Join Date: May 2011
Location: San Francisco
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So, it occurs to me that the OP didn't really specify which application these tools were for. General boat maintenance? Redoing the brightwork? Engine repair? Rig tuning? Woodworking on board, or some combination. So I may have been a bit hasty in the 'buy the best possible' outlook. I would never purchase a Festool drill either, although their sliding circular saw/track setup is very nifty and a godsend in the right circumstance (usually residential paneling, but headliners do come to mind). But it all comes down to what you expect to do on board and what kind of sailing you're doing. Going offshore for an extended period? You'd better have everything you can think of in the best quality possible. Occasional daysailor? Probably you can get by with a screwdriver, hammer, pipe and crescent wrenches and lots of tape. It all depends on what you hope to do with your boat, the complexity of the systems you have onboard, and how often you expect to see a port or mooring where you have access to other resources. One thing I will say is that I have more propensity to take care of my good quality tools and I tend to care less about the shitty ones. I'd bet that everyone on this thread has owned an awful pair of needlenose pliers, the kind that have tips that shear at the slightest rotation, they corrode quickly, bind, and then instantly become the only tool you have that can get you out of a situation you'd like to be rid of in a hurry.
I'd close with something I've heard from the carpentry world - 'If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.'
Best of luck,
Sailing a '74 Challenger 40' Ketch rig out of San Francisco