Cold-Weather Gloves

In freezing temperatures we field-tested 12 pairs of cold-weather gloves from different sports to see which ones keep hands warmest, yet still offer a bit of dexterity.

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.

The State of Our Soles

Shoes are important to sailors if for no other reason than they provide foot protection on deck (from such nasties as open cotter pins...

Ultimate Sailing Sandal

In hot weather, a lot of people like to go barefoot aboard, but there are risks, from slipping to stubbing your toes.

Ego Case Boasts iPod Protection, Clear Sound

Late last year, Practical Sailor published an article about devices that keep iPods free of moisture, sand, and dust (see Practical Sailor November 2006). Only one of those products came with speakers instead of earphones-the iFloat from Brookstone-but it didn't have a water-resistant speaker, and the sound quality diminished significantly once the speaker got wet. Now weve discovered a worthy replacement: the Ego Waterproof Sound Case.

Mens Foul-Weather Gear Update

Practical Sailor recently tested the first line of foul-weather gear released by Massachusetts-based Bluestorm. The three mens bibs-and-jacket sets are named appropriately for the general areas they are designed for use in: the lightweight Latitude 33, medium-weight Latitude 48, and heavy-duty Latitude 61. The sailing jackets and bibs were tested for wind- and water-resistance, fit and comfort, design, construction quality, warmth, design and fit of hood, design and construction of zippers, and reflectivity. Small, innovative details that Bluestorm incorporated into its foulies include the triple-closure system for jacket storm flaps and recessed Velcro fasteners. All sets have excellent hood design, and testers found the jackets to be supple, highly breathable, and comfortable, if a bit pricey.

Camet Wahine Shorts for Her

After a frustrating and fruitless day of shopping locally for gear appropriate for a 30-something woman to wear on the race course, Practical Sailor editors set out on a mission to find a pair of padded sailing shorts that: fit properly (unlike most womens board shorts, which seem styled for a 13-year-old); did not look like theyd been borrowed from a mans locker; and were fast-drying, comfortable, and functional (even when hopping around a racer-cruiser or hiking on a dinghy). We found few options, and most of those were made by Camet International, a California-based sailing apparel manufacturer.

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…

Seaboots Under $100

You should be able to keep your feet warm, dry, and on deck for a reasonable price—and you can.

Practical Sailor Crowns Top Hats to Wear on the Water

Style, fit, and performance define a sailors favorite head protection. With thousands of baseball hats on the market, Practical Sailor chose 11 of the most useful, innovative, or unusual caps and put them to the test in the real world. We divided the field into Aussie-style ball caps (those with integrated neck flaps for increased sun protection) and All-American ball caps (traditional Major League Baseball style). The hats we looked at included Adams Cool-Crown Cap, Henri-Lloyd Fast Dri Tech Hat, Mount Gay Rum Hat, Musto Cotton Twill Crew Cap, New England Cap Hat, New Era MLB Hat, Nike Dri-Fit Hat, Nixon Deep Down Hat, Coolibar All-Sport Hat, Shade Shack Cap, and Ultimate Tropical Cap.

Pondering Options for Varnishing a Mast

One of the most common questions we get regarding marine varnish is what kind of finish is best for a mast. Even though aluminum has long since replaced Sitka spruce as the material of choice for a sailboat mast, there is no shortage of boats that still have wooden masts. Many of the Taiwanese-built boats of the 70s and 80s had wooden masts, and of course, a wide range of U.S.-built classics still have their original wooden masts.