Foul Weather Gear: The New Suits Are Breathable, Dry, and Costly

In the early 1980s, W.L. Gore & Associates and Atlantis teamed up to create waterproof foul weather gear that was also breathable. They had...

Sailing Socks

Boat Shoe Update

Following Tevas top-ranked performance in the womens athletic-style sailing shoes test (July 2007), Practical Sailor editors decided to try out the latest mens Tevas and Tevas new Sunkosi for women. Teva, the California-based firm known for its strap-on sport sandals, manufactures seven different lines of water shoes, including four sneaker-style varieties. At 11.5 ounces, the mens Teva Helm 2 shoes are lighter than any other mens shoe tested (June 2007), and they offer good drainage. There are mesh openings built into the shoe under the heel, behind the heel, beneath the ball of the foot, and on either side of the toe. Like most of the shoes we tested, the Helm 2s foam insole is removable. It also is perforated with 1/8-inch holes to speed drainage. The shoes upper uses unibody construction, with a laminate of foam and three different kinds of mesh reinforced with synthetic leather in the toe, upper tongue, and heel. The tongue is attached only at its base.

A Slam Dunk

Italian sailing gear-maker Slam has recently come out with a new laptop backpack, a water-resistant tote for that all-important lifeline to global communications and keeper of all things digital. Like the backpack that we reviewed in the January 2007 issue, the Slam bag is specifically designed to carry a laptop in the marine environment. The Slam backpack has two front-accessed, zippered pockets, and one zippered, front mesh pocket. There are also mesh pockets on the sides.

Practical Sailor Names 13 Products Best Gear of the Year

Practical Sailor’s annual wrap-up of the year’s best sailing equipment looks at our favorite top-rated products from November 2007 to November 2008, including the Facnor furler for light-air sails, Scad Solo external holding-tank sensor, Pelican Recoil LED flashlight, and Adventure Medical’s first-aid kit for coastal cruisers. In the boat maintenance category, Interlux’s Micron 66 bottom paint and Spray Nine’s waterline stain remover garnered Editors’ Choice picks. Foulie sets (jacket and bibs) by Gill and Helly Hansen were tapped as Practical Sailor Editor’s Choice in apparel, and a host of marine electronics made the list, including the Icom CommandMic III remote mic and Garmin GPSMap 545s 5-inch chartplotter sounder. Jeppesen was recognized for its top-notch electronic chart updating services. Other top gear picks were the Acco proof coil mooring chain and the Achilles HB315-LX fixed-transom inflatable dinghy.

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.

Protection from the Elements: Foul-Weather Gear Put to the Test with Earth, Wind and...

Practical Sailor tested foul-weather jackets and pants from seven manufacturers: from Gill, Gul International, Helly Hansen, Henri Lloyd, Ronstan, Slam, and Third Reef from West Marine. Each set included a jacket and a pair of bib trousers designed for coastal cruising and light offshore sailing. All foul-weather kits were priced under $500. Testers examined the sets for wind- and water-resistance, reflectivity, and wearability, and tested the zippers and fasteners. With well-placed reflective patches, a fluorescent peaked hood, and plenty of pockets and abrasion-resistant fabric, the Gill’s Key West gear stood out in field of well-designed sailing apparel.

Enter the Keen Shoe

In our ongoing quest to discover optimal personal gear, we think this California company is on to something with its hybrid sandal-shoe.

For the Wooden Boat Buff

All year long, wooden boat worshippers can drool over pin-ups of the worlds classic beauties, thanks to two calendars that spotlight these works of art (and elbow grease). The Wooden Boat Festivals 2008 calendar, by Gumbo Publishing, chronicles the annual Port Townsend, Wash., event of the same name. With photographs by well-known photographer Mitchel Osborne, the calendar offers a glimpse into the world of wooden boat groupies. Photos of schooners under way dominate the pages, but Osborne also captured the details that make wooden boats what they are. From cane-backed seats and impeccable varnish to tan-bark sails and a busty figurehead, the photos tell the unique stories of the boats that make the Wooden Boat Festival an annual homecoming for people from around the world.

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...

Exploring the Ins and Outs of Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.