Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention. And sailors tend to be an inventive lot. So, its not surprising that when Ed Kriese, a veteran racing sailor and the owner-founder of Oceanracing.com, became dismayed at the lack of a reasonably waterproof backpack for laptops, he invented one.
Weve spilled our share of drinks on board, and while its a shame to see a fresh drink go to waste, some beverages can stain cushions and decks. Drink holders can help minimize onboard spills, but there are a million types marketed to boat owners-from basic lifeline-mounted wire baskets to expensive Starboard or teak binnacle boxes. To find out which is most effective, Practical Sailor field-tested a sampling from several manufacturers. Three of the 10 test products were of the old-style, gimbaled wire-basket variety that hang from a lifeline: the Sail-Buoy, the Sail-a-long, and one from Snap-It. From Edson and Snap-It, we evaluated rail- or pulpit-mountable holders made of stainless and Starboard (high-density polyethylene) and three binnacle-mounted products that can accommodate multiple drinks. The two products we tested designed to mount on vertical surfaces like a bulkhead were the Sea-Fit and the Bar-buoy.
With Mothers Day and Fathers Day looming, we dug through our Chandlery items to find things that would make good gifts for sailing moms and dads. Landlubbers got it easy: Dad gets a new shirt and tie; Mom gets flowers (no carnations!). But thats not fitting for our nautical moms and dads. Unless their gift has some practical onboard use, it will shortly find its way to the senior-center flea market. Most of these gifts would be well received by either Mom or Dad, but if you end up missing the mark, you can always reclaim the gift and use it for your own offshore adventures.
Vibram, the Italian company known for putting the rubber sole into The North Face, Merrell, Timberland, Columbia, and Nike, has developed a funky-looking shoe called the Vibram Five Fingers. The shoes look like gloves for your feet. The individual toe slots are designed to gently spread your toes, enhancing balance and stability, and promoting a more natural motion to reduce the impact on your joints and back. The upper sole is made with a thin, abrasion- and tear-resistant stretch polyamide fabric. The foot bed is antimicrobial microfiber, and the sole is a non-marking rubber that is razor-siped for better grip. The weight varies by size and model. One mens size 42 (8 in the U.S.), weighs 5.6 ounces. while a womens 37 (U.S. size 6) weighs 4.4.