PS Advisor: 02/01/05

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Eyeglass Quandary
Do you have any suggestions for sailing in the rain while wearing eyeglasses? I need my glasses for both distance and reading, so I wear them all the time. When it rains, I am pretty useless at the helm since my vision is clouded with drops on the lenses. Any helpful hints would be appreciated.

Sandy Donaldson
Via e-mail


Several of us at PS wear eyeglasses on the water as well, and we find that the worst possible scenario is driving rain. Not only do your lenses get spotted with drops, making them almost useless, but depending upon the temperature, they can also fog up, which is worse.

There’s no optimum product solution to this dilemma, so some of us have resorted to wearing contact lenses when on the water. That may not be possible for you. If not, try wearing a baseball type cap or some kind of head gear with a pronounced brim to shield your eyes when it’s raining. If you can protect your face (and thus your eyeglasses) from the rain, you can prolong your unafflicted vision. Also, you can try wearing goggles, which is what a number of high-speed racing sailors do offshore.

There is one other approach you can try. If you haven’t heard of RainX, it’s a product sold for use on windshields to help raindrops bead up and thus fall off more quickly. We’ve tried with eyeglasses and found marginal success. Good luck.

Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him by email at practicalsailor@belvoir.com.