A kid in a toy store….
This is what yachtsmen feel when they enter a ship chandler: the temptation to buy everything is very strong.
When Francesca said goodbye to us, one of our Daydreamer’s cabins literally turned into a storage room, completely full of accessories to test.
Here you are our personal selection and rank of the 10 “must-have” boat accessories.
Number 10 is a fast fender hook. Conservative sailors maybe will sniff at it in favour of a traditional clove hitch but we would like to share the concept of a boat where even a novice can give a hand and enjoy his trip without feeling like a schoolboy.
This item is called Fastfender and, we must admit it, its working is something extremely clever: you only have to put in on stays and turn it 90 degrees. The model we tested has a rope with a diameter up to 8 mm blocked by a specific clasp which regulates our fender’s height. The item is available both for sailing and motor boats.
Available from 14.00€
Number 9 is the horsehoe life vest by Plastimo. It’s available in the colours white and orange but we particularly love the yellow version with replaceable cover.
The horsehoe model, not yet approved in Italy, is better than the traditional ring-shaped one because its shape makes it more efficient.
It has a buoyancy of 147 N, with a special shape and consistence designed to support the back without causing injuries during the rescue, especially in hard sea conditions.
Comfortable and hard-wearing, it’s safe and easy to use.
Available from 41.00 €
A slightly reddish patina ruins the stainless steel parts of our boats. We have already tried lot of products but, although too expensive, they were completely unsuccessful.
Among the accessories to test, we found this green, almost anonymous, vial. The labels says “Radiant, boat cleaner with no acid. Effective on stainless steel, brass and washable surfaces”.
Despite our skepticism, we took a sponge and a moist cloth and we started to clean our 30-year-old rusty baby stay turnbuckle. To our great surprise, after few applications, rust disappears.
Like Karate Kid discovered his skills, we equally exulted when the sparkling turnbuckle strikes our eyes.
This product really works! We looked our Daydreamer’s 14 metres of stainless steel and we were tempted to ask Francesca for more product….
Price: from 17.00 €
Who has never felt frustrated in not finding the right place where to fix something on board, maybe an ipad used as plotter, a gps device, a small buoy or even a solar panel.
We tested the new plastic clips by Plastimo and the stainless clamps and fast hooks by FNI.
We immediately understood that we would not have need any skilled craftsmen to fix clamps and supports because these products allow to fix our accessories anywhere, which means a significant time and money savings.
They are very simple to use: you only need to fix your accessory through a screw on the counter-plate or directly on the plasticlip and then close the ends of the plasticlip around the accessory through the screws supplied.
In the case of the stainless steel clamp, one of its parts is already threated and ready to receive the necessary screws.
In both cases, grip is excellent, so we just have to charge our gadget (if electrical) and enjoy our cruise.
We used the fast nylon clamp to fix our boat hook which always risks getting lost around the boat.
Price from 9.00 €
Number five is a couple of handle and brush by Deckmate. We had already tried several handles: telescopic, fixed, cheap, expensive but they always bent while we rubbed our loved teak deck.
Then, we tested and stresses this handle ( a test is a test, after all) but we didn’t manage to bend it.
The soft brush cleaned our teak bridge very well, a practical evidence of Deckmate’s high quality.
Prices: the handle is available from 19.00€, the brush from 29.00€
We are real sailors and we generally don’t love bulky equipment, so when Francesca gave us two hulking items (100 x 48 cm) called Comfort Seats, we sniffed at them, we put them in our cabin-warehouse and, fortunately, we managed to stow them without any problem thanks to their thickness of just 8 cm.
Then, we sailed off and during our cruise from Elba to Solenzara, we decided to put the two seats on the bow and test them.
After just 10 minutes, we decided that Francesca will never see her seats again….they’re too comfortable!
The seat is extremely stable and provided with an inclination adjustment system.
Later, we used the seats in the cockpit and even on the helmsman’s bench. They maintained their comfort and, if they fall in water, they float very well.
In roadstead, of course, they give their best, so don’t be surprised if they’ve conquered such an important place in our rank.
Available from 110.00 €
At the third place, a couple of Plastimo life jackets.
Beautiful and functional, EVO 165 have a buoyance of 165 N for any circumstance. Despite many other models, often abandoned in the locker and never wore because they’re too bulky, these life jackets are very comfortable.
Short cut on chest combined with rounded shape provide superior comfort and mobility, together with a foam padded patch on stomach.
The waist belt is available in both automatic and manual activation system.
Plastimo makes available lots of refills on the whole Mediterranean market.
Price: from 130.00 €
Just a step closer to number one, we find a very useful genial accessory which allowed us to avoid funnels
and any loss of fuel while refuelling.
For example, many of you know that filling the tender tank in rough sea is a very difficult thing.
In order to refuel, we have to place the can much higher than the tank, put a tube end and the valve into the can and the other one inside the tank. As a result of the “law of connected vessels”, if you shake the tube valveside (and that’s the genial element), the tube fills with petrol and this flows towards the tank even if our tender won’t collaborate.
We tested and used the small version (there’s another one of 30 l/min) with an overall range of 10 l/m and we found it very good even to pour gasoline from our spare can to the boat tank.
Price: from 19.00 €
Finally, number one! Here, we find a very important and reliable accessory that we have used every day until now: the famous anchor chain hook called Chain Clower.
The market offers several models of this extraordinary accessory but this one is really well-designed and extremeley reliable.
Its use offers lot of advantages: first of all, the windlass doesn’t wear out and there are no vibrations when the boat is at anchor with a little wind.
If you prefer a soft and safe mooring, you can read this article, whose test has been taken during our cruise.
Price: from 18.00 €
As already said at the beginning of this long article, this is just a personal rank. Our top recommendation is to create your own one, according to your habits and needs.