The following review was written by John Stefancik, Associate Publisher, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John is a Bay boater who competes regularly in sailing regattas, skippering his S2 9.1 Hurricane Kelley. He has been at Chesapeake Bay Magazine since 2000.

I thought bilge odor and musty diesel fumes were all just a part of cruising around on boats--especially old boats. I had certainly grown accustomed to the whiff of stale brine laced with a hint of mildew that punched me in the nose every time I slid back the hatch on my 30-year-old sailboat. Oddly, my wife and kids weren't as enamored of the standard-issue eau d'boat. If I wanted to take them cruising with me, I was going to have to do something to clear the air.

Mind you I clean below decks regularly, including washing out the bilge, which certainly helps to decrease the smell, but even I can still discern the mustiness. Then the manager of the chandlery at the marina where I store my boat during the winter gave me a sample of Kanberra Gel. He said they just began to carry the product and asked if I would try it and report back to him on how it performed. I placed a single container in the cabin in June, and after a couple of weeks the boat seemed to smell better, but some of the mustiness remained. The chandlery manager suggested using two 4-ounce containers. I put one in the head and the other in the saloon. This appeared to do the trick. When I had work done on my boat in July, the contractor said, "Your boat smells good." That was a first! Nobody--not ever--had ever said this about my boat. But the real test was my wife. When she agreed with the contractor, I knew the gel worked.

Kanberra Gel
Sold in 2, 4, 8 and 16 ounce containers

According to the manufacturer, Kanberra Gel works because it actually cleans the air. Other deodorizing fragrance products simply try to mask odors with a stronger and often unpleasant scent. Kanberra Gel is made from tea tree oil, a natural fungicide/germicide that attacks a wide variety of bacteria, molds and fungi. It is so effective even the U.S. Navy uses it. Annapolis School of Seamanship has just begun using Kanberra Gel in the air-conditioner for their basement classroom (dubbed the "locker room" for good reason) and reported dramatic results after just few days.

By the end of August, my two containers of Kanberra Gel had all but dissolved and it still seemed to be working. For less than $40 my family and I enjoyed a clean smelling cabin all summer. I plan to re-load for the fall and winter. One container may be all it takes to coast through the colder months. Meanwhile, my wife and kids are already talking about where they want to go next year.

October 2011