Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Reviews of Sailing Gear

One of my readers sent me an email. He is a relatively new sailor and after some complimentary remarks about Proper Course (thanks Matt) he asked whether I was aware of any good websites that include non-commercially biased reviews of sailing gear.

Hmmm. Good question. I'm not aware of such a website. Are you?

One issue is that what sailing gear is best for you depends on what kind of boat you sail and also where you sail. A Laser sailor will need different gear from an Etchells sailor. And what you wear to sail in Schleswig-Holstein in the winter will be different from what you need in Brisbane in the summer.

I don't think any of the non-boat-specific sailing forums such as Sailing Anarchy have much information on sailing gear. However, I don't follow SA all that closely as its threads tend to degenerate into hysteria and abuse so maybe I'm missing the good stuff, if any. I follow a couple of class-specific forums, for Lasers and Sunfish, and occasionally there are threads there on sailing gear. But only for what suits sailors of those boats.

So I started thinking. Could the group of sailing bloggers that read each other's blogs somehow develop a shared base of unbiased reviews of sailing gear?

I'm not sure of the best way to do this but here's one idea. If one of us posted a question
such as, "What kinds of sailing watches have you tried, which do you prefer and why?" would you write a comment in reply or a post on your blog to share your knowledge?

Or do you have other suggestions on how to create the kind of knowledge base that Matt seeks?


joe "el caballo loco" rouse said...

For 20 years I have read Practical Sailor. They offer unbiased reviews and are subscrber, not commercially, supported. http://www.practical-sailor.com/
However it would be great if there was an epinions type site related to boating gear.

seadated said...

This sounds like a perfect use for my thus-far-not-so-popular forum that I put on my site. Here is the link, and I'll go fire up a "Gear Reviews" forum. I already have one for Rum Drinks. ;)

Oh yeah, congrats, Tillerman on getting the nod from SAIL Magazine. I kept re-reading it to see if Seadated was in there. Guess I need to work a little harder!

Zen said...

I also "Practical Sailor" is good. I generally read "This old Boat"
However I have seen nothing for the small boat sailor in there. I would follow through on a blog with eqiupment question, if I used what was in question. A lot would depend on the boat/use as you said.
It would be hard to find a one size fits all place. eg: I do not wear sailing watches, but I love my wide brimed hat!
Maybe "seadated" already has the solution

Adrift At Sea said...

Some of the larger sailing portals, like Sailing Anarchy and Sailnet.com have pretty good information on a wide variety of gear, but not reviews specifically.

Practical Sailor is an excellent resource, as is Good Old Boat and Small Craft Advisor. The mainstream sailing magazines seem to be more about parroting the manufacturer press releases than providing any real useful information.

EVK4 said...

If you go to sailing anarchy be sure to search the forums before starting another thread. those people jump all over the "best brand of sailing sandal" threads. (note: I don't believe sandals should be worn sailing).

speaking of SA, I know Joe posts on there (the horse's mouth reference gave him away), eliboat does and my ID is EVK4....any of the rest of you bloggers?

Fuff said...

Good idea.

Ant said...

One way and probably the preffered way in the "blogosphere" is to use our colective knowledge posts and comments to create an unbiased and well educated view... Using tags to group posts would work, maybe using Technorati's Tag method on the relevant posts: http://www.technorati.com/tag/

I'll explore and get back to you all...

Brooklyn Salt said...

Practical Sailor is the shiz-nit. And I also agree with the posters who say check out what the good folks at Sailing Anarchy have to say.

It does indeed depend on what you sail. For example, when I'm on a 40-foot racer, I'm in the full Henri Lloyd gear with Gil boots. I'll also wear something similar when I'm knocking around on a Pearson Ensign, that is a very wet boat.

So, ask locally. Ask other members of your local fleet and don't be afraid to buy some cheap stuff, till you figure out what you want

Ben said...

I like Practical Sailor/Powerboat Reports too, but must say that when they cover a subject I know a lot about, like PC charting programs, I often find their work weak. They seem driven to choose a "best of" when often that's quite a subjective decision.

At any rate, I often put up notes about my marine electronics testing at Panbo.com, and the comments can be quite lively. Come on by.

royalLD said...

My blog is rather general. It is only related to sailing during the 3 to 6 months a year that we live aboard the boat. But I would be happy to participate; if an issue came up that I had experience with.

Mark said...

What about some kind of wiki?

seadated said...

Ok, so the forum that I have on my site is kind of a piece of poo. Maybe that's why it hasn't gotten a lot of participation, but I digress. I decided that I would do something today that I have been wanting to do for a while anyway, which is move away from the dead project that was bbPress, and write my own forum using Ruby on Rails. I should have it up in the next few days which would make actually getting over there, registering, and posting a much more user friendly experience.

To those of you talking about practical sailor, I think that they're pretty good for boats, but I like the idea of individual user reviews on specific items. They generally don't have reputations to worry about tarnishing with companies like Gill, Harken or Henri Lloyd.

Carol Anne said...

I too like Practical Sailor.

Now, a lot of product recommendations do exist out there, but I will agree that since there isn't a central index or clearinghouse, it can be hard to find them. For instance, what if a recommendation on sailing watches got embedded in a grammar lesson?

Sarah said...

As far as sailing gear reviews and information, i found this website called DeCaptain.com which is a guys personal blog.

He has an Ask me anything about sailing around the world form where you can ask questions and he'll answer. He has answered some of my newbie questions and he wrote a book "25 Things every sailor needs"

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