Category Archives: Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Battery Powered Aqua Signal/West Marine LED Nav Lights

POS Lights

Function:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Reliability:1 Stars (1 / 5)
Quality:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Value:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Average:2 Stars (2 / 5)

These lights are Aqua Signal Portable Nav lights also sold under the West Marine brand in WM stores.  We use them on our dinghy when underway at night, many local jurisdictions will ticket you even if you are going below 7knts at night if you do not have a bow and stern light.  How many RIBs are equipped with good navigation light mounting points or hardware?  Not many unless you have a large high end console boat so there aren’t many ways to comply with the law, so here is a pretty crummy option that we’ve used.

You can purchase these with suction cup mounts seen here, a glue on mount or a bracket mount that clamps to your transom.  We’ve used the bracket mount which was fairly easy to take on and off, but it eventually gave up and broke sending our stern light to Davy Jones Locker.  We use the suction cup mount on the bow of our RIB and it works well enough if you have someone monitoring it every second as it tends to slide off.

How about the actual lights if you find a good way to mount them?  Well when they are working they are fairly bright and don’t seem to use too much battery power.  The problem is they quit functioning fairly shortly.  We’ve gone through three sets of these things in 8 months of cruising.  If they are left to sit out in the rain or get a bit more than damp they will absorb moisture and die.  The LED will not turn off giving a very dim glow and will not turn on to full brightness.

I’m not sure why they can’t make a good waterproof battery operated light when they sell between $40 and $50 each!  Once the ones you see in the picture quit working I think I’ll hook up some 12 volt lights and use the small alternator on our outboard.



Gear Review: Mantus Update

I think I need to just provide a quick update on our satisfaction of our Mantus anchor since we’ve been recommending it to so many folks since our arrival in the Caribbean. A number of folks have been complaining about dragging in the hard sand who are mostly using Deltas or CQRs. Get a Mantus and get some sleep! We now have been secure in winds well over 50knts where the Mantus just digs in further and that’s with scope between 4 or 5 to 1.

Since I’m the kind of person who always needs something to worry about and I’m confident the anchor isn’t going to drag I find myself wondering if the shackle pin is tight! Of course it is I check it every time the thing is on deck plus its wrapped!

If you are getting ready to go cruising and wondering where to spend money, spend it on your ground tackle and the Mantus is a great value compared to their competitors.

Gear Review: 65lbs Mantus Anchor

Function:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Reliability:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Quality:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Value:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Average:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

I owe Mantus a review of the anchor I received a number of months ago, most of which was sitting in my garage in California waiting for it’s cross country tip to North Carolina to be mounted on Ryana.

I picked up the anchor at the local FedEx store and found the wooden crate to be in shambles with the bolt grease leaking out. Once home I could see that everything was there, just needed a bit of cleaning up. I test fitted all the components, then wrapped it back up for it’s trip East.


Before even leaving the boatyard in North Carolina I replaced the stock 44lb Delta with the new 65lb Mantus. It fit quite well with the stock anchor roller and it is attached with a single shackle which may need to be changed to a swivel as we are getting a bit of chain twist. It does interfere with the bow sprit which we are currently not using since we don’t have a spinnaker; we’ll need to get a longer tube and longer stays if we want to use it.


Primary thoughts so far about the Mantus.

  • It sets very quickly, in firm bottoms it sets violently; careful backing down.
  • In softer bottoms it feels as if it could use just a bit more surface area, though I have not detected any dragging at this point.
  • It brings up the bottom with it, have a boat hook handy and deck wash to clean it up.


The anchor has not been fully tested in a variety of bottoms or circumstances, but a few examples of when having a secure anchor was helpful.

  • In Beaufort, NC anchored near Town Creek Marina we stayed 3 blustery days with sustained 25knt winds gusting 35+ and didn’t drag a bit. A 45ft Hunter with a 44lb Delta on the other hand was dragging all over the place.
  • Anchored in the Chesapeake off of Mobjack Bay we were hit by a thunderstorm and had winds gusting to 41knts and did not have any issues with dragging.
  • Anchored behind Atlantic Highlands breakwater in Sandy Hook NJ we were hit by 40knt winds and didn’t drag at all.

Once we have more nights on more varied bottoms I’ll definitely give an update on how it is performing. As of now I am very happy with my purchase especially after seeing that Hunter drag on the exact same anchor that was delivered with Ryana. I’m doubtful I would rely on it as a storm anchor just because of it’s relative small surface area, but the 80lb definitely would not fit well on the bow. I’m currently looking for a used Fortress FX-55 as storm anchor that will be kept dissembled in the bilge to accompany our FX-37 kedge. Our old Delta is currently setting in buried in the anchor locker with an unknown future.