My latest "must have tool"

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May 22, 2004
Oday 23 Bullock's Cove, RI
I used to think that plastic wire ties were the best thing and always had a few in every tool box I have. Last year I purchased what has become my new "must have" thing which I now carry in every tool box. It might sound silly but its a roll of green Velcro sold as a plant tie to hold tomato plants to the stick. This Velcro is a single piece which has the two elements on either side of the strip so that it can stick to itself. It is available in the garden section of HomeDepot and at Walmart and, at about $1.95, it is a great deal with hundreds of uses. When I put the boat in storage for the winter I used the 1/2" Velcro strips to hold all the halyards and lines to the mast - The great thing was that it was easy to put on, take off, adjust and re-install. I have used it to hold coils of line together. Hold loops of wires together Hold wires against bulkheads by putting a screw through a length of it and coiling it on itself .... The re-usability makes it better than a wire tie which must be cut every time you want to undo it. There are a million uses when you want something handy to hold things together, or out of the way - and at under $2.00 for a roll (at discount stores) of 30 ft ... its a great deal. Do you have a must have tool? If so share that with us. James
Feb 26, 2004
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Alternator belt tensioner

Like ATMs, microwave ovens and autopilots - how'd we ever live without it. See link for source.


Jun 2, 2004
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY

When I first saw that I had to have one. Been carrying it ever since. But I never had the opportunity to use it. Guess I do the maintenance to the point that nothing like a broken adjuster has even happened. James, nice find. I'm gonna get me one of those too.


Jan 6, 2006
Beneteau 423 Mt. Sinai, NY
We also use these

we recycle the same thing from our supermarket. They use them to holding vegitables together.... Millions of uses.
Jun 14, 2004
Ericson 29 Biddeford, ME
Leatherman, of course

A clear choice but just has to be said, Leatherman. I have the Wave version and bring it with me on the boat every time. Just too many uses in one compact package. I like the sound of the velcro, will have to get some.


Mar 26, 2007
Paceship Yachts PY23 Cove Marina, NAB, Norfolk VA

Sounds elementary to most, but I've never owned a pair before! I keep a pair on the boat and have been able to install bow cleats, a flag staff and even remove unused deck hardware by myself. Almost anything that would normally have required one person topside and one below decks to hold the nut can be done with vice grips. I also keep some of the reusable plastic wire ties onboard, too. They have a little tab that you can depress to release the teeth and reuse the tie. A penny saved......

Cap'n Ron

Off subject?

That is a good one there James, I use velcro for some boat stuff, I'll pick some up. Vice grips, Leather man, good, I carry a knife with serrated balde with a shackle wrench cut into the blade. ONe good trick I learned over the years is to keep a headlamp round my neck when night sailing...a million practical uses.


Good topic.

My main things to ahave aboard a boat are, 1) Duct Tape 2) Paper towels 3) Plastic ties 4) Bungie cords 5) flic lighters 6) band aids 7) 3/16 line 8) plastic bags 9) tools 10) a selection of spares.
Jun 6, 2006
currently boatless wishing Harrington Harbor North, MD
200' of 3/8 line

There ain't much you can't do with 3-strand rope. Make an alternator belt heal her over to get off the shoals secure any number of things to just about anything tow a dingy (don't back under power or you will have a Kodak moment) replace running rigging dock lines attach a fender jack lines make a harness recovery rope for a MOB doubled up you can tow an anchor to slow her down in a storm make a hammock If you unwind it to get small stuff the list expands to repair sails and sun shades all manner of decorative knot-work anti-chafe wraps dummy cords and hand loops Amazing stuff rope
Jun 14, 2005
Cal 20 Westport CT
Marcia: vice grips?

Well, I'm constantly fooling around with deck fixtures and am thus often in the bolt-above-deck/nut-below-deck situation. As such: often in need of a second pair of hands. How does the vice grip stop the bolt-above-deck from turning? Do you have to wedge it against a stationary fixture on deck? If I could make this work: boy, it'd make my life easier.
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