A Full-Featured VHF/GPS

The HX890 floats and is submersible down to 1-1/2 meters for 30 minutes, important features for boating kit. It functions as a standard VHF marine-band two-way radio and can transmit digital distress calls that include latitude and longitude provided by its 66-channel GPS receiver as well as a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, a unique nine-digit number that is assigned to Digital Selective Calling (DSC) transceivers. We obtained our number through BoatUS; it provides our names, address, emergency contacts and information about our boat. The MMSI number is entered into the HX890 during its initial setup.

Wen Band File

Just behind the front roller there are two base plates, one on top, one on the bottom, that make contact with the sanding belt and back it up for working a flat surface. The plates are slightly narrower than the sanding belts, so the belts can work into corners. Closer to the 6307’s body the belt is unsupported, so it will take a gentle curve for working convex contours and softening corners. The front roller has a diameter of 5/8” and can reach into concave surfaces, though it works like a gouge and can’t fair a curve.

Colonial’s Marlinspike Knife

The Marlinspike Knife has a hardened 440A stainless-steel 3″ blade with a deep fingernail groove for easy opening. The blade does not lock when open. The frame and pins in the knife are also stainless steel. The blade’s 2-5/8″ cutting edge is straight for its entire length, a very useful feature for cutting line. You can make a long draw cut without having to pivot the knife to keep the whole length of the edge on the rope. The sheepsfoot blade’s flat spine curves down to meet the cutting edge to make a point that reduces the chance of piercing injuries and the blade’s satin finish helps hide fingerprints.

Jackery Explorer 160

The Explorer 160 delivers that capacity in a 7.5″ x 4.75″ x 6.9″ package that weighs just under 4 lbs. The face of the unit has two ports for 12-volt power, one for charging the Explorer 160 with the included AC adapter or an optional solar panel, the other to supply power to electronic devices using the included cigarette-lighter socket and cord. There are three USB ports, one USB-C and two USB-A. A backlit LCD screen in the middle shows input and output in watts, a graphic of a battery showing the level of charge, and the percent charge remaining. With each device being charged, the display screen shows how many watts are being drawn.

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.

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