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Old 23-08-2012, 19:33   #1
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Great Inexpensive Gizmos

Tell us about your favorite inexpensive gizmo that has changed your life onboard! I'll start with the Super Siphon. I got sick of fueling my feet, the dinghy, the dock, and the deck of my boat due to the cruel jokes they call fuel jugs these days--I picture the crew at the fuel jug factory sitting around telling sick jokes about all us saps using their products that make it harder to put fuel into your tank than on the ground. So I asked around some of the car forums and the Super Siphon kept coming up. Bought two from Amazon and boy are they slick. Work like a charm. No more spilled fuel and I don't have to balance an awkwardly heavy fuel jug while trying to pour into the tank while watching the rising level so I don't flood the dinghy. I don't know how I have lived without these for years. I just make sure the jug is a bit higher than what I want to fill. Put the brass thingy into your fuel jug and shake it up and down for a few seconds and pretty soon the fuel starts to flow lickety split at just about the right speed. It is easy to stop the flow at just the right moment by simply lifting the brass thingy above the fuel level in the jug. Easy peasy.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:39   #2
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

$10 dorcy flashlight. Floats, has a clip on the back, and takes a beating from hell. I have a "superior" ~$70 flashlight, but the cheapo dorcy sees most of the action.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:42   #3
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

Another neat gizmo in the flashlight category is a little LED hiker's headlamp--makes all the world of difference when you're trying to work on the engine in the middle of the night and you need both hands.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:43   #4
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Tell us about your favorite inexpensive gizmo that has changed your life onboard! I'll start with the Super Siphon. I got sick of fueling my feet, the dinghy, the dock, and the deck of my boat due to the cruel jokes they call fuel jugs these days--I picture the crew at the fuel jug factory sitting around telling sick jokes about all us saps using their products that make it harder to put fuel into your tank than on the ground. So I asked around some of the car forums and the Super Siphon kept coming up. Bought two from Amazon and boy are they slick. Work like a charm. No more spilled fuel and I don't have to balance an awkwardly heavy fuel jug while trying to pour into the tank while watching the rising level so I don't flood the dinghy. I don't know how I have lived without these for years. I just make sure the jug is a bit higher than what I want to fill. Put the brass thingy into your fuel jug and shake it up and down for a few seconds and pretty soon the fuel starts to flow lickety split at just about the right speed. It is easy to stop the flow at just the right moment by simply lifting the brass thingy above the fuel level in the jug. Easy peasy.

A moveable step. It clips on to my toe rail wherever I want (in front of the shrouds). You step on it and push your foot up to the hull and you have a step up to the boat deck. Great for high freeboard boats and non-floating docks, or esp. when you have both together.

I got mine from a clearance table at West Marine for $10 but they usually retail for $20.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:47   #5
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I just checked, and my boat doesn't have any less-than-$10 gizmos. But I have a really nifty gizmo that I got for $14. A Harken sail prefeeder. Takes the place of an entire crew-person, and doesn't require feeding.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:48   #6
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

I've got one of those boarding steps too. Mine is just a stiff board of some sort encased in nylon strapping, with a rope at either end. I tie it around the base of a stanchion right where we want to get out of the inflatable and at the perfect height for stepping on the seat, then the step, then the deck. Can stow it away in a cockpit locker when not in use.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:49   #7
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

Doesn't have to be less than $10, just "inexpensive." We'll let everyone use their own definition of that. What does the Harken prefeeder do?
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:50   #8
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CORRECTION!!! Wonderblond just informed me that we have a corkscrew that we got for free from the Trefethan winery. Gets much more use than the sail prefeeder.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:53   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell
. What does the Harken prefeeder do?
You thread the leech boltrope through a prefeeder near the tack before threading the leech into a foil. It "pre-feeds" the leech into the foil during a hoist.

Super nifty.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:54   #10
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

Ha! Now cork screws are critical. You need to get yourself a Screwpull. Best darn cork screw going--never fails.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:56   #11
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I've got one of those boarding steps too. Mine is just a stiff board of some sort encased in nylon strapping, with a rope at either end. I tie it around the base of a stanchion right where we want to get out of the inflatable and at the perfect height for stepping on the seat, then the step, then the deck. Can stow it away in a cockpit locker when not in use.
Mine has clips that fit over my "holed" toe rail, but I can see how that would work too.
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Old 23-08-2012, 21:15   #12
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Rope Toggles

Those cheap little rope doodads that allow you to open pelican loops (opening the lifelines ) are fantastic

I also need them for unhooking some running back stays from time to time

After buying a couple at 5 bucks , I got some rope and watched YouTube to teach myself how to make them.

Voila ! "Almost free" stuff, with a little personal skill upgrade at the same time

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Old 23-08-2012, 21:33   #13
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

Wooden back scratcher ... in addition to the obvious, it reaches in the backs of lockers, has been used to pull wire thru the overhead, and reaches to the pilothouse front window port side (that I can't!) for closing.

Also handy (of course now that I have it, there's not been a time to use same) -- 100+ feet of small stuff (flag halyard .125" braid) ... a friend was coming to visit when his dink motor quit. I tried tossing a fender and letting it drift back to him but believe if I had smaller line I think the float would have drifted back faster.
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Old 23-08-2012, 21:38   #14
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

Teflon Egg Slice ($3.50)

Something else which i think qualifies in this thread is my teflon egg slice

But I never use it in the galley

This gadget is the only way i can get the headliner velcro to part, without breaking the headliner ,when removing to check wiring, insulation etc .

Simply insert and apply gentle pressure

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Old 23-08-2012, 21:48   #15
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Re: Great Inexpensive Gizmos

It wasn't cheap, but I use my Bridgenorth Bailer to clear my bilges every time I go sailing.

Yes, I should replace the packing, but frankly, it's the keel-stepped mast and the rain that puts most of the damp down there.

Other than that, I have a selection of ten-buck Misty Mountain Tilley knock-offs. I only use the Tilley on shore. The ten-buck ones can fly off and I don't care.

I also use ten-buck half-fingered bicycling gloves from Mountain Co-op instead of Gill or Harken "sailing gloves". As I ride my bike to my boat, it's logical and again, I don't care much if I lose one or get it dirty.
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