Where Credit Is Due: February 2015

Vesper MarineGarhauer MarineKuhn Rikon


This is a quick note to say how impressed we have been with Vesper Marine (www.vespermarine.com) and its WMX850 AIS transceiver. As you highlighted in your review of AIS units (see PS, September 2014 online), the Human-Machine interface for AIS and anchor alarm is very intuitive and flexible, unlike many of the multifunction displays available. With its very low power consumption, it allows us to keep it continuously on at anchor, for the anchor alarm, and at sea, without concerns about the power draw. As we are cruising full time with a family of five onboard in the South Pacific, we are almost exclusively at anchor or on passage, and therefore, the unit is almost always turned on.

Unfortunately, our beloved WMX850 stopped working on the 2,800-nautical-mile passage from Mexico to the Marquesas. An email to Vesper over Sailmail received a reply within a few hours from Jeff Robbins, Vespers CEO. As he was aware of the serious bandwidth limitation of Sailmail over SSB, he took the time to create a text-based picture of the pin-out to assist with troubleshooting. When it was apparent that the machine was beyond repair onboard, he offered to repair our unit at their facility.

Stevens 47 boatSearunner tri

Photos courtesy of Max ShawPhotos courtesy of Doug Kuett

After a very quick repair, his staff coordinated shipping the unit to meet us in Papeete, Tahiti, and continued to work with our agent and the shipper to ensure we actually received the unit when we arrived (not a given in the South Pacific). Throughout, he understood the challenge of coordinating anything with only occasional Internet and challenging supply chains.All this support was at no cost to us other than the agent fees, which is especially remarkable, given that it was for a unit that was out of warranty and likely damaged by our own laptop.

In all, our WMX850 is an excellent piece of kit, backed up by outstanding, lightning-fast customer support.

Max Shaw
Fluenta, Stevens 47
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Presently at Penryhn, Cook Islands

Stevens 47 boatSearunner tri

Photos courtesy of Max ShawPhotos courtesy of Doug Kuett

When sailing our 1983 Jim Brown designed 37-foot Searunner trimaran up the Chesapeake Bay, our mainsheet block gave way. It is fitted through a Garhauer swivel jam cleat with No. 30 series block (part MS-SJ). The central bolt that holds the swivel together had sheared off. We had installed the swivel jam approximately three years prior.

I emailed Garhauer a picture of the failed part and received an immediate response. Garhauers Dawn Graham told me they were aware of the weak link and upgraded the swivel jam cleat with a more robust bolt and swivel. Three days later, I had a brand-new, upgraded swivel jam at no charge. Were an all-Garhauer boat, and in addition to the high quality of their gear, we now have another reason to love Garhauer (www.garhauermarine.com).

Doug Kuett
Further, Searunner 37
Norfolk, Va.

Based on Practical Sailors review of pressure cookers (see PS, December 2010 online), I purchased a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker (us.kuhnrikon.com). This has been a great product and has been used many times each week for years and years. Recently, one of the plastic tabs that holds the valve housing onto the cover broke. The pressure cooker still functioned. I contacted Kuhn Rikon and very quickly heard back from Jill Stroup, their office manager. No questions asked, she immediately shipped me a new valve housing, no charge for the part or shipping.

Now thats customer service and a company that stands behind their product. I highly recommend their pressure cooker, and their customer service is outstanding.

Dave Bickert
Ecsta Sea
Hampton, N.H.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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