Electronic gadgets are no longer the preserve of large yachts – satellite navigation, digital communications and radars are now cheap and small enough to be fitted to practically anything that floats. Even tiny dinghies can sport equipment that would have been limited to professional seafarers just a few years ago. And there’s no shortage of gear that can make life at sea safer, easier or more comfortable.
Smart thinking: Henri Lloyd’s new range of sailing wear is made of recycled polyester fabric – when it is worn out, it can be returned to the makers to be melted down and turned into clothes for the next generation of yachtsmen. Blue Eco sailing jackets and trousers are weatherproof and breathable. Guide prices: jacket £135, trousers £120. henrilloyd.com
Well connected: Yacht owners who have power cables installed but don’t fancy running data cables down to the bilges or up the mast may like Tacktick’s new range of wireless displays for speed, depth and wind speed/direction. Guide prices: speed or depth indicator £207, wireless wind system £450. tacktick.com
Winning recipe: On-board cookers can be difficult and dangerous to use in a swell. GN Espace has created a gas model, the Alizé, with a multi-directional gimballing (MDG) system that keeps it level even in a following sea. Guide price: £2,295. gn-espace.com
Safety first: Raymarine’s new digital radome is two radars in one, the scanner beaming out long-range and short-range “spokes” as it rotates to detect and display both navigation points far on the horizon and fast-moving small boats close by. The radar can track flocks of seabirds to help fishermen locate shoals of fish. Guide price: RD418HD Radome (18in) £1,860, RD424HD (24in) £2,020. raymarine.com
Memory bank: Electronics do not go well with water, especially saltwater, and dousing your memory card in the briny risks losing precious photos, navigation tracks and data. Samsung has launched a range of super-robust memory cards that are encapsulated in epoxy resin to keep out water. The card is shockproof and has withstood being run over by cars and even stamped on by a bull. Price guide: 4GB SD card £12, 8GB SD card £25. samsung.com
Look, no hands: Hand-held VHF radios can be inconvenient when you are controlling a boat. Standard Horizon’s HX760E handset has a voice-activated Bluetooth headset, leaving your hands free. You don’t even have to press the “transmit” button – it automatically detects and transmits your voice. The handset is a rather clever safety aid – if you go overboard, the display flashes SOS to help rescuers locate you in the water. Guide price: £270. standardhorizon.co.uk
Beyond the pail: Swobbit’s collapsible bucket is exceptionally wide, so deck brushes can be rinsed out in them. A simple modification, but so useful. The bucket is made of acrylic fabric and can easily be packed away in its zippered storage bag, while the handle is stainless steel for longer life at sea. Guide price: £11, including bag. swobbit.com and bartonmarine.com
More than 30 brand new gadgets will be unveiled, and hundreds more will be going on display, at the London International Boat Show at Excel on January 8-17.