Keep Your Lid On

Whats the best sailing hat? Testers set out to find a wide-brimmed sailing hat that offers lots of sun protection, even in a blow, and is breathable, lightweight, and durable. The review included 14 hats from Tilley, Columbia, Sunday Afternoons, Outdoor Research, and Gill.

PS Tests Firstwatch Float Coats

If the first rule of boating is to stay onboard, then the second must be to stay afloat in the event that rule number one is broken. There are several types of products that can help you keep from drowning in an MOB situation, but float coats also offer defense against hypothermia, a real danger in waters below about 70 degrees. Foam-filled float coats also double as foul-weather gear, so users are more likely to…

Sailing Shorts Update

Practical Sailor tested and compared the Camet men’s Rio sailing shorts to the field of sailing shorts reported on in the March 2012 issue, including the Best Choice Gill men’s performance padded shorts. Testers looked at style, price, UV protection, construction, abrasion resistance, dry time, comfort, odor, and pads.

PS Tests Padded Sailing Shorts

No matter whether aboard a racing dinghy or an ocean-romping supermaxi, repeatedly scooching across a nonskid deck or sitting for long periods on the rail will take its toll on your backside and thighs. Padded, quick-dry sailing shorts can significantly reduce the discomfort. Practical Sailor tested eight pairs of sailing shorts from top sailing-apparel makers, including Camet, Gill, Harken, Helly Hansen, Henri Lloyd, Sailing Angles, and Zhik. We looked at fit, price, construction, abrasion resistance, drying time, features, comfort, and padding.

Sailing Apparel: High-tech Sun Protection vs. Thrift Store Buys

Take a glance around the marina: One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, one in three Caucasians. In past issues, Practical Sailor has delved into the risks of sun exposure and options for protection, including sunscreens (June 2007), sunglasses (July 2009), and hats (June 2008). For this report, we took a look at clothing designed to block the suns harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Fabrics create a physical UV barrier, a shield that is longer-lasting, more effective, and more reliable than sunscreens. Although all clothes offer some protection from UV, not all fabrics have adequate protection. Testers sought to determine whether a $50 shirt designed for sun protection is really a better choice than our stockpile of regatta T-shirts or a regular, dark-colored tightly woven shirt that can be bought at a thrift store. We tested the performance of a range of sailing-appropriate activewear from Coolibar and Columbia Sportswear.

Womens Sailing Shoe Test Update

Boat decks are mazes of toe-stubbing hardware and slippery surfaces, making foot protection a key component to a sailors kit. Over the years, Practical Sailor tested has tested boat shoes, sea boots, and sailing sandals. For this update, we focused on the latest womens kicks from the top performers in past marine footwear tests: Helly Hansen, Harken, and Columbia Sportswear. The new shoes were the Helly Hydro Power 3, Helly Hydro Moc, and Columbia Outpost Hybrid. We also re-tested the top picks from the 2007 test, the Teva Sunkosi and Helly Hydro Power original, to see how theyre holding up after three years of on-deck duty.

Real Kids Sunglasses

Only a few sunglasses manufacturers featured in last summers test (July 2009) offer childrens sunglasses, and those shades are usually just scaled down versions of the adult kind. After experimenting with several different styles for kids ages 3-13, we found that the younger children, ages 7 and under, were a tough bunch to fit. Harder still were kids ages 3 and under. Uncomfortable ear pieces were a common complaint.

The Best Sailing Gear of 2010

Practical Sailor offers the annual selection of Editors Choice products for the Gear of the Year 2010 lineup. We hope the list will guide you through the dizzying array of gear at the fall boat shows, or at least help you whittle down your wishlist for Santa. The roster covers a broad spectrum of products-from gadgets for measuring speed to a performance multihull built for speed-that have bested their peers in our tests. The lineup includes gear from Spinlock, Brion Toss, Lopolight, Selden Mast, DuBarry, Keen, Standard Horizon, and Mastervolt. It covers LED navigation lights, bosun chairs, footwear for sailors, and marine electronics. Boat maintenance products from Polymarine and Interlux also made the list.

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.

Sailing Sandals for Women

Testers set out to find a womens shoe that was comfortable wet or dry, didn't absorb water, provided traction and support, and was built to resist the odors typically associated with boat shoes. We looked at eight designs from four makers: Teva, Keen Footwear, Columbia Sportswear, and Sperry Top-Sider. Each sailing shoe faced grip tests on wet and dry surfaces, and funk tests to determine their ability to stave off stink and mildew. Men in the market for new sailing sandals can expect that the mens versions of these designs will have the same performance as far as grip and construction.

Build Your Own Boot Dryer

The advantage of a home-built boot dryer is that you can make it fit any number of boots and gloves, and add extensions for drying foul weather gear, options that are not available on the retail market