Two Gear Up­grades

Here’s a bet­ter com­pass and PFD.

Sailing World - - Starting Line -

It’s only a mat­ter of 01 time be­fore all of the most stub­born one- de­sign classes cave to al­low­ing elec­tronic com­passes, at least those with­out GPS ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The In­ter­na­tional Laser Class is the lat­est to al­low such de­vices, prompt­ing de­vel­op­ers at Ve­locitek to push for­ward with its slick and stripped-down Ve­locitek Prism com­pass. At only 137 grams, it’s the light­est of its kind, and the dis­play num­bers are plenty large and vis­i­ble with po­lar­ized sun­glasses. A cou­ple of tech­ni­cal notes: The tilt- com­pen­sated head­ing- in- de­grees mag­netic is up­dated every 250 mil­lisec­onds, it’s wa­ter- re­sis­tant to com­plete im­mer­sion for 30 min­utes at 10 feet ( don’t drop it overboard) and the dis­play has a 250-de­gree view­ing cone for vis­i­bil­ity from a trapeze or full­hike po­si­tion. The unit’s bat­tery is re­place­able, and the war­ranty is two years. Mount­ing brack­ets are avail­able. The Prism does not have a count­down fea­ture; leave that to your trusty wrist­watch. $ 399, ve­ —Dave Reed 02 Af­ter sail­ing off shore with the Mus­tang EP 38 infl at­able ocean rac­ing vest for six days and nights, we found plenty to like, but as in life, noth­ing’s per­fect. Let’s start with the pos­i­tive: This is one of the most com­fort­able vests I’ve worn. Its weight is placed on the shoul­ders, rather than the back of the neck like most other less tech­ni­cal in­flat­able PFDS. Sail with it all day and you’ll for­get it’s there. It also fits snug to the body— much like a stan­dard life jacket — so it doesn’t im­pede ac­tiv­i­ties such as grind­ing winches or mov­ing about in con­fined spa­ces below deck.

How­ever, to don the vest, you need to pull it over your head. I don’t have a par­tic­u­larly large head, but it’s still a snug fit. If you’ re wear­ing a hat or sun­glasses, those have to come off first. If your jacket has a hood, you must pull the hood over your head be­fore putting the vest on or it will get bunched up in­side the back of the vest. When you take off the vest, it’s sun­glasses and hat off, hood up, then re­move.

The ad­di­tional ef­fort in­volved in putting the vest on or tak­ing it off isn’t a deal breaker un­less you’re the type who likes to add or take off lay­ers as the day goes on, or if you’re stand­ing mul­ti­ple watches in overnight races in which you nor­mally re­move your foul-weather gear when off watch. If that’s the case, plan on adding a lit­tle ex­tra time.

Mus­tang claims the hy­dro­static in­fla­tor will only in­flate when sub­merged, not in rain, spray or high hu­mid­ity, and that much I can vouch for. It’s U.S. Coast Guard ap­proved and pro­vides 38 pounds of buoy­ancy when in­flated.

The PFD comes with re­mov­able crotch straps, back­mounted spray hood, in­ter­nal stor­age for AIS and other electronics, in­te­grated har­ness, whis­tle and lift­ing loop. The only thing miss­ing is a loop at the top of the unit so that it can be hung on a cara­bi­neer or hook. $ 369, mus­tang­sur­

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