Brinkmann, LSI, Optronics Shine Bright in Spotlight Test

Sixteen lights from six manufacturers.

Mailport: 12/09

I have a Pearson Ensign 1962 now at a slip in New Rochelle, N.Y. This season marked the first time we had the luxury of keeping our boat at a slip. In order to maneuver through the marinas byways without worrying, I bought a 24-volt Minn Kota outboard (80 pounds of thrust) and two 12-volt batteries, which I hook up in series. Not only am I able to stop start, turn, etc., in the marina, but-to my surprise-in the calm sound water, I can nip along at about 3-4 mph with myself, two crew, and the 3,000-pound boat. The result is that Ive only used my 5-horsepower Mercury outboard once this year. My electric outboard doesn't stall; it has variable speed like no ones business; reverses with relative ease, and is less expensive-though more cluttered-than the self-contained electric outboards you recently reviewed. Am I part of a growing trend or just weird? If the former then it might be worthwhile testing electric outboards for boats my size (22.5 feet) and commenting on their applicability.

Multi-Purpose Boat Poles

With boathook, mop, squeegee, and net attachments, telescoping poles save space aboard and are quite handy. The MPS Perfect Pole's no-look locking mechanism helps it earn top honors.

Next Best Thing

While world leaders and presumed financial wizards set to work trying to right the global economy with some very expensive bailers and sponges, Practical Sailor has taken the time this month to dig through our recent collection of Chandlery submissions to see if we can find anything more useful. Given sailors capacities for innovation (aka "jury rigging"), were holding out hope that the next great invention-the ultimate stimulus package-lies somewhere in our growing stockpile of Chandlery items.

Wear and Tear Pad Review

Over time, chafing from lines can actually wear away gelcoat. Likewise, chips will appear where hatches or ports bang. While eliminating chafe is the best course of action, in some cases, a protective patch can be a viable solution. Faced with a chafe problem on his own boat, sailor Andrew Grogono developed the Wear and Tear Pad, an ultra-thin (.002 inches) piece of 301 stainless steel backed by an all-weather double-sided tape. To use, just peel off the backing paper and stick the patch on the hull at the point of friction or impact (making sure the hull is clean and dry, first).

Multitools Revisited

Several new offerings prompted this renewed look. For versatility and quality we like four particular models, and among those, the Leatherman Wave is our best buy.

Hawkeye Scope: A Bird’s Eye View of Your Pistons

Ever wish you could see what the parts inside your engines combustion chamber look like? Now you can with the Hawkeye borescope. Whenever you...

DIY Fishing Gear for Sailors

We reviewed clamp-on rod holders a few years in the past, but found them expensive (see PS October 2006). Fortunately, there are alternatives that can save hundreds of dollars and be installed in an afternoon. Less shiny, but functional.

The Liquid Image 310 Video Mask

For those of us who spend nearly as much time under the water as on it, the Liquid Image 310 video mask sounded like a great addition to our diving kit-and a good fix for our gadget addiction-so we had to give it a try when we came across it at a spring boat show.

Marine Handheld GPS Test Update

The Delorme Earthmate PN-40 is one of the newest additions to the handheld marine electronics market. Practical Sailor evaluated the rugged, palm-sized Earthmate using the same tests used in past GPS evaluations to see how it matched up against the Garmin GPSMap 76CSx, our top performer in past tests. Testers used the unit for multiple days and rated key functions, battery life, lighting, waterproof quality, cold starts in multiple locations, and visibility under different conditions.

The Ins and Outs of Aftermarket Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.