New Products for April 2009

Pull your chain, measure the wind, and shoot the sun with these must haves. Product reviews from our April 2009 issue

****| |Piranha Line: Abrasion-resistant line with super low-stretch dyneema. | String Up Your Sails
I hope you don't have any wire halyards on your boat anymore. Modern halyards have evolved way beyond the days of meathooks and rust stains. The best alternative is line made of Spectra or Dyneema, which stretches less than the 7x19 wire that was once used for halyards. Until recently, all braided lines have shared similar construction characteristics, a strong core inside a protective sheath that added little to the overall strength of the line. At a recent boat show, I met the guys importing Paraloc lines from Europe, R&W Rope Warehouse. In Paraloc's Piranha line, an abrasion-resistant, hand-friendly polyester sheath is woven and interlocked with strong, super-low-stretch Dyneema. This means that halyards won't suffer damage from slippage or heat from friction between the core and sheath when they're left under tension in rope clutches or other cleats. The company also makes low-stretch polyester lines that appeal to the more budget-minded boat owner.
$4 per foot for 7/16-inch Piranha, (508) 995-1114, www.mamutec.com

****| |The Clamp Jacket from PYI |

Save Your Hands
Sometimes the smallest things are the ones that I find most useful on the boat. I can't remember how many times I've sliced my hands on a metal hose clamp. The pain and the blood as well as the unsanitary properties are enough to make me wish that the Clamp Jacket from PYI had been available earlier. A simple bit of rubber that slips over the sharp exposed end of the hose clamp, the Jacket's a guaranteed skin saver that's also resistant to heat up to 300 F and to most of the fluids found in an engine room.
$6 for 25, (800) 523-7558, www.clampjacket.com

****| |Cheap Sextant by Celestaire|

Celestial Navigation on the Cheap
You could go and buy a beautiful brass sextant for $2,000, and after the pain of spending that much money wore off, you'd no doubt cherish that fine instrument. But if you don't feel like parting with the dinero, there are alternatives. One is what Celestaire bills as the Cheap Sextant. It's a cardboard affair that comes as a kit and takes about an hour to assemble. In no way is it an all-weather instrument, and it won't be much use for stars, but the manufacturer claims that it's accurate to within 8 minutes for sun shots.
$25, (316) 686-9785, www.celestaire.com

****| |Harbormaster Tool|

Hoist That Hook
Steven Pixley, harbormaster in the busy sailing town of Camden, Maine, has come up with a handy invention. As part of his job, he regularly inspects the town's moorings, and he developed the Harbormaster Tool to make hoisting mooring chains easier. It's pretty easy to see how this tool would be useful for the cruising sailor whose boat carries an all-chain rode. The tool opens to fit around the rode, and you then lower it down the chain; when you put tension on the retriever line, the tool grabs a link of chain, and you can hoist away. Be sure to check out the videos on Pixley's website.
$150, (207) 691-4314, www.harbormastertool.com

****| |WindMate 200|

Weather in the Palm of Your Hand
These handheld weather devices will come in handy on just about any boat. Either fits in a pocket, and both give surprisingly accurate wind-speed readings in addition to performing several other useful functions.

Speedtech's WindMate 200 folds into its protective case like a pocketknife. A small vane helps you decide when it's pointing straight into the wind so you get an accurate reading. A screen presents readouts from a digital compass as well as wind speed, temperature, wind chill, and wind direction.
$125, (703) 430-8055 www.speedtech.com

****| |Skywatch Xplorer 4|

The Skywatch Xplorer 4 is also an all-in-one pocket instrument. It does everything that the WindMate does, but in addition, it tracks barometric pressure and from that calculates altitude, so you can see exactly how high that hill you hiked up was.
$140, (949) 588-1470, www.oceanequipment.com