Here are some of my personal ideas for those heading to the fall boat shows for gear and electronics upgrades that will make sailing and cruising safer and more fun.
Folding or feathering propeller: If you are sailing with a fixed three-bladed propeller, you are essentially dragging a bucket behind you. Modern folding and feathering propellers are design marvels that will perform well under power but will add up to a knot of boat speed under sail.
Modern anchors: For those who have not yet moved up to the latest design in anchors, the new models are much better than the old styles we may have grown up with. Modern designs with sharp tips, wider bodies and roll bars set quickly and securely and will hold in mud, sand and even grassy bottoms. You’ll sleep better lying to a modern anchor.
Automatic Identification Systems: In my estimation, AIS transceivers have added more to safety at sea than anything else since the introduction of GPS. All marine electronics brands have AIS units that can be easily added to their multifunction displays and GPS systems.
Electric winches: Pricey, I’ll admit, but for sailors who want to extend their cruising into their later years, retrofitting electric motors to existing winches will be a game changer. All the major brands have retro kits available. Or, you can buy a portable, rechargeable winch grinder to help with the heavy lifting.
IridiumGo: Even if you are not heading over the horizon to landfalls far and wide, having an inexpensive and highly reliable way to communicate worldwide via satellites is a great modern solution to all kinds of communication, weather and safety concerns.
Enjoy the shows.