As an antidote to the Wall of Shame this is my top ten of list of companies (in alphabetical order) whose products get a thumbs up for doing a good job under often difficult conditions and are “so far so good”!
My thanks go out to them, well done guys!
|C.J.Marine. Spray hood and canopy||Probably the best cover work I have seen on my travels and at 5 years old with much of that under heavy use have not only performed well but are well enough made to be repaired rather than replaced. All we have had to do so far is replace stitching weakened by UV and put new screens in as they were slightly cloudy.|
|CQR – Anchor||These guys get a bad press from time to time and I suspect that some of this publicity comes from those who only get their anchor wet once a season. I have no doubt that some of their competitors make good equipment too however I have now done a fair amount of anchoring, found that it takes practice to get right but am able to sleep well in my bed with this anchor on my rode.|
|Hydrovane – Wind steering vane||Deep ocean, we simply could not live without this. It is our third crew member. It was easy to fit, maintenance has been minimal so far and they aim to get parts to you wherever you are.|
|Jeckells Sails – Norfolk”Powering the dream”||At the 2005 Southampton boat show I told Chris Jeckell that I wanted sails suitable for blue water cruising. He talked me through his recommendations for the format and make up of long term cruising sails and I went for heavy “Marblehead” Dacron with a fully battened main, a 135% genoa and a storm jib. His knowlege was impressive, the prices were competitive and now, after 8 years, two force 10 storms, numerous gales and around 40,000 miles, I have had to spend very little on repairs and maintenance. Pretty looking and pretty tough, a really good product, well done Chris and your team!|
|Lofrans – Anchor windlass||When you leave the comfort of European marina life, your ability to anchor quickly and easily becomes critical and without a reliable electric windlass life would have been really difficult.|
|Para Anchors – Drogue – http://www.paraanchors.com||In the worst 48 hours of our cruising life we deployed our drogue in 45 knot winds gusting 58 knots and mountainously steep seas which threatened to overwhelm us. It did the business. I can add no more but to say when I lost it overboard (entirely my own fault) I did not hesitate to replace it with an identical one which has since served us well in a tight F10 spot off the Australian coast.|
|Oceanair hatch blinds||During their time on board they have been abused by storm force drenchings and tropical monsoon deluges but at all times have kept us well ventilated in the sultry heat of the tropics and shaded from the vicious antipodean sun. The blind/screens have been admired by fellow travellers as they fiddle around forever with detachable frames allowing the local insect population in to dine on them or get soaked as they race out on deck to retrieve their draped mosquito nets from another downpour.
Only after more than ten years of abuse did they finally succumb to needing a rebuild. Good effort!
|Stalock – Rigging||I have had some issues with the toggles these guys supply but have to say that the “no quibble” support this company has given me as far away as I am has been well above any other company.|
|The Stripper – Prop rope stripper||My wife is the only person I know who got their husband a stripper for their 40th birthday! I’m really pleased with it though (sad but true). With only two changes of bearings it has been underwater for nearly 19 years, done over 7000 hours of engine time and has only once been defeated by a 5 meter square piece of very heavy duty net in south Biscay. Other than this, I have either been unrealistically lucky and not hit a single piece of rope in 60,000 miles or it has done it’s job superbly.|
|Village Marine – Watermaker
|Watermakers have a real reputation for breaking down in a spectacularly expensive way. So far mine has done well with only one minor fault and I have had excellent technical support from Parker. So far so good, fingers crossed!
My reputation for careful maintenance for some reason does not extend to my outboards which are mercilessly neglected and abused but stubornly insist on starting every time.
My first Yamaha only died when it was washed away in a F10 storm off Australia ending up on a beach. Nonetheless it lives on as a leg donor to another boats poorly machine.
My current outboard so far stoically follows in its predecessors habitial reliability