Yachting Monthly put the latest gear on the market to the test. See which products have come up trumps

Barton Block Range



British block manufacturer Barton Marine has launched a new range. Luckily you don’t have to look hard for serial numbers to tell the difference – the blocks are all black (well, dark slate-grey) and easily distinguished from the company’s light grey and white sheave design of the Traditional range or the wooden traditional Victory range blocks. The new blocks are stronger and lighter, and are available in plain bearing or ball bearing variants. They are available in line sizes from 1mm-14mm.

Vetus Bow Pro


If you think bow thrusters are noisy and cut out when you need them the most, think again. The new Bow Pro range from Vetus all reach its ‘10-minute full power’ test, meaning thanks to a large heat sink and smart motor controller, the motor won’t overheat and cut out. The Bow Pro range
also features what it claims to be near- silent operation thanks to brushless motors. Using Vetus’s controllers will give the operator proportional power so the helm can speed up or slow the bow’s rate of turn gently rather than unsteadying the foredeck crew with bursts of full power.

Henri Lloyd Shadow Boot

Anyone who read our sailing boot test in the January issue will have seen that our testers didn’t like the hard top edge on the previous incarnation of Henry Lloyd’s popular Shadow boot. The new version has a padded top and a full- leather design. The leather is soft and waterproof, and a combination of razor-cut sole and a deep-tread pattern should keep footing sure, whatever the conditions. The boots include a stretch panel on the rear to give a comfortable fit for a variety of calf sizes.


Raymarine AIS700

Whether you have to add a dedicated AIS antenna, a second VHF antenna, or a VHF splitter to enable the use of your existing VHF aerial, when fitting AIS, the costs can quickly mount up. Along with other manufactures, Raymarine now offers an all-in-one solution which contains a Class B AIS transceiver and integrated VHF splitter, all in one easy-to-fit box.
The AIS700 can connect to SeaTalk NG, NMEA 0183 and 2000 networks and output to USB via a micro B USB cable, but not wifi.


Digital Yacht 4G Connect



The internet is great to have on board for forecasts, entertainment or dare I say, work. However, marina wifi can take an age, and reception for phones and tablets isn’t infallible. Digital Yacht’s 4G Connect provides internet access from your boat. You’ll need a data supplier – a 50GB tariff from Vodafone is £25 a month – to use the 4G Connect as a router, and gain internet access. If the built-in antennae on the unit aren’t powerful enough for your needs, they can be upgraded with external antennae for £240 extra.



A Seabin on a pontoon

Credit: Harry Kh

If your club, boatyard or marina has a pontoon and power, consider badgering them to install a Seabin. It’s not cheap, and costs 70p a day to run but it will help rid the seas of plastic. It fixes to a pontoon and sits below the surface; water is pumped out and waste is drawn in. A unit usually collects 1.5kg a day, has a 20kg capacity and captures plastic as small as 2mm. With an oil pad, it can remove petrochemicals from the water too. The bin should be emptied as required.


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Ultrasonic Wireless Wind Sensor

You want wind instruments, but you don’t want to run cables up the mast. French company LCJ Capteurs make a range of ultrasonic wind sensors. Its latest, the CV7SF2, is wireless and the small receiver unit can be connected to a NMEA 0183 network (USB and NMEA 2000 optional). The wireless sensor has no moving parts. A small solar panel on top and a rechargeable (and replaceable) battery powers the unit at night. The unit lasts 20 days without solar power.


Grippy Anchor Buoy

grippy anchor buoy


The Grippy anchor buoy has a spring-coiled Dyneema line (with over 600kg break load), and solar panels to power the light to illuminate the buoy overnight. There are two versions, the Basic and the Light. Both come with a foam attachment (with retro reflective tape) that clips to the top to help you, and other boaters, see the buoy at night. The self-retrieving line keeps the buoy over the anchor at all times and only when the anchor is retrieved does the buoy tilt enough for it to be fetched with a boathook.


Loop EF1500 Eletric Furler

electric furler Loop
Loop’s electric furler is designed for furling gennakers and operates at the press of a button. Intended for boats up to 30ft in length (sails up to 45m2) and designed to fit in the end of a bowsprit, the furler is easy to use and install. It replaces the conventional end fitting of a bowsprit (spacers for different diameter tubes are available), a cable is threaded down the length of the pole to the end fitting that either holds the battery or is wired to a separate battery compartment. The furler uses an 18V 3.0Ah battery. The unit is operated by a wireless remote and can revolve at 250rpm.


Autonnic Starlight

autonnic starlight

© Graham Snook Photography

Starlight is a simple system that gives the helm an artificial star to aim for. Put your boat on course, press a button and the unit resets the central yellow LED to show the intended course. The blue LED is the yacht’s actual course and will move 670mm along the 1in- diameter stainless-steel tube. When the blue light is on the yellow light, you’re on course. When it isn’t, it shows the helm which way to go. With the optional NMEA 2000 interface, it can be set up for waypoints. It’s a simple way to keep your boat on course without steering to the compass.



Kanvass Light


Through a luminous fibre-weave panel, KanvasLight shines a soft light than can be incorporated into the canvas of sprayhoods or biminis. The panels can be up to 3m long and powered by a USB or 12V supply. Power consumption is 10W. It’s only available as an option for SNA’s canvas products at the moment but it’s hoped a kit will be available soon.



Ropeye U block

U-BlockThe best ideas are often the simplest, and few blocks can be simpler than the U-Block from Ropeye. It’s made from just three parts: a Dyneema Teflon-coated loop, a low-friction ring and a U-shaped bracket made from carbon fibre. The loop is threaded through one side of the U bracket, through the low-friction ring and out of the bracket where it can be joined back on itself. Available in four sizes, they have a SWL of 1,000kg, 1,500kg, 2,500kg and 4,000kg respectively. The block is easy to install and will self-align in 360° under load.


This article has appeared in Yachting Monthly, April 2018