Personal Gear & Apparel

Foul-weather Gear Must-haves

At the very least, foul-weather gear must be warm, dry, and comfortable. It also should be easy to adjust and fasten, which means zippers, Velcro, buckles, and pull cords must function without a hitch-and do so repeatedly, thousands of times. But what makes the ideal foulie set? Here are our criteria for top-notch gear. Foulie jackets and bibs/trousers should be made of durable material resistant to abrasion and marine elements, especially sun, salt water, and the unforgiving hardware and rough surfaces found aboard most sailboats.

Where Credit Is Due: May 2013

Two years ago, I replaced my incandescent stern light with a waterproof, sealed LED unit from OGM (www.miseagroup.com). This winter, while the boat was on the hard, I noticed that the seal had failed and drops of water fogged the lens. Although the LED continued to work, I was concerned that the moisture would reduce the visibility, or that the light would fail when I needed it most.

Sunglasses: MJ Commanders Lead Way; Serengetis a Best Buy

We prefer Maui Jim, but Oakley and Costa Del Mar also fare well in our test of 19 pairs from eight manufacturers.

Staying Dry on the Water

Practical Sailor testers put the Soul through its paces last spring during a cool-weather sail, a SUP paddle, and a windsurfing excursion on the chilly Chesapeake Bay. They compared its performance, construction quality, and features to our reigning favorite drysuit, the Gill Breathable Pro, which was rated the highest for its warmth, comfort, and versatility in our March 2009 test of wetsuits and drysuits. Unlike a wetsuit, drysuits keep all water out, and unlike survival suits, drysuits allow more freedom of movement.

Knee Pads and Braces for Sailors

Battered sailors make good test subjects, especially when we are talking about gear to preserve our joints and appendages. That is why we sent technical editor Drew Frye and his surgically repaired knee out into the world of orthopedic accessories for sailors.

Boxes, Dry Bags, and Tips for a Drier Life

Our staff are not marina hoppers. That leads to the occasional wet dinghy ride or exploration by kayak, and the constant risk of ruining expensive gear with salt water. We’ve used dry bags, Tupperware containers, dive containers, and even trash bags. Here’s what we’ve learned. What We Tested New bags from Gill, Mantus, and Watershed […]

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.

Reads for Summertime Relaxing

Summer arrives this month, and hopefully, the long, sunny days will include some time for summer reading. Practical Sailor editors have compiled our biannual list of worthwhile marine titles for just that purpose. This years summer reading list starts with a scientific look at something all sailors know-being on or in the water enhances life-but the book answers how and why. An entertaining new release on curious nautical knowledge and the strange history of nautical terms also grabbed a spot on our list, as did long-time sailing writer and editor Herb McCormicks book on the lives of Lin and Larry Pardey. The other titles range from a history of sailing warfare to a Scotland cruising guide; two distinctly different memoirs; a Matinicus, Maine-based fiction mystery; and a book on teamwork derived from lessons learned in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race tragedy.

Mailport: March 2010

The March 2010 issue of Practical Sailor features letters from readers on such subjects as: household adhesives, Union 36s, foggy electronics, digital freezer controls and converting a boat from gas to electric.

Engel Portable Freezer vs. Norcold Tek II

The December 1996 issue contained a special section devoted to refrigeration. It dealt with icebox conversion kits (Adler-Barbour was best), thermoelectric coolers (Coleman was...

The Pros and Cons of Leaving Your Mast Up for Winter

If you are like us, you may feel strangely guilty about leaving a mast up during winter storage. In our case, it is probably those old wooden spar days calling. Ideally, wooden spars need to come down and be sheltered and coddled at regular intervals. Aluminum masts really don't, and the sky is actually a decent place to store them.