July 2015 | Features

Winter Maintenance

For many of us, the falling of leaves marks the end of the sailing season. The boat is winterized for the season and our minds shift gears, away from sailing. As the new year comes, we catalog the winter projects we had intended to tackle. Bottom paint, of course. Fresh varnish may be needed inside and out. Deck fittings need re-bedding.   More...

Liveaboard Sailor’s Laundry Hacks

At home, laundry is about removing grease, grass, and coffee stains without damaging the fabric of the clothing. Energy and water efficiency only matter in a secondary sense. Rinse water is plentiful, and the only water quality consideration is that it is sufficiently soft to avoid interference with the detergent and calcium build-up in the clothes.   More...

A Plunge into Off-grid Solutions Old and New

What did we think of the mop bucket and spinner as a laundry machine? It made it neat and easy to launder single items in a repeatable way for testing. In fact, it was a good deal easier on the hands than wringing. However, you can only spin one item at a time, and as a result it was no faster or drier.   More...

Lessons from a Death at Sea

Subscribers Only — On November 18, 2017, Simon Speirs was washed off the bow of Clipper 70 CV30 during a southern ocean leg of the Clipper Around the World Race. He was attached to the boat with a 2-meter tether, which initially held him but failed within a few minutes. He was recovered 32 minutes later, but he could not be resuscitated.   More...

Tragic Accident Highlights Safety Gear Shortcomings

Subscribers Only — The United Kingdom’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s report on the death of Simon Speirs highlighted several factors that contributed to Speirs’ death, as well as the many elements required of successful MOB rescue. The full report, documenting in great detail the events leading up to Speirs going overboard, and the eventual recovery of his body should be required reading for any offshore sailor. You can find it online at: https://bit.ly/36lzh8H   More...

Clipper Ventures Cites Inaccuracies in Report

Subscribers Only — The following is an excerpt from the statement that Clipper Ventures released in response to UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s report on the death of sailor Simon Speirs. The full response can be found online at: https://bit.ly/36cpUb3   More...

Are Copper, Zinc, and Brass Mucking Up Our Fuel?

Subscribers Only — Something we have long noticed at PS is that gasoline and diesel control samples in our aging and corrosion studies never really age much. Only when the samples include metal samples do they generate gum and discolor. One explanation is refinery stability treatments, but the primary difference is that copper and zinc ions are powerful catalysts for polymerization. Shore-side fuel storage systems do not experience this type of break down because copper tubing, brass fittings and galvanized pipe are forbidden by code . The following requirements are quoted from standards groups and OEMs.   More...

Flexible Tanks Require Special Protections

Subscribers Only — What about fuel bladders? Fuel bladders must meet a higher standard than water bladders, but many of the findings from our water bladder test apply to fuel as well (see “Practical Sailor Drops, Drags, and Dissects Three Flexible Portable Water Tanks,” PS October 2007).   More...

Gasoline Additives in the E-15 Era

Subscribers Only — Ever since we adopted improved fuel management methods, we’ve enjoyed a decade of no carburetor maintenance—not on the twin 9.9 hp engines that ran our catamaran, not on the dinghy kicker, and not on our trimaran. Not on any of our chainsaw or blower motors. Given the quarterly ritual we’d enjoyed before, it’s been wonderful.   More...

The Best Solution to E-15? Stay Away From It

Subscribers Only — This year, President Trump rescinded the summer ban on E15 sales. Previously, E15 could not be sold between June 15th and September 1st because the extra ethanol increased vapor pressure and increased smog formation. As of this writing, distribution of E15 is limited outside of corn belt areas, and negotiations continue between the EPA, which opposes higher ethanol blend levels, and the agribusiness lobby.   More...

Plastic Tank Report

Subscribers Only — The leading cause of death of metal tanks, on land and at sea, is corrosion. Industry standards for fuel tank farms require internal inspections starting at 15 years, and as a licensed API tank inspector, our Tech Editor Drew Frye knows well why these interior inspections are required.   More...

Reviving Gelcoat & More

One of the most common questions we get from new owners of old boats is how to bring back new gelcoat shine. We’ve undertaken countless product tests to find the best boat wax and polishes, the most effective waxing-and-polishing tools, and the products that can be used for a speedy touchup. If waxing is on your to-do list, be sure to check out the following articles.   More...

Four Solvents for Nearly Every Boat Job

As with cleaners (see “One Bucket Cleaning Kit,” May 2017) it’s easy to be over-specific with solvents. Pretty soon, we end up with a zillion cans in the paint locker. While we would probably pay extra for the “magic” vendor-specific blend for a topside paint job, we’d not be so selective for every single small varnish, fiberglass, or similar job that comes up. For these everyday jobs, a few generics can do the trick.   More...