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  • 169. Top Tips Tuesday - Ten Top Tips To Prevent A Man Overboard

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    Schools have broken up and your summer cruise is looming. However, have you worked out the 10 best ways to prevent man overboard? Consider this quote from the Essentials of Sea Survival, F Golden & M. Tipton 2002 'There are no circumstances when you are better off in the water than out of it'. Food for thought, certainly made me think when I first switched from dinghies to bigger boats.

    My thanks must go to the guys at Spinlock for allowing me to reproduce their thoughts on preventing a man overboard however I must confess that I have ‘strayed’ from point no 4 out in Greece when sailing or motoring in predominately light winds around the Greek Isles. Instead of wearing our trusty Spinlock 5D Deckvest Lifejacket & Harness Jenny and your scribe have opted instead for a couple of Spinlock Deck Pro Harness. Lightweight and easy to wear when the going gets hot. The only complaint that Jen has? Her suntan is not that even!

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  • 153. Top Tips Tuesday - Sea-Tag MOB Alarm For Under £80.00!

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    Hopefully by late May we will be onboard Hindsight, sailing  from Port Saint Louis to Corfu via the Straits of Messina. Let’s hope the sun is shining and the winds, for once,  not on the nose!  As I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs to maintain the classic looks of the Mystery our Raymarine chart plotter is mounted below deck, for navigation on  deck we will be using an iPad in a Gooper waterproof case (power for the iPad supplied via one of those superb waterproof Scanstrut sockets which is mounted on the instrument pod above the sliding hatch). As a sail maker and chandler of ill repute for almost fifty years my worst ever nightmare would be to see front page headlines in our daily paper which might read ‘local chandler didn’t practise what he preached and due to circumstances ‘beyond his control’ there was a major incident’! The sailing club bar gossip is bad enough when for once in the lead we sail over the spinnaker on a Wednesday night race or set the grass on the nature reserve sand dunes on fire during a flare demo!

    Sea-Tag Man Overboard Wristband and App

    Last week I wrote about lowering the ‘trip factor’ and with that in mind I thought that this week it would be a good to follow on with some words about a rather nifty bit of personal kit called  Sea-Tag, which comes into its own should you have the misfortune to part company with your boat. Sea-Tag is worn as a wrist band and in crew mode, no mobile network (GSM) coverage is necessary. Monitor your crew and let your crew monitor you by connecting wristbands to all apple or android devices on board using the free Sea-Tags app. The wristbands transmit a continuous signal to all the paired smart phones and tablets. If the signal is interrupted (by immersion or being out of range) the alarm on the phones/tablets go off. The Sea-Tags application displays the MOB’s position, the real-time position of the boat, and provides real-time updates of the heading and distance to retrieve the MOB.

    If you are a single handed sailor and there is mobile network coverage, in the event of a man overboard, your phone (left onboard) will send a text message (SMS) with the position and time of the event. The person on land can contact the authorities and communicate the last known GPS position of the MOB.

    Sea-Tags can be used on boats up to 15mtrs long, however they are not suitable on steel hulls or an exotic racer made from carbon! Batteries are good for 600 hours operation and user-replaceable.

  • 138. Top Tips Tueday - Cut The Clutter With Seago's 3 in 1 Rescue System

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    On our last boat which we first launched just after the Millenium, on the pushpit we fitted a Baltic soft foam horse shoe buoy c/w with a Jotron automatic light, a Seago self inflating danbuoy with auto light and I also had a Plastimo safety recovery ladder as well as an outboard bracket and motor. For our ‘new’ yacht Hindsight (destined  for loads of what we hope will be hassle free stern-to mooring in the Greek Isles next year) to help cut the clutter and make it easier to throw lines to the quayside, we are opting for the new this year Seago 3 IN 1 RESCUE RECOVERY SYSTEM. It’s contained in an easy to fit/remove plastic container (means if leaving the craft for a few weeks you can remove quickly so as to avoid it fading from prolonged UV exposure). The Seago 3 in 1 Rescue Recovery system is contained in a compact waterproof burst hinge case. Inside is a danbuoy with built in lifebuoy, automatic life light, lifting loop with snap hook and sea anchor. Solas reflective tape is fitted as standard and to insure the danbuoy remains upright there is 2.5 kilos of lead weight. To deploy its just a matter of opening the case, the contents drop into the water and the danbuoy and lifebuoy inflate automatically.

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    Talking about stern-to mooring, our friends who have successfully cruised the Greek isles for a number of years and given us loads of good advice on equipping our craft,  fitted to the side of the pushpit a reel containing a long length of strong 25mm webbing  which they use to great effect when in a bay and space is limited, tying back to a tree trunk or fastening round a large rock at the waters edge.

    Two makes spring to mind and take up very little space and I cannot for the life of me remember which one they fitted to their yacht, was it the sun or the pre dinner drinks that have dulled my memory? My involvement  was  to jump into the dinghy, row to the shore towing the webbing behind and secure to a suitable object. Finally, on the return ‘journey’ secure a small pickup buoy or two onto the line. The Ankarolina is made from high impact UV resistant plastic and there are four line lengths available, an alloy reel is also available but only with a 70mtr line length. The other make we also retail and I must confess I like the look of is by NAWA. It consists of a heavy duty stainless mooring reel with an adjustable friction brake. Like the Ankarolina it comes with an excellent mounting kit and is available in three webbing lengths. Both of course take up very little space on the pushpit however you must not  forget to cleat the webbing to the boat!

  • 96. Top Tips Tuesday - Be Seen In The Water - Lifejacket Lights

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    Last week I wrote about some excellent value, good quality LED navigation lights that we are importing from Holland. The response to the blog was excellent, so much so that we 'sold out', however, the good news is we have another large order crossing the North Sea in the near future.

    Writing about being seen in the water, however, have you done everything possible (if the unthinkable happens) and you have to be spotted whilst you’re in the briny? Worry not as further help is at hand. Those clever guys at Spinlock who raised the bar when they introduced the pylon lifejacket light to the marine market four years ago, have raised it a bit further with the introduction of the Lume-on Light at the back end of 2015.

    It's easy to fit to any lifejacket which has a separate bladder, the two water activated self adhesive flashing LED lights can be fitted in seconds (see video below) and by using  the inflated bladder as a diffuser the visibility of the light is greatly increased however please be aware that it is not a stand alone lifejacket light, it is to be used in addition.

    We all hope we never have to be in that situation but if we are, we do want to be seen!

    Incidentally now is the time to check out your lifejacket(s) before the fitting out season kicks in, check the auto rearm is in date,  inflate the jacket to check for sign of a leak etc. Further information can be found in this useful RNLI Guide (Page 22) and don't forget we do carry a full range of lifejacket spares.

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