Cruising sailor James Outland came up with the idea for his clever Outland Hatch Covers to keep his boat’s interior cool in the tropics. But the covers—the key to which is an easily installed twist-lock fastener for simple attachment to existing hatches—address several issues. Along with reducing temperatures down below, the UV-protected PVC covers (which float if dropped overboard) slow the effects of hazing and crazing, prevent sunlight from fading interior fabrics and furniture, ensure privacy, block out early morning sunlight, and help air-conditioners run more efficiently. All standard hatch sizes are available, and there’s no charge for custom cuts.
$40 to $75, (910) 545-7174, www.outlandhatchcovers.com
Locked-In Shore Power
When you supply a one-handed twist of the wrist, Marinco’s **EEL Shore Power Cordset quickly and securely makes the ****connection between your boat’s AC power system and shoreside electricity. The patented EEL (Easily Engaged Lock) system, with clamped jaws and molded plug and connector, eliminates the traditional locking ring on shore-power cords and, with no threads to cross, ensures a watertight seal every time. Other features include corrosion-resistant nickel-plated contacts and a proprietary built-in cord light that indicates when the connection is secured and plugged in and also serves as an emergency flashlight for nighttime use. The marine-grade cable is available in two sizes: 30 amp/10 gauge and 50 amp/6 gauge.
$70 to $110 (30A/125V), (800) 334-5214, www.marinco.com
All Fired Up
A knife that its maker says “combines the power of fire and steel” into one handy apparatus, the Swedish FireKnife—a collaboration of Mora knives from Sweden and Light My Fire—is two tools in one. A lightweight (3.4 ounces) knife with a 3.9-inch blade that measures 8.9 inches overall and comes in its own dedicated sheath, the FireKnife gets its name from the Swedish “FireSteel” Scout fire starter that twist-locks into the handle and is reportedly capable of providing 3,000 “strikes” to light barbecues, gas stoves, and campfires. The knife and sheath are available in a variety of colors, including lime green, black, orange, and blue.
$38, (425) 883-6600, www.lightmyfireusa.com
With more and more sailors making the wise choice to install dedicated AIS receivers or transponders aboard, one of the broader issues is what to do with extra antennas. Digital Yacht America has addressed the quandary with the SPL2000 AIS-VHF antenna splitter, which permits existing onboard antennas to be used for the AIS unit, a DSC-equipped VHF radio, and a standard AM/FM radio. The splitter has four simple connections: the main VHF antenna input and outputs for the AIS receiver, the DSC-equipped VHF, and a car radio. The company claims its patented ZeroLoss technology ensures the best possible transmission from all devices. It’s suitable for 12-volt and 24-volt systems.
$350, (978) 277-1234, www.digitalyachtamerica.com
For top anchoring performance, nothing beats a snubber line or bridle attached to your anchor chain for absorbing shock, providing extra holding power, and easing the loads on your windlass and rode. A quick and efficient addition to upgrade your ground-tackle arrangement is the one-piece Mantus Hook from Mantus Anchors, which niftily marries your snubber to your anchor chain. The hook comes in four sizes to fit 1/4-, 5/16-, 3/8-, or 1/2-inch chain, is available in hot-dipped galvanized carbon steel or 316 L stainless steel, and fits BBB, Proof Coil, Hi Test, and stainless-steel chain.
$15 to $98, (855) 262-6887, www.mantusanchors.com
Keep Gear Dry
For those wet dinghy rides ashore or just to keep valuable cameras and electronics safe and dry, the **Rogue waterproof backpack from Harken is just the ticket. The Rogue, fashioned from TPU-impregnated nylon to resist abrasion, stains, and ultraviolet light, has an air-purge valve that allows for easy compression when you’re using the waterproof rolltop enclosure. The pack features two water-bottle pockets, an elastic cord for stashing a vest or jacket, and padded shoulder straps. An optional external waist pouch can be unbuckled from the pack to carry smaller items or for when you’re swimming ashore. A dedicated laptop sleeve that slides easily into the backpack is another handy option.
$139 (backpack only), (262) 691-3320, www.harken.com