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METS- Cool Toys Galore!

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 18 Nov 2011
METS Tradeshow 2011 David Schmidt
When it comes to sailing gear, there is no cooler place to drool than the annual METS tradeshow, held each year in Mid-November in Amsterdam. While the nightlife is legendary, the show itself is offers are rare glimpse at brand-new gear that won’t be in full circulation until next year, as well as European kit that won’t necessarily make it’s way to the States. While the show’s halls are cavernous and the offerings equally vast, here’s a quick look at some gear that caught my eye:


Think you’ve got big winches aboard your yacht? Check out Harken’s new Captive Reel Winch, which was designed for the super-yacht crowd. This mighty unit can be fitted either above or below decks, and can tackle frighteningly high loads.


Solar panels are great, but they’re not always the most aesthetically pleasing things when fitted to racer/cruisers. Lewmar overcame this issue with their newest hatch, which is equipped with several 'stealth' panels that feed into a USB port. According to Lewmar’s PR team, this is especially good news for distance racers who want to juice their iPods without cluttering up the nav station with wires, or for owners who want to trickle charging their house batteries while the boat hangs on her mooring.


Finding souls unfortunate enough to end up in the soup is never easy, especially at night and in big seas. For years, PFDs have come fitted with strobes, but these are only visible from certain angles and can also ruin the MOB’s night vision. Spinlock cleverly solved this problem with their new Pylon light antennae, which can be retroactively fitted onto any PFD, and which elevates the light source, facilitating rescue efforts without blinding the MOB.


Blocks have long been a staple of racers. Harken was the first to add ball bearings, revolutionizing line handling while making sailing easier, safer and better. Now, this hyper-innovative company has delivered their new line of T2 blocks, which use space-age materials and a modern attachment system (a soft Spectra strop) to strip weight while delivering silky-smooth line handling. T2’s come in a wide range of sizes, making them ideal for boats large and small.


And speaking of blocks, Karver has been building beautiful blocks for a number of years. The French company’s first-generation blocks were loved by serious offshore sailors as they provided an lightweight and easy way to build cascading tackle systems, and were a real eye catcher to boot. Now, Karver has released a new line of blocks (singles, doubles and triples) that also use a soft-strop and can be matched with Karver’s new cam cleat (also pictured).


Rope clutches are a crucial way to reduce the number of necessary winches in a cockpit, and some very smart minds have devoted large volumes of time to building a better mousetrap. Now, Cousin Trestec has come out with the 'Constrictor', a new style of clutch that uses friction (think Chinese finger cuffs) to grip lines. It will be very interesting to see how these units stack up to their mechanical counterparts.


And finally, with piracy becoming a rising concern in many areas, sailors can now fight back with Photonic Security Systems’ Laser Dazzler. This non-lethal gun delivers a 'sun-spots', temporarily blinding pirates or intruders while facilitating an escape. According to the folks at Photonic Security Systems, the gun has plenty of battery life and comes with a spare and a charger, allowing you to non-violently level the playing field. The only catch? It costs 33,000 euros!

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