Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Product endorsements

I thought I would plug a few things that we are very pleased with.

Nestle Nido - Mexican whole dried milk (leche entera). This keeps 7 months without refrigeration and still actually tastes like milk when made up with some nice cold water. Not sure we can buy this in Canada or the US?

Alpenglow lights. I have said good things about these before, but it is worth restating that these folks, based out of the US, make wonderful interior lights that take little power, provide pleasant warm light, and are reasonably priced - I wish there were more companies like this that actually made good stuff in North America.

Garhauer - our hard vang, main sheet blocks, and running backstays are all made by Garhauer - another US company that makes marvelous stuff at good prices. No problems with any of their products beyond some wear to some fibre glass spacer washers in the vang assembly. They are made of good steel with oversized bearing races that require little or no maintenance beyond an occasional wash down. Other gear under similar loads (the traveler assembly) has not fared so well.

Monitor wind vane - another US built product that is very well engineered, requires almost no maintenance, and works well in most wind conditions, so long as one makes an effort to balance the boat and keep the weather helm within reason. We have had friends with other wind vanes who have had nothing but trouble getting their vanes to steer the boat, even in moderate conditions. Several friends fitted a vane made by an English manufacturer whose vane uses a secondary rudder to steer the boat. A couple of them are happy, but most have had major difficulties with the vane and one told me they only use it as a back-up for their electric auto-pilot. The Monitor is a servo pendulum vane, which uses water forces to amplify the steering force of the wind. This gives it the power to handle heavy conditions. The product is made of stainless steel with plastic bushings and pulleys. So far, we have sailed more than 7000 miles under vane steering and have had no maintenance to do other than end-for-ending the steering lines due to chafe and re-lashing the turning blocks to the stanchions when my lashings chafed through. The vane on our boat was second hand when installed and we still have the complete re-build kit that comes with the new product, so I would guess it has worked for at least 10,000 hours with no rebuild.

PrincetonTec waterproof flashlight. Had this for 7 years and use it every day on the boat - one bulb change. Still waterproof.

Whale foot pumps - we use these in the galley every day as we have no pressure system. They allow two handed washing and have been completely reliable. I suspect they are original to the boat (25 years old). I believe they are made in the UK.

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