I think of this as an adjunct to my book "Keeping a Cruising Book for Peanuts," although certainly there is some overlap. I've tested a lot of stuff. Many of these items were mentioned in some prior post--use the search function to find more information.
While you're at it, subscribe to Practical Sailor Magazine. The product descriptions are better, there are comparisons and options, and the test methods are explained. They research stuff I avoid, like electronics. One good find--or bad purchase avoided--and it'll be the smartest $39.94 you'll ever spend.
Properly selected, these magic fluids prevent corrosion, wear, and keep things moving. small wonder, and a shame, that whales were hunted nearly to extinction, in part in the quest for lubricants for the dawn of the industrial revolution. Today the local chandlery is bursting with magic lubes with all manner of claims. Fortunately, there are only a few you actually need.
Here I am lubing a DIY invention--a mast track cleaner that can be inserted and hauled up and down the track without accessing the mast gate. Pretty tricky. A future post, perhaps. McLube Sailkote is the lube of choice. Lasts all season, with a few touch-ups on the slugs from time to time.
36. McLube Sailkote. Struggling to hoist sails is a disincentive sailing. There are many things that can make it more difficult than it needs to be. A bent foil or track, sticky sheaves, worn sliders, a dirty track (in the picture above, I cleaned the track before lubing it it), or added friction from leading the halyards back to the cockpit can all contribute. The first step is to clean the track and make certain it is free of gummy lubes and mud dauber nest remnants. Even a good coating of dust hurts. I just finished an article on track cleaners. Then apply something slick. The ideal lubricant will last a long time, never build-up or attract dirt, and can be spread vertically without climbing the mast. McLube Sailkote is a dry lubricant that will stay in place for a year in most applications. Though I don't use it on everything, I do use it on the sail tracks, genoa luff tapes, mainsail slugs, the traveler car, and the companionway slider (used traveler cars). Other common uses include:
- All blocks.
- Furler lines (reduces over-rides). I use Nikwax Polar Proof, to similar effect.
- Telltales (keeps them flying, particularly when wet).
- Zippers (but not dry-suits--they have special requirements.
38. Green Grease. Not just any grease that is green, but a specific synthetic grease from Omni Lubricants that I have subjected to rigorous laboratory and field testing. Simply the best wash-off and corrosion protection you can buy. Also excellent extreme pressure performance, making it good for winches. Advance Auto Parts carries it. I use it for:
- Winches. Beat manufacture products in side-by-side testing.
- Battery cables.
- Shift cables.
- Anti-seize on bolts. I think Tef Gel is better, just barely.
- Trailer wheel bearings and couplers.
- Seacocks. Unless I need something thicker to prevent leaks.
39. Lanicote, Forespar. If I need something a little thicker than Green Grease, perhaps for a turnbuckle or worn seacock (it will make them very stiff in the winter--sorry), this is the go-to product. Also excellent for:
- Battery cables
40. Motor Oil. Not a specific brand. There is way too much unsubstantiated opinion flying around. Additionally, unlike many products, there are strict standards, developed at a cost of millions of dollars by ASTM and API members. Products that meet these standards work. What is important is using a product that meets the correct standard.
Two-Stroke Outboards. TC-W3 is the standard of choice. Do NOT use your favorite motorcycle oil. Enthusiast will speak of the terrific high temperature properties of their favorite, but motor cycles are air cooled and run hotter. There have been many cases of fouling and rings sticking attributed to motor cycle 2-stroke oils. On the other hand, corrosion is the bogey man of outboards. Marine oils are formulated for the cooler temperatures and moisture (even salt) exposure of water-cooled out-boards.
Four-Stroke Engines (In-board or Out-board). FC-W is the standard of choice here. Again, it has been formulated for increased corrosion resistance. Is a good quality automotive oil as good? The folks that run the tests tell me that most probably will pass, but that the manufacturers don't submit all oils for testing. The most important thing is to change at the rated hours, or every fall at a minimum. Look at the oil and make sure it is not milky or brown, sure evidence that there is water or coolant in the oil. There are also one-drop-on-blotter paper tests that give some good hints. I did and article on these (as well as a DIY version based on cover weight paper) for Practical Sailor a few years ago.
I also keep a few specialty products around, just because I have them. Tefgel is good for anti-seize where very high temperatures (not for cylinder heads) are not involved. Overpriced, but it goes a long, long way. Teflon pipe dope is a good alternative anti-seize when Tef Gel is not at hand. K-Y is just the thing for lubing hoses for lubing head hoses and water pumps seals for installation (grease will damage water and sanitary hoses).