After spending two long foot-weary days at the London Boat Show, we've picked the top gadgets for their innovativeness, usefulness, and good design.
The amazing MooRFast boathook
The Winner, MooR Fast!
Winning the Sail-World Cruising Top Gadget Design Award is boat hook called 'Moor Fast'. If you've ever arrived at a mooring buoy with no line attached, you're going to LOVE this gadget! Ever a dumbkopf with a boat hook, I tried it and succeeded first time without a problem. I saw lots of non-sailing types (mostly wives, it seemed, being pushed forward by their Timberland-footed husbands) try the gadget and even the most timorous found it easy. What does it do? It simply and infallibly THREADS the line from your boat to the wharf or buoy. It's for use with buoy loops, marina cleats, pile moorings and in locks - in fact, almost anywhere where you need to moor by threading your line through or around, and all from the safety of your own deck, and without any help from shore. It has an extendable pole, so that with over 2 metres of reach, you no longer need to jump off onto a slippery pontoon or launch the dinghy to thread your line through the buoy loop from the bow. It's tough, and cheap, and why didn't we have one of these before!?
See the MooR Fast for full information, and tell them Sail-World sent you.
Pentax Waterproof Camera
The Pentax OptioWPi - a very smart waterproof digital camera, that doesn't need a clumsy case or bright plastic exterior. Looking every inch the slim and classy dress camera, this camera will take you from evening dinner party to sailing or swimming the next day. We tried it at the show and it performed like any other modern 6 megapixel digital camera, but we're assured that it will withstand up to 30 minutes of continuous operation underwater at a depth of 1.5 metres. So a professional underwater camera it ain't, but perfect for lazy summer days sailing and swimming.
Go to http://www.dealtime.com/xPC-Pentax_OptioWPi for full information.
MailASail 'Express Mail'
Express Mail Compression
If you're a sailmail or winlink user, then you know you can't send pictures or other attachments via your boat email system, and the upgrade to a satellite link for email is extremely expensive, no matter which system you use. MailASail is offering an 'Express Mail' system which will speed up the transmission of your information by compressing the data to one tenth of its original size. This makes using an Iridium satellite phone for email transmission much more affordable than previously.
Go to the MailASail website for full information, and tell them Sail-World sent you.
If you've ever tried fumbling through a deck of boat light recognition cards to identify a strange collection of red green and white lights in the night, you'll be delighted with this innovation. On my first overnight sail, I ended up with a pile of cards spilt all over the dark cockpit, was unable to identify the lights in question, and ended up sailing in quite the wrong direction for an hour or so to avoid the unidentified Christmas Tree.
The LIGHTrule is a plastic slide rule with a clever series of slots at one end to show the light configuration that you want to identify, and once you have the right configuration, you merely look at the other end of the slide rule, and the text identifies the vessel or vessels. On one side of the slide rule, the bow and port aspects are identified, and when you turn the slide rule over, the stern and starboard aspects are shown. It is, as you would expect, based on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
The LIGHTrule is produced by Weems & Plath - for more information go to the Weems & Plath website.
The EdgeCrafter Diamond Sharpener/File:
There's nothing in the world harder than diamonds, and hence this diamond file will outlast any steel file we're told. We watched a demonstration of the file at the London Boat Show, and bought one immediately for use on the boat - we can probably now throw out all our other files! We watched it file a hole in a jam bottle in a matter of a minute, and a sharpened shovel cut paper like the sharpest knife. When you're gearing to be away from shore and independent, this file can be used anywhere and everywhere. It comes with several grades of blade - fine medium and coarse.
Unfortunately it appears that Edgecrafter does not have a website, but the files can be ordered by mail with your credit card.
The current cost in England of the file is ?9.00 and spare blades are ?2.00 each. There will, of course, be a postal charge, and the prices maybe different in the United States, where it is manufactured.
EdgeCraft Corporation, 825 Southwood Road, Avondale, PA 19311-9727, USA
Phone 1 800 342 3255, or (610)268 0500