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Furlers Get Better, As Do EPIRBS

Tony Bessinger reviews some new tricks for the boat. From "Tech News" in our December 2008 issue

March 31, 2009

Courtesy of Harken| |Harken MKIV Under-Deck Furler| Leave it to the experts at Harken Yacht Equipment to come up with a graceful solution to the inherent problem of roller furlers on raceboats. Above-deck furlers create extra windage, need more maintenance because of their exposure to water and sun, and don’t allow the foot of the headsail to sit at deck level, which leads to a poorly shaped sail. The main bit of the Harken MKIV Under-Deck Furler, the furler drum itself, mounts belowdecks, which solves all the issues mentioned above.

According to Harken, the MKIV is easy to disconnect for mast removal, as the headstay disconnects from a toggle at deck level, which allows the furler drum to stay mounted. For better rig control downwind, the MKIV uses a universal joint on the foil to allow headstay sag when the backstay’s eased. The headfoil, which is aerodynamically shaped, uses twin grooves to allow for in-line sail changes. The MKIV is available in three sizes for boats ranging from 28 to 60 feet in length. From $2,391, www.harken.com

Courtesy of Colligo Marine| |Colligo CN5 COntinuous Line Luff Furler|

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Although the new Colligo CN5 Continuous Line Luff Furler is offered as a solution for cruisers, we think it’s a natural for anyone looking to add a staysail furling system to their asymmetric spinnaker setup. Designed for gennakers, screechers, Code Zeros, and staysails, this continuous drive line system is made of precision-machined aluminum, is good for boats up to 48 feet, and has a 6,000-pound working load. For furling staysail applications just clip on a halyard, tack the furler drum to a padeye on centerline, haul it up, and unroll it. Need to jibe? Roll it up and let it down. Even the maintenance is easy, as heavy duty sealed thrust bearings in a sealed housing ensure no corrosion problems, according to the manufacturer. $1,495, www.colligo.com

****| |Shakespeare Galaxy SRA-40|

With the merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio services finally approved by the FCC, subscribers can access an expanded world of station options, but only if they have an antenna capable of receiving transmissions from both company’s satellites. Shakespeare’s new Galaxy SRA-40 Satellite Radio Antenna is approved by the engineering departments of both Sirius and XM, so boat owners can now have an antenna designed specifically for marine applications that can connect to either Sirius or XM receivers.

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Housed in a white plastic specifically designed for all-weather use, this compact antenna measures only 3.5″ in diameter by 1.35″ high, which makes it ideal for sailboats. The new antenna comes with a 25-foot low-loss cable featuring a quick-disconnect, gold-plated TNC connector at the antenna’s base and requires no separate power cable. The antenna’s single-cable design fits newer receivers, and a separate adapter retrofits to older, dual-input models. $109.95, www.shakespeare-marine.com.

****| |ACR GlobalFix iPro|

The FCC has also approved ACR Electronics’ latest EPIRB, the GlobalFix iPRO, a next generation 406 MHz EPIRB, which features a digital display screen and dual GPS capabilities. The digital display provides the user with a variety of important information both during operation and self-test. ACR integrated its digital display from research and customer feedback, coming to the understanding that beacon users could benefit considerably from a digital readout.

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When activated, the GlobalFix iPRO displays latitude/longitude coordinates on the screen and tells the user that the beacon is working, the amount of remaining battery power, and reinforces the correct deployment of an activated beacon, such as “Leave beacon on until ResQ” and “Do not hold aerial.” During a self-test, the digital display provides information, including results of each test (pass/fail) and the final result of all the tests combined. These tests provide status reports on the 406 MHz signal, GPS acquisition, and battery power. It also advises on appropriate routine actions, such as “Send for service.”

The iPRO is smaller and lighter than previous models, and uses LEDs for the strobe, which means longer battery life and a better ability to withstand shock and vibration. According to ACR, battery life for the iPro is a minimum of 48 hours. $1,540, www.acrelctronics.com

****| |Davis Instruments Echomaster|

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When it’s dark, foggy, or rain has reduced visibility to nearly nil, you want to be as visible as possible to radar, and even aluminum or carbon-fiber rigs don’t show up that well on radar. Davis Instruments has introduced a new model radar reflector, the Echomaster, which, the company says, makes your boat much more visible. In fact, the 12.5″ diameter circular reflector plates provide 13.2-square yards of maximum cross section in the X or 3 cm band (9-9.6 GHz frequency). This is equivalent to the radar cross section of triangular plate reflectors with an approximate 17-inch diagonal dimension. According to Colligo, the quickly assembled, marine-grade aluminum plates are thick enough to minimize flex, and are dimpled to reduce angular distortion. Tough, injection-molded captive corner latches minimize angle error and windage holes reduce aerodynamic drag. There are two models available, the Standard, which sells for $54.99, and the Deluxe Hanging Echomaster, $74.99. The Deluxe Hanging version includes a unique mounting system, enabling the Echomaster to hang from a spreader or rigging. www.davisinstruments.com

****| |PYI Clamp-Jacket|

You don’t really think about hose clamps until one goes bad, and then you remember that despite their obvious usefulness, they can be a pain. They’re often in hard-to-reach places, and their removal demands knuckle-busting contortions with a wrench, screwdriver, or a socket. The worst part of them, however, maybe the sharp metal bits of the tail that stick out as each clamp is tightened.

We’ve all got scars from these things, but now PYI has released the PYI Clamp-Jacket, a protective cover for those nasty hose clamp tails. This protective cover not only protects the user from possible injury, it helps eliminate wear to surrounding material and gives that errant tail a finished appearance. Manufactured in EPDM rubber, this product is extremely resistant to weathering, performs well in harsh environments such as engine rooms and boats that live in salt water. Clamp-Jackets are available for 1/2″ or 5/16″ standard hose clamps. www.clampjacket.com
-Tony Bessinger

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