For sailors short on storage space, this fender is a good fit
Whether you take a minimalist approach to sailing and limit the complexity of the maintenance and systems on your boat, or you’re more inclined to swamp yourself in gadgetry, there are some things you simply can’t do without. Fenders fall into this category. Even sailors who own small dry-sailed boats have need for a fender now and then, if only for those few moments when the vessel is tied to a dock while they’re parking the car and trailer. But, the downside of owning fenders is that they inevitably occupy space, and space is almost always at a premium aboard sailboats.
Enter the Easystow fender, a simple, rugged device that can save your boat’s topsides from the marring effects of docks, sea walls, and other vessels. This product marries an inflatable composite film bladder with a thick extruded PVC exterior (reinforced with polyester fabric), and a screw-type valve. Because the no-marking exterior is a one-piece tube, there are no seams except at the top and the bottom of the fender, and those are capped with thick polyester webbing (with loops for attaching lines) that’s sewn closed using industrial strength, UV-resistant thread. When inflated, these fenders take on a rectangular pillow shape. When deflated, they can be folded up into compact stacks.
Easystow fenders are made by a small company based in LaGrange, IL, which calls itself Seoladair. Some readers might recognize that name as the same firm that produces the distinctive Boomkicker vang, as well as several other useful products for sailors. Proprietor Ted Corlett has been building these fenders for three years now. He said that customers like the versatility of the Easystow. Some have indicated to him that the fenders are very handy for protecting docked boats in storm situations. (Because of the pillow shape, these fenders stay in place and don’t roll when set against a piling or dock.) And one boat owner, said Corlett, even used an Easystow fender to jack up his on-board generator, because a conventional jack wouldn’t fit.
Easystow Fenders are made in sizes ranging from 8” x 27”, to 12” x 60”, and come in black, dark red, green, and blue. Corlett and his colleagues make both the standard fender and a heavy duty line as well (available only in blue), the largest of which, he said, are popular with boat owners who use them in lieu of fenderboards. The heavy duty fenders are built to sustain punishment from concrete piers, wooden pilings, and even the occasional metal fastener. The products range in price from $49 for the smallest standard fender to $179 for the largest heavy duty one. Seoladair also sells fleece covers for each (from $22 to $50). The fenders are relatively light; the smallest one weighs just 3 lbs. 8 oz.. And Seoladair also offers a double-action pump with three different nozzle sizes for inflating the fenders ($12). Easystow Fenders are sold only through the company’s website and at select boat shows.
We obtained a standard, 8” x 27” Easystow Fender, and we’ll be putting it to the test every chance we get.
Contact - Seoladair Ltd.; 800/437-7654; www.boomkicker.com.