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

Available on Amazon here


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 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

Wi_Fi Solution?

Vodaphone LogoDear Richard

Perhaps I've found an alternative to wifi - it's 3G, the new mobile phone system.

One of our peed off former BT users in the marina put me on to it, and although I'm already a Vodafone PAYG customer (I've used Vodafone ever since getting my first mobile 12 years ago or more and have no comnplaints!) I have to admit I've rashly signed up to their 3G Mobile Broadband Connection. Went into their Plymouth shop on Thursday and was on line soon after with only a few hassles.

OK, so what's 3G Mobile Broadband, what's it cost, what do you get, and what are the downsides?

You have several options with Vodafone's broadband service, including both contract and PAYG.

Starting with PAYG, you buy a USB dongle (obtainable from electronics stores such as Maplins as well as Vodafone shops) and a sim card, with
£15 pre-loaded usage on the 1Mb version. This gives you around 30 hours a month average usage - emails etc and moderate surfing. If you go over the limit, you simply buy more credit as with a mobile phone.

The dongle goes into one of your laptop ports, and this version sells for £39 but may be on offer from mid-June at around £24. There are other, faster dongles costing more which provide more time/downloads.

The downside: the PAYG ones cannot be used outside the UK, and you cannot s out conflivctswop to a contract service.

Now, the contract option. Vodafone give you the option of two dongles
- a white 3Mb stick or a black 5Mb one. You can sign up for 12, 18 or
24 month options, and for £15, £25 or £35 monthly service charges. The advantage of opting for either of the two longer periods is that the stick comes free.

I decided to go for the white 3Mb dongle over 18 months, as it seemed about right for my usage - including piping pix up the line to your favourite sailing webzine. I had also been tipped off that the black jobby had a firmware or software glitch that causes hangs. Must have been written by BT . . .

The dongles have their own mobile phone code and number, which is used to dial up each time you log on, but cannot be seen by others. The sim card installation couldn't be easier, and the software loads automatically and quickly on to your computer. It's compatible with all Windows versions above 98, and Macs.

I have Network Magic installed on my laptop, and I found that the Vodafone system didn't like it. There have been a lot of problems sorting out conflicts, and Vodafone tech support is non existent. So, I've had three days of infuriation, head-scratching and so on, but it now seems to be (Tues afternoon) working.

Watch this space!

Jez Greenaway

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