Marine Chandlery

Marine Supplies, Sailing Products, Helpful Tips, Advice and Reviews

  • 271. Top Tips Tuesday - My poor old knees

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    Fifty or so years of kneeling ain't done my knees any good! It wasn't a regular attendance at a place of worship but a long career in sailmaking. Perhaps a foretaste of things to come was that many years ago, in the late seventies, I managed just one race out of six at the Enterprise World championships spending the rest of the week first in hospital with a knee the size of a football (it had been a hard week beforehand making sails for the event), the rest of the week on crutches. Fast forward some twenty years later and a good customer of ours, who happened to be an orthopaedic surgeon, removed some 'bits' from my knee after seeing me struggling at work. No, he did not operate in the sail loft but did examine my knee in situ! Fast forward another twenty years and again the same knee is giving me trouble and despite repeated ice packs and Ibruprofen, it's not getting any better. Let's hope that my trip to the doctors this week will set me on the road to recovery. Whilst my left knee has been giving me jip it doesn't mean that Andy my boss man has allowed me to take a sickie, 'too much to do in too short a time', so it has to be said that the Freebag Prohas been a blessing in disguise when kneeling on the sail loft floor or whilst out putting the finishing touches to a spray hood in Amble marina, see above image!

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    The big brother or sister (to be politically correct) to the Freebag Pro, the Freebag boat cushion, has been for many a year, giving sterling service on board our first yacht, the Hunter Channel, and now we have the Mystery we have treated ourself to not one but two new (the old has been relegated to the workshop for when I am working on the Caterham.) Not only useful as a 'go anywhere' cushion or backrest, be it aboveor below deckon the boat, but they are also great for taking ashore and in our case using them on the rocky beaches in the Ionian.

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  • 270. Top Tips Tuesday - Water, water everywhere!

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    Back in May I wrote a blog entitled 'Things can only get better'. This was after we discovered an issue in the grey water tank plumbing at the conclusion of the 2018 season which eventually resulted in the bilges of our Mystery flooding, the end result being the need for a replacement shower drain pump which had been damaged through water ingress. Two days of my precious early summer cruising lost grovelling in the stern locker as well as the bilge! Later that month I realised that I had never ever attached a wooden plug or bung to each of the inlet/outlet seacocks in the three years we have had Hindsight on the water. Note to myself, ‘Storrar always practice what you preach.’ Yes I know we have Forespar reinforced glass seacocks on the Mystery so no danger of them failing through electrolysis as per the image shown below, however if a hose had failed and no bung to hand, what then, go hunting for the pack of plugs which I knew was somewhere onboard, but where? Once found, select the correct diameter, then find a hammer and belt it in assuming the saloon hasn’t been completely flooded.

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    Forespar, the manufacturers of those excellent seacocks mentioned above, have for a number of years been manufacturing the Sta-Plug Emergency Bung that can be used in a variety of situations where sea water would make an entrance. With their soft body they can be used to plug a hole that’s not circular. Recently they have introduced to the marine market a mini version called, appropriately enough, the Forespar Sta-Plug Mini Emergency Bung! However you would need an awful lot of them to plug the leaks in the powerboat pictured above!

    Another American import (makes a pleasant change from all those far East imports) is a product called Stay Afloat Emergency Plug & Sealant. It's a unique mixture that is super adhesive, will stick to most surfaces and will instantly stop water leaks during a damage control crisis or emergency situation on your boat. I used this product last year to repair a water leak on a window, but it's uses are many; waterproofing fittings, temporary boat plug, use on broken or leaking through hulls, broken or leaking transducers, leaking or weeping cable glands. A little can go a long way so that may be the temporary answer to the powerboat skipper's prayer!

    With a roll of drums we have a British designed and manufactured product! Seabung is a through hull/seacock breach controller and did you know that seacock and hose failures cause 50% of moored boat sinking? Seabung is not just a plug, it allows replacement of hoses and seacocks whilst the vessel is afloat. Quality holiday time lost because of the offending toilet outlet? Seabung will allow you to remove a blocked seacock, free the obstruction without the expense nor time lost of an expensive lift out! Sounds like a winner to me.

  • 269. Top Tips Tuesday - Three Steps To Heaven

    Three Steps To Heaven was a song co-written by Eddie Cochran and released in 1960. The record became a posthumous UK number-one hit for Cochran following his death in a car accident in April 1960. Whilst I do admit these days to being an old git, I can only vaguely remember the song on radio Luxembourg. It was re-released by Showaddywaddy in 1975 and I was told in no uncertain terms by my big brother that the original was by far the best, and who was I to argue! In those days the shearline (where the hull meets the deck) was perhaps one metre, maybe slightly more, above the waterline. Fast forward some forty or fifty years and very few boats designed/built have a low freeboard, below deck headroom and loads of storage is what skippers and their crew want. The downside of increasing the freeboard is that the distance from the deck to the marina pontoon is, on most modern boats of over 35 feet, a bit of a challenge and climbing aboard or off amidships becomes hard work. Rigid ladders are all very well but storage is often an issue and they can be damaged or damage the hull if, say, a passing boat throws up a 'bit' of a wash and the ladder gets trapped between the hull and the pontoon or quay.

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    Fortunately those clever folks at the various fender manufacturers have made life easier for those sailors who have higher topsides than we have on Hindsight our Mystery 35. Fender steps range from a single rung to a two, three or even a four rung step. Being flexible there is no danger of damage to the boat and of course being manufactured from a tough but flexible yielding material they will protect the hull if it gets some movement from a passing boat!

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    High topsides, of course, do present other challenges such as getting a line ashore to a pontoon cleat or ring and then back to the boat. Not new to the market but redesigned in so much as the head is now manufactured from carbon/glass reinforced PA with forged aluminium and stainless, is the Hook and Moor M60. This fiendishly clever boat hook can be extended from 1-25m to 3-2m and, as it says on the label, 'thread the dockline through rings, cleats and buoy rings with a simple push or pull. Like magic or three steps to heaven?

  • 268. Top Tips Tuesday - Get a grip!

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    As an ex-dinghy racer who is now cruising a Mystery 35, but still thinks he needs 'the need for speed,' I did indulge myself when fitting her out and upgraded with a few goodies that would, I think, help us go that little bit faster. For instance, instead of the weight and windage of a rigid Echomax radar reflector half way up the mast I went for the inflatable version of that manufacturer's range. It's hoisted on a flag halyard, should  conditions deteriorate, and as another bonus it does give a better reflective footprint than the EM180. We fitted a retractable Selden bowsprit and for accurate sail trim. I used cruising dyneemafor both my main and genoa halyards. The layout of the Mystery, ie a narrow sheeting angle, is such that the two cabin top Andersen winches in conjunction with a battery of clutches both port and starboard are used to hoist sails, put reefs in and adjust the fore and aft position of the genoa cars for my 110% jib when reefing that sail. However we have recently been having an issue with the main halyard slipping so this next trip out to the Ionian, being carried in my hand luggage, will be a Antal V-cam 814 series clutch and as I will be mounting it on the mast it is the horizontal model I will be going for.

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    The Antal V-Cam 814 works in a different way to the majority of clutches on the market, the V-Grip is an Antal patented system for rope locking. It works with a pressure exerted on three sides of the line with a higher friction and, consequently with a lower pressure, in order not to damage ropes.  Click here to see how the V-Grip System works.

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    1. Pressure on three sides. Unlike the usual flat cam, V-Grip is fitted with a V-shaped cam that improves the holding strength without damaging the line cover.

    2. Load distribution. The curved base- V-Cam pair increases the bearing surface, preventing the load from being concentrated at a critical point.

    3. Line retrieval with closed lever. Line retrieval can be achieved with the lever closed. The line stops automatically in the new position with no slippage.

    4. Emergency opening. The line can be released under load without the use of a winch because the Antal mechanism guarantees easy opening even under heavy conditions.

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    Antal also manufacture an excellent block that I use when barber hauling the headsail. As mentioned above it’s a 110% jib, fitted with vertical battens to help control the leech. The Dynablock offers a light and reliable solution  that offers an easy, fast and safe connection as can be seen below. Use it for a variety of uses including, of course, barber hauling your jib, cruising chute or code zero.

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    1. A light and reliable solution that offers an easy, fast and safe connection 2. The resin sheave is on composite fibre bushing with two side ball bearings. 3. Spare snap-loops (DBS04 for size 44 and DBS05 for size 56) available.

  • 267. Top Tips Tuesday - Beyond Redemption

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    With our time on Hindsight in the Ionian nearly over, Monday the 24th of June saw us departing Cleopatra marina in Preveza at 7:45am. Motoring out, we hoisted the main and 110% jib and set sail. However, forty minutes later the early morning breeze died away so it was a case of hoist the black triangle and motor sail North.  As so often happens in this part of Greece, it's either zero or too much wind. Five hours later we had the latter, 24 knots of breeze and of course it was on the nose! Our destination that night was Platarias, both locations incidentally mainland Greece. At this time of year, almost high season in the Ionian, space in anchorages and harbours does become limited. Often if you are not in your chosen location before lunch time you have to make do with second best. Well when we 'rolled up' ten hours later, weather beaten, very hot, tired and thirsty and still with that 24 knot breeze, the two options were either to anchor in the bay outside the harbour, which was very lumpy, or to enter and moor stern on and of course all the best and easier places were already taken!

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    Hindsight, of course, does not have the luxury of a bow thruster which would make it a little bit easier as the breeze was blowing parallel to the quay. The need for speed of course overrules the very thought of fitting one to make our 'parking' easier! On entering the harbour and slowly motoring around then deciding on our eventual location, checking of course first that you're not going to drop your hook over another anchor and chain (all the skippers stand at the bow of their craft and watch for any misdemeanours ie crossed anchors by the late arrival to the party) It's then a case of hook down, get it to bite whilst going astern and aim for your chosen spot. The trick is to try and hold the bows in position whilst paying out the chain. If it's breezy, which it was, pay out too much rode and the bow falls off, not enough and one rapidly looses steerage. Well we managed easily (only took us five attempts) albeit with a little help from the reception party who were by now waiting to take our lines on the quay. The 'leader' of the group who helped us park was a charming and knowledgeable guy in a small inflatable that methinks had seen better days!

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    If your inflatable has started to lose pressure and the porosity of the fabric is questionable, perhaps expanding foam can be used as a last resort. However, before you do the drastic and go down that route it's worth trying some Sealflex sealant for Inflatables. For repairs, ie applying a patch or re gluing say a seam that has started to part company, first you have to ascertain what fabric the boat was manufactured from. The common materials used in their construction being Hypalon or PVC. Most inflatable dinghies these days are manufactured from the latter, cost being the reason. However, if in the market for an inflatable and you are intending to take it to a sunny climate a dinghy manufactured from Hypalon such as the Seago will last a lot longer than one manufactured from PVC. If applying a fabric patch, the adhesives for both materials are available in either premixed (single tube/tub) or as a liquid to which you add a catalyst. It is generally recognised that the two part route provides a stronger repair especially if, say, the tube is parting company from the transom!

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    Patch material for both Hypalon or PVC is available in a range of colours but for instant patch repairs Tear Aid, available only as a translucent film, is a brilliant addition to your yacht or powerboat’s 'first aid' kit. With this self adhesive tape virtually no preparation is required and almost max adhesion is obtained within five minutes. If, however, you are only in the mood to remove years of ingrained muck from your tender or RIB, Polymarine’s Inflatable Boat Cleaner works wonders and if you follow it up with an application of their Boat Finish it will help seal the surface from absorbing future surface contamination.

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    As I mentioned earlier, skippers do stand on their bows when space is tight and show their displeasure if they think there is going to be a crossed anchor, the headline image was taken the morning  after when two other yachts that had moored the night before after us decided to hell with crossed anchors lets just get our stern in to the quay and sort it out next day! Only took them an hour to lift and separate, bet they were glad there was no breeze blowing.

    Please note that the below image was not captured at Platarias but on Kalamos, but it illustrates what great spectator sport that a crossed anchor can be next morning!

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  • 266. Top Tips Tuesday - We Like A Drink

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    I must admit that Jenny and I do like a drink. As we age 'gracefully' it's quality not quantity and as we are now enjoying the Ionian weather (took a long time arriving, the weather that is) it's often a refreshing pre dinner G&T before we row or motor ashore after firing up our little Yamaha. Well for the last three years that we have had Hindsight in Greek waters it's been a case of slipping on a couple of old but regularly serviced lifejackets for our shore leave (our regular Spinlock deck vests being too valuable to leave in the inflatable whilst we wine and dine at a nearby taverna). Touch wood the old jackets have never been 'borrowed' or gone walkabout whilst in Greece but we still have concerns about leaving safety equipment such as lifejackets in the dinghy, faced with maybe a 1/2 mile walk. Having said that I don't fancy carting them up to our choice of eating place then dumping them on the floor, table or chair either!

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    Those clever guys at Spinlock have, however, come up with the answer to my prayers. The recently introduced Alto, not a lifejacket but a flotation aid that is worn round the waist rather like a 'bum bag' or as they are called in the US of A, a fanny bag. You can wear it in the small of your back or facing forward. Once you have fastened it round your waist, you tend to forget it's there. Certainly, sitting on a bar stool at the Tree Bar in Nidri the other day with it nestling in the small of my back I wasn't aware of its presence; meal times its small enough to be removed and placed on the table or deposited on a convenient empty chair!

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    Please be aware the Spinlock Alto is not a full blown lifejacket, it's described by the manufacturers as a 75 Newton floatation aid which, as a ex-dinghy sailor, I know that it gives you 1/2 as much  flotation again as most standard foam buoyancy aids. The Spinlock Alto is designed for adult use only, 40 Kilos upwards, and is only available in one size to fit from 70 to 140cm waist. As can be seen from the Spinlock promotional video below it's also great for canoeing, or in my case when I inflate my Gul paddle board and disappear off to do a bit of exploration of the coastline when Hindsight is at anchor. Keeps Jenny happy that I am wearing a flotation aid, me happy that I am not wearing a full lifejacket!

  • 265. Top Tips Tuesday - I Wish

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    Having climbed a good number of masts over the last forty five years and winched work colleagues up aloft more times than I wish to remember, it's not very often we come across winches (especially on production yachts) that are man enough to get myself, weighing in at just over 12 stone or my boss Andy, these days a mere 10 stone, up a mast easily. On our Mystery I decided to go for larger size winches than were fitted to the production ones, ours being a home built one. Not only do they serve as halyard winches but with the 110% jib being sheeted on the coach roof they also service this need. Why larger ones? Well, I felt that if I was sailing with Jenny and if I had ever to do a mast climb, at least going up in barrel size would give my long suffering wife a fighting chance to get me aloft should the need arise. Well the acid test came the other day; the PVC tape that I had used to wrap round the clevis pins and split pins had finally given up the ghost due to exposure to UV and nearly three years of Greek temperatures and the tape on both the lower and upper spreaders was streaming aft like a set of jib telltales!

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    Well last week Jen succeeded in hoisting me up the mast to the lower spreaders. It was slow progress but she managed it and today was the acid test, the upper spreaders were the target. However, once at my 'destination' the old tape removed and replaced with new, and after I had been safely lowered she did comment, "I wish I had given you permission to purchase an Ewincher." Let's hope she remembers those words when we fly back out to Greece in early September as I haven't broken the news that I need to go a bit further up the spar, this time to the mast head, as the vanes of our Windex are slightly 'skew whiff'.

    With its 3 modes of operation, Ewincher is your new crewmember that assists you with all your maneuvers on your sailboat:

    • In assisted mode: Ewincher does the work for you in the winch's 1st or 2nd speed
    • In manual mode: you can use Ewincher like any other winch handle to make adjustments
    • Combined mode: add your own speed to the one of the handle to reach exceptional hauling speeds

    Ewincher's extreme power and adjustable speed allow you to perform all possible maneuvers while sailing: hoisting, sheeting, adjusting sails, furling your genoa or even hauling a crewmember up the mast.

    • Genuine winch handle - 2.2kg
    • Brushless engine
    • Manual or assisted mode
    • 15 to 80 revolutions per minute
    • Torque of 80Nm: Ewincher is equipped with an adjustable torque from 10kg to 32kg of traction on the handle, it allows manoeuvring sailing boats up to 55 feet without damaging anything. As you hold it like a regular winch handle you will feel immediately if there is a blockage in the lines, any problem. This is something you don't have with electric winches: you press the button and if something is wrong and you are not careful enough, the electric winch will keep on working and can damage the sails or boat.
    • Waterproof and locking system
    • Long-lasting battery life: Ewincher offers a great autonomy thanks to its Lithium Ion battery: more than a day of sailing with only one charge. Charging time takes about 1½ hours and consumes 7Ah (1.7% of a 400Ah battery bank) It is a high efficiency Lithium-ion 25v battery 3000mA.On a 40ft boat that means you can in one day: Hoist the mainsail 3 times, put in 30 tacks and put an 85kg man up the mast (15m lift).

    An optional extra battery is available if desired. Ewincher includes the unit, one battery, the charger, a lanyard, a winch handle pocket for the cockpit, and carry case. It comes with 2 years warranty.

  • 264. Top Tips Tuesday - Make do and mend

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    Out in the Ionian, a refreshing swim from the transom of Hindsight when at anchor is easy on the feet with our fold down stainless ladder (assuming the weather is good enough and the last four weeks have not been typical!) however at last it's looking up! With the warmer weather, a refreshing plunge from the shoreline in a secluded bay is a different matter. Small pebbles or larger rocks, take your choice it's very hard to find a sandy beach. To overcome this, last year I bought myself a pair of Crocs for this very purpose, however I also wear them ashore to keep grit out of my deck shoes. Last week disaster struck as one of the heel straps snapped on my Crocs as I was tugging it slightly harder than necessary. Well I can wear and walk with the damaged shoe but swimming with it is a challenge, fortunately they do float!

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    I did price up a replacement pair in Nidri on the island of Lefkas, however balked at the price of 46 euros as the Crocs I bought back in the UK were a discounted style at fourteen pounds! So it was a case of delve into the starboard 'spares & repairs' stowage lockerand find a tube of Stormsure, an excellent product that, once cured, has amazing properties such as tremendous elasticity coupled with high strength! Back in England I have have used Stormsure to stick the sole back down on my old trainer, repair Jen's scruffy dog walking coat, her beach wellies also; and back in the sail loft permanent repairs on clear panels in sprayhoods where customers don't want to have the panel replaced. For that it's brilliant! Clear rear windows in convertibles, where you cannot repair them in the sail loft due to the permanently attached metal roof bars, Stormsure has been a godsend, giving convertible hoods another lease of life.

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    In the locker can also be found a couple of packs of Tear Aid. The A sachet is the perfect repair tape for all fabrics and, in my opinion, far superior to spinnaker repair tape(clear so you don't end up with a patch work looking kite) As for repairing acrylic on biminis, spray hoods etc it's the only tape that I know that sticks permanently to acrylic canvas. As stated on the packet it's extremely strong, watertight, airtight, very elastic, does not fade, does not dry out and of course it's permanent! As for the B pack, has all the same features as the A pack performance wise, however this is the one for Vinyl and PVC repairs. Great for instant repairs on most inflatable dinghies, vinyl life buoy covers and of course clear spray hood windows. Back home it came to the aid of the grand children's paddling pool earlier this year when our dog Millie decided to join in the fun and punctured the inflatable side panel.

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    As for a third vital 'repair' product we keep on the good ship Hindsight, a Gadget Saverpack. And judging by experience of one 'Liveaboard' that I was talking to last night in George's tavern on Kalamos (his track record being, dropped but recovered three mobile phones and one I-pad over the past seven years, all 'dead' even after 'drying out' in the sun) this handy pack may have saved his bacon on more than one occasion! As for the effectiveness of this, Andy my boss these days managed to save his wife's brand new Samsung Galaxy after Jill tried to flush it away! Read all about it on my blog 'Greater Love Hath No Man'.

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  • 263. Top Tips Tuesday - Silence is golden

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    Some say I had a reputation for being a little noisy when competitive dinghy racing all those years ago, so much so that when my brother, myself and a sailing friend of ours decided to buy three unpainted Enterprise dinghy hull and decks together (bulk purchase meant a better price) the names we chose for the dinghies, once we had painted, varnished and fitted them out, were See No Evil, Hear No Evil and of course Speak No Evil. Sadly, no prize for guessing which one I ended up with! Some years later looking for some 'swimming practice' I then repeated the exercise by purchasing an International 14 hull, varnished then fitted it out, called it 19th Nervous Breakdown, put it on the water did reasonably well in competitions then sold it at a profit!

    This turnover of dinghies helped to make my early sailing self financing, however when we started our fledgling sailmaking company back in the mid seventies, all we had was Alan Bax's National 12 as a 'company' boat, my Int 14 having been sold to help raise some finance. A year or two later Alan and I heard through the grapevine that there were a couple of GRP International 14 Kirby V bare hulls which had been imported into the country by Performance Sailcraft (manufacturers of the Laser, which of course was designed by Bruce Kirby) surplus to their requirements. We purchased both as a job lot, fitted the first one out put it on the water, called it 'Animal Farm' and when we sold that one on we repeated the exercise with the second. The colour of the gelcoat of the second hull was gold, hence the name 'Silence is Golden'. Our landlords, whose fabrication business specialised in alloy welding, helped construct alloy space frames to absorb the rig loads, saving the hulls from buckling. It was, we like to think, leading edge technology of the day! Since those heady days, boat building materials have changed dramatically. These days some production cruising yachts incorporate 'space frames' to absorb the rig loads, be that they are fabricated in stainless, alloy or glass reinforced fibre, and of course carbon fibre can also be found in production racing dinghies such as the National 12, Int 14 and small keelboats like the Flying 15.

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    Last year the Autumn air was, I am ashamed to say, filled with an expletive or two as I kicked a cup of freshly made coffee across the cabin of our yacht. How? Well in the Mystery, with its relative snug interior, we have 'done away'  with a floor mounted saloon table to give us more space, instead the table is stowed horizontally against a bulkhead and only lowered if we decide to eat down below, which in the Ionian is not very often! The starboard leaf of the table is supported by a rather clever set of hinges which spring  out offering support. So being the lazy so and so (takes probably twenty seconds to deploy the table!) that evening I did as I had done for the last couple of years, placed a hot cup of coffee on the cabin sole which is varnished with Epifanes two pack varnish, which happily takes the heat of the base of the cup. Forgetting the cup was there I jumped up at the command of Jenny to pour a Metaxa and in the process sent the fresh brew flying!

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    This year on my 'jobs to do list' was fix a couple of folding cup holders to the side of the saloon seats. Hopefully no more spilt drinks and no more words said in anger! Whilst they won't take large mugs, they are the perfect size for a pre dinner G&T's if the weather is not suitable for the cockpit ... or a sobering coffee after staggering back from the taverna!

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    Writing of gold, some folks love the golden colour of fresh cut teak, others prefer the weathered grey look. As for me, this loud mouthed scribe, I personally prefer a bit of colour on the small amount of teak we have on board. Our washboards, tiller, cockpit seats and, of course, on our brilliant cockpit table I use Teak Wonder Dressing and Sealer. However, very popular in the chandlery back in the UK, is International's Wood Skin and Deks Olje. Some folks, of course, swear by good old fashioned Golden Teak Oil! You pays your money and you takes your choice, Matt finish or glossy.

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  • 262. Top Tips Tuesday - Embarrassment!

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    Last week's blog was entitled 'Things can only get better', I'm composing this latest one sitting in Petrinos taverna in Vathi harbour on the island of Meganisi with an ice cold 'Fix' beer, things are looking up. Perhaps the weather had finally settled down, today started off as the first occasion that I wasn't wearing my Dubarry deck shoes on my feet as with a lack of wind we motored and consequently, as the sun rose higher, I ended up dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof. According to all the taverna owners they have never had a May like this one, lots of rain, low temperatures with cold nights. Last few days we have been slightly blessed; yes sun, no rain which makes a welcome change! However, it's still with a cold wind, in fact eating out at night in the open fronted taverna's it's been a t-shirt, Musto fleece and a Gill Hydrophobe Gilet and still it's not that comfortable, must be all that alcohol consumption diluting the blood!

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    Well we had a cracking sail from Sivota on the island of N. Levkas to Sami on Cephalonia. Last Wednesday it was snubber off, switch on the Quick windlass, lift and stow the Vulcanafter cleaning the chain of some strange looking ribbons of translucent matter (jelly fish or similar we think) using the deck wash pump. We motored to the entrance of the inlet, hoisted the mainsail and bore onto a beam reach and with the engine ticking over in neutral it was a magnificent 1 knot of forward motion, so it was a 'step on the gas moment.' Out went the Selden bowsprit, our code zero hoisted to the mast head after attaching the tack to the base of the Ronstan furler, unfurl and yes, boatspeed built up to 4 knots in 4 knots of windspeed and that was with us towing the dinghy! Two hours later the wind shifted and rose to 15 knots. It was then a case of furl and drop the lightweight headsail and unfurl the 110% jib. A beat to windward, then bear away round the corner of the island and a run down to Sami, headsail furled and asymmetric spinnaker hoisted (it's hard work this cruising lark) was an almost down hill ride with boat speed of 6.5, 7 & 8 knots at times.

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    1/2 a mile from our destination it was engine on, asymmetric snuffed, mainsail lowered, sail ties round the main, fenders on and stern lines at the ready. We motored into the harbour, found a gap between two larger yachts, dropped the Vulcan and with crew member John paying out the chain we went astern and ended up neatly (as I thought at the time) between these two yachts and tied up. Three minutes later, whilst I was adjusting my fenders, the skipper of the starboard hand yacht said, "are you Rob Storrar?" to which I replied, "Yes and you are whom?" to which he replied, "Your business partner for the first twenty years!"

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    Well, I had thought that I had got a good memory for faces but this was a spectacular fail, however in fairness to myself when I messaged the above photo (I am the one with a lack of hair) to our then  mutual circle of friends back home including my wife they didn't recognise Alan either, nor did an ex flat mate of his and let's face it was a long long time ago that the partnership of Storrar & Bax was dissolved! That night we went out for a meal and 'chewing the cud', caught up on how our respective offspring are doing and other things, followed by the polishing off a bottle of Ouzo on board his Dufour! The next night, it was pre dinner G&T's on board the Mystery with me bringing out our cockpit Lagun table to 'hold the drinks and olives' and then again a meal with them, but this time no after dinner drinks onboard!

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    Further embarrassment was to follow when the time came for us to leave, as we motored off the quay a crossed anchor chain courtesy of yours truly, fortunately Alan and his crew had gone sightseeing and were not around to see our predicament. Our trusty grapnel, however, came to the rescue. Dropped it over, lifted his chain slightly and the Vulcanswung free. Off we motored, after leaving instructions with the Greek skipper of the Bavaria moored now next to Alan that he ought to check his anchor on his return, certainly we didn't think there would be an issue! However, if he does happens to read this blog, sorry again for not recognising you and sorry again for crossing your anchor chain!

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