Sailing, like any other sporting activity, is subject to technological evolution. What seemed like the equipment of the future has become obsolete as the years have passed. There are accessories that have stayed, of course, and others that have turned out to be true “meteors.” In any case, in recent years we can describe the evolution of the accessories market as a race toward simplicity. The quest for increasingly easy sailing (read: easy sailing) has influenced the guidelines to be followed in designing a new product. This summer, when we finally left our editorial desks behind to devote ourselves to our passion, sailing, we had the opportunity to look around and understand the new trends in accessories, and as a result, we had fun compiling this list of summer “tops” and “flops.”
: FOAM LIFE PRESERVERS
Practical, lightweight, ergonomic. On board, they take up less space and can be worn without impeding freedom of movement: self-inflating jackets are now a constant presence on the boat, and you can find them on the market well accessorized models at more than affordable prices. Instead, we can say it: the time for traditional foam life jackets is coming to an end. Bulky, they can make the most athletic of sailors awkward (in movement and even aesthetically).
One only has to turn a little bit on Youtube to get an idea of how many people, in boats, mount action-cams to film their maritime exploits. Compact, already sold with their waterproof cases, they take HD video and ultra-high resolution photos. They can also be managed remotely. Inevitably, the rise of GoPro, Foolish, Virb, and related products has caused the decline of the old cameras: difficult to use, in need of often unobtainable and extremely expensive housings, and difficult to install in fixed locations on board. By now, even video professionals make extensive use of action-cams…
Never before have we seen such a boom in asymmetrics this summer-their comfort is obvious, especially while on vacation or with inexperienced crews. With the help of a whisk, you can roll them in total peace of mind, and having the fixed point of mura they are maneuverable in greater relaxation. While in the racing world spi and gennaker constitute two alternatives (depending on the wind and type of boat), in cruising the use of spinnaker has declined sharply: too strenuous and demanding. The search for the best VMG is a parameter that, on vacation, takes a back seat.
: INSTANTANEOUS BALL STOPPERS
: REPAIR KIT
More and more shipowners are buying instant sealing pastes, ingenious sea inlet sealants, and similar accessories. In case of failures and collisions, they are the only ones that guarantee an immediate (albeit temporary) solution: they grip even when in contact with water. The classic fiberglass “repair kit” is fine, on the ground, for do-it-yourself work. At sea, especially in extreme weather conditions, perhaps with novice mates, try a little bit to perform a repair with spatula and brushes!
: TABLET & APP
How many sailors now set sail with their tablets under their arms. It has two main advantages: with the right apps, including chart apps, it turns into a portable chartplotter (for coastal navigation). It can also act as a repeater for your MFP, whose functions you can then manage remotely. A few years ago the on-board PC with a map program was considered the top. But with the advent of tablets and smartphones, it has remained the preserve of only semi-professional navigators. A marinized PC costs far more than a tablet with a waterproof case.
: NEW MODELS
: AT ARTICULATED MARRES
In recent years the market has churned out new models of performance anchors (there are those that do not ship and grip even the muddiest of bottoms, those that are “two-in-one” and those with which it is impossible to run aground). On the other hand, technology is moving forward, why not follow it? Classical flat anchors with articulated flukes remain easy to stow and perform well on sandy bottoms, but they are best suited for smaller boats and have one flaw: the difficulty in reengaging once you plow and the flukes have closed.
: FIBERGLASS AND RELATED
: IN WOOD AND STEEL
Fiberglass, carbon, and even inflatable-these walkways are lighter, sturdier, and easier to stow. And don’t worry about load capacity: unless you have to take an elephant on board, they will hold any weight. Steel and wooden duckboard gangways have historically been the most popular but are quickly going out of fashion: heavy and sometimes cumbersome, they are difficult to handle on a cruise.