Sailing is a very gear intensive activity, and you you need gear that works. A 30 knot wind and breaking waves isn’t the time to discover problems with a critical piece of equipment. Like most cruisers, when we purchase something, we do a lot of research first. We’ll look at the website, check out sailing forums and other reviews.
We’ll often review our gear. We have have one of the most rigorous testing laboratories in the sailing community, three boys under the age of twelve. Practical Sailor has nothing on us!
Occasionally, the companies behind the gear we use become sponsors by generously providing it for free or at a discount. We are grateful for their help in sharing our adventure and making it possible.
If you want great action shots in harsh environments, there is nothing better than the GoPro camera. Built for use in the sand, sun and sea, the strong waterproof casing also makes them kid-proof! We use our Hero 3+ for action shots, video, checking the propellor and with the LCD back a super small point and shoot.
If you want peace of mind at night, you need to be using a modern design anchor rather than a CQR or Danforth, Spade anchors are a high quality example of the modern breed of anchor design. They’ll hold you tight for a much smaller anchor size.
Any cursory review tells prospective cruisers that the most critical part of their gear is their ground tackle. Mantus Anchors is an example of a modern design anchor with outstanding holding power. We are using their Mantus Bridle as our main snubber to control our motion at anchor and absorb shock loads.
Better known for it’s high quality dinghies, Walker Bay also has a line of great inflatable stand up paddle boards, the Airis. We have the 9′ stubby on board and the kids love tooling around on it, and we love that they can inflate and carry it by themselves. Check out our video review of the Airis SUP.
When searching for microfiber pack towels, we came across a new company, YogaRat, founded in 2008 and based in Santa Monica, California. As well as yoga-related products, they make an affordable range of pack towels. Their RatTowel is the “Official Towel of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association”. Their commitment to the environment attracted us to their products, and the boys couldn’t resist being wrapped up in something with a Rat in the name!
Imtra make a huge range of marine products. From LED Lighting to Anchoring systems Imtra manufactures and sources the world’s finest marine equipment while also providing unmatched service and support. One of their product ranges are the Nauta Marine Flexible Fuel Bladders. Our 1974 Tartan has a very small diesel tank, back then, engines were used just to get to the racing start line. We needed a way to carry additional fuel without tying down jerry fuel cans on deck than can be swept away. We are using a 25 gallon Nauta flexible fuel bladder from Imtra.
As former backpackers (pre-children), we were familiar with Sea to Summit. A worldwide manufacturer of high quality outdoor, backpacking and travel products and accessories, their gear focusses on being highly compact and durable. We reached out to get a set of their compact pack towels as an alternative to big bulky beach towels.
We needed a back up wind meter and discovered a new innovative product from Vaavud. It uses simple technology to integrate with a smartphone to provide fast and easy wind speed measurements. We’ve been using it as a quick check on wind without having to power up our main system. You can read our Vaavud Wind Meter review here.
It seems if you are a cruiser these days, not only do you need lots of gear, you also need a website. Sailingwithkids is not different. I created our website using the open source blog platform called wordpress. As a former professional blogger, I know that designing the website is only half the work, you then need a rock solid webhost that provides great support and performance. As a customer of Synthesis for compassdesigns.net, I also use their same managed WordPress hosting for sailingwithkids.net.
Left Hook Digital
When you are away from a good internet connection, it helps for your web tools to run automatically. Left Hook Digital are experts in helping businesses and people automate their integrations using Zapier. For example, you can get Chris Parker’s weather email to automatically go to a SMS!