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Monthly Archives: February 2017

  • 151. Top Tips Tuesday - Reduce the trip factor

    Jenny's bruised leg!

    Jenny, my better half, is well known amongst our sailing friends for having a ‘slight’ lack of spatial awareness. When on board our last yacht, never a day went by without her bouncing her head off the companion way sliding hatch, banging an elbow on the companion way steps or ricocheting off the cooker. Yes, she can even stumble on a peanut  which has been dropped in the cockpit on our friends Oyster at ‘gin o clock’ but strangely, never ever spills a drop of the precious liquid in her left hand! Back on dry land she once managed to fracture her elbow, tripping on a raised paving stone when walking to, yes to, the pub and surprising as it may seem she has never had a problem when coming back! The poor girl is at the moment suffering from an extremely painful  hematoma in her upper thigh after slipping on a rock whilst walking in the Lake District the other day, however, the plus points of my good long-suffering wife are too numerous to mention and include proof reading and correcting my awful spelling and punctuation on each and every blog at midnight on a Monday night!

    Outboard lead block assembly

    When fitting out Hindsight we put a lot of thought into reducing the ‘trip factor’ on the deck. The side decks of the Mystery are not particularly wide so when routing the furling line I went for Schaefer’s ‘Clear Step’ blocks which keeps the walkway clear as the reefing line is on the outside of the stanchions.The Clear Step is indexed to easily slip over most existing stanchions and is secured by a simple set screw, large diameter ball bearing Delrin sheaves ensure smooth rolling. Harken do manufacture a similar product, the ‘Outboard lead block assembly,' however the nod went to the former as it looked more in keeping with the traditional looks of the boat, however for the aft turning block I did go for a Harken ratchet with becket.

    Shock cord keeps block off the deck, preventing damage

    I wanted to keep some tension on the line when furling (prevents a riding turn on the drum) as against relying on a crew member to ease the line out! Why a turning block with becket? Cos I attached a short length of shock cord to the block/guard rail to stop it or the deck being damaged in a bouncy sea state. We also lead the backstay control line through the cockpit coaming as against over the teak capping on the production boats as a way of helping reduce the trip factor and we shied away from U bolts and went for folding padeyes for safety line and jackstay take off points as a means of preventing stubbed toes or even more bruises.

    Leading the backstay control line through the cockpit coaming

    Am not sure if Jenny is ‘proud’ of her past track record but she did point out (when proof reading the blog last night) that this past Christmas, whilst enjoying a sunshine break in the Canaries, she managed to stub her toe while taking a ‘comfort break’ at 2am in the morning, she blames it on an unfamiliar layout in the flat we were renting and not the alchohol consumed earlier. It however meant that she has only just tried on her new Dubarry boots which were her Christmas prezzie as the little toe of course was broken!

    Folding pad eyes used for safety line clip points

  • 150. Top Tips Tuesday - Wet & Forget mould, lichen & algae remover works superbly!

    Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 08.58.11Yes I know I have ‘gone on and on’ about Wet & Forget on a number of occasions; it’s that brilliant with no effort required in removing/keeping decks, canvas work, ropes etc., free of the green mould that appears when there is a lack of sunlight. I was asked the other day to look at a leaking hatch on a Colvic motor sailor which was moored astern of Hindsight. I think I have this customer's leaking hatch issue sorted, a simple replacement inner seal for the Houdini as against making up an acrylic cover, that is assuming it’s not the seal between the deck and hatch that's the issue. Ten minutes before clambering onboard his boat I had been spraying a diluted solution of Wet & Forget on Hindsight as the starboard side deck and teak capping of the Mystery (doesn’t catch any sun) was starting to show ‘shades’ of green after the last few weeks of poor weather. As I had some left I also sprayed the finger pontoon and then a flash of inspiration, which makes a refreshing change for me! Why not use the remaining diluted solution as another demo with some more images, before and after? So without asking his permission which was, I know, a bit naughty, I sprayed the last of the liquid on the starboard deck on Friday the 3rd of February, on Saturday and Sunday the weather was so awful that instead of freezing my butt off on Hindsight I treated myself to a wood fire, a glass of wine and three rugby matches. The next time I was down at the marina was a week later Friday the 10th, just out of curiosity I took a quick look at the Colvic to see if the Wet & Forget had started working and it had BIG STYLE!

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    Once treated with Wet & Forget the surface needs no waterblasting, scrubbing or rinsing. The surfactants work on contamination in conjunction with the elements (wind and rain) to slowly but gently wash the contamination away from the treated surface. No doubt the horrendous weather we had on the East Coast that weekend did speed the process up but it is impressive, lets hope the owner likes the unauthorised demo! Don’t forget Wet & Forget can be used at home or work on timber decking or fences, block paving etc so the purchase of a 5 litre container (dilutes to 25 litres) does not have to come out of the boat budget.

  • 149. Top Tips Tuesday - Perfect Timing

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    Those clever guys at Oceanair have once again come up trumps in the Heads Department. Apart from their award winning hatch and port light shades, they also manufacture the Dryroll, an excellent toilet roll holder that keeps toilet paper dry. Now they have developed a combined toilet brush and holder and with perfect timing as the heads compartment on Hindsight is nearing completion!

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    The Oceanair Brush & Stow is wall mounted for stability, has a removable bowl for easy cleaning and with a small brush head it's ideal for smaller size bowls (as well as the standard bowl size). It features a clip-in lid, to secure the brush to the bowl and the built in seal keeps shower water out, whilst trapping odours in. When the time comes you can purchase a replacement brush head which has a push release button so hands do not come in contact with the old brush!

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    The Oceanair Dryroll, apart from being waterproof when closed, so keeping the toilet paper dry, has an automatic paper rewind and can be flush or surface mounted. We fitted one to our Hunter Channel 31 some twelve years ago and never ever had to contend with damp toilet paper, shame they hadn’t come up with the Brush & Stow then as our toilet brush and holder did, in rough weather, end up in all sorts of positions! Incidentally the Brush & Stowwas given a ‘Dame’ award at Europe’s huge marine trade fair last autumn, well done guys.

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  • 148. Top Tips Tuesday - Life In The Old Dog Yet

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    No I am not blogging about myself (makes a pleasant change) but about my recently refurbished inflatable dinghy. Having spent way over budget getting Hindsight onto the water it was felt prudent by the controller of the purse strings, my Jenny, that I should start to go easy on the credit-card. As Hindsight is hopefully going to be based in Greece this year and having seen PVC dinghies out there ‘go sticky’ after two years if they have not been protected by a fabric cover, I began searching some time ago for a small second hand Hypalon dinghy and managed to pick up a rather scruffy Avon Redcrest which the owner assured me was airtight, took it home, blew it up and yes three weeks later it was still holding its air. This particular model is of a round tail design so no sponsons to protect the yacht from outboard contact but having no rigid transom it stows into a very compact size.If at anchor we will have to make sure the tender is moored alongside both fore and aft, other options?

    Hoist on to the fore deck and leave inflated or our prefered method hoist, quickly deflate and stow. So when planning and installing the wiring we made sure we had a socket in the fore cabin close to the Lewmar foredeck hatch which was capable of taking the not inconsiderable load that a Rule High speed inflator/deflator draws. This pocket rocket can inflate or deflate a 4 man dinghy in under 2 mins, never mind the smaller Redcrest, so deflating and stowing on deck does not become a chore. Incidentally, when used as a deflator it will ensure that your dinghy will fit the stow bag first time!

    If my hopefully bargain basement find wasn't airtight, (porous and not through an obvious puncture) plan A was going to be swung into action which was to use Sealflex inflatable boat sealant which incidentally can be used on both Hypalon & PVC dinghies. Fortunately there were none, however if there had been any small tears or leaks I would have used the contents of an Inflatable Boat Repair Kit, available for both types of fabric, and in a range of colours after preparing the surface, Toluene for Hypalon, MEK for PVC.

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    On the aft quarter of the dinghy the original name had been written over and wanting to rename her again, but worried about damaging the fifteen year old fabric through using a solvent, I decided the best plan of action was to cut a piece of white fabric to hide the old names and then use inflatable boat two pack adhesive (methinks the one pack adhesive is great for quick repairs but for long term two pack better) followed up by renaming her using the Identipack.

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    To restore the dinghy to its former glory we used the superb Polymarine inflatable boat cleaner, works superbly on either material so much so it only took half an hour to clean 'tender to Hindsight'. I then followed it up with a coat of inflatable boat finish which helps prevent fading and brightens the colour. Now all I need is a second hand Redcrest outboard bracket, make a thwart, manufacture a dodger and revarnish the oars using my favourite varnish from Epifanes!

    Incidentally if any one has a second hand Redcrest bracket, thwart and dodgers please drop us a line to lifeintheolddog@storrarmarine.co.uk

    PS. My other Top Tip of this week... ascertaining whether your dinghy is Hypalon or PVC? Take a valve cover off and peer inside. If black chances are its hypalon; if same colour as the exterior of the hull it's PVC.

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