Bimini (Plus) Handhold
The nifty Bimini Boarding Bar from Ding-Ez—the makers of an innovative line of boarding systems and accessories for inflatable boats—addresses two issues in one handy design. First, the sturdy, hard-topped canopy can be fitted to any inflatable boat, and it’s strong enough for high-speed excursions while providing plenty of shade. Second, the rigid, well-placed supports serve as handy handholds when stepping aboard from a dock or a deck. At over 60 inches long by 54 inches wide, the bimini covers the floor space of most recreational inflatables and extends outward about midway over each pontoon. The framework is the same used in the company’s patented boarding bars (pictured on the bow). Next up from Ding-Ez: a standing console “driving bar” that’ll work on any inflatable dinghy.
From $689, (845) 548-2878, www.ding-ez.com
The easily installed Kiss-SSB single-sideband radio ground-plane system, claims its manufacturer, works as good or better than copper foil/bronze ground-plate systems and requires no drilling below the waterline. To install, the unit’s 4-foot yellow lead is first attached to the tuner’s ground lug. Then the 10-foot-long coil of 1-inch-diameter tubing—which encapsulates an array of nearly 600 feet of copper wire runs of varying lengths—is stretched out behind lockers, cabinets, the lazarette, and so on. The simple, well-proven grounding system has been specifically designed to transmit and receive on all the popular marine SSB, H.F., and ham frequencies, which includes SailMail and Winlink.
$140, (360) 510-7885, www.kiss-ssb.com
If you own a fiberglass sailboat, sooner or later you’ll need to address cracks, crazing, or holes, and with the Epoxy Fiberglass Boat Repair Kit from WEST System, you’ll have the right tools for the job. Each kit contains eight packets of WEST System 105 resin and 205 hardener, fiberglass fabric, adhesive filler, fairing filler, glue brushes, mixing pots and stick, an application syringe, disposable gloves, and illustrated instructions for a variety of common repairs, including gelcoat blisters, delaminated core panels, and more. It all comes in a sturdy, resealable package for easy onboard stowage.
$29, (866) 937-8797, www.westsystem.com
From LEHR, the California-based company whose motto is “environmentally friendly technology,” comes the world’s first propane-powered outboard marine engines. The 2.5-horsepower LP2.5 weighs just under 38 pounds with a 15-inch shaft. The 5-horsepower LP5.0 weighs about 50 pounds and is available in short (15-inch) or long (20-inch) shafts. All are four-stroke engines fueled by a 16.4-ounce “camping bottle” inserted directly into the cowling or an external 5-gallon tank with separate hose. Among the many benefits and features: There’s no choke, priming, carburetor, or winterizing.
$1,200 (LP2.5), $1,920 (LP5.0 short shaft), $2,000 (LP5.0 long shaft);
(310) 839-9009; www.golehr.com
CW associate editor and full-time liveaboard sailor Jen Brett knows a thing or two about everyday boat maintenance, so when she gives a product a thumb’s up (or down), we take notice. When it comes to Spotless Stainless stainless-steel rust remover, she points both thumbs skyward, adding, “It’s great. You brush it on, wait 30 minutes, then rinse it off. Just like that. Heavier corrosion might need another application.” Spotless Stainless, says the company, not only removes rust but also attacks the “surface iron” that causes rust, and it coats hardware with a rich oxide layer for added protection.
$20 (pint), $33 (quart); (919) 617-1409; www.spotlessstainless.com
Created by a cruising sailor frustrated by the performance of traditional ground tackle, the Mantus anchor—available in galvanized or stainless-steel models—is a high-performance, “new generation” anchor especially designed to set and hold in hard or grassy bottoms. Formulated with steel plate and no cast parts (the shank and shank boot are welded from top to bottom, and the shank and roll bar are bolted to the fluke), the anchor’s “nose” is reinforced for extra strength, and every Mantus comes with a lifetime guarantee.
$90 to $940 (galvanized models), (855) 262-6887, www.mantusanchors.com