Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Mold in Antifreeze

Blogging About Products and Posting Amazon Links

As a begin a new phase of my blogging career, I need to feel certain that I am on solid ground. We've all read blogs that link to every gadget the writer is ever come across, trolling for affiliate program dollars, most often without any firsthand knowledge of whether the gadget is worth beans and without a care as to whether represents any value to the reader.

First, I have a strong loyalty to the magazines I've worked with. (Link to Practical Sailor in top bar.) I don't want to poach subscription membership by offering the same content. That means that although many of the products I'll be talking about I have reviewed previously as part of a large product slate, I won't reproduce that data, reuse that article, or all of the discussion that accompanied it. I will guide you to products that did very very well, and the products that represent a good value. I think this is ethically the right thing to do, since it benefits the companies that make good products.

I was drawn to writing initially by the claims of certain fuel additive manufacturers. I was certain they included a whole lot of puffing, a few lies, and some downright fraudulent misrepresentations. Even as I write this post, I am working closely with NMMA and ASTM on standards for gasoline and fuel additives that will one day close the regulatory loophole that allows some players to sell junk to the public so bad it can actually harm your engine. And the same is true about many other products. I feel it's a good thing for testers like me to guide you to good companies that deserve recognition.

Second, I won't be guiding you to any product I have not either tested along side a whole slew of products using scientific method, or at the very least used enough wrong products over the years to recognize when I finally found the right product. In 30 years of sailing I've bought a few of the wrong products, and in 36 years of engineering, I've learned how to run testing programs that can reveal the difference.

Towing scale model drogues on the Chesapeake in a 30-knot breeze. I am towing  a Seabrake with a Delta Drogue following. The advantage of tandem drogues, with a good space between them, is that both cannot be pulled out, and that they stabilize each other. Much different from tandem ground anchors. 

This sort of testing is as much about engineering systems as choosing a specific product. I'll be posting more stuff like this too. I've got an interesting series of articles on drogues and multiple anchor systems coming out in Practical Sailor. You'll have to read about that all oft hat there.

Finally, there is no financial influence on my recommendations. Accept no advertising. I do get a small commission from Amazon, but not any different that if I directed you to a different product. For goodness sake, don't buy anything you are not in the market for! I'm cheap and I hope you are too.

If you think I get off base or lose my moral compass in this effort, just tell me. Allow me the opportunity to explain why I think my advice was honest and forthright. If we can't agree, I'll take the post down.

And then there is the matter of the donation button (not up yet). I'm not looking for people to support my cruising habit. But it does cost money to run tests. It does take time to write about both products and D-I-Y topics. At some point in the distant future, when there's enough content on this site and that content is well enough indexed, I may consider doing something with subscriptions. I'll keep it cheap. For now, if my blog is at least as interesting as a sailing magazine that is 80% advertising and 10% paid infomercials (a lot of the articles are written or at least heavily coached by advertisers-- it's pretty depressing), consider sending a few bucks. It'll help buy something I can test.

Time to get busy writing. Time to get busy testing. Let me know what you think. Write in with ideas of things that need testing or things that you would like to hear analyzed from an engineer's perspective.

1 comment:

  1. I highly respect the work you do and will be among the first to click a donate button especially if it means you'll be doing more testing and reporting results. My boat is a better and safer place because of you.