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January 2002
Beware of White!
We´ve known for a long time that dark colored plastic water jugs far outlast clear or white ones. Seems the color gives UV protection. We noted colored dacron sails seem to outlast white ones unless the white dacron was made from UV protected fibers. Thats why we spent the extra 10 percent to have ours built of special protected cloth. For some reason we never connected these facts when we ordered our nylon drifter six years ago. Never had any problems with nylon sails because they are rarely set for more than a few hours at a time. But over the past 20,000 miles we have had a lot of light wind sailing and at times our blue, silver and white nylon drifter has been set for ten or l4 days at a time. It really did its job well and jokingly became known as our working sail.

When the drifter developed a l6 foot long split in the lower white panel just 40 miles out of the Cape Verdes during our one day of less than 25 knot winds (we had about 6 knots with a heavy swell as we approached the islands), we looked for all possible sources of chafe, then we looked for something that could have accidentally snagged the sail. Finally we decided to test the fabric. We inserted a three cornered sailors needle, pulled it sideways and it pulled through the fabric like it was butter, not a bit of strength left. A test on the blue and on the silver showed they were almost as strong as new fabric.

That´s it, unless we find someone selling UV protected nylon sailcloth, it´s no more white for us.

Ice Buckets
For years we´ve used square plastic wash basins for ice molds, taking them into fish freezing plants that are usually near the anchorage in ports we visit. In a couple of days we have 20 or 25 pound blocks of crystal clear ice. About six blocks plus a few gallons of chiped ice fill our chest and give us l0 or l2 days of iced food and cold drinks in the extreme tropics, l5 to 20 days in more temporate climes. Only problem is, the extreme fast freeze cap-acity at fish plants meant our basins tended to shatter after as few as ten uses. Then in Horta, Larry had a grand idea. He sprayed the inside of each basin with silicon. Perfect, the ice did not stick to the sides of the basins as it froze. We don´t use this ice in our drinks so its not a health worry and a spray every six or ten uses will help the basins last and cut our ice costs even more. (We paid about 50 cents per glock in the Azores, usually in way of a bottle of wine as the ice plant folks refused cash.) When on passage we use the same basins, lined with newspaper, to hold extra vegetables.

For more ways to make ice last and also to build a better box for any type of refrigeration, see "Hold that Cold" in our book, Care and feeding of Sailing Crew

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