Here are some products we love and companies that have provided great
They make the best wire stripper I've ever
used (the No. 5) and the Canada office has excellent
customer service. Really great quality and great people.
Good prices, yes, but truly excellent
Excellent quality boat hardware from a
really nice, family-owned business. And good customer
This company made the faucet we installed in our galley.
When it had a problem, they replaced it free of charge -- no
questions asked -- after five years. Wow. It's the best
galley faucet we've ever used on a boat.
We love our Chacos sandals. I (accidentally) hiked up a
volcano in them in Migrations #6.
They make the best cordless drills ever.
- Vai Ora
The most amazing chocolate milk you will
ever drink. But you have to go to Tahiti to get it.
A fantastic dive shop online. Excellent customer service.
A great dive shop that really helped us out by
sending parts to Costa Rica.
They make our diesel fuel filters and provide
excellent customer service.
Makers of the Monitor windvane. Our
original broke in the gale off of Easter Island (Migrations #9). Scanmar provides amazing customer service
and they checked out and shipped our next Monitor which we bought used.
They sold us our Max-Prop and ShaftSeal.
They provide some of the best customer service on the
Our watermaker is fantastic and Spectra's
customer service has been excellent. Our only complaint is
their ridiculous prices for spare parts. Wake up, Spectra
and stop ripping off your loyal customers.
I used Whale System 15 plumbing when I
replumbed Migration 20 years ago. What a great system. I
highly recommend it. Not a single problem in 20 years...
except a piece of pipe that split because I had run it under
a window that got a lot of sunlight. The UV did it in. That
was my fault. Update: After our 2013-2015 refit in Thailand,
two service valve fittings split when we pressurized the
system. Whale doesn't make these fittings any longer so I
wonder if there was a problem at some point. However, they
were over 20 years old.
And here are a few companies or products with mixed reviews:
The makers of Plover. They are a strange
company but we do like their boats. However, don't count on their warranty... they are
difficult to deal with if you want service. And, we have to say, the
boats don't seem as robust as they once did.
- Ocean Gear
A dive shop in Southern California that is
run by a very nice and knowledgeable diving couple. We got
our custom wetsuits through them. In the past they have been
terrific, however they did drop the ball on an order
which is the only reason they are in the mixed reviews
Lewmar makes tons of marine gear. Some of
it is great. Some of it is just OK. Our hatches are Lewmar
and they are excellent. Unfortunately the welds have cracked
on two of them. Our windlass is Lewmar and the base corroded
completely. We include the company here because they did
stand behind the windlass and sent us a new stainless steel
base. They didn't send us a new hatch, however. Also, in
2017, we had a 2 year-old hatch start leaking. I still like
their hatches but am disappointed that a new hatch would
have an issue.
Best marine toilets
made. Really. At least, they were. Our 8-year old toilet has
a cracked base -- unacceptable to us. Also, the customer
service from the UK is ATROCIOUS. And I mean it. They never
respond until you send multiple emails and they are not
helpful at all. SBI, the US distributors is much more
responsive. Unfortunately, replacement parts prices are too
high. It's a shame because it is (was?) a great product. Hey
BLAKE-LAVAC-TAYLORS, wake up and serve your loyal customers!
And here are a few companies or products we aren't so fond of.
And some we actually detest:
- Caframo Fans
Horrible fans. Poorly designed. Unusable.
We tried them because we were tired of our Hella fans
clicking. But Hella fans are so much better than Caframo.
We have no experience with their products
but they purchased Navman Marine Instruments which we do
have. Our Navman autopilot has been great but all other
instruments (wind, knotmeter, depth sounder, NMEA repeater)
rate from fair to total crap. Although Navico
replaced our wind instrument (after 4 letters and 2 faxes --
and it still doesn't work!), we will never buy a product
from them after dealing with their absolutely atrocious
technical support department.
- North Sails
It's actually very difficult for me to put
North Sails in this category. The first suit of sails I
bought for Migration in 1996 were from North and I was very
pleased with the sails and the service. In 2004 I bought a
new main before leaving California. That main shredded when
we left Fiji in 2011. Six and a half years is not what I
expect from a sail. When I asked North Sails in Auckland, NZ
for a quote for a new sail, and questioned them about the
short life of the last sail, they replied that, given our
use, that is the life expectancy of the sail. We do put a
lot of miles on our sails but we also take care of them and
sail conservatively... I don't think a sail should last less
than 7 years.
Additionally, because I was so happy with our first suit
from North Sails (we were still using the 1996 jib and
mizzen), we purchased a jib and mizzen from North in
Auckland in 2010. They bungled the size of the mizzen but
stood behind it and made us a new one the following year.
However, in that one year several of the lashings to the
sail slides came off. When we received our new mizzen in
2011, the same thing happened. When I emailed our salesman
about a possible quality problem, he replied that we should
check the stitching before long passages. That was it. I
think North once made excellent sails. But I will not buy
from them again.
As a follow-up, I wrote a letter to CEO Tom Whidden,
President Gary Weisman, and NZ Loft General Manager Richard
Bicknell and received no reply. Here's the letter.
What’s the good news? When our
mainsail ripped in Fiji in 2011, we put the 1994 North
main back on. It has since carried us another 5,000
miles and is flying as I type this 100 miles east of
Bali. It’s done a great job. So back then, you were
clearly doing it right.
For me, buying sails is not just
about price. Loyalty to a company that has served me
well is important. Unfortunately, I feel that North
Sails is no longer a company that cares about sails for
sailors like myself.
Thank you for your attention. I do
hope my views are of some benefit to your company.
currently lying Serangan Island, Bali, Indonesia