Chandlery April 1, 2000 Issue

Handrail Masking Tape

Just when you thought there could be nothing new under the sun, along comes Handrail Masking Tape. It’s an adhesive tape that comes in a roll and is precut to fit snugly around teak handrail bases to prevent varnish or teak oil from staining the deck. You have to cut one end of the slot to slip each tape section around the base.

Handrail Masking Tape (12 bases for
$2.98) speeds up the process of taping
around teak handrail bases prior to
varnishing or oiling.

Handrail Masking Tape is described as a “high-strength, synthetic, extended outdoor tape” that can be left in the sun for up to six days. The adhesive allows you to peel it up and reposition it if necessary. The cutout is the standard 1" x 3".

When it comes to painting and varnishing, everyone knows that preparation takes more time than the actual application of paint or varnish. After sanding and fixing dings comes the taping—a chore that in itself must be done carefully for a neat job. Taping straight lines, such as a boot stripe or waterline, is fairly easy. Tight round turns are another matter. One is forced to tear off many short pieces of tape and fake a curve. Worse, the overlaps elevate the tape in places and form tiny channels that viscous liquids like varnish or Cetol can seep through, defeating your tedious attention to detail.

Handrail Masking Tape is a solution. (So is, one of our editors pointed out, painting molten wax around a handrail base.) A package of 12 bases costs $2.98. For you pros out there, a reel of 500 bases sells for $110. The tape should start appearing in local marine stores. In the meantime, you can order from the maker. (Nelson & Niemen Mfg., 6458 E. Marine Dr., Long Beach, CA 90803; 562/596-0104,

A Not Too Sticky Pocket
Davis Instruments sometimes acquires the rare distinction in Practical Sailor tests of having not only the best product but the Best Buy.

For instance, after extensive testing (reported in the September 1, 1995 issue) the inexpensive Davis Echomaster put to shame a lot of other far-more-expensive radar reflectors.

So, when Davis (whose only big ticket items are indoor weather stations) brings out something new, one tends to pay attention.

They’re called Sticky Bags™ and Sticky Pockets™. Nothing but mesh bags in various sizes with three clear plastic suction cups along the top edge. The mesh means no drain holes needed and quick drying of the contents.

They can be stuck to a bulkhead, cockpit coaming, portlight, cabin side…anywhere smooth. No holes are needed; remove and store below at will. Nice idea but we had difficulty getting the suction cups to stick to our test boat’s cockpit wall, even after cleaning the surface several times, and moistening the suction cups.

There’s a big bag, 12" x 18", with a shock cord closure, that will take sheets, halyards, sweater, fenders, anything big. Goes for $19.95 list, $15.95 discount. The 12" x 12" model is $17.95/$14.99.

Most useful are the pocket models, which have a half dozen compartments for GPS, tools, a folded chart, keys, sunglasses, etc. The 10" x 13" size is $17.95, the 10" x 10" is $14.95.

Made with the same attention to material and sewing is the Deckhand™, a smaller pouch that hook-and-loops over the stern rail. About 5" wide and 16" high, it’s handy for small items that too often roll around the cockpit. It sells for $15.95/$12.99.

They’re all blue in color and some sailors, us included, wish they came also in white…and stayed in place. (Davis, 3465 Diablo Ave., Hayward, CA 94545, 510/732-9229.)

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