New Gear – April 2006

A Sail for Riding

Most boats don’t behave as well when anchored with rope rode as they do when lying to chain. They tend to sheer about much more, especially in wind-against-tide scenarios, which is bad for your nerves—and those of your neighbors. One way of coping with this is to set a riding sail on the backstay to help keep the bow pointed into the wind. You could make one of these yourself, or you could order one of Banner Bay Marine’s lightweight (4.9-ounce cloth) and colorful purpose-built riding sails. The Pointer #1C, for boats up to 32 feet, sells for $250; the #2C, for boats up to 42 feet, is $315. They’ll build you a larger one if you want. Banner Bay Marine, 201-452-2834,

Solar Hatch

Sometimes it can be tricky to find a good place on board to mount a solar panel. Here’s a neat idea from the German company Sunovation, which fits its solar cells to deck hatches; there’s something organic about a gizmo that both blocks sunlight and uses that same light to generate power. The photo shows a Gebo hatch fitted with semi-transparent Sunways power cells that generate about 16 watts in good conditions. This is a custom installation; the company also makes more traditional high-output solar panels, from $290 depending on size and output. Sunovation USA, 770-867-9578,

Mold Cleaner
The unusually mild and wet winter in the Northeast had one drawback, as I discovered during a midwinter boat check—the conditions were ideal for mildew. There are various ways of getting rid of this pestilence, but it always seems to return. YachtBrite claims its enzyme-based Moldaway powder will kill off those pesky mold spores as well as clean up stains. Dissolved in water, the nontoxic, biodegradable powder can be used to clean canvas, vinyl, wood, fabrics, and other materials. $11.99 per 12-ounce can. YachtBrite, 800-643-2316,

Two’s Company

Sea Breathe’s new 2300-F floating dive compressor will supply air to two divers. Powered by a 12-volt sealed battery, the “electric snorkel” will let you dive down to 25 feet for up to 60 minutes. This looks like a good alternative to carrying scuba tanks on board. Not only would it lend a new dimension to snorkeling, but should you need to clean the bottom or untangle a fouled propeller, you’d be glad you made the investment. $2,280. Scu-Buoy Products Inc, 604-864-0978,

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