Gear and Reviews
New Gear - March 2008
Edited by David Schmidt
Early-season sailing’s burly temps and biting winds demand extra-warm clothing, like this Solo jacket from Arc’Teryx. The Solo is an insulating layer intended to be worn under a shell or foul-weather jacket; it relies on ThermaTek insulation, a hydrophobic, hollow-fiber filament that packs big heat, for its minimal weight and bulk. The Solo features articulated elbows for ease of movement, dual hand pockets, elastic cuffs, and an internal pocket that doubles as a stuff-it pouch. $300. Arcteryx, 604-960-3001, www.arcteryx.com
The Petzl e+LITE is one of the few pieces of kit to make it on to my must-have list. The headlamp has one red and three white LED bulbs on a tiny swivel-mounted head. A selection switch makes it easy to choose from the e+LITE’s different settings, even with gloves on; its storage mode ensures that the light won’t accidentally illuminate your pocket. The headlamp has five settings: regular white, high-power white, flashing white, flashing red, and red. While the unit’s brightest setting isn’t as powerful as an ultra-bright LED, it’s more than powerful enough to serve as a backup/emergency light.
A long elastic lanyard with a sliding adjuster allows it to be worn as a headlamp, around the neck, or on the wrist, and a clip enables it to be attached to clothing. This clip could also be used to fasten the device on the leech of a sail to illuminate the telltales. $29.95.
Petzl, 801-926-1500, www.petzl.com
Slick A-Sail Furler
Facnor’s new Asym-FX asymmetric-spinnaker furler sports a continuous furling drum, where the sail’s tack attaches, and a swivel, where the head attaches. In between is a Kevlar anti-twist luff rope with a Spectra line attached halfway up. The other end of the line is stitched to the sail’s luff. To set, hoist the sail, then ease the furling line as you take in on the sheet. To furl, reverse this process, and the sail will be rolled up from the tack, head, and midpoint. The Asym-FX can be fitted to existing A-sails with some small sail modifications. Facnor makes kits that fit boats between 25 and 120 feet. $2,800 for a kit for a 42-footer. Charleston Spar, 704-597-1502, www.charlestonspar.com
Schaefer Marine released its Aero Tuff Luff (model A-1706) headstay foil, which fit forestays up to 5/16 inch in diameter, back in 2006. Now it’s introducing version 2.0, model A-2506, for boats with headstays up to 3/8 inch in diameter. The twin-track foil, made from a super-strong polycarbonate material, has a fine surface finish to reduce friction between the track and a sail’s boltrope, and a teardrop cross-section said to increase lift by 9 percent. From $920, depending on length. Schaefer Marine, 508-995-9511, www.schaefermarine.com