Compact Binoculars

For onboard back-ups and excursions ashore, a set of good compact binox are almost required. Nikon fielded a strong team—their Mountaineers are a Best Buy. But the race is also to the Swift.

Flir Camera Redefines Night Vision Onboard

A thermal-imaging camera installed on your boat can significantly enhance safety during nighttime operations by clearly letting you see what is ahead and around your boat, even on the darkest or foggiest of nights. Practical Sailors review of Flir Systems Inc.s Navigator II, a thermal-imaging camera that can be mounted on a mast, finds that this kind of camera can aid navigation, man overboard recovery, and security. The equipment comes with a lofty price tag but for some, it will be worth the investment.

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.

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.

Looking Sharp

Nikon, West Marine top the field of binos under $300.

Seeing the Light on Night Vision

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the desert at night and reflected upon how much the wide expanses of sand and rock in the American Southwest resemble the sea-especially after the sun has set. Away from the loom of the lights of Moab, Utah, my wife and I stood in an empty parking lot looking to the east, where the pyramid peaks of the La Sal mountains were silhouetted by the light of the full moon, still invisible below the horizon. Wed arrived to Arches National Park at night, driving through the blackness, following our headlights to the third or fourth pullout on the winding road into the park. We missed the sign identifying the pullout, so the geographical feature that the viewpoint was meant to serve remained a mystery.

Boating Eyewear Guarantee

One of the reason we pay premium for brand-name products is the expectation that if something goes wrong, wed get outstanding support. Some U.S. companies (think Buck knives) have built their reputations on their lifetime warranties. But in the global economy, when brands are sold and resold, it is getting harder and harder to obtain good warranty support.

Seeing Beyond Polarization

Has Practical Sailor reviewed sunglasses since the 2009 article? The feature wed really like to have is to be able to read our chartplotters screen without removing sunglasses. A review of that particular feature would be extremely helpful.

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.

Design For: Box for Binoculars

One of the primary causes of ruin for many pairs of binoculars is that they have no home. Loose in the cockpit, or sharing a coaming locker with winch handles — their usual places — it's no wonder so many pairs die of drowning or having their prisms knocked out of alignment. It's all well and good advice to always keep binoculars in their carrying case snug­ly stowed in a safe place, but in prac­tice they're in such frequent use that the advice is unrealistic. What is need­ed is a snug home which is both pro­tected and accessible. A binocular box mounted just inside the companion­way answers all requirements. It keeps the glasses both protected and easy to get at.

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.