Some of This Stuff Really Works!

We’re anchored in Newport, Rhode Island, to say hi to some friends and take care of some business. A pleasant couple of sails and anchorages have allowed leisure time to review a couple of the things we’ve been testing, and the results are positive.

You may recall that we replaced our Combomatic washer/drier: After a long search for better machine, we ended up with a newer model from the same manufacturer. A year of experience indicates that the faster spinning of the new model is really a help with getting the clothes dry quickly (the faster spin gets more water out). We’ve been drying the clothes in some cases in the engine room, using our dehumidifier-which we only use when the boat is closed up during storage-to help dry the humid atmosphere. Shorts, shirts, and light towels will dry in two to three hours-about the same as if they were outside on a sunny day.

Two years ago we replaced our coated stainless steel lifelines with polyester covered spectra line. This has worked out well. The biggest surprise is that after all of this time the blue polyester cover still looks really good. Chafe has not been an issue. We have replaced the spectra seizing lines on each end every nine months or so, and this has shown some chafe on removal. However, we have flat plate stainless bales to which the old stainless hardware is attached, and which are drilled for stainless clevis pins-so they create alot of edge chafe. If you have wire bales, chafe will not be an issue on the lashings.

We’ve been investigating a domestic go-anywhere e-mail system. Everyone we’ve talked with tells us that this has not yet arrived for cell phones-especially if you are headed to Maine. So, we are using our trusty Sailmail (ssb-based) system with the usual good results. Of course it does not allow attachments, and file size is limited to 5K, but overall, it is still the best system. For getting on the web, if that is a requirement, we either go ashore, or use the Globalstar system.

We are still using our original spectra sheets and halyards. These are now five to six years old, and have in excess of 35,000 miles on them. Aside from end-for-ending the halyards to replace the bitter end splices – which turned out to be fine-they are still going strong. If we’d been using stainless 7 x 19 wire, the halyards would already have been replaced.

So it appears that owning a cruising boat may be getting more efficient.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 20, 2001)

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