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Personal Gear & Apparel

Cheap Glasses Showdown

I wore off prescription glasses for sailing five years ago after donating one last pair to Neptune. Its not just the cost, but also the mental angst you feel. If underway, they are just gone. If at the dock, youll be fishing for them with a net or going for an unscheduled swim. Retention cords help, but if Im also wearing a cord on my hat, annoying tangles ensue. On the other hand, when a pair of drugstore glasses goes in the drink it doesnt ruin your day. And then I learned that the local dollar store had suitable glasses for a buck; Im wearing them as I type this. I won't win any fashion awards, but when I drop them or sit on them, its less bothersome than spilling a soda. I like that.

Liveaboard Sailors Laundry Hacks

At home, laundry is about removing grease, grass, and coffee stains without damaging the fabric of the clothing. Energy and water efficiency only matter in a secondary sense. Rinse water is plentiful, and the only water quality consideration is that it is sufficiently soft to avoid interference with the detergent and calcium build-up in the clothes.

A Plunge into Off-grid Solutions Old and New

What did we think of the mop bucket and spinner as a laundry machine? It made it neat and easy to launder single items in a repeatable way for testing. In fact, it was a good deal easier on the hands than wringing. However, you can only spin one item at a time, and as a result it was no faster or drier.

Stowing Clear Plastic Windows

Some clear vinyls are sensitive to scratching, as has been revealed in our multiple tests. And, if not protected from the sun, it can yellow and grow brittle over years. For years weve been directing readers to roll their clear plastic in cotton sheets to prevent scratching, but the patented Clearstow bag offers a more practical solution.The patented Clearstow bag is constructed like a giant ex

Tether Lanyard Simplifies MOB Recovery

For years, safety advocates have touted the use of a four-part block and tackle attached to the end of the boom as the hoist of choice. It affords a great dockside demo, but put to use in a rolling seaway, a crew quickly notes that boat motion causes the boom to flail about and the hurriedly dropped mainsail further complicates using the boom as a hoisting tool.

Protecting the Sailors Pumpkin

Head protection has become a hot topic among sailors. Volvo Ocean Race helmsman wear surf helmets with retractable visors. Americas Cup crew wears them, along with body armor and breathing equipment. Amateurs in high performance beach catamaran and dinghy classes are adopting them in big numbers, and some youth, college, and Olympic sailing programs have made them mandatory, like PFDs. Even cruisers are beginning to wonder about trips up the mast, heavy weather sailing, and even routine bumps. Is it the new thing, or just transition period until we work out where they make sense?

Form Won’t Matter if it Doesn’t Fit

Even the best helmet will fail if poorly fitted. Expect this to take some time. Measure your head and get the right size. Loose is no good, and too small will sit high or give you a headache.

Simple Tips for Maintaining Stainless Steel

When applying a paste cleaner, a toothbrush is useful for buffing tight spots and working into the pores of welds; follow by buffing with a cotton cloth. A green 3M scrubby pad helps for removing more aggressive stains. Continued rusting in welded areas might indicate a developing failure, requiring replacement. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and mild soap when done buffing.