Mailport: 04/09

I read with interest your evaluation of first aid kits, which wrapped up with the final installment in the December 2008 issue. Id like to add a couple of points: Weekend, cruising, and bluewater sailors should invest in a good up-to-date first aid and CPR course. It is as important as a functional bilge pump. The responsible sailor can outfit a substantial and superior first-aid kit for much less money than a commercially available kit. The kit should be appropriate for the expected duration a victim will need treatment prior to evacuation. Most commercial kits contain a lot of fluff and are unnecessarily redundant-a lot of Band-Aids. I stress to distance sailors stocking a few prescription items and aggressive treatment for seasickness, beyond Bonine. I favor a solid medical text such as "A Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine," by Dr. Erick Weiss and Dr. Michael Jacobs, or "Medicine for Mountaineering and other Wilderness Activities," by James Wilkerson. The latter is available from Mountaineer Books. Both texts give guidance on stocking kits appropriate for your boat. Remember, the victim may be the captain or medical officer, and a novice may be the one rendering treatment. A medical guide is an invaluable resource.

Glove Up!

There's a big market these days for "exam" gloves—the kind that used to be reserved for doctors and dentists, but are now used...

Holiday Gifts Ideas for Sailors

Looking for a holiday gift for the sailors on your list? Here are some new and gift-worthy products to consider.

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.

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.

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.