We’ve identified a number of great products that will enhance our cruising lifestyle and keep you safe while doing it (published December 2014)
Creators of stylish and sustainable eye wear, ZEAL Optics in Boulder, Colorado, might be better known for protecting skiers’ eyes. But their unique selection of polarized, impact-resistant sunglasses meets the demands of water people, too. Committed to the environment, ZEAL uses resin from the castor plant—rather than petroleum-based products—for 100 percent of its frames and plant-based material for many lenses. This doesn’t mean they skimp on quality: the three ZEAL models I’ve tried all exceed the sunglasses I’ve worn previously in clarity, glare reduction and comfort. The frames are slightly adjustable so they’ll fit you perfectly and there’s even a model for very small faces. Most lenses can also be made to your prescription in ZEAL’s own zero-waste Rx lab. They have “crafted” and “lifestyle” collections for going ashore somewhere fashionable and “active” and “performance” collections for your days out on the water. For more information visit www.zealoptics.com. —Contributed by Ellen Massey Leonard
With a decade’s worth of experience developing GRIB analysis tools for circumnavigators, expeditions and explorers, OCENS has recently launched a new user-friendly iPad app called GRIB Explorer Plus. GE Plus merges the unparalleled weather, ocean data processing power of its PC and Mac versions with the dexterity of the iPad platform. Using any Wi-Fi connection, including Wi-Fi enabled satellite phones such as the Iridium GO, Globalstar Sat-Fi and others, you can access and download data files anywhere in the world from the all-encompassing OCENS Everon weather servers. GRIB data is then overlaid on super resolution earth imagery for any location in the world. GRIB Explorer Plus works with any GRIB that is formatted in a manner consistent with WMO GRIB1 standards, including those acquired via email or web sources. For more information visit www.ocens.com.
One product that we were particularly interested in learning more about at the Annapolis show was the new line of Elco electric outboard engines. A builder of quality electric and hybrid motors for 120 years, Elco launched their new outboard engines in August with 5, 7 and 9.9 horsepower models. Similar in look to any gasoline-powered outboard, Elco’s engines have a standard and long shaft lower unit, kill switch, tiller steering and throttle, and are water-cooled. They are also available with an LCD screen to tell you your power consumption, gear setting, rotation rate, voltage, current and more. Plus, the Elco website has a way for you to choose your engine and the various components so you can customize it for your specific needs. For more information visit www.elcomotoryachts.com.
Ocean Rodeo Drysuits
With so many options in foul weather gear these days it’s tough to distinguish when something truly new and innovative comes on the scene—not so with Ocean Rodeo’s new line of drysuits turned foul weather gear. Or is it the other way around? Ocean Rodeo, know worldwide for making quality kiteboarding gear, has developed the Ignite drysuit/foul weather suit that merges the comfort of foulies with the functionality of a drysuit to keep you 100 percent dry. Able to be worn in two modes, “full dry” and “standby mode,” the suit looks like a two-piece set of foul weather gear that is actually one piece with a removable neck seal. Breathable yet completely waterproof, you can convert from full dry mode to standby even while wearing a PFD. BWS is currently testing the suit while cruising the rainy Pacific Northwest this winter, so stay tuned for the full review. For more information visit www.oceanrodeo.com.
We came across Sailmon at the Annapolis Sailboat Show in October and were thoroughly impressed with their unique, ultra-modern displays. Extraordinarily easy to view day or night, fog or rain, Sailmon’s sleek line of instruments can be bulkhead mounted or affixed to the mast. Designed and built for racing yachts as well as blue water voyagers, the displays are wired through the Sailmon-Sbox that allows you to display all the relevant data you may need: wind, heading, speed, depth and more. And because the Sailmon system has its own operating system, you can view all the data on your tablet, smartphone or computer. Also, the displays speak to most major marine electronic brands, so you can upgrade to Sailmon displays without having to purchase a whole new electronics package. For more information visit www.sailmon.com.
Enjoying a good anchorage, why not share it? The cruising community is generally a helpful lot and Good Anchorage is just that, a way for cruisers to help each other by sharing info on anchorages and the characteristics that make them notable and interesting. An innovator in marine information technologies, Good Anchorage specializes in sharing live, accurate anchorage data, weather, local news and service information for sailors around the globe. The company launched globally with more than 3,000 anchorages from Antarctica to Greenland, the USA to Australia and everything in between, with the goal to provide 50,000 certified anchorages covering all maritime nations by 2018. It is a sharing service free to mariners that also allows users that have a business, agency or even a marina, to choose their business name, URL or blog address as their user name. For more information visit www.goodanchorage.com.
Manufactured in Turkey and relatively new to the North American sailing market, Kaya Ropes has a full lineup of products for marine applications. We stopped by their booth at the Annapolis Sailboat Show to find out what they are all about and it turns out they manufacture just about any line you could need for your cruising or performance sailboat including nylon double braid, high tech, 12 strand Dyneema and an assortment of braided mooring lines in a host of unique colors. To see what they have available for purchase visit www.ropesandropes.com and to find out more about the company visit www.kayaropes.com.
New Generation Edson Pump
It’s hard to know what Jacob Edson had in mind longevity wise when he invented the diaphragm pump in 1856. But it’s pretty clear that nearly 160 years later the basic premise of being able to quickly and efficiently get water out of a boat still lives on for offshore sailors the world over. And even though Edson’s venerable pumps have been held in high esteem for sometime, they’ve continued to make improvements to the way we use diaphragm pumps aboard, which is exactly what they’ve done with their newest pump. Hidden behind a bulkhead and able to accept a handle through a flush-mounted socket, the Edson Flush-Mount High-Capacity Pump is available in two capacities: 30 gallon-per-minute and 18 gallon-per-minute. Each pump is made with reliable marine grade components that have been tested to withstand three million cycles. We hope you never need to use that many, but you surely can if you need to. For more information visit www.edsonmarine.com.
Starpath Mintaka Duo—A Dual-Sensor Precision Barograph
Sailors have depended on an accurate barometer for many years, and even in the satellite age, accurate barometric pressure remains the most important indicator needed for weather tactics in the middle of the ocean or on inland waters. The Mintaka Duo has been designed by Starpath Navigation engineers specifically to help mariners evaluate present conditions and forecasts. Know with certainty if you are getting closer to a high or a moving front on an ocean route, or anticipate local wind development on inland waters. It automatically records pressures at the synoptic times to compare with weather maps and computes the NWS-defined values of the pressure tendency and the tendency characteristic code and symbol shown on weather maps. You can easily view the barograph trace over the past 30 minutes or past 120 days and data can be downloaded to a Mac or PC, which can also be used to control the unit. For more information visit www.starpath.com.
We all have chips and dings in our fiberglass and gelcoat that need to be repaired, but we either don’t want to take the time to do it or go to the expense of having someone else do it for us: enter Magic Ezy. Able to repair chips, nicks, gouges, small holes, medium cracks and deep scratches on fiberglass, gelcoat, ceramics and more, Magic Ezy’s 9 Second Chip Fix comes in 11 colors so you can match it to any existing surface. With no need for a catalyst or for the hassle of prep-work and color matching, you can use this revolutionary nano-filler to bond, fill, level and color damaged surfaces in seconds. For more information, including helpful how-to articles and videos, visit www.magicezy.com or www.ab-marine.com.