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Monthly Archives: January 2015

  • 48. Top Tips Tuesday - Vistal Surface Cleaner - 100% Natural

    Vistal Surface Cleaner
    Vistal Surface Cleaner
    If you’re working on a tight budget or perhaps storage space is limited on your boat you can, believe it or not, get away with only one tub of cleaner! A 500g tub of  Vistal Natural Surface Cleaner is enough to clean a 27’ boat’s topsides removing yellowing, oxidation, rust and waterline stains from grp and painted surfaces. It’s great for cleaning and protecting stainless, alloy fittings, anodised spars and also for use on toughened glass, acrylic, hobs and sinks both plastic and stainless. As well as it’s uses on hard surfaces, Vistal can be used with great effect on inflatabes manufactured from both PVC and Hypalon fabric and fenders. It’s very economical as, unlike a lot of cleaning products which have a large liquid content, it’s dry and solid - a 500g tub of Vistal Surface Cleaner is apparently the equivalent of 50 litres of liquid detergent!

    As for my experience with Vistal, I have used it on the boat and around the house and can strongly recommend it. I think it’s by far the best product on the market for bringing back to life the moulded non slip deck which was on the decks of my Hunter Channel 31.

  • 47. Top Tips Tuesday - Handy Billy - The Crew Member That Never Complains

    IMG_0825

    If you haven't already got him onboard, why not enlist Handy Billy as your new crew member this year? To keep costs down all you need to make him up is a discarded halyard with the outer sheath still intact, minimum diameter 8mm but 10 or 12mm is better for getting a good hand grip! Apart from an appropriately sized Barton plain bearing triple & triple with becket (size 2 for 8mm, size 3 for 10mm and size 4 for 12mm), a couple of shackles and another bit of old but serviceable halyard is all you need to make up this most handy (low maintenance) crew member. Billy can be used for a number of uses including bringing the bow or stern of your yacht to the quayside if you are anchored close in, other uses include gybe preventer, outboard motor hoist, freeing a riding turn on a halyard or sheet winch (use a rolling hitch to secure Billy to the tensioned rope) and of course if your boat is large enough...hoisting your monkey bike onboard!

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  • 46. Top Tips Tuesday - Saving Your Bacon - Carbon Monoxide Alarms & Advice From The Boat Safety Scheme

    Firehawk Carbon Monoxide

    After a long and happy marriage we finally went our separate ways, our Channel 31 stayed in the Canaries, releasing funds for the current yacht we are very slowly fitting out! One item, to my shame, that we never got round to fitting on 'Dream On', but will be fitting to the new boat, is a Firehawk Carbon Monoxide alarm. It's a versatile bit of kit, can be fixed to any surface or can be used free standing (perhaps take it with you when sailing with friends on their boat?) has a sealed long life battery, a seven year sensor life and of course a low battery warning.

    Remember Carbon Monoxide is extremely poisonous. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas released by the incomplete combustion of bottled gas, petrol, diesel, paraffin etc.

    Here are a couple of booklets from the 'Boat Safety Scheme' to help keep you from harm's way...

  • 45. Top Tips Tuesday - Slippery When Dry? McLube Sailkote Dry Lubricant Is The Best!

    You would be surprised at the number of skippers who coat their mainsail luff slides with a variety of products in the belief that they can hoist the main with a little less grunt, unfortunately a lot of these ‘potions’ are completely unsuitable! Using vaseline as a lubricant on his sail slides, one skipper saw an improvement for the first couple of times, however as the petroleum jelly accumulated wind borne grit and sand not only did it become even harder to hoist the sail but the dirt on the sail was fairly horrendous as the image shows. As a sail maker and chandler of some forty odd years we have known some skippers that have used grease, another Loctite C5-A anti seize copper lubricant etc etc and yes these products have a useful place in a boat's tool kit but not as a sail slide lubricant and once that medium gets onto the sail even the best specialist sail laundry is not going to be able to remove all the stains.

    Me, I have used a variety of dry film lubricants however McLube Sailkote Dry Lubricant is the one that gets the nod from me, I spray the sail sides when first bending the sail on, and perhaps top up twice during the season. It's also great for hatches, sliding drawers, slider cars, telltales and of course the bolt rope of any mainsail that doesn’t have slides. At home it’s great for plastic curtain rail track and brilliant for squeaky door hinges!

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