To wire, or not to wire? This is a good question, and there are certainly some pluses and minus to consider. For sailors with wiring-unfriendly masts, the wireless approach is a good one. These include wooden spars, ones with conduits that are already full with other wiring, and masts that are regularly unstepped. The downside of going wireless is that the batteries will need to be changed on occasion, and in some cases, signal interference is possible.
A decade ago, Practical Sailor editors began scouring boat shows for the perfect emergency tiller and an ideal stowage system for it. Little more than a simple lever arm that attaches to the head of the rudder stock, the emergency tiller is the device a sailor relies on in the event a steering cable parts or theres some other steering system failure. Our seemingly simple search turned out to be a nearly fruitless enterprise. Boat after boat fell far short of delivering even an average emergency tiller. Heres a look at our favorites and favorite offenders as well as our criteria for a good emergency tiller and where to keep it.
Raytheon’s flexible RL70 series is unmatched, but the JRC 1500 is a great buy.
Our trip from Venezuela to Bonaire was the first real test of Bob, our Robertson AP 300CX autopilot. He passed with flying colors.Although I...
Almost all portable GPS receivers include track plotting that may sometimes be confused with electronic charts. The units discussed here, however, have in addition...
During a recent passage from Sarasota, Fla., to Havana, Cuba, Practical Sailor had the chance to compare the new Vesper XB-8000 Class B AIS transponder with its predecessor, the Vesper Watchmate 850, a stand-alone Class B AIS transceiver that earned our Best Choice pick back in 2013.
Ordinarily Practical Sailor is loathe to apply a $100 battery-operated solution to a problem easily solved with a chunk of lead and some 3/8-inch line. However, portable depth sounders take the leadline to the next level. Resembling small flashlights, these handheld sounders are designed to be portable, easy to use, and reliable. They are good tools for probing creeks and narrow passes in a dinghy, and also can serve as backups to a primary sounder. This series of tests took a look at the Hawkeye 22PX from Norcross Marine and the Speedtech Depthmate SM-5A. On-the-water testing comprised a series of six tests in specific locations. Each unit was tested in murky shallow waters with a soft mud bottom; moderately clear waters with grass bottom; and clear waters with sand bottom. Testers also evaluated whether the sounders could read through hull materials, their durability and waterproofness, and whether their digital displays could be read in bright sunlight and at night.