Recent Articles in Gear Tests

In which we put various items of nautical paraphernalia through their paces

SSB v Sat Phone

Twenty years ago we got caught out in a big storm. We’d set out from Argentina on a zephyr of a breeze, bound for the Falkland Islands. A couple of days later the wind began to fill in – and it kept on filling in until the seas were the size of small mountains. Each mountainous wave, towering above our mast, was capped by a snowy peak several times the size of the boat; and wherever the mountains tumbled over,…

Oilskins for Winter Sailing

It’s time I told you about our Mullion oilskins. A couple of years ago we were singing the praises of Decathlon’s cheap and cheerful breathable oilskin jackets; and we still reckon that those oilies are far better value for money than the leading name brands. But we’ve now come across something which knocks them into a corner. Credit for the discovery of this new brand of oilies goes to an Irish sailor who contacted us after reading about our journey…

Sugru for Sailors

Do you remember when Blu-Tack was first invented? It completely revolutionised the way we stuck posters and maps and pics on the wall. Well, Sugru is somehow vaguely reminiscent of Blu-Tack, but it’s even better. It’s a kind of modelling-clay come glue which sets to the consistency of a hard rubber and which is so versatile that it can be used to mend almost anything. In fact, it enables us to fix problems that we didn’t even know we had!…

The Best Kind of Kayak for Yotties

In our previous article we listed lots of jolly good reasons for carrying a kayak aboard your yacht. But kayaks and canoes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be made from all sorts of different materials. Which sort is best for carting about while you sail? Canoe or Kayak? To begin with, let’s sort out the nomenclature. What’s the difference between a kayak and a canoe? When I was a kid, whatever shape they were and…

Jolly Good Reasons to Carry a Kayak

Este articulo también está disponible en español: Buenos motivos para llevar un kayak a bordo. If it weren’t for our new kayak, the skipper may have become the first man to cross the River Plate in a rubber dinghy. Not that he was aiming to make it into the record books. All he was doing was rowing from the mothership to the shore, some 50 yards away to windward. Or rather, he would have been rowing, but having leapt aboard…

Buenos motivos para llevar un kayak a bordo

This article is also available in English: Jolly Good Reasons to Carry a Kayak. Si no fuera por el nuevo kayak, nuestro capitán podría haberse convertido en el primer hombre en cruzar el Río de la Plata en un gomón sin remos; aunque él no pretendía conseguir un lugar en los libros de récords, lo único que hacía era remar a barlovento desde el barco hacia tierra, a unos 50 metros de distancia. O, mejor dicho: habría remado, puesto que,…

Waterproof gloves for sailing

Most yotties don’t sail in the winter. If they’re the sort who have headed off over the horizon they arrive in the tropics and they stay there, travelling like plankton on the kindly winds and currents; and if they’re the kind who are content to cruise their local, European or North American coastline then, come the first frost, they hang up their oilskins and head for the pub. Indeed, most English yotties flee the water long before the first frost.…

New Sails

When we launched Mollymawk we had the good fortune to come across a set of second-hand sails which pretty much fitted the boat. They had never been out of the bag - they came from a home-built boat which was sold on before she was launched - and they were immaculate. But that was thirteen years ago, and sails, hard-used in the tropical sun, don’t last for more than ten years at best. When the chore of mending them on…

Bebi Vonu LED Cabin Lights

Old-fashioned halogen, incandescent, and fluorescent lights aboard a cruising yacht often form a major part of her power usage, and making the change to LED lights – both for interior lighting and for navigation lights – has the potential to make an enormous difference to the cruiser’s lifestyle. Whilst many people have already made the change, there are still plenty of yachts with inefficient and power-hungry lights. We have met several cruisers who sit in dimly-lit cabins or even use…

E-book Readers for Yotties (A review of the Kindle Touch)

For some time now we’ve been considering the pros and cons of an e-book reader. We yotties never seem to have enough room in the boat for all the books that we want to carry, and so a device which promises to house a thousand or more in one tiny space has obvious appeal. An e-book reader also seems to offer easy access to the hundreds of freebie books which can be downloaded from the internet. Of course, one can…