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How to avoid expensive mistakes when you buy a new or second-hand yacht. 

Available on Amazon here

REVIEWS

Icom IC-M35We review the Icom IC-M35 handheld.  Read the full review here.

GMDSS A User's Handbook

By Denise Bréhaut

GMDSS A user's handbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provides a fast and efficient way of calling for assistance at sea, whatever the size of craft or its geographical position. Since it was first published, this book has helped explain the system for anyone using GMDSS and has been excellent pre-course reading for students.

 

SAFASAIL CAP

SafaSail HatThe SafaSail Hard Hat looks just like a sailing cap, but will help protect you if you get a bang to the head.  See our review here

ICOM IC-M35

We took the Icom IC-M35 with us on a trip across the Mediterranean, from Croatia to North Africa. Our aim was to test it under normal working conditions, but this one got more of a test than expected, as the masthead antenna on our main radio came adrift in a short but fierce storm, and there didn’t seem much point in interrupting the delivery trip to run a new masthead antenna and cable when we had the hand-held on board.

This is a seriously nice piece of kit. It comes with a 240 volt mains charger base, into which it slots for charging. The base even has a couple of screws so you can screw it onto some available wooden surface. It has a rechargeable battery pack, but also comes with a spare battery container which takes AA batteries.  It has a belt clip and a wrist strap, and comes with a ‘rubber duck’ antenna.

And it floats!  You might think this is a bit of a gimmick, but having lost a hand-held overboard myself whilst transferring to a dinghy, I think this is a real plus point.  We did test this in a bucket of fresh water, and sure enough, even with all the attachments, it does float.  There is a warning on the pack that with the AA battery pack fitted, it might not.

There is also a ‘LOUD’ button which takes you to full volume instantly, as well as automatic volume adjustment.

So how did it fare on our delivery trip?

The first thing that needs to be said is that, like many handhelds, it doesn’t  come with a 12v charge lead and needs a 240volt supply to charge. If you make short trips out from the marina, this may be fine, but for continued use over a longer passage, you either need an inverter or a 240v generator on board to re-charge it.  But, and this is a big ‘but’, we were very pleasantly surprised at the capacity of the battery.  It is advertised as having eight hours operating time.  But we used it regularly over a six day passage without re-charging, and it held its charge very well indeed.  However, if i were buying this to use in the grab bag  (and with its ability to float it’s a real contender),  I’d use the spare holder and put some AA batteries in a waterproof bag of some kind.

The instruction booklet is comprehensive, but there are a lot of things that we just didn’t use, or feel the need to use. For example, the ’Tag’ key for favourite channels seemed a little superfluous to us. But I can see it might be useful if you forget which are the ship to ship channels. Nor did we see much point in scanning on a marine radio.  But we did like the ability to lock it on a particular channel, and we just loved the easy, highly visible buttons which could be used even with gloves on.

The radio comes with a ‘beep’ which is highly irritating if you want to use the radio at night, or when crew are sleeping.   I dislike radios that ‘beep’ at you, and it took a long burrow into the manual to discover how to turn the beep off.

But these were minor irritants.  The real plus for this set is that it does what a marine hand held radio needs to do.  With six watts output on high power it has a great range – we called Valetta harbour control from several miles out and got an immediate reply.  It has a clear tone.  You can go instantly to full volume if you need to. It has great battery capacity, and if you happen to drop it overboard, it floats.  What more could you ask?

£169.99 from Mailspeed.   Best price seen on web:  £160.01 from Waterware.

ICOM Website:  http://www.icomuk.co.uk/categoryRender.asp?categoryID=3779&productID=672&tID=644

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