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  • 155. Top Tips Tuesday - Gin O'Clock - Lagun Yacht Cockpit Tables

    Push Pit/Gin Seat

    Its not quite the end of the long build road, but when Jenny asked me the other day how was I getting on with certain 'essentials' on the Mystery, like the two pushpit gin seats and the cockpit nibbles table I thought that seeing as it's a nice sunny weekend it would be nice to get the seats treated  before fitting them (saves having to clear up spills from the fibreglass). The Teak Wonder range of products are my favourites. For the pushpit seats, as the wood was fresh from the workshop, I used Teak Wonder Dressing & Sealer to maintain the golden colour before installing them on the pushpit, a second coat can be applied when dry usually after one hour and with the conditions on Saturday this is what I did.  To bring the cockpit seats and coaming up to scratch its going to be a case of applying Teak Wonder Cleaner, maybe Teak Wonder Brightner if the teak doesn't lighten enough and then the dressing and sealer.

    Lagun Teak Table Top

    As for a removable cockpit table some twelve years ago when fitting out our Channel 31 we made up a cockpit table that straddled the centre main track, worked well but often got in the way. For the Mystery we went for one of the excellent Lagun yacht tables, the table can be height adjusted, turned, spun around, folded and packed away and with no legs of its own, there is plenty of room to play footsie with the person opposite! The table can be bought in teak effect (Rimini) or white melamine, however please note the teak veneer option as per my images has now been discontinued. Its simple to install and comes with fasteners, backing plate and plastic wedges (see image below) for non vertical surfaces! Deploying the frame is easy as it slides into the mounting bracket, stowing it away after use is just as easy.

    Lagun wedge adjustment and leg (stowed position)

    Please note that with every complete unit we are giving away a stowage bag worth £45.00, deal or no deal?

    Lagun Table Stowage Bag Made Buy Storrar Marine Chandlery

  • 154. Top Tips Tuesday - Be Seen, Be Safe


    When I was a lot, lot younger, thinking myself to be a competitive dinghy sailor, I would spend hours polishing my bottom (Enterprise, National 12, International 14's and then Flying 15's). So sad I was that on one occasion I faired in with car bodge (filler) the metal hound bands on my wooden Enterprise mast! Did it do any good? Who knows but the feel good factor must have helped. When I started sail making, working at Musto & Hyde back in the early seventies, I was lucky enough to be offered the use of Keith Musto's Flying Dutchman to pursue my 'Olympic Dream'. This particular dinghy had the spinnaker pole stowage on the foredeck with twin troughs port and starboard. I remember at the Cork pre Olympic regatta at Kingston Lake Ontario being told by one of the class experts that once we 'sampled' the lake 'chop' we would have been far better off with the pole stowed amidships cos of all that extra weight forward, was it a psychological wind up?, who knows but we were certainly not the quickest upwind when it was lumpy! Now with me well past my sell by date I still do occasionally get the racing urge, Wed night racing at the RNYC and of course old habits die hard, keep weight out of the ends like stow the outboard amidships, likewise keep the crew out of the cockpit and get the foredeck guy off the bow pronto, smaller diameter lighter weight halyard, carbon battens.


    On the Mystery we deliberately located the raft amidships (still easy to deploy), my second hand Avon likewise, we are using Cruising Dyneema halyards less weight, windage and lower stretch and as for weight and windage aloft definitely no radar up the mast and no reflector either big or small permanently attached to the mast or rigging. You may ask why not fit a round tubular type, in my humble opinion they are a waste of space!

    92b5d5e1-7b85-49aa-9f7a-1d27565d7ba2On board Hindsight our first line of defence is a Echomax Active XS Dual Band RTE (radar target enhancer) at the tip of the mast, minimal windage and as for the weight only 573 grams When a radar pulse is received a switchable buzzer sounds and a coloured LED illuminates, green for X band, Yellow for S band.

    On top of that we will carry on board, to hoist on the burgee halyard, an Echomax EM230I inflatable radar reflector. It gives an astonishing maximum response of 25.6m2, folds down neatly to the size of a book and weighs just 413 grams! Great for racers as it exceeds ISAF, ORC & RORC requirements and for 'retired racers' like me who want to cruise in comfort with less heeling, less pitching and at a higher speed due to a more efficient mainsail. You never know that 1% extra speed through the water, never mind the reduction in leeway, could get you through the tidal gate or even better to the bar in the marina before they call last orders!


    A friend of mine who is a very talented naval architect made the following comment...

    "These days in particular yacht owners are encouraged to carry radar equipment or at least reflectors (and a plethora of other equipment such as AIS). The reality is a 30ft yacht has the same degree of requirement to be see and be seen as a 60ft yacht. Arguably to be equally effective both yachts need to carry the same equipment of the same size at the same height above waterline. However on the smaller yacht this extra weight aloft is going to have a much greater effect on stability; in particular reducing the yachts AVS, the angle of roll at which the yacht can no longer oppose heeling forces and come back upright"

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

    Sea-Tag Man Overboard Wristband

    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.

  • 152. Top Tips Tuesday - Better late than never - Removing rust and paint with the Tercoo rotating blaster

    Removing multiple layers of antifoul

    Last winter I was a bit of a naughty boy and instead of listening to Jenny and concentrating on finishing the Mystery project, on a few Fridays and weekends I took time off and helped the Vounaki crew prepare the underwater surfaces of Mark's Albin Express in the hope that the crew, which includes yours truly, could end up with a smooth hull and keel and mount a 'serious' challenge for the RNYC Wednesday night series trophy races.

    Removing multiple layers of antifoul

    Earlier in 2016 Mark had bought the Albin from Scotland where she had been cruised for all of her life. Judging by the condition of the keel and the hull it looked as though the previous owner's idea of 'spring fitting out' was just to slap another coat of antifouling on regardless of the state of the existing finish!

    Over the course of at least three months we removed at least 6mm of badly applied antifoul which unfortunately seemed to stick like a limpet. As for the keel, which to put it bluntly, was in a hell of a state, rougher than a badgers a..., with large patches of rust and a very uneven surface. We tried everything to quickly and safely remove and prepare the surface for its first coat of Primocon, angle grinder, rotary wire brush and yes even a hammer and cold chisel, progress was so slow that we got very, very disheartened and had to retire to the bar on a number of occasions to lick our wounds. It's a shame we hadn't discovered Tercoo as it would have kept us away from the club ship as the triple disc will strip approximately 30 mtrs of steel.

    Tercoo Rotating Blaster for removing paint and rust

    Tercoo is a rotating disk for the removal of rust, paint, tar, epoxy, paint, adhesives etc from various materials such as steel, iron, concrete or stone. The result is a sandblasted surface with the appropriate texture suitable for the application of a new protective coating.

    Tercoo is a natural rubber disk with 12 hard metal (tungsten carbide) tips (pins). The tips are at a certain angle to the centre of the disk. During operation, the centrifugal force created by the rotational speed of the drill causes the flexible rubber disk to react in such a way, that a "hammer effect" is created with the tungsten carbide tips. This movement ensures that the tips clean the surface perfectly, removing all contaminants and other old coatings. The hammer effect creates no heat, so tough materials such as tar, adhesives and sealants will be easily removed. This is an entirely opposite concept compared to other tools. Other tools use friction to remove contaminants (steel brush etc) which produce a lot of heat and work ineffectively with bitumen based products, tar, adhesives, tectyl etc. In other words, it does not matter what the coating, Tercoo is always clean. If using Tercoo to remove antifouling our recommendation apart from making sure you have a good mask, eye and hands protection is to purchase the adjustable guide for GRP.

    The Tercoo rotating blaster in action - Paint stripper and rust removal tool from Storrar Marine Chandlery on Vimeo.

  • 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!


    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


    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!

    Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 11.12.03

    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!

    Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 11.12.12

    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.


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

      Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 11.01.34

    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.


    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.


    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

    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.

  • 147. Top Tips Tuesday - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

    Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 10.52.55

    Having admired, raced and cruised my friend Klaus’ yacht a number of times (inc a stormy North Sea crossing) I always felt, as he did, that it floated fractionally down by the stern and not to the scribed waterline. As Jenny and my project was to the same design but ‘home fitted out’, we wanted to try and improve the trim. So after speaking to the designer it was decided to fit new smaller fuel tanks amidships to help lift the stern; they would have sufficient capacity for most of the motoring I was likely to do however, for say a long delivery trip, the factory fitted tank capable of holding 140 odd litres of fuel (installed just forward of the rudder post) would be utilised. New tanks were manufactured & installed which are filled by a separate deck filler and all the relevant plumbing was completed including a change-over valve. A week before we launched Hindsight we fired the engine up using fuel from the new tank, success! It ran perfectly, we then added fuel to the factory installed tank, switched over the fuel supply, the engine ran for about twenty seconds and then stopped. Fuel starvation? No it was showing water in the main tank primary filter. We cleaned it out, bled ‘fuel' through and discovered it was not diesel we were pulling but water! Conclusion: water in the tank but how much? My next thought was how long had it been sitting there? As there was no tank drain fitted and no way to access the tank, dare I risk sucking the contents out and hoping that we would never have an issue with the remaining dregs or the dreaded diesel bug, or should I bite the bullet and somehow gain access to the tank which would mean major surgery to the cockpit sole? Well, after a month of deliberation, we decided better safe than sorry so we cut a hole in the cockpit capable of taking a low profile Lewmar hatch. This exposed the tank and, having found ‘signs’ that there was baffle fitted running athwartships, we then cut two circular holes in the tank. Peering inside it looked as though there was an awful lot of contaminated fuel. I had thought of initially using a battery operated Handy pump but when I saw how much liquid needed removing I went for a Whale High Flow Submersible 12v DC pump. I removed over 40 litres!


    However methinks I would have been better with a Rule Portable pump which can run continuously without any damage. The source of all the water? Maybe the filler cap had never been screwed down tight enough when the hull, deck and fuel tank assembly left the factory six years ago and of course I should have checked it was on tight or was it a faulty filler cap seal?Now the tank is empty I am going to use a high pressure water pump on the screwed down cap and see what happens. Will I see a pool of water appearing in the bottom of the tank or was it operator error in the first instance?129c8968-7998-4ca2-89a7-6da7236f23d6

  • 146. Top Tips Tuesday - Cool Max, More Like Cool Rob - breathable mattress bases & other cabin comforts

    Drawing out a template before cutting the Airmat AG+ to size

    Boy do I like my shuteye and as I get a little bit ‘closer’ to seventy I have been known to nod off occasionally in an afternoon or early evening; however, I hasten to add, never when I am at work! 'Twas alright when I was the ‘boss’ having a few quiet z's in the sailloft but now as an employee it’s just not on! I climb into bed or onto my bunk, hit the pillow and that’s it, the next thing it's the alarm clock or a crew member that is shaking you saying ‘your time on deck.’ When we had our last boat out in the Canaries I paid particular attention to the materials used in the construction of the bunk mattresses and cushioned areas some twelve years ago. Microcare was my choice of fabric. Not only is it breathable but also water and urine proof! As for the base, I used a mesh to encourage airflow and even in the height of summer, during a heatwave, I never felt uncomfortable. However we did notice that eventually, due to left over condensation, we were getting a bit of mildew growth! However I digress. When invited to go on an overnight sail with a guy who has non breathable vinyl bunk mattresses, I must confess I sneak a rectangle of CoolMax onboard which, due to its innovative construction, breathes when you lie on it, the heat and moisture generated by the body will evaporate during the first hour. The makeup of the fabric allows the air to flow freely through the core ensuring no moisture will be trapped. CoolMax is, of course, fully machine washable so no worries there!

    Cool Max and Airmat breathable bunk mattress underliner

    For Hindsight with its breathable covers and mesh bases, to help improve airflow I am in the process of cutting some Airmat AG+ which is a three dimensional cushioning with a hygienic coating which dramatically reduces moisture build up through its 8mm thickness. It provides a solution to the age old problem of condensation and the resulting mildew growth under bunk cushioned areas on board, ideal for use under vinyl or breathable fabrics! Speaking of condensation, our polypropylene based sidelining is great for covering glassfibre as can be seen in the image below, as well as using it on the lower vertical sides of the fore cabin to cover a gelcoat finish I have used it as a lining to cover the ‘rough’ GRP layup at the back of certainlockers. Polypropylene doesnt absorb moisture so no risk of a musty smell ‘further down the line’

    polypropylene based sidelining

    As many of you will be aware, the interior of a boat in the Greek Isles (our eventual destination) and other sub tropical climates can get very hot below deck, especially when the breeze drops and the Windscoop then becomes redundant. To offset this, on Hindsight we have installed a Caframo Bora fan in the forecabin which is the area where I hope to do most of my sleeping (unless ordered by Jenny to sleep in the huffy bunk if my snoring becomes too much) This particular model features a three speed touch control and is quietest in class!

    Caframo Bora fan

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