Personal Gear & Apparel

Practical Sailor PFD Research Looks at Capsizes

After a series of tragic accidents involving sailors in organized sailing events and training programs in 2011 and 2012, Practical Sailor initiated research into safety equipment in use during the time of these accidents. Our current ongoing tests deal specifically with personal flotation devices (PFDs), safety harnesses, and combination inflatable PFDs and safety harnesses. Ultimately, we hope to come up with recommendations similar to those we made for infant PFDs in June 2007, when we published a prototype of what our ideal infant PFD would look like.

Sailing Clothes for Cold Weather

Whether you want to cruise the higher latitudes or extend your sailing season this winter, youll need to think about clothing. Over the years, Practical Sailor has published a number of tests and reports on garments that we can count on to keep us warm when the wind chill dips toward freezing. In this report, well take a broader look at the essentials, focusing on the first principles; under layers, accessories, how to wear them, and what materials stay dry.

Cheap Glasses Showdown

I wore off prescription glasses for sailing five years ago after donating one last pair to Neptune. Its not just the cost, but also the mental angst you feel. If underway, they are just gone. If at the dock, youll be fishing for them with a net or going for an unscheduled swim. Retention cords help, but if Im also wearing a cord on my hat, annoying tangles ensue. On the other hand, when a pair of drugstore glasses goes in the drink it doesn't ruin your day. And then I learned that the local dollar store had suitable glasses for a buck; Im wearing them as I type this. I wont win any fashion awards, but when I drop them or sit on them, its less bothersome than spilling a soda. I like that.

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.