Boating gadget guide

Towergate have enlisted the help of the yachtsandyachting.com readers and forum members in order to put together the definitive guide to the must have boating gadgets.

  1. Soak Halyard Clip. This prevents your spinnaker from launching itself whilst sailing upwind and getting in the way during tacks and manoeuvres. The clip automatically releases during a spinnaker hoist (one less job to do) and keeps the halyard out of the way when not in use. Comprising high quality nylon with a UV inhibitor (attachment line included), it works with 5/32" (4mm) - 3/8" (9mm) halyards and is suitable for dinghies through to 40ft boats. Source online for around £15.

  2. Zhik Hydrophobic Fleece. A high-quality spandex fleece with improved hydrophobic water resistance. Described as a 'technical marvel', it's a great thermal which can be worn as layers or on its own. Available in grey/black and sizes xs to xxl, source it online for around £65.

  3. Portasol Technic Soldering Iron. Has five assorted spare tips, flint ignition, an ultrasonically welded gas tank to prevent leakage and refills with Butane gas. It heats up in 40 seconds, lasts for up to an hour and the hot knife tip is brilliant for cutting and sealing rope. Buy online for around £30. A 'pro' version is also available with accessories which include an iron stand, tip sponge, hot air blower and case. Available online for around £95.

  4. Velocitek Speedpuck. An easy to use instrument with accurate and responsive boat speed feedback. Comprising a GS speedometer, compass and bar graph wind shift indicator, this compact gizmo can be mounted on a dinghy or hand held. It displays speed and heading/course over ground updates at 2Hz and the bar graph lift/header indicator automatically locks onto the tack angle, displaying in 3 degree increments. The puck resets itself if you tack or jibe and can be disabled if class rules dictate. Source online for around £230.

  5. Go Pro Hero3 Camera. Go Pro cameras were recommended in last year's Guide and the new improved Hero3 version does not disappoint. It's 30% smaller, 25% lighter and 2 x more powerful than previous models and comes with built-in WiFi which is usually an extra accessory. It offers 2 x faster video and 3 x faster photo performance, a continuous photo mode as well as time lapse and still options, improved sharpness, less distortion and redesigned audio system. Source online for around £360.

  6. TurboFlame Phoenix Lighter. With a windproof jet flame, hinged snap-close safety cap and a lanyard securing option, this reliable gadget is a great low-cost gift. Described as "unbeatable, even in the stormiest conditions", the lighter is available in four colours - red, blue, brushed chrome and gun metal grey - and retails online for around £9.

  7. Aquapac Waterproof Phone/iPod Case. Fits all small phones and iPhone models 1-4 (a separate case is available for iphone 5). It comprises Aquaclip, a patented ultra-secure, rustproof, injection-moulded plastic seal with high-frequency moulded seams. Everything works normally through the case which also protects from dirt, dust and sand. Available in grey with an acid green adjustable lanyard, source it online for around £20.

  8. Gill Harness Rescue Tool. For use in emergency situations, the tool will quickly slice through harness webbing. Supplied with a nylon pouch, it's small enough to sit inside a buoyancy aid or trouser pocket. Source online for around £10.

  9. Gerber Knives. Last year Gerber's multi-tool made it onto the list, this year it's the knives in general. Available in a range of sizes, blades, edges, types, colours and carrying options, they come with personalised laser engraving and a 25 year warranty. Prices start at around £13.

  10. Toaster. When the craving for toast gets too great you'll be glad of this gift. This vital piece of galley equipment comes with a foldaway handle, heat tray and diffuser and can be sourced online for around £6.

  11. A Casio Sea Pathfinder Watch. As well as being a useful time-keeper and stopwatch, it has numerous features including; built-in compass, thermometer, depth gauge and barometer. There's also a world time function and a LED light that activates when dark. A tip from past users; replace the plastic strap with a Velcro one, as the strap tends to break. Prices start at around £20.

  12. The Optimum Time Watch is also recommended - similar to the Casio, but with specific countdown features that are in line with ISAF start procedures. With options to buy with a plastic or Velcro strap, it can be sourced for £23 or more.

  13. Waterproof bags. Another essential 'must have' item. Numerous brands, such as Aquapac, are available. They have super-strong seams and a clipping mechanism that keeps items dry if submersed. Useful holders for car keys, cash and credit cards, they have adjustable lanyards/neck-cords and will float if dropped in water. Prices start at around £15.

Towergate Insurance and yachtsandyachting.com hope you find this guide useful - many thanks to all those who posted up their recommendations.

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