Snake oil anyone?

Sybaris

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I heard that snake oil is perfect on a yacht. It can be used as teak oil, to grease winches, outstanding anti-fouling, and even as an anchor (if you keep it in the bucket).

Has anyone bought anything that was clearly snake oil and dare to admit it, and if so what was it?
 

photodog

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I have bought stuff that I thought was snake oil in shear desperation.... only then to discover it worked... (Captain Tolleys Creeping Hairline crack filler....)
 

vyv_cox

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I have bought stuff that I thought was snake oil in shear desperation.... only then to discover it worked... (Captain Tolleys Creeping Hairline crack filler....)

I'm not sure that qualifies as snake oil. I have also found it to work.

Most snake oils I am aware of are a product intended to be added to another product in the expectation that its performance would somehow be improved. Best examples of course are STP, upper cylinder lubricant, Slick 50, various fuel additives, etc. but no doubt there are many others.
 

Seajet

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I'm not sure that qualifies as snake oil. I have also found it to work.

Most snake oils I am aware of are a product intended to be added to another product in the expectation that its performance would somehow be improved. Best examples of course are STP, upper cylinder lubricant, Slick 50, various fuel additives, etc. but no doubt there are many others.

Glad to see we agree :)

If fuel / oil additives are such a brilliant idea, why not standard, and if clairvoyants work, why haven't they won the lottery ?!
 
T

timbartlett

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I didn't buy it (fortunately) but I vividly remember "testing" a danbuoy for one of the mags. We chucked it overboard to take a photograph with a convincing-looking splash ... and it sank.

A few years later, a similar test for a different mag, we did a similar thing with a different dan buoy. This time it floated (right way up, too) but the mast and flag fell off!
 

Seajet

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I didn't buy it (fortunately) but I vividly remember "testing" a danbuoy for one of the mags. We chucked it overboard to take a photograph with a convincing-looking splash ... and it sank.

A few years later, a similar test for a different mag, we did a similar thing with a different dan buoy. This time it floated (right way up, too) but the mast and flag fell off!

This comes neatly under the heading of " We've never had any complaints ".
 

Sybaris

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One thing that I guess does not really classify as snake oil because it does actually (most of the time) work, but for which you pay mainly for packaging and design is the multitude of cleaning, polishing, and waxing products for boats.

I have over the years come to rely mainly on a few "natural"-ish products that work great.

White vinegar, oxalic acid, diesel, acetone, washing up liquid, and cream cleaner is pretty much all I use now.
 

Marsupial

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Who's been in my locker?

"White vinegar, oxalic acid, diesel, acetone, washing up liquid, and cream cleaner "

what have you been doing in my bosuns locker? :) I notice you failed to nick the lanolin - barnacles love the stuff, had the best crop on the prop for years when I used that. Still swear by fuel set and plus gas but for me the snake oil award must go to ultrasonic antifouling - I know an owner who would like to sell one. no its not me.
 

vyv_cox

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Glad to see we agree :)

If fuel / oil additives are such a brilliant idea, why not standard, and if clairvoyants work, why haven't they won the lottery ?!

When I first joined the research arm of a well-known Dutch/British multinational oil company I was stationed in a lab next to the one of a man who tested every such product that hit the market. I remember him being involved with claims from independent users (e.g. a bus company, taxi firms) who swore that they had carried out their own tests proving that a wonder product saved them 10% on theri fuel bills. These were also the days when producers of snake oil gained huge publicity from claims that the oil companies had bought them out to shut them down, or even used dirty tricks to achieve the same thing.

Every one of these products was evaluated scientifically, and not a single one worked. Quite a few actually harmed the engine. Some appeared to be fantastic if only one test was considered (I remember one that did particularly well in the four-ball test) but failed very badly in others, or threw out the additives that were originally part of the package.

The only thing that was ever found to contribute was the gauze insert that could be placed between the carburettor and manifold to assist atomisation. It did improve consumption but reduced performance by 10%.

Unfortunately there is no longer a budget for such activities but I doubt if anything has changed.
 

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