July 2017

Controlling Jibes With Boom Brakes

Subscribers Only — Ten years ago, you may recall having seen the Walder boom brake demonstrated at sailboat shows. There wasn't anything quite like it. The device caught on for a time with single-handed racers, who liked the way it slowly eased the boom across during jibes. (Philippe Jeantot had one on Credit Agricole when he won the first BOC Challenge.) When your hands are full with jib sheets and the wheel or tiller, there's too often the tendency not to pull in the mainsheet to minimize the shock load on the gooseneck when the boom slams across to the new tack.   More...

Boatyard Chemical Wisdom

Boatyard injuries often are linked to power tools and falls, but exposure to chemicals and poor protection also pose risks.

Subscribers Only — With all of the products out there claiming to be “green” or “non-toxic,” surely there must also be villains that are now best avoided. In just a century we’ve begun to make a fine mess of the world that we need to live in for the next few million years. Yet we are making progress, and finding less hazardous replacements is a part of the answer.   More...

How to Make Sense of Material Safety Data

Solvents used for painting projects often call for a respirator when used indoors. Good ventilation is key.

Subscribers Only — Material Safety Data Sheets must be available to employees and they must be trained to read them. Failure to abide by this rule set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Hazard Agency is the second-most frequent employer violation. Even when MSDSs are available, few employees ever read them. Culturally, we believe instructions and warnings are a joke. Well, it’s your funeral … literally.   More...

Tools to Tame the Jibe

Subscribers Only — The loads of a flying jibe in late summer squall are enough to shred sails, rip out deck or boom fittings, bend or break the boom gooseneck, or even bend the boom itself. The novice sailor learns very quickly to be wary of an unintentional jibe.   More...

The Best Prevention is a Preventer

Boats with swept-back spreaders should avoid too much stretch in preventer lines.

Subscribers Only — Ideally, you don’t put yourself in a position where an accidental jibe can happen, but even an experienced sailor can get caught off guard by sudden, violent wind shifts in mountainous coastal areas or in night-time squalls. The most common way to take the fright out of an unintentional jibe involves a preventer, something we’ve examined in a number of previous reports. Preventers are especially useful when sailing deep downwind in rolly conditions, when exaggerated yawing lets the wind sneak behind the mainsail.   More...

Quick Fixes for Clear Plastic

We tested five products for the ability to quickly repair cracked plastic windows, such as those found in canvas cockpit enclosures.

Subscribers Only — Clear vinyl windows are a miracle when they are new, allowing sailors to have an outdoor experience while keeping rain and spray at a distance. As they age, however, yellowing, stiffening, and cracking set in as the plasticizer that keeps them supple begins to deplete. The right fix is new vinyl, but in the meantime we need a quick fix, something fast, easy, and good enough to get us to the end of the cruise or season.   More...

Glue-on Fasteners

Glue-on fasteners help don’t require drilling and protect cored material from water.

Subscribers Only — Although through-bolts may be the gold standard for strength and security, sometimes drilling a hole isn’t practical, or exposes foam or balsa core to water intrusion. Mounting a sump-pump to the side of the hull, attaching electrical components when the other side is either inaccessible or exposed, mounting an air conditioner on the bridge deck of a catamaran, or adding solar panels to a hard top are just a few examples of situations where a surface mounting is needed.   More...

Strategy to Fight Seasickness

One of the more effective remedies, Stugeron (cinnazine) isn’t sold in the U.S., but you can buy it online.

Getting over seasickness as quickly as possible must be the focus and responsibility of all on board. Having dealt with 400 seasick sailors (out of 1,200 sail-training students) on ocean passages over the past 42 years, I have become very experienced at prevention and treatment. The following steps to avoid or lessen the severity of seasickness has served well over those years.   More...

Angie’s List for Boaters

Finding good help in a far flung port may be easier as the Mariner Exchange app takes hold. The boating app sources marine services, separates them by type, and rates the vendor via consumer feedback.   More...

Testing a Deckvest Made for Children

Your child should be intimately familiar with how to manual inflate the PFD using the oral inflation tube, in case the CO2 cartridge fails to inflate the vest.

Foam life jackets can be hot and cumbersome on a long passage—especially if you’re a kid and like to move around a lot. With Spinlock’s debut of the Deckvest Cento Junior auto-inflatable PFD with a harness, sailing youth—and petite adults—now have an alternative to those bulky foam PFDs.   More...

Mailport: 30 Amp vs. 50 Amp Shorepower

James McGinnis’ Morgan Catalina 455 has 50 amp service that presents a quandary: how much cable, splitters, and combiners does it take to plug in a boat?

My previous boat had two 30 Amp 110V circuits. When I bought my new boat it came with 50A 125/250V service. I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but now I realize that the 2 x 30A approach is much preferred. I have never seen any discussion of this in the boating press.   More...

Printing Your Own Charts While on Board

The open source app Posterazor from SourceForge allows you to cut and print a downloaded NOAA chart and create your own color chart booklet.

I am a novice sailor, but after taking a few more courses, I plan to buy a 30- to 50-sailboat with a few other aficionados. Two questions:   More...

Checking Chemical Safety

PS tester Drew Frye checks results during a recent test of anti-mildew sprays.

When we talk about safety and sailing, the topic inevitably focuses on seamanship, equipment, and maintenance, not potential health risks linked to harmful chemicals. In fact, one of the reasons many of us go sailing is to escape to a cleaner place.   More...