Cordpro Cord Reel by BurkTek

This simple device keeps cables organized and tangle-free. "Gear and Gadgets" from our July 24, 2008, CW Reckonings

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The Cordpro contains no moving parts, yet it accomplishes the highly evolved task of keeping cords untangled both during and after use.Courtesy Burktek

I enjoy watching infomercials. My favorite element of the genre is the requisite "before" footage of people growing frustrated with traditional products and methods. A housewife strains her back using an ordinary broom. A businessman wanders hopelessly around an asphalt expanse, wondering where he parked his car. I love this stuff. If you ask me, there is no finer way to express the pain of existence than through the infomercial and no greater release than discovering the cure to one's troubles available for three easy payments of $19.95.

Having long delighted in the frustrations of infomercial stooges, I suppose I'd set myself up for karmic retribution last spring when I began sanding the bottom of CW's 26-footer, AO. In order to power the sander and the vacuum, I plugged both devices into a surge protector, which I connected to an extension cord leading to an outlet on the opposite side of the boatyard. The sanding went well at first, but as I moved around the boat, the extension cord knotted upon itself, causing me to accidentally pull out the connection between it and the surge protector. After this happened three or four more times, I gathered up the extension cord, surge protector, sander, and vacuum in one snarled wad and prepared to toss it into the dumpster. That's when I had two realizations: I'd make a darn good infomercial stooge and I should have brought along that Cordpro they sent me to test.

The Cordpro is a simple device for keeping cords tangle-free, and it works amazingly well. The donut-shaped spool contains two compartments separated by a plastic divider. To load, simply insert one end of a cord through the hole in the divider, pull half of the length through, then wrap the two lengths of cord around either side of the divider. You'll be left with both ends of the cord sticking out of opposite sides of the Cordpro. To use, simply connect your cord where it's needed and start working-- the Cordpro spools automatically, paying out cord from both compartments. To reel the cord back up, hold the Cordpro in the center and wrap the lengths of cord into their respective compartments.

Because it's made of heavy-duty plastic, the Cordpro should stand up to saltwater conditions and regular abuse. A reinforced hanging hole allows for easy storage in a locker. I used the CP-100 ($14.95) to manage 100 feet of the aforementioned extension cord; for shorepower cables, go with the larger CP-XL ($29.95).