Six months ago I was asked to review boat hooks for Practical Sailor Magazine. Everybody needs one. How dull I thought; I've never bought one, not in 30 years. I always find them by the dumpster or on the beach, and have a stack of "spares" at home that I haven't used yet. Keeps me from getting to choked up if someone drops one. Most days we just drop it in the middle of the tramp--I've never lost one from there, even in heavy going, though I generally tie it down when it starts banging into things.
Everybody does need one.
And low and behold it was more fun than I thought.
- The most expensive, heavy duty model was the first to fail in the field.
- Most would not allow me to pull with full strength without breaking.
- The company that urged us to test, feeling theirs were best, was absolutely right.
- I still like my 20-year-old pole for daily use.How about this classic crabber's hook? It's been hanging on the wall in my daughter's room for years, after I found it tangled up in my docklines after Isabel (I left in on the dock for 2 weeks, but no one claimed it). In fact, it was perhaps the best balanced and most suitable for all-day heavy use. No surprise.
The old guard vs. the new kids. Second from the left is my every-day pole.
I wonder who got the bright idea that a boat hook makes a good brush pole (I'm not picking on West Marine--they are ALL like that now)? All it does is snag lines. Unfortunately, about 1/2 of them won't screw into a brush because part of the hook is in the way. And nothing can be screwed into the "take" part of the hook anyway, so what's up with threads there? Worst of all...
... the bulbous padded tip makes them useless for snagging a line off a piling or dock...
Which all of the old-school poles can do easily, but only ONE of the new poles. Not an improvement in my opinion.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Over at Sail Delmarva, Drew has some comments on that ubiquitous tool: the boat hook