Recent Articles in Gear Tests

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

The Search for an Effective and Environmentally-Safe Antifouling

The purpose of antifouling is to prevent marine plants and animals from colonising the hull, and the easiest way to do this is by killing them. The ocean is brim full of planktonic larvae and planktonic algal spores whose further development depends on their finding a suitable surface whereon to rest their travel-weary selves and develop into something more adult. Flotsam, and most kinds of jetsam, are surfaces quite suitable enough. Ultra-slippery fast moving things escape the grasp of the…

Fautasi LED Cabin Light

All cruising boats must be self-sufficient in terms of electricity, and so the less of it which they have to use, the better. Lighting is a major part of the electrical consumption of many boats – but this consumption can be vastly reduced by using efficient lighting such as LEDs. In a previous article we discussed an excellent anchor light produced by a small company in Fiji called Bebi Electronics. This light is at least as bright as a conventional…

Decathlon Oilskins / Guy Cotten Oilskins

Oilies have come a long way since I was a kid. Way back then, we wore either heavy-duty canvas smocks or stiff, plastic-coated cotton ones. I guess the plastic-coated cloth must have been the hip new thing. Next to come along were thin nylon jackets more suited to trekking in a light drizzle than to fending off buckets of seawater, but the quality of these garments rapidly improved – the nylon cloth became thicker and more waterproof, and the design…

The Search for a Suitable Sailing Tender

One of the all time favourite pursuits of a sea-going child is messing about in a boat. But not the big boat. No, if your seafaring youngster is under the age of twelve then handling the mothership will probably hold little allure for him; he (or she) simply won’t have the strength to manage the genoa or the patience to helm for more than half an hour on the same heading. Big boat sailing is actually quite boring for little…

Coppercoat Antifouling On Test

Well, almost a year has passed since we slipped the boat and slapped on a coat of copper antifouling. So, it’s time we let you know how things are doing down there, under the water. To recap: Before we built Mollymawk we used to own a GRP yacht, and a year or so before we sold her she was painted with Copperbot, the original copper-impregnated epoxy antifouling. This type of antifouling is said to be less damaging to the environment…

LED Anchor Lights

Some years ago we found ourselves drifting along under full sail on a night with no moon. We were not going far, and we had hoped to be at anchor before nightfall, but since there was no wind – and since we don’t believe in using the engine except in time of need – a two hour sprint had been transformed into an eight-hour marathon. So there we were lazing along at scarcely half a knot, with our island destination…

CREWSAVER v BALTIC – Sprayhoods and Jackets compared

You don’t have to have given very much thought to the matter of falling overboard from a yacht to have realised that a lifejacket may not save your life. You don’t have to have crossed an ocean to have seen the spray tumbling down the face of the waves, and if you have ever swum at the beach you will surely have no difficulty in putting two and two together. Swimming at the beach is not like charging up and…

Testing the Crewfit Junior and Crewfit Adult Lifejackets

WHY TEST YOUR LIFEJACKET ? The majority of yachtsmen never, ever use their lifejackets. They may wear them on deck but most are careful enough – or lucky enough – never to fall in, and most are blasé enough – or careless enough – never to get round to trying them out in the water. This makes no sense. How many times have you bought something – a camera, perhaps, or a tool, or a cooking utensil – and found…

Foul Deeds

Antifoul has always been a hot topic aboard Mollymawk. We have always been troubled by the knowledge that conventional antifouling paints are expensive, highly toxic and, to a large extent, ineffective. Eight years have passed since we last slipped the boat and slapped on a coat of something nasty. In the intervening years we have kept a listening watch, hoping to hear of some new discovery which will solve our worries. Surely, there must be something which is bad for…

Ship’s Dog Tests her Lifejacket

Today the ship’s dog finally took the plunge. All summer long she has been making a nuisance of herself, barking madly and snapping at the heels of anyone who jumps or dives from the side-deck – so we decided that it was high time she joined in the fun.