How many times have you had to hand over the helm to your first mate, scramble belowdeck, remove a bit of the cabin sole, unscrew your paddle-wheel speed transducer, then deal with a handful of mucky growth that has fouled the unit? NKE's new Ultrasonic speed sensor puts an end to such chores. This unit, which can be painted with antifouling without reducing its accuracy, comes in two basic flavors: one version works with NKE gear and the
other is compatible with third-party electronics. The sensor can read speeds as low as 0.3 knots (not that any of us ever get becalmed on a racecourse), and as high as 50 knots (that's a bit more like it), and can also monitor water temperature. $985.
EuroMarine Trading, Inc., 401-849-0060, www.euromarinetrading.com
Many sailors are all too familiar with the problem of dock lines being dragged up and down pilings as the tide rises and falls. To keep lines from chafing Dr. Shrink has created TideMinders: "virtually indestructible" parrel beads that can be installed on dock lines. Simply thread your dock line through the beads, tying figure-eight knots on either side of each one to create the right spacing, then slip the line over the piling. This is a new variation of an old idea, but clever nonetheless. $49.99 for a package of 9 TideMinders. Dr. Shrink, 800-968-5147, www.dr-shrink.com
If you sail offshore, you know you need full-on foul-weather gear that can withstand a direct hit from a firehose and still keep you dry. The best offshore gear is typically made of a heavy-duty breathable fabric with tape-sealed seams, plenty of pockets and a fully utilitarian hood with reflective tape on its top section. It will have well thought-out wrist seals and a collar that'll keep out the rain and spray. Much like Henri Lloyd's Ocean Racer Smock and Hi-Fit Trousers, in fact. I've had this gear for a year and a half, and I've been impressed with its seaworthiness.
Go to sailmagazine.com for the full report GEAR REVIEW: HENRI LLOYD OCEAN RACER