaline solution can harm or

Cetol Natural


remove some wax coatings.

Hookless Snubbers

This is responding, in a long-delayed fashion, to your June 2007 Chandlery article “Quickline Takes a Load Off,” which described a new chain hook attached to a snubber. I would argue for the use of a rolling hitch with an extra turn instead of any metal chain hook for this purpose.

A rolling hitch with an extra turn, worked up tight before deployment is always easy to untie. More importantly, in rising wind conditions, the last thing you want to do is shorten scope by using the windlass to bring the snubber connection back onto the boat. That puts all the strain on the windlass and could damage it or get the chain jumping in the gypsy. It is much safer and easier to just veer more rode by casting off the snubber and grabbing another line (a dock line) for a replacement.

This, you cannot do with any of the metal attachments as they will fall off and be lost (unless moused, something unlikely to be done in everyday anchoring). With the snubber on with a rolling hitch, it will stay attached to the chain to be retrieved when things calm down.

For my 32,000-pound live-aboard cruiser, I have used a 3/8-inch or 7/16-inch by 25-foot-long snubber for years, and I love the elasticity that allows the anchor system to absorb gusts in excess of 60 knots without yanking the anchor out. The only worry with the smaller diameter line is not strength but increased vulnerability to chafe. That is generally an issue with the boats leads, not the snubber. On Alchemy, I have never needed chafe protection on my small snubbers in everyday

The Camel Hitch


anchoring, and they last four years or so.

Richard Stevenson,
Alchemy, Valiant 42,
Larchmount, N.Y.

A few months before the Quickline report, contributor Joe Minick praised the knot you describe in his article “Tools of the Trade,” (May 2007). The camel hitch (No. 215 in “Ashley Book of Knots”) is indeed a proven knot for rope-to-chain snubbing, and you are correct to say that shortening rode is not something you want to be doing in a blow. According to Ashley, the camel hitch was used to secure camels to a picket line (the camel-hitching type, not the labor-strike type). It was designed to be an easy knot that is easy to untie and would not slide, even when covered with camel spit.

Mainsail Handling

Regarding your recent discussion of mainsail-handling systems
Practical Sailor February 2008): I modified the design of my Outbound 44-turning it into the first Outbound 46-with the corroboration of the designer, Carl Schumacher, just prior to his untimely passing in 2002.

The rig enhancements included a carbon mast and custom boom built by Hi-Tech composites, the then-builder of the Farr 40 rigs. I had seen “standoff ears” attached to the booms of many single-handed ocean racers and asked them to fabricate a set for the aluminum boom. The systems advantage is in its simplicity and the wide shelf (approximately 2 feet) that captures the 582-square-foot fully-battened main. The wide base means that I rarely catch a batten when hoisting and that the sail folds neatly without the “stacking” that occurs with standard lazy jacks. They capture the first and second reef quite nicely. In addition, the lazy jacks need no adjustment to avoid chafing; no slackening once underway, or tightening when flaked.

My wife and I sail shorthanded and have cruised for the last five years “minus-handed” with our two boys who are now 8 and 3. These appendages on the boom have been “family-savers” on more than one occasion.

I am certain that most existing booms could accommodate a similarly designed and fabricated set of stand-offs. I recommend them as a simple, relatively inexpensive enhancement to a standard lazy-jack system.

Walter Kress,
Outbound 44

Boom standoffs do lessen the lazy-jack batten-snag tendency when setting sail and even help in the flaking process. However, their big downside lies in changing the boom from a potential club to a veritable pickax. While the standoffs are an effective solution for some boats, adding these protrusions ups the potential for a lethal head injury during a jibe, in our opinion. Flat-top Park Avenue carbon booms accomplish similar results without protrusions, but they are costly carbon works of art.


Your recent article “Taming the Main” (February 2008) was well done and timely as I am contemplating installing some system to assist in sail handling. Singlehanding a

Cruising 30-Footers


450-square-foot main on a center-cockpit boat seems harder than it was on the aft-cockpit design of my last boat-or it could be that a number of years have slid by since those days.

Either way, I have looked at the options you presented, and in the process, came across another design that I am leaning toward: Jiffyjax (, and you might consider looking at this system in any future studies.

John Shugar,
Windswept, 1981 CT 47,
St. Marks, Fla.

An update is due. Weve ordered our own set of Jiffyjax and plan to install them soon on a Practical Sailor test boat.

Rawson 30

I read a comment in the April 2008 Mailport from a Morgan owner about including the Morgan 30 in your future article on older 30-footers.

I hope you will also not forget the Rawson 30, the most rugged, world-cruising full-keeled boat ever built. There were many rigs, and the boat came with a standard cabin or pilothouse, factory finished and raw, built from 1959 to 1986 in Redmond, Wash. Rawson also built workboats and deluxe trawlers.

Tom Winn,
S/V Raven, Rawson PH No. 18,

Plumbing Options

Regarding the letter on hose for potable water in the April 2008 issue. Linear polyethylene (PE) tubing from a variety of manufacturers (SeaTech is one) has been serving the boating and boat repair/building community very well for several years, and because its opaque, it inhibits algae growth. Opaque PVC pipe would also work, however, its not easy to work with.

Also, the FDA rating is out, and NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) is in. Any material-hose, pipe, plumbing fixtures, etc.-designated NSF-61 is safe for use with potable water.

Steve DAntonio,
Steve DAntonio Marine Consulting,
Wake, Va.

Well be looking into rigid tubing, including quick-fit systems like Sea-
Techs in a future issue. While opaque hose indeed may delay the onset of an algae bloom in controlled conditions, weve yet to meet a plumbing hose-clear or opaque-that can keep a menagerie of creatures from flourishing in our water tanks.

Le Corbusier

I am very proud of my 1994 Berret/Starck-designed Beneteau First 35s7, and took

Bottomkote Aqua


pleasure in Practical Sailors reference to it in the article on the new Beneteau (“Beneteau 46,” Practical Sailor April 2008). Its contemporary design still turns heads after almost 15 years.

When referring to Philippe Starck, you mentioned his being compared to a designer named “Courboisier.” There could well have been a designer named Courboisier, too, but Im assuming you meant the revolutionary architect and advocate of Modernism known as “Le Corbusier.” Born in Switzerland, his real name was Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris. However, most people in the art and design fields think of him as French-he became a French citizen in his 30s-and know him only as Le Corbusier. Always, the article “Le” is used when referring to him.

For Le Corbusier to be mentioned in a publication dealing primarily with sailing is a real shocker. His considerable fame rests in the importance and influence his work had on the design arts, and through the work of the architects and designers, such as Philippe Starck, who came after him and learned from him and his theories.

Gil Carner,
Beneteau First 35s7,
Mobile, Ala.

Anti Fouling Coats?

I applied Interlux Fiberglass Bottomkote Aqua to my boat, and after a very slight sanding, I noticed that it was quite thin. How many coats of the Aqua did you put on for the March 2008 issue tests? I was going to put on two coats but now am considering four to get a thick coating.

Ward Anderson,
Skylark, Uniesse 44,
Annapolis, Md.

For testing purposes-both in the panel tests and test boat applications-we always follow manufacturers directions for application. Typically, antifouling makers recommend two coats for hard paints, with a third along the waterline. We applied two coats of

Fiberglass Bottomkote Aqua to our panels.

The paint is a hard acrylic latex coating. Like most latex paints, it is fairly low on solids and the recommended wet-film thickness is 5.3 mils per coat. This translates to approximately 300 square feet per gallon. So a 30-foot boat should use just under 1 gallon per coat.

Here is a general rule of thumb: For hard antifoulings (i.e. modified epoxies), use two to three coats; apply more if you are going to be scrubbing it often. (Applying more than three coats is a losing proposition with a hard antifouling because you will never get the biocide out of the first coat unless you scrub off the second and third coats.)

For ablative/copolymer coatings, apply a minimum of two to three coats or two full coats plus an extra coat along the waterline. For added longevity, more coats can be applied, but anything over five coats is overkill. Remember that aggressive scrubbing of ablative or copolymer coatings will shorten their lifespans.

Hella Fan

Hella Turbo


We cruised for two years on board Indara, our Norseman 447. We used five Hella Turbo fans during that time, and each fan eventually developed a “rattle” while running. Curiosity finally got the better of me, so I removed the fan blade from one fan and noted that the blade hub was cracked. A brass insert is used to tighten the fan blade to the motor and the hub appeared to be just too thin to accommodate that load. I examined the other four fan blades and noted the same defect.

I sent Hella a note, along with photographs of these defects. Their rep said he had not seen this before and that there was nothing the company would do about it.

Kindly, the local West Marine store replaced all the fans, even though the problem was one of design and certainly not West Marines problem.

Eric Stephan,
Indara, Norseman 447,
Gig Harbor, Wash.

The Hella fans we tested (Practical Sailor April 2008) have held up very well so far, and we have not experienced the problems you describe. (It also was the clear winner in our previous longterm test, “Cabin Fan Destruction Test,” Nov. 1, 2000.)

When we contacted Hella regarding your query, we received the following reply from Marine and Recreation Division Manager Phil Haynie, who was surprised at the initial response you received: “The cracked fan blades resulted from a dropped shipping container at the port of entry that contained 8,000 Hella fans that were shipping to us from our factory. Long story short, we inspected each fan that shipped on this container and initially discovered very few fans that indicated damage. Little did we know that approximately 1,000 of the fans had hidden damage that did not manifest until months later. (Keep in mind that this happened over three years ago.)” To report similar problems with a Hella fan, email, or visit


The price listed in our review of the Weta multihull in the May issue was incorrect. The correct retail price for the Weta is $11,000.

Incorrect contact information was given in the April issue for the Steer-iT tiller tool. You can reach CHPT Manufacturing at 302/856-7660 or

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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