Subscribers Only As a follow-up to our June 2012 report on mid-priced VHF radios, Practical Sailor tested seven fixed DSC-capable VHFs priced above $300. Because most high-end VHF marine radios offer excellent performance, testers looked especially close at extra features, price, and warranties. We evaluated one radio from Standard Horizon, the Matrix AIS+ GX2150; three from Icom, the IC-M424, IC-M504A, and the IC-M604A; two from Garmin, the VHF 200 and VHF 300; and one from Raymarine, the Ray 218. In addition to the bonus features like AIS, position tracking, and hailer/foghorn capability, testers looked at NMEA network compatibility, screen display, audio output and quality, transmit power and power stability, power draw, and frequency stability.
Subscribers Only A Rundown on Common VHF Features and Functions
Subscribers Only Practical Sailor recently test sailed Hunter Marines new Hunter 33, a redesign of the companys popular compact cruiser. The most noticeable difference between the new Hunter 33 and its predecessor is the new deck plan, which includes a hinged transom cutout that folds down into a swim platform, offering more cockpit space and an expanded main cabin. The hull and steering setup also have seen some revamping, and testers found the boat to be fun to sail, even with in-mast furling and a batten-less main in the test boat. For a new, entry-level cruiser priced at $160,000, the Hunter 33 has a lot going for it.
Subscribers Only The Hunter 33 is built in Alachua, Fla., using high-quality resins and laminates and conventional open molding hand-laminating processes.
Subscribers Only Practical Sailor evaluated the Garmin 740s chartplotter-sounder and other similar sized plotter-sounders in the November 2011 issue. For this follow-up report, we took a close look at the new Raymarine e7D. The Garmin 740s and the Ray e7D are similar in size, and both have a baseline plotter with sounder functionality, but the e7D has many new capabilities that include WiFi and Bluetooth interfaces witth mobile computing devices such as iPads and iPhones. The e7D is also capable of being fully networked with the other members of the new Raymarine chartplotter family and the C- and E-series widescreen units, while the Garmin 740s was designed as a standalone, multi-function display system.
Subscribers Only Raymarine has re-defined onboard interface with WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities in its new MFDs. Using an iPad or iPhone (Version 4 or newer), a Kindle Fire Tablet, or any Android Smartphone or Tablet, users can stream the e7D display to these devices using the RayView free app downloadable from iTunes, Amazon, or the Google Play Android store. This allows you to use these devices as a second display.
Subscribers Only Practical Sailor recently tested a nonskid mat from Soft Deck Inc. as a followup to our January 2012 report on do-it-yourself options for replacing worn nonskid. Soft Deck Inc., owned by brothers and lifelong sailors Ross and George Champion, is a family-run business with manufacturing based in Southern California. The January report reviewed six nonskid paints, three nonskid additives, and two nonskid mats. For this evaluation, we used the same test protocol to compare the Soft Deck to our Best Choice mat, Tiflexs Treadmaster (www.tiflex.co.uk.com).
Subscribers Only Always on the lookout for drug-free anti-seasickness options, Practical Sailor recently tested a new one designed to ease seasickness by activating acupressure points on the wrists. PsiBands are similar to other acupressure bands, including Davis Instruments Queaz-Away ($10, www.davisnet.com), which PS reviewed in the December 2009 issue. Acupressure bands are designed to stimulate specific nerves located at the inner wrists. Applying pressure at these points can provide relief from nausea.
Matt Rutherford recently completed a record-breaking, non-stop solo circumnavigation of the Americas, covering 27,000 in 309 days, aboard his 36-year-old, 27-foot Albin Vega to raise funds for the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) nonprofit group. Rutherfords success was founded in his ability to make a boat with modest design and modest structural attributes behave well in a wide range of conditions. The journey was a true test of the boats seaworthiness, the skippers seamanship, and his gears durability in harsh conditions. Practical Sailor takes a look at the Albin Vega, the gear Rutherford found to be essentiallike his Monitor windvane, Origo stove, and Harken furler and the products that let him down along the waylike multiple GPSs and a Kindle e-reader.
In 2003, Matt Rutherford made a sight unseen commitment to cruising from his home in Ohio. Over the phone, he bought a Coronado 25 located in Trappe, Md. The boat needed a lot of TLC. He fixed what he could and learned to do without what he couldnt afford.
Practical Sailors summer reading list for sailors reviews 10 marine-related books, including: The Admirals, a must-read for nautical history buffs interested in the U.S.s only five-star fleet admirals, who won the war at sea and changed the U.S. Navy forever; Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Ocean, a fascinating read about the earliest sailors and the risks they took; Why Read Moby Dick?, Nathaniel Philbricks argument for embracing Herman Melvilles daunting classic; A Sail of Two Idiots, Renee Petrillos quick read about her quest to live the cruising dream; Pirates Passage, a great summer novel for teen and young adult readers; and The Other Side of the Ice, filmmaker Sprague Theobalds journal of his familys harrowing adventure through the waters of the Northwest Passage. Many of the books are available in audio and e-reader formats.
Letters to Practical Sailor, July 2012. This month's letters cover subjects such as: Dinghy Launcher, iPad Glare, Racor, and more!
Letters to Practical Sailor, July 2012. This month's letters cover topics such as: BEP Marine, Sparcraft /Tylaska, and more!
I did some research on gluing plastics and came away more confused than when I started. My research revealed that some plastics cannot be glued, while others can be, as long as the right glue is utilized. I dont even know what the smoke-colored, half-inch-thick hatch cover material is: acrylic, poly-carbonate, Lexan? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Rutherford, who took 309 days to sail the 27,000-mile route in a 36-year-old, 27-foot Albin Vega, braved icebergs in the Northwest Passage, freezing winds in the Bering Straits, and relentless gales near Cape Horn. His was a tale of great adventure, the kind that sailors love to hear and tell.
Inside Practical Sailor Blog
by Darrell Nicholson on October 21, 2014
Based on US Coast Guard statistics, surprisingly few boaters enable the Digital Selective Calling (DSC) function on their VHF radio, or have it operating correctly. From what we are hearing from some marine manufacturers like ICOM, the numbers for marine single-sideband (SSB) marine radiosthe topic of our ongoing series of testsare just as discouraging. It doesn't have to be that way. With a few simple tools and maybe a trip to a Radio Shack, getting your radio (VHF or SSB) DSC-ready can be carried in a single weekend.