The 8×32 Leica’s really are magnificent. They are tiny and easy to carry on a day hike. The 8×26 Vortex are perfect for taking to the Opera or for ultralight backpacking. But what if you really want to see what is happening during a sailing regatta. The traditional method is to use a tripod and mount a spotting scope (20-60x magnification) like the vortex endeavor.
Or to go with a tripod mounted 12-18x as recommended:
- Minox 15×56.
- Canon 18×56 or 15×50 IS.
- Steiner Predator 12×42 or 12×40
But that really doesn’t work on a boat or handheld. So the best choice seems to be the Canon IS (Image stabilized) line. I had a pair of 8x IS that were a gift and really worked until the batteries leaked, but the 18-50 as recommended really work well as do the Canon AW 15-50. Going to 18x really means you need to be seated and reasonably stable, but they are the best out there and Amazon users agree giving the 15/18x family 4.75 stars. The main issue is that the 15x eyecups are fine, but not the 18x, so the 15x is probably the right choice.
You probably also want to get filters for them (58mm) polarizer to protect the lense and deal with glare.
For more conventional tripod uses, there is an older 2012 review, but the Swarokski 15×56 seem like a good choice.