Gaffer Tape

Duct tape is a staple in the kit for shops, camps, and boats, but for many jobs, there’s a better product: gaffer tape. It’s made of heavy cotton fabric and, unlike duct tape, does not have a slick polyethylene coating. It adheres with a synthetic rubber adhesive (SRA) that does not leave residue behind, as duct tape’s adhesive does, when it is removed. The tape has a nice look and feel, and does not become oily and sticky like some other types of multi-purpose tape. Gaffer tape has excellent adhesion and sticks well to the wooden, metal, and fiberglass surfaces on our fleet of boats, and it conforms to many different shapes.

Vintage 3-Strand from New England Ropes

The product we chose for ST. JACQUES was New England Ropes’ Vintage 3-Strand. It is a 100% polyester blend of spun and filament yarn that is UV stable. The spun yarn is made of softer, shorter lengths that are blended with the longer and stronger filament yarns. Vintage 3-Strand is available in nine different diameters ranging from 5/32″ up to 1″. Tensile strength of the line runs from 730 lbs for 5/32″ line up to 20,200 lbs for 1″, well in excess of the performance required by our small sprit rig. The line has low stretch properties, which make it acceptable for use in both running and standing rigging. The two colors available are Natural, a convincing hemp lookalike, and Noir, which looks like tarred line.

Grayl’s Geopress Water-Treatment System

The filter uses a combination of ceramic fibers for particulate removal, positively charged ions to bind pathogens, and activated carbon to adsorb chemicals and impurities. The manufacturer claims that the Grayl filter removes 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses, and 99.9% of protozoa, claims that have I found verified by independent laboratory tests for the similar Grayl Ultralight model. Replacement filters are available, and recommended after filtering 65 gallons of water (350 cycles), or when the time needed to press the inner bottle into the outer shell nears 25 seconds. The filters include the gasket, so that critical part is regularly replaced.

MaxxHaul Trailer Dolly

The first time I used the dolly—on the trailer I don’t have outfitted with a jack—I was impressed with how easily it can lift the trailer’s tongue from the ground. Raising the handle lowers the hitch ball, and after the ball is steered under the socket of the trailer’s coupler, lowering the handle lifts the tongue. The long handle not only provides a lot of mechanical advantage—4.4 to 1—but also entirely eliminates the back strain of lifting the tongue up by hand. I just have to put my weight on the handle to push it down. The tongue weight on the trailer I’ve been using the dolly on is 137 lbs and the weight of the trailer and the Caledonia yawl it carries is between about 1200 lbs. MaxxHaul sets the dolly’s capacity at 600 lbs, so even though I’m doubling the working weight, the dolly hasn’t shown any sign that it’s suffering under the load.

Gill Deckhand Gloves

The Deckhand Gloves have lightweight polyester-spandex shells with doubled synthetic suede Amara reinforcements and padding. None of these materials hold much water, so they dry fast. The elasticity of the shell makes it much easier to put on and take off than a leather glove. A side benefit is that the materials provide UV50+ protection, an important factor for us in Florida.

Outboard Extension Handles

Having the HelmsMate’s U-joint locked out provides positive control of the motor, and I was comfortable using even the full extension while pushing 5 knots. With the diagonal slot tightening the connection and the socket squeezed tight on the tiller handle, the only play is in the tiller’s connection to the motor head. I like motoring standing up, and the HelmsMate, locked straight, works very well for that.

Grappling Hooks

The grappling hook (also known as a grappling iron or grapnel) that I made a while back from some stainless-steel rod and a few cable ties worked well enough, but it was an awkward and dangerous thing to keep in a small boat. It rested with one claw pointing straight up, like a caltrop, an ancient and wicked device of war that wounded anyone unlucky enough to step on it. Modern grappling hooks aren’t so hazardous. I found two different types, both welcome to stay aboard until there’s a call to retrieve something underwater.

Circular-Saw-Blade Sharpener

If Harbor Freight would offer wheels with finer grit, there’d be hope for the sharpener, but the 180-grit wheels that are supplied with the machine and available as replacements are brutal on carbide saw teeth. I have two diamond sharpeners from EZE-Lap Diamond Products with four grades of diamonds on aluminum handles about the size of tongue depressors. The grits are rated from 250 to 1200, and the 250 grit is designated as “coarse.” That puts the 180-grit wheel on Harbor Freight’s circular saw sharpener into the proper perspective—coarser than coarse.

Rolling Relief for Boat Trailers

Croft makes a pneumatic-wheel kit with dual 10″ wheels. The plated-steel hubs have grease fittings to lubricate the axle and bushings. Between the wheels is a plated-steel caster plate with a 2″ socket. At $90, the kit seemed pricey, but the other option I’d considered, a two-wheeled hand dolly, costs about the same. I often need to move the trailer when I’m away from home, and a hand dolly isn’t easy to carry along.

Dust Deputy Cyclone Separator

We do a lot of sanding for our small-boat restorations and builds, and have relied upon a shop vacuum to collect dust. It does the job but leaves us with bags to empty and filters to clean or replace, which is messy and costly. That changed when we bought an Oneida Dust Deputy cyclone separator to collect the dust on its way to the Shop-Vac. The device uses cyclonic airflow to separate dust and heavier particles, drops the debris into a collection bucket, and sends cleaned air to the vacuum.

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