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Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • 35. Top Tips Tuesday - Soggy Bottom? Reproofing Your Sailing Gear

    Gill3

    It’s not the best feeling in the world when you realise your foulies are past their 'best by date’ as you sit there with a soggy bottom after only ten minutes on the water. Your mood sinks even further as you start calculating how much you promised yourself you'd spend on a new pair. Do not fret! You may not need to commit to new just yet. Reproofing your sailing gear can provide wondrous results at a fraction of the cost.

    There are some excellent products out there that will clean and/or reproof your clothing to an almost new standard! Gill's reproofing spray came out as the PBO best buy in their Dec 2013 issue when tested against other makes, we have also used it with success on a couple of old foulies that we keep in the unloading bay of the chandlery. If you want to wash and proof in one easy action I use Granger’s 2 in 1. Speaking from personal experience my old faithful Musto Gortex midlayer jacket (just had its 10th birthday and is still giving a sterling service) is brought into action when I am climbing masts and as you can imagine gets scruffy very quickly as most spars are not cleaned on a regular basis! After a wash and then a tumble dry to maximise the water repellency it’s good to go once again!

    If, however, it’s a seam that’s leaking try Yachticon Seam Sealer not only is it good for foulies but for leaking or weeping seams on spray hoods and cockpit enclosure, it does the biz! For a tear in waterproof clothing, a temporary patch on a sail, a temporary repair on a sprayhood window or the repair of certain inflatables (not ones manufactured from Hypalon) Stormsure is a great addition to your tool kit.

  • Essentials of liferaft stowage from Ocean Safety.

    The location and way in which you stow your liferaft is an important question to consider, when purchasing a liferaft. You need to be aware that one day you might actually need to use your liferaft and in that instance, all your earlier thoughts about it being heavy, unsightly and a general nuisance will be the last thing you remember. When considering your stowage options assume that you will need to deploy the liferaft rapidly and that it’s going to be deployed by the weakest member of your crew.

    Here are a few things you need to determine: 1. If you’re mounting your raft on the weather deck, ensure that the cradle is strong enough to contain the raft in heavy weather, with solid water moving over the deck.

    2. If your raft is stowed on the coach roof or somewhere similar, think about the plan for moving it to the deck edge in a heavy sea with the yacht moving wildly. Carrying liferafts, especially anything above an 8 person is difficult at the best of times so consider the risks of doing it on a pitching deck.

    3. If the cradle for the liferaft is either fixed or is part of your pushpit consider the additional loads this will place on the pushpit tubes and the fastenings to the deck.

    4. Liferafts on pushpits are more vulnerable to being swept overboard, especially if they are mounted off the centreline. Therefore ensure that the strapping arrangements are strong enough to hold the liferaft, if it becomes submerged in a heavy sea.

    5. Many modern yachts and power boats have dedicated liferaft stowage lockers including ‘under-seat’ arrangements. Consider carefully how you will access this locker if the yacht is at an unusual angle or moving violently.

    6. Make sure your liferaft will come out of the locker. Valise packed liferafts will expand and change shape over the course of a season, so don’t assume that just because it went in the locker it will come out as easily. You don’t want to find this out when you need the liferaft in a hurry.

    7. If your liferaft is fitted with a Hydrostatic release mechanism and your raft is under a helmsman's seat or other type of obstruction then it won’t release as required. Most importantly make sure the painter line is tied to the ‘weak link’ part of the Hydrostatic release. If it isn’t your raft will deploy as your vessel sinks and then follow it down to the seabed.

  • Musto BR1 Fabric Technology Explained…

    Musto BR1 Fabrics have a durable 2-layer hydrophilic (water-loving) coating which 'breathes' by absorbing moisture from the warm, high humidity zone and driving and driving it outwards by 'molecular wicking' away from the body. BR1 fabrics are waterproof to a minimum of 5,000mm hydrostatic head and have a breathability of at least 3000 MVP (moisture vapour transfer) even after five test washes in the 'Musto Lab'.

    Musto technical garments are also treated with a DWR finish (Durable Water Repellent) which encourages water to 'bead' and run off the external surface, preventing the fabric from 'wetting out'.

    View all Musto BR1 product here. 

    Musto BR1 Fabric Tech
  • Engine Winterisation

    Winterising Your Engine

    Laying Up 2014

    Following on from last weeks Tips and Advice on Laying Up For Winter, this week Andy looks at Engine Winterisation covering Inboards and both 2 Stroke and 4 Stroke Outboards.

     

    Inboards

    At the end of the season we strongly recommend that you fill your diesel tank to the brim as this will help prevent a condensation build up, however, before doing so we suggest you also add the appropriate amount of diesel fuel additive like Grotamar82 (recently reformulated to take account of the ‘Bio content’ now being added to diesel). This, along with the full fuel tank, will help prevent the dreaded diesel bug. There are two schools of thought re an oil change at this time of year; most experts prefer to do it now, however some say "best in the spring". All agree that before lifting out or after lifting back in at the start of the season you should run the engine under load (in either forward or reverse gear) for at least twenty minutes before draining the oil and changing the filter. Our mechanic has always used a Pela vacuum pump to remove the oil which is retrieved via the dipstick hole. It's sucked straight into the pump’s container and being contained lessens the chance of a spillage. Not quite so robust is the Seago Extract-It which won the praise of the PBO pundits as being excellent value for money. On a tight budget? Consider the traditional brass cylinder type this may be the answer, however you do need to collect the oil in a suitable container! If you are like Rob (of advancing age and suffering from arthritis in the wrists) and have difficulty in undoing the oil filter, the Boa Constrictor strap wrench takes the pain away!
    Inboard Engine Winterisation
    If your craft is being stored in a boatyard, once she is up on the hard stand we suggest that you close the water inlet seacock, open the water filter and with the engine running pour in a 50/50 antifreeze mix. Carry on pouring till you can retrieve same from the exhaust outlet. Once you have done this stop the engine and turn off the diesel tap. If you intend to leave your boat in the marina or on moorings don’t follow this procedure with the antifreeze as you will pollute the water, drainage of the seawater system is the preferred option. Next, disconnect the starting circuit from the battery(s) and consider taking them home and storing in a warm place, likewise the domestic(s), however, if you are leaving the boat on the water make sure there is still a battery to run the bilge pump! If the engine could do with a clean, consider cleaning the engine down with an engine cleaner and degreaser, this will remove any ingrained grease and grime. Don’t forget to keep abreast of any rust spots; surface should be prepared with the appropriate primer than follow up with the correct colour paint. Spray all exposed parts of the engine with Quicksilver Corrosion Guard  then get a couple of oily rags and stuff them up the exhaust pipe and engine air intake.  If you have access to shore power a small tube heater will stop any moisture from freezing as it circulates warm air round the engine bay. Check, however, that a heater can be left unattended; our local yacht club does not allow heaters in their boatyard to be left on if no one is present. At this time of year it’s worth checking the condition of all water hoses and belts, don’t forget the impeller (out of sight out of mind), the engine anode and of course the thermostat. Incidentally, to check a thermostat is working all you have to do is remove and place in a bowl of boiling  water and check it activates, depending on the make of engine it may either open or close when placed in the hot water so make sure you check the status before you drop it in. Throttle and gear shift cables can snap where the cable exits the outer casing so examine closely by gently flexing the cable and check for broken strands. If old, stiffness in the operation may mean internal issues like a loss of lubricant (maybe the outer casing has split) or the beginning of cable failure. Finally, for what it costs, a replacement primary and secondary fuel filter should be fitted regardless of the condition of the old.

    Outboard - 4 Stroke

    4 Stroke Outboard Winterisation
    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in then wash off with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank. If you have an internal fuel tank, the best way to add the stabilizer is to add the correct amount (for the fuel remaining in your tank) to 1 litre of fresh fuel, mix thoroughly then add to the main tank. Next place your engine in a fresh water tank or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine for 15 minutes to:(a) to get the mixed fuel completely through the fuel system and(b) to remove any traces of salt from the cooling system.

    After you have stopped the engine, remove the plugs (beware they may be hot) and add a small amount of engine oil into each plug hole. After making sure the kill cord is disconnected, rotate the flywheel manually to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Change the engine oil and filter as well as the gear box oil. At this stage its worth touching up any exposed alloy surfaces with the appropriate primer and correct colored paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally store the engine upright to allow water to drain out. Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Outboard - 2 Stroke

    2 Stroke Outboard Winterisation
    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in for five minutes and then wash down with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to any built in fuel tank(s), however, if it’s a small auxiliary engine with a separate tank or integral tank, empty contents into a petrol engine car AFTER carrying out the following procedure. Either place your engine in fresh water or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine in neutral for 10 minutes. Increase speed to fast idle then disconnect fuel supply. Just before engine starts to stall (and it could run for up to 3-4 minutes!), quickly spray Quicksilver Storage Seal into carburetor until engine dies from fuel starvation. Remove the spark plugs (once again beware they may be hot) and inject 1oz of Quicksilver Storage Seal around the inside of each cylinder. Rotate the flywheel manually several times (ensuring the kill cord is disconnected!) to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Drain and replace the gear oil and at this stage its worth checking for any bare metal surfaces that may need treatment, first use the appropriate primer followed up with the correct coloured paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally store upright to allow water to drain out. Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.One thing that’s worth noting is if your engine is still under warranty you need to check the terms of the warranty as carrying out even basic maintenance like changing oil and filters may invalidate the warranty.
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  • Laying Up for Winter

     

    Laying Up For Winter

    Read on for top tips and advice on jobs for the winter. If you are going to use your boat during the winter months not ALL of the following will apply, however moisture and the danger of very low temperatures can and do cause problems If you are not using your boat...

     

    Sails, Canvas and Furlers

    Canvas Work
    If it’s a yacht we suggest that your remove ALL sails if you have already stopped sailing. You would be surprised at the number of furling head sails we get in for washing just after the start of the sailing season all with a ‘lovely’ green stripe down the inside of the sacrificial strip! Be aware that a lot of insurance companies will NOT cover you for the loss or damage to a furling genoa if it comes adrift and flogs itself to death whilst either on the water or on dry land. Once you take the genoa off the foil we strongly recommend you run a foil saver up the furling system track and tension using a 6mm pre-stretched line. By using one it will save the foil from shaking itself silly on a windy day.For both powerboats and yachts with canvas work, be it canopies, spray hood, bimini, dodgers, winter gales and chafe are enemy no 1. They can shorten the lifespan of a canopy etc by at least 50%. Enemy no 2 is bird droppings (seagulls and of course starlings eating berries at this time of the year leave purple poop stains) so remove these fabric items asap after you have stopped using your craft. The exception to the rule? Only if the canvas work’s sole purpose is protecting bright work, instrumentation or seats and you cannot protect by the use of a tough tarpaulin. However if using one do make sure you create a ‘ridge pole’ effect so that rain runs off and secure it well! If you have a tailor made winter cover, brilliant, they are not cheap but worth their weight in gold. If your budget allows, send your sails and canvas work to us and we can wash (remove the salt crystals that damage the stitching and fabric, grime etc ) dry them and if applicable reproof, check over and store till the start of the new season. If you would rather D.I.Y, our Yachticon sail and Canvas Cleaner is great, as is Starbrite Mildew Stain Remover should you have some black spots! Granger’s Fabsil is the industry standard when it comes to re proofing, if you have washed your spray hood or canopy its worth using. DO NOT, under any circumstance, use a high pressure washer to remove bird droppings or green mould this can knock the stuffing out of the fabric and stitching in five seconds flat. The ‘softly softly’ approach of soaking and use of a sponge/soft brush is the only way.
    Foil Saver

    Halyards and Mooring Lines

    Halyards
    Halyards and reefing lines; It’s worth purchasing some thin strong line, attaching to the tail and carefully pulling them through (make sure you use a tough string label to identify them). Also remove jackstays and at the same time don’t forget your danbuoy, man overboard horseshoe etc. To keep the ropes in good condition when not in use, hand wash them in warm water only to remove salt and dirt deposits. If your boat winters afloat check the condition of your mooring lines, especially where they goes through a fairlead or are made of on a cleat. If you haven’t already done so consider purchasing some mooring compensators. When fitted they take the snatch away preserving lines, fairleads and cleats. Last but not least, any lines taken of the boat should be coiled when dry, avoiding kinks and finally do not store in direct sunlight.

    The Galley

    Make sure you disconnect the gas cylinder at the end of the season. After that I would suggest you check the date printed on the rubber flexible hose.  One of my favourite  galley cleaning products is Vistal (almost the same as Universal Stone which we used to sell however Vistal is made in the UK) its great for hobs and work surfaces including Corian. Check for perishable foodstuffs and remove, likewise out of date ‘emergency’ supplies. Take all the alcoholic drinks home and drink whilst planning next year’s on the water activities. Make sure fridge and freezer lids are left propped open, likewise, lockers and cupboards.

    The Heads

    The Heads
    Heads I win, tails you lose. Cleaning and winterising the heads is a job that I just love (to avoid). If you have holding tanks fitted, discharge them and add to the tank some Clean & Green (which helps to break down the waste) and fresh water. Then flush through and empty again. To ensure that you keep the uric scale build up to a minimum I always tell my guests to pump at least 20 times to clear the lines. However at the end of the season I am a great believer in using LeeScale fast marine de-scaler, suggest you leave in the system overnite for maximum effect then flush system thoroughly. For cleaning the toilet bowl I use and recommend Starbrite’s toilet bowl cleaner, its specially formulated not to damage seals or valves.

    Water Systems

    Freezeban
    Don’t forget to drain down your fresh water systems and run non toxic Freezeban through the system to protect water pressure pumps, pipe work, taps and calorifier. With the cold snaps a few years ago we have had quite a few boat owners coming in late Feb/early March reporting damaged water pressure pumps, water filters, impellers, taps and shower heads. Even though systems had been drained down, sufficient water had been trapped to expand the appliance and cause in, some cases, an expensive repair.

    Soft Furnishings

    Soft Furnishings - By Storrar Marine Chandlery
    Down below, remove as much/many of your soft furnishings as you can, however be careful where you store them. Mice do so like to make their nests out of fabric and foam! So if they are going in the attic or garage or wherever, worth loading up a couple of traps with some rind from that rather nice Stilton that you have just polished off. For cleaning vinyl we would suggest either Starbrite’s Vinyl cleaner and Shampoo or their Vinyl Cleaner and Polish. For woven fabric, Sunbrella fabric/vinyl cleaner is an excellent product that we have used with success. Peek Spray Away is a superb spot cleaner (saved our skin on a couple of occasions when our fitter has walked muck thru the shop)

    Surfaces

    Bilgex
    Make sure you wash down all hard surfaces in the saloon and cabins with something like a very mild solution of Bilgex, remember a little goes a long way and its harmless to paintwork and fittings when diluted. When added to bilge water it will remove grease, scum, floating oil and keep the bilges smelling sweetly. Don’t forget to wash and dry the underneath of the floorboards if possible leave ‘up’ so air can circulate. Stubborn stains on most surfaces including those that are painted or varnished can be cleaned with Vistal. As it’s 100% natural, it’s safe for use when there are children present, allergy sufferers or pets.

    Foulies, Lifejackets and Clothing

    Lifejackets
    Remove all foulies, lifejackets, clothing and take them home. For foul weather gear we recommend that you wash them with Granger’s 2 in 1 which is a combined cleaner and proofer it can be used with confidence on Gortex and other breathable fabrics (to maximise water repellency tumble dry after on a med heat setting)Lifejackets; If auto, remove the activation unit and gas bottle wash the jacket by hand in warm water and dry naturally. Check your jackets for chafe and before reassembling/repacking check the expiry date on the activation unit and if bottle is rusty or has rust spots, discard. For further advice on the care of your lifejackets if you go onto either the Crewsaver or Baltic sites you can get some first class tips. We do carry rearm kits in stock for the majority of popular life jackets and for the few that we don’t, they can be obtained within a few days.

    Fighting Off The Damp

    Dehumidifier
    240 volt dehumidifier is worth considering. If you do decide to take the plunge go for one which has the facility to drain directly into the sink outlet. The Meaco DD8L Junior (best on test according to Sailing.com) operates using the ‘desiccant principle’ and will work at a lower temperature than those using a refrigerated coil. No power supply? Then the Starbrite No Damp Dehumidifier is great for removing moisture and of course refill packs are also available.If you have the luxury of a 240 volt supply its worth investing in a tube heater. They are available in a variety of sizes, with thermostats, and prices start as low as £29-95. These low power consumption heaters create air circulation in enclosed spaces and help to prevent condensation, dampness, mould and mildew. If you can leave hatches a tiny bit open it will also help.

    Finally

    Wet & Forget is superb at keeping the green algae which tends to form on boats in the winter (especially the side that does not see so much sun), you dilute, spray it on decks be they teak, grp or painted. If you decide to leave halyards, covers or canopies on (sailing throughout the winter?) Wet & Forget will keep the algae at bay with NO HARD LABOUR NEEDED!
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  • 34. Top Tips Tuesday - Winterising Your Engine

     

    TOP TIPS TUESDAY
    Laying Up 2014

    Winterising Your Engine

    Following on from last weeks Tips and Advice on Laying Up For Winter, this week Andy looks at Engines and Winterisation covering Inboards and both 2 Stroke and 4 Stroke Outboards.

    Inboards

    At the end of the season we strongly recommend that you fill your diesel tank to the brim as this will help prevent a condensation build up, however, before doing so we suggest you also add the appropriate amount of diesel fuel additive like Grotamar82 (recently reformulated to take account of the ‘Bio content’ now being added to diesel). This, along with the full fuel tank, will help prevent the dreaded diesel bug. There are two schools of thought re an oil change at this time of year; most experts prefer to do it now, however some say "best in the spring". All agree that before lifting out or after lifting back in at the start of the season you should run the engine under load (in either forward or reverse gear) for at least twenty minutes before draining the oil and changing the filter. Our mechanic has always used a Pela vacuum pump to remove the oil which is retrieved via the dipstick hole. It's sucked straight into the pump’s container and being contained lessens the chance of a spillage. Not quite so robust is the Seago Extract-It which won the praise of the PBO pundits as being excellent value for money. On a tight budget? Consider the traditional brass cylinder type this may be the answer, however you do need to collect the oil in a suitable container! If you are like Rob (of advancing age and suffering from arthritis in the wrists) and have difficulty in undoing the oil filter, the Boa Constrictor strap wrench takes the pain away!
    Inboard Engine Winterisation
    If your craft is being stored in a boatyard, once she is up on the hard stand we suggest that you close the water inlet seacock, open the water filter and with the engine running pour in a 50/50 antifreeze mix. Carry on pouring till you can retrieve same from the exhaust outlet. Once you have done this stop the engine and turn off the diesel tap. If you intend to leave your boat in the marina or on moorings don’t follow this procedure with the antifreeze as you will pollute the water, drainage of the seawater system is the preferred option. Next, disconnect the starting circuit from the battery(s) and consider taking them home and storing in a warm place, likewise the domestic(s), however, if you are leaving the boat on the water make sure there is still a battery to run the bilge pump! If the engine could do with a clean, consider cleaning the engine down with an engine cleaner and degreaser, this will remove any ingrained grease and grime. Don’t forget to keep abreast of any rust spots; surface should be prepared with the appropriate primer than follow up with the correct colour paint. Spray all exposed parts of the engine with Quicksilver Corrosion Guard  then get a couple of oily rags and stuff them up the exhaust pipe and engine air intake.  If you have access to shore power a small tube heater will stop any moisture from freezing as it circulates warm air round the engine bay. Check, however, that a heater can be left unattended; our local yacht club does not allow heaters in their boatyard to be left on if no one is present. At this time of year it’s worth checking the condition of all water hoses and belts, don’t forget the impeller (out of sight out of mind), the engine anode and of course the thermostat. Incidentally, to check a thermostat is working all you have to do is remove and place in a bowl of boiling  water and check it activates, depending on the make of engine it may either open or close when placed in the hot water so make sure you check the status before you drop it in. Throttle and gear shift cables can snap where the cable exits the outer casing so examine closely by gently flexing the cable and check for broken strands. If old, stiffness in the operation may mean internal issues like a loss of lubricant (maybe the outer casing has split) or the beginning of cable failure. Finally, for what it costs, a replacement primary and secondary fuel filter should be fitted regardless of the condition of the old.

    Outboard - 4 Stroke

    4 Stroke Outboard Winterisation
    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in then wash off with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank. If you have an internal fuel tank, the best way to add the stabilizer is to add the correct amount (for the fuel remaining in your tank) to 1 litre of fresh fuel, mix thoroughly then add to the main tank. Next place your engine in a fresh water tank or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine for 15 minutes to:(a) to get the mixed fuel completely through the fuel system and(b) to remove any traces of salt from the cooling system.After you have stopped the engine, remove the plugs (beware they may be hot) and add a small amount of engine oil into each plug hole. After making sure the kill cord is disconnected, rotate the flywheel manually to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Change the engine oil and filter as well as the gear box oil. At this stage its worth touching up any exposed alloy surfaces with the appropriate primer and correct colored paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally store the engine upright to allow water to drain out. Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Outboard - 2 Stroke

    2 Stroke Outboard Winterisation
    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in for five minutes and then wash down with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to any built in fuel tank(s), however, if it’s a small auxiliary engine with a separate tank or integral tank, empty contents into a petrol engine car AFTER carrying out the following procedure. Either place your engine in fresh water or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine in neutral for 10 minutes. Increase speed to fast idle then disconnect fuel supply. Just before engine starts to stall (and it could run for up to 3-4 minutes!), quickly spray Quicksilver Storage Seal into carburetor until engine dies from fuel starvation. Remove the spark plugs (once again beware they may be hot) and inject 1oz of Quicksilver Storage Seal around the inside of each cylinder. Rotate the flywheel manually several times (ensuring the kill cord is disconnected!) to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Drain and replace the gear oil and at this stage its worth checking for any bare metal surfaces that may need treatment, first use the appropriate primer followed up with the correct coloured paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally store upright to allow water to drain out. Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.One thing that’s worth noting is if your engine is still under warranty you need to check the terms of the warranty as carrying out even basic maintenance like changing oil and filters may invalidate the warranty.

     

  • 33. Top Tips Tuesday - Laying Up For Winter

     

    TOP TIPS TUESDAY

    Laying Up For Winter

    Read on for top tips and advice on jobs for the winter. If you are going to use your boat during the winter months not ALL of the following will apply, however moisture and the danger of very low temperatures can and do cause problems If you are not using your boat...

    Sails, Canvas and Furlers

    Canvas Work

    If it’s a yacht we suggest that your remove ALL sails if you have already stopped sailing. You would be surprised at the number of furling head sails we get in for washing just after the start of the sailing season all with a ‘lovely’ green stripe down the inside of the sacrificial strip! Be aware that a lot of insurance companies will NOT cover you for the loss or damage to a furling genoa if it comes adrift and flogs itself to death whilst either on the water or on dry land. Once you take the genoa off the foil we strongly recommend you run a foil saver up the furling system track and tension using a 6mm pre-stretched line. By using one it will save the foil from shaking itself silly on a windy day.

    For both powerboats and yachts with canvas work, be it canopies, spray hood, bimini, dodgers, winter gales and chafe are enemy no 1. They can shorten the lifespan of a canopy etc by at least 50%. Enemy no 2 is bird droppings (seagulls and of course starlings eating berries at this time of the year leave purple poop stains) so remove these fabric items asap after you have stopped using your craft. The exception to the rule? Only if the canvas work’s sole purpose is protecting bright work, instrumentation or seats and you cannot protect by the use of a tough tarpaulin. However if using one do make sure you create a ‘ridge pole’ effect so that rain runs off and secure it well! If you have a tailor made winter cover, brilliant, they are not cheap but worth their weight in gold. If your budget allows, send your sails and canvas work to us and we can wash (remove the salt crystals that damage the stitching and fabric, grime etc ) dry them and if applicable reproof, check over and store till the start of the new season. If you would rather D.I.Y, our Yachticon ail and Canvas Cleaner is great, as is Starbrite Mildew Stain Remover should you have some black spots! Granger’s Fabsil is the industry standard when it comes to re proofing, if you have washed your spray hood or canopy its worth using. DO NOT, under any circumstance, use a high pressure washer to remove bird droppings or green mould this can knock the stuffing out of the fabric and stitching in five seconds flat. The ‘softly softly’ approach of soaking and use of a sponge/soft brush is the only way.

    Foil Saver

    Halyards and Mooring Lines

    Halyards
    Halyards and reefing lines; It’s worth purchasing some thin strong line, attaching to the tail and carefully pulling them through (make sure you use a tough string label to identify them). Also remove jackstays and at the same time don’t forget your danbuoy, man overboard horseshoe etc. To keep the ropes in good condition when not in use, hand wash them in warm water only to remove salt and dirt deposits. If your boat winters afloat check the condition of your mooring lines, especially where they goes through a fairlead or are made of on a cleat. If you haven’t already done so consider purchasing some mooring compensators. When fitted they take the snatch away preserving lines, fairleads and cleats. Last but not least, any lines taken of the boat should be coiled when dry, avoiding kinks and finally do not store in direct sunlight.

    The Galley

    Make sure you disconnect the gas cylinder at the end of the season. After that I would suggest you check the date printed on the rubber flexible hose.  One of my favourite  galley cleaning products is Vistal (almost the same as Universal Stone which we used to sell however Vistal is made in the UK) its great for hobs and work surfaces including Corian. Check for perishable foodstuffs and remove, likewise out of date ‘emergency’ supplies. Take all the alcoholic drinks home and drink whilst planning next year’s on the water activities. Make sure fridge and freezer lids are left propped open, likewise, lockers and cupboards.

    The Heads

    The Heads
    Heads I win, tails you lose. Cleaning and winterising the heads is a job that I just love (to avoid). If you have holding tanks fitted, discharge them and add to the tank some Clean & Green (which helps to break down the waste) and fresh water. Then flush through and empty again. To ensure that you keep the uric scale build up to a minimum I always tell my guests to pump at least 20 times to clear the lines. However at the end of the season I am a great believer in using LeeScale fast marine de-scaler, suggest you leave in the system overnite for maximum effect then flush system thoroughly. For cleaning the toilet bowl I use and recommend Starbrite’s toilet bowl cleaner, its specially formulated not to damage seals or valves.

    Water Systems

    Freezeban
    Don’t forget to drain down your fresh water systems and run non toxic Freezeban through the system to protect water pressure pumps, pipe work, taps and calorifier. With the cold snaps a few years ago we have had quite a few boat owners coming in late Feb/early March reporting damaged water pressure pumps, water filters, impellers, taps and shower heads. Even though systems had been drained down, sufficient water had been trapped to expand the appliance and cause in, some cases, an expensive repair.

    Soft Furnishings

    Soft Furnishings - By Storrar Marine Chandlery
    Down below, remove as much/many of your soft furnishings as you can, however be careful where you store them. Mice do so like to make their nests out of fabric and foam! So if they are going in the attic or garage or wherever, worth loading up a couple of traps with some rind from that rather nice Stilton that you have just polished off. For cleaning vinyl we would suggest either Starbrite’s Vinyl cleaner and Shampoo or their Vinyl Cleaner and Polish. For woven fabric, Sunbrella fabric/vinyl cleaner is an excellent product that we have used with success. Peek Spray Away is a superb spot cleaner (saved our skin on a couple of occasions when our fitter has walked muck thru the shop)

    Surfaces

    Bilgex
    Make sure you wash down all hard surfaces in the saloon and cabins with something like a very mild solution of Bilgex, remember a little goes a long way and its harmless to paintwork and fittings when diluted. When added to bilge water it will remove grease, scum, floating oil and keep the bilges smelling sweetly. Don’t forget to wash and dry the underneath of the floorboards if possible leave ‘up’ so air can circulate. Stubborn stains on most surfaces including those that are painted or varnished can be cleaned with Vistal. As it’s 100% natural, it’s safe for use when there are children present, allergy sufferers or pets.

    Foulies, Lifejackets and Clothing

    Lifejackets

    Remove all foulies, lifejackets, clothing and take them home. For foul weather gear we recommend that you wash them with Granger’s 2 in 1 which is a combined cleaner and proofer it can be used with confidence on Gortex and other breathable fabrics (to maximise water repellency tumble dry after on a med heat setting)

    Lifejackets; If auto, remove the activation unit and gas bottle wash the jacket by hand in warm water and dry naturally. Check your jackets for chafe and before reassembling/repacking check the expiry date on the activation unit and if bottle is rusty or has rust spots, discard. For further advice on the care of your lifejackets if you go onto either the Crewsaver or Baltic sites you can get some first class tips. We do carry rearm kits in stock for the majority of popular life jackets and for the few that we don’t, they can be obtained within a few days.

    Fighting Off The Damp

    Dehumidifier

    If you have the luxury of a 240 volt supply its worth investing in a tube heater. They are available in a variety of sizes, with thermostats, and prices start as low as £29-95. These low power consumption heaters create air circulation in enclosed spaces and help to prevent condensation, dampness, mould and mildew. If you can leave hatches a tiny bit open it will also help.

    A 240 volt dehumidifier is worth considering. If you do decide to take the plunge go for one which has the facility to drain directly into the sink outlet. The Meaco DD8L Junior (best on test according to Sailing.com) operates using the ‘desiccant principle’ and will work at a lower temperature than those using a refrigerated coil. No power supply? Then the Starbrite No Damp Dehumidifier is great for removing moisture and of course refill packs are also available.

    Finally

    Wet & Forget is superb at keeping the green algae which tends to form on boats in the winter (especially the side that does not see so much sun), you dilute, spray it on decks be they teak, grp or painted. If you decide to leave halyards, covers or canopies on (sailing throughout the winter?) Wet & Forget will keep the algae at bay with NO HARD LABOUR NEEDED!

    If you are ever worried about your electricity consumption whilst using either a dehumidifier or tube heater you can check your consumption with a Metermaid, just add the ‘maid’ to you shore supply cable and you can keep a close eye on your outgoings!

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    Copyright © Storrar Marine Ltd 2014 All rights reserved.

     

  • 32. Top Tips Tuesday - Protect Your Headsail Reefing Gear With A Foil Saver

    P1060296With the excellent Indian summer we have recently been enjoying, thoughts of laying up have, in most cases, been put on the back burner, however, with yesterday’s strong winds and driving rain I have no doubt that for a lot of us it will be a case of battening down the hatches in the near future!

    Once you have lowered the headsail, check it for any damage to the stitching, especially on the leech, and for signs of UV degradation on the sacrificial strip. If you are not into DIY sail repairs, sail makers need your work now, not at the hectic start of the season! Apart from making sure they are stored dry* and free from salt its worth running a foil saver up your headsail reefing systems. The foil saver helps stop, in strong winds, the vibration that can loosen the joints thus preserving the furling system. It prolongs the life of the standing rigging and should you be spending a night in the boatyard it will make life a lot quieter and sleep will come quicker. Each foil saver is custom made to suit your furling system, to order we need to know the make and model of your system and the diameter of the bolt rope.

    *If storing sails in a garage or attic, suggest a loaded mouse trap placed nearby. It’s surprising how many sails we get into our sailloft for repair at the beginning of the season that have been damaged by vermin.

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