Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Works, What Doesn't and What we Bought at the Boat Show

Beaufort SC
2101 10 27

This year's purchases at Annapolis were few but important.  A new GPS driven EPIRB from ACR for $395 from Defender Industries and a rigid boomvang from Garhauer for $400.  Our old EPIRB was battery expired and a new battery from its Canadian maker was more than a new EPIRB in the USA.

The rigid boomvang is something we have wanted for a while and the Budget Committee allowed it was a proper expense to be included under the new rigging we installed in the spring.

New Products We Have Used To Both Good Effect and Bad

What Works

The Kindle 2.  Our new Kindle 2 from Amazon arrived last January.  I spend an hour or two every day with this marvellous replacement for a library. The Globe and Mail is delivered daily  by 6 a.m.  Buy this in the USA however as it costs only half as much as Canada,.

3M 5200 FastSet: This product is a must have for every boat.  It is used by many sailmakers for sail repairs and we used it to repair a 16 inch hole in our dinghy.  Nothing else would work.  3M is still working 8 months later.

LED Lights: I know I have written on this in the past but there is a new twist for Canadians.  A new retailer in Canada is selling first rate boat LEDs for less than the US price.  About a third less.  Tim MacKinlay runs where he sells the same LEDs as were sold by Cruising Solutions at Annapolis.  Tim sells for a lot lessk, about a third less.  These are nice warm LEDs not the stark white light you might fear.  Tim also sells LEDs by the foot with handy adhesive backing.  I have fixed three broken lights by removing the old bulbs and soldering in 4 inches of LEDs in thier place.  Current draw is very very low.

Don't bother telling Tim you heard about his site from me.  He is too cheap to give me a discount anyway.

Gray's Hardware Store, Beaufort SC: This store is a one stop shop for most boaters.  It has propane, high quality hardware, good quality Columbia clothing, marine supplies, and a full small appliance section all staffed, actually staffed by people who know their stuff and always drop whatever they are doing to walk you to the things you need.

What Doesn't

Gul Offshore Gear: The Budget Committee  some German offshore gear at the Toronto Boat Show a few ago.  It has not lasted.  The jacket delaminated after the first 2 months.  The pants have been worn 3 times and have also delaminated.  The BC bought Helly Hansen replacements at the Helly Hansen store in Annapolis.  Over my objections I might add.  Canada is at war with Norway over ownership of Hans Island.  Norway keeps giving its citizens cheap tours to Hans Island which the Norwegians selfishly claim as theirs in the face of our perfectly reasonable claim that it is all ours..  This attack on Canadian soil is met each time by the Canadian Coast Guard.  We learned that the last time the groupls met they had a big barbeque with lots of drink and food.  Our kind of war.

Cheap Fuel Containers from Walmart (Blitz brand): These containers are cheap but they do not stand up in sunlight.  Their life on deck of a sailboat is a few months at most.  Also their pouring mechanisms are slow and stupid.  We have found the Trident brand of container from Canada to be best but buy them in Canada to avoid silly American flow controllers that jack the price and slow the flow.

 Solar Panel Controllers that are Not as Potted as They Allege:  Our expensive pulse mode Monringstar solar panel controller received a very modest sprinkle of sea water when Meredith was pooped off Long Island.  Within 2 days it had failed completely.  On dissassembly we discovered the controler which we understood to have a sealed circuit board also had some surface mounted components which, in two days, had corroded through.  We do not know if this problem extends beyond Morningstar but be very careful.

That is it for now.

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