Marine Chandlery

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

  • 280. Top Tips Tuesday - You Must Be Joking!

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    I got a text from Andy this Sunday morning, 'Too early to start laying up email? I have just had the first of another chandlers e-mails on the subject'. Well what with Hindsight on the Iris pontoon in Nidri and me looking out over the stern of our Mystery, yes there are a lot of boats now on the shore awaiting the colder weather but on a beautiful sunny day out in the Ionian it certainly doesn't put me in the mood to blog about all things cold and damp. I had, in Jenny's absence, (she flies out today courtesy of Easy Jet at considerably more cost than her Thomas Cook flight had been) almost got ahead of myself and completed the next blog so that I could give her my undivided attention when she arrives. Jen arrives late tonight so there are a load of things to do on the boat before she turns up, empty and get rid of the rubbish, clean the cooker, wipe down all the surfaces, air the bedding to name but a few of the tasks I need to do before I collect her. Oops, nearly forgot I need to fit in the Wales v Australia rugby match too. Dan one of my sons-in-law is an Aussie, however the folks on the boat next to me are all Welsh, which team do I support this morning?

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    Not quite panic stations but it did mean a quick trot up to the Iris pool bar to get an internet connection as well as seeking inspiration with a large, cool beer or two and the occasional swim. So here goes... a few of my laying up essentials. Firstly, once the sun stays low on the horizon, or on some days, never bothers to show its smiley face during the autumn/winter months, your boat may 'turn green.' Not just the decks and cabin surfaces away from the 'sun' but canvas work, furled sails, ropes etc will all suffer. To prevent this happening once you have given her a wash and coat of wax, spray a diluted solution of Wet & Forget on all the surfaces. By doing so you save yourself an awful lot of elbow grease and money (getting canvas work/sails laundered). Wet & Forget will keep the algae and mould at bay and incidentally if you have already got  'shades of green' you don't need to use any elbow grease. Just spray on and leave, nature will do the rest, either keep the contamination away or if you are already seeing signs of it it will be removed slowly by a combination of rain and wind!

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    Having said that if you are not using the boat in the winter, remove any item above deckthat can suffer, such as sprayhoods, sails, canopies etc, unless an item of canvas work is for instance protecting instruments or bright work. The more windage the more strain it puts on your mooring lines and cleats. Check your lines for chafe, cleats are secure and whilst on the subject don't forget to fit rubber shock absorbers to your lines and if you already have them stretch them out and check for signs of deterioration. Check your fenders, are they strong enough for the winter ahead?

    It's a good idea to drain your water system down, especially if lifting out, as the air temperature can be a lot lower than the sea and consequently the interior of the boat a lot colder. However don't forget to run non toxic Freeze Ban through the system, you would be surprised the number of folks who don't. A small amount of untreated water in say the water pressure pump  or the water filter can freeze and destroy that particular piece of equipment! A chap I know didn't run Freeze Ban through his system even though he drained everything and come next season filled his water tank and could not understand why the pressure pump ran continuously. Yes he was filling the bilges as a result of a plastic fitting failing when the water inside froze!

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    So once you have removed all the perishables, don't forget to remove all the soft furnishings and anything that will collect and retain moisture. It's then a case of keeping the interior dry. If you haven't got shore power the Starbrite No Damp dehumidifiers are an excellent way of drawing moisture out of the interior, however if your boat does have, for instance, a keel stepped mast (rain water can often find its way into the bilges) or say a weep on a stanchion you will need to be replacing the crystals on a fairly regular basis. If you have a dehumidifier, no problem plug and play but make sure it can drain into the galley sink. The two 240 volt units we stock are the excellent Meaco DD8L Junior and the Seago Smart Dry 2. Andy has used the former to great effect during his past St Peters River Tyne winter series, he credits the boats numerous wins to a good helm and his skill on the foredeck, cynics such as me put it down to a drier lighter sports boat!

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    Protect your engine, make sure that the antifreeze hasn't been diluted by topping up with fresh water during the season and is to the correct strength, change the oil and the filterand if an inboard consider one if those very economical tube heaters to leave under the sump. Eliminate condensation in your fuel tank by filling it up and make sure you add Marine 16 to avoid the dreaded diesel bug.

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    On the subject of laying up we have some excellent in depth (not written by me!) articles on our site. Read more on laying up for winter and also winterising your engine (inboardand outboard), you may save yourself a lot of hard work, heartache and expense next spring! As for me I am off to watch the rugby, pint in hand and sitting in the sun, yes it's a hard life but someone has to do it!

  • 279. Top Tips Tuesday - Stupid O'Clock/Good and Bad News

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    As you may have read in an earlier blog, we had to abandon our second 'sailing in the sun' holiday. The good news is that Jenny's chest pain, the doctors have discovered, is the result of her throwing the ball every day for Millie our dog using what we Storrar's call the 'twanger'. For the uninitiated it's a length of plastic, handle one end and a cup to hold a ball see image above. Once loaded and 'fired' it will (in the right hands) propel a tennis ball a fair old distance! Her UK doctors have now diagnosed a muscular issue/repetitive strain causing the problem as against something a lot more serious. Having said that we cannot fault the staff at the Corfu hospital for the care that Jenny received the other week during her hospitalisation.

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    So here I am again out in the Corfu boatyard awaiting an early Monday launch. The Newcastle to Corfu flight departed at six am Sunday morning, the first part of the bad news was a stupid o'clock taxi collection 3:30 in the morning to meet up with friends who were flying out to their yacht. Mind you, whilst cursing the early start that they had requested, I was glad of the extra time 'twiddling my thumbs' as my carry on cabin bag was rejected by security. Twas bad news again, because a pair of elastic shock cord pliers in my carry on bag were apparently a dangerous weapon. They didn't seem bothered about the Ewincheror the MOB1 I also had in my hand luggage. Seven pounds  sterling was what it cost to get my carry on sent out as hold luggage. Incidentally I have borrowed these same pliers from the sail loft on three other occasions and never had an issue, must have been the early start security crowd not yet bored sitting behind the X-Ray machine! So today, this Monday morning, the bad news continued as I watched the boat yard guys move our yacht to the slipway cradle I get a text from Jenny still in the UK. "Thomas Cook are in liquidation, I'm trying to find another carrier, watch this space". Another text follows, "I'm back on schedule, same airline that you flew out on, same ungodly hour but now four times the price that you paid some two weeks ago!"

    The good news out in the Ionian is that you can almost guarantee sunshine but the bad news is that the sun and UV exposure certainly play havoc with items made from PVC, nylon etc in double quick time and even though we strip the boat down of all 'perishables', when not on Hindsight it is surprising just how quickly they can degrade. Our horseshoe life buoy three and a half years old which has only been exposed to daylight for 13 months has already turned sticky (depending on the make you can often purchase replacement outers at a sensible price) and the Rescue Throw Bag outer cover has already perished through exposure to the Sun's rays.

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    To prolong the life of all the soft items on the deck I always say, 'not using it? Store it away' and that not only applies to boats in hot countries but also the UK! Yes it's easy to remove a horse shoe buoy etc but if your not using the boat from say December till March get the spray hood, canopies and sails off (the exception to the rule, if the canopy or hood is protecting varnish work or a vulnerable hatch) and by reducing windage you are also taking the strain and chafe out of mooring lines, fenders etc.

  • 278. Top Tips Tuesday - Winch Me Up Wench!

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    Before anyone gets upset and calls me a male chauvinist pig, or worse, the headline title was thought up by my extremely bolshy wife Jen who is getting sick of being confined to barracks! The other week (in my blog ‘Thumbing Through’) I wrote that we were borrowing the works ‘demo‘ Ewincher for when the two of us were flying out to Corfu to relaunch Hindsight and sail off into the Greek Sunset. This nice bit of kit was first of all going to get my bolshy bosun the opportunity to get me to the top of the mast of our Mystery with absolutely no effort at all on her behalf. I had wanted to do a little workout up aloft such as remove the fibre backstay and replace with a 'fresh’ one out of Andy’s rigging shop. Apart from that, I wanted to cast my beady eye over what was happening up in the clouds as it had been some three years since I had checked the upper section of the spar out, adjust the vanes on the Windex etc etc. On our early season time on Hindsight Jen had managed to get me up to the second set of spreaders but even with our upgraded winches she had run out of puff so this would be the ideal opportunity for her to test drive the Ewincher. However, the best laid plans... sadly we had to fly back suddenly to the UK before we had the opportunity to 'test drive' the Ewincher as a mast climbing assist, for hoisting the main and of course sail trimming!

    The good news for you avid readers of my words of wisdom is that for the duration of the Southampton Boat Show (ends Sunday the 22nd) you have the opportunity to purchase an Ewincher and save almost £200-00 in the process. The bad news is that we can only deliver the Ewincher to a UK address for this offer, sorry!

    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 speed 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.

    All being well we hope to ‘borrow‘ the works Ewincher again and resume our Greek Oddyssey later this month if not early next, watch this space!

  • 277. Top Tips Tuesday - The Stripper

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    The best laid plans and all that! Jenny and I flew into Corfu airport Sunday the 1st of September and by midday we were sitting high and dry on Hindsight, not jet lagged but sleep starved having left our house at ‘stupid O’ clock’ (as our eldest daughter used to say, probably still does but having flown the nest we are not these days party to her early morning rants). Well Sunday the 8th we are once again high and dry and back in the boatyard, circumstances beyond our control see us flying back to England on the Monday! Whilst stripping all the canvas work off Hindsight, putting the dinghy to bed and therefore out of the sun, along with all the other deck gear that does fade in the UV, as you do I got talking to a German sailor on the next yacht (incidentally under a Dutch flag, as he reckons that to register in his fatherland there are too many regulations) who was washing all his fenders and fender socks and sun screens, told me he had fun and games the other day when a rope wound itself round his prop and that his son had spent some considerable time diving down to untangle/cut the rope from the prop and there he pointed out was the offending piece lying on the ground!

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    I then told him the tale(s) of how our friends Pete and Anita had got a lobster pot line round the prop of their new-to them 50ft Oyster. Was the usual story, unmarked pot with the float just under the water. Fortunately the lifeboat got to them just before they hit the rocks on the lee shore. Some years later when we were holidaying in the Ionian on their Oyster, now fitted with a rope cutter, we witnessed just how effective they are as it chewed through a rogue lazy line, however I am not sure if another of my mates, had he had a Stripperinstalled, would it have coped with an enormous,  discarded, builders waste bag that we picked up exiting the last lock of Neptune’s staircase on the Caledonian canal!

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    When we were fitting out Hindsight one of our must have items that we considered essential to stress free sailing was a rope cutter which we duly fitted to the Yanmar saildrive. It was easy to fit took me and Andy all of twenty minutes. As for its effectiveness I am not sure if we have ever put it to the test however after a very windy sail from Sami in early May this year we were about to enter the channel to Sivota, engine was started and then into gear, when we felt a severe vibration or knocking. We immediately put her into neutral, checked over the side for  trailing sheets none that we could see, no debris, so back into gear, now no problem. Had we picked up a rope and the cutter had worked? Heaven knows, however the vibration/knocking did remind me of that incident in the Caledonian canal!

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  • 276. Top Tips Tuesday - Who Needs Viagra!

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    My ramble last week was all about the new Blue Gees adhesive Pro Bond. It’s so enlightening that some folks do actually read my blog(s), within two hours of it being posted we sold out, had 10 in stock! This past Saturday, and mulling over what my words of wisdom would be, and yes racing against the clock, only 16 hours before I catch a flight and rejoin Hindsight, I thought what can I 'get out' in a hurry and then I remembered that in early July we had used some Doctor Sails flexible epoxy to repair an old Sobstad Sigma 33 genoa that was delaminating in the reinforced tack area and at the time I had some Dr Sails mixed that was surplus to requirements so it seemed a shame to waste it and I should put it to good use, why not put its legendary flexibility to the ultimate test!

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    I used to sail International 14's some years ago but now we are a little bit more mature our time on the water can be considered more sedate. Back in late June, Nick, my old 14 crew (trimming the kite in the headline image, me hanging on like grim death) called into the chandlery. He was after a replacement pair of sailing boots as his old Dubarrys had, in his opinion, given up the ghost. They had given sterling service when he was out on the water but also when walking his dog on Northumberland's glorious beach at Beadnell. Ideal winter footwear as his mutt has a habit of dropping his ball in the sea. Andy, after selling him a replacement pair, did happen to ask what happened to the old ones? His reply was, 'I have managed to wear the heels down walking over rocks and hard sand and as a result the heel has parted company with the uppers. He did say however, “They ain’t leaking!" Being the nosy so and so that I am (was just walking through the chandlery to grab a coffee) I said, “What you need to repair them is a cartridge of Dr Sails flexible epoxy.” So it came to pass that muggins ended up having a go at a sticky repair. So far so good, the sole is still attached and has passed my test. Only time will tell if they survive the Beadnell beach this winter but the signs are encouraging!

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    From what I can gather Dr Sails is always carried on board the RTW racers for laminate sail repairs and also as a brilliant adhesive for using in difficult conditions! If Nick and I were still ‘enjoying’ white knuckle rides on a 14 it would certainly be in our repair kit! As for the name of the new boat.... Jenny suggested after proof reading this blog ‘IT TAKES ALL NIGHT TO DO WHAT YOU USED TO DO ALL NIGHT!’ Was she referring to the fact that at one years championships l spent the whole night rebuilding my carbon mast while she partied late into the night?

  • 275. Top Tips Tuesday - Plastic Isn't Always Fantastic

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    The trouble with plastic it takes a really long time to degrade, they do say that a plastic bottle takes 450 years to completely decompose and as one of those strange folk that takes a peverse delight ‘enjoying’ a dip in the North Sea summer or winter without the benefit of a wetsuit I do come across an awful lot of discarded plastic, fortunately not when swimming but…, In the summer our little beach at King Edwards Bay Tynemouth can be littered with plastic buckets, spades, toys a variety of sand moulds all after a hot day, talk about a disposable society. In the winter we don’t get the bucket and spades, plastic bottle debris etc however if we have had a few days of gale force North Easterly’s its often fishermens debris, old lobster pots with rotten wooden bases the plastic hoops still intact, fish boxes, polypropylene netting and lengths of rope which are all coming up from the seabed. The above images are of just over two weeks worth of plastic discarded on our sometimes lovely beach! Items made from this material whilst enjoying a long life do suffer from the effects of sunlight in so much as they can fade quite badly and they can become brittle. Plastic is notoriously hard to successfully glue to itself but to attach to another substrate, well up to now almost impossible!

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    The other day, we received a circular from those clever guys at Blue Gee raving about GEE PRO BOND, according to the ’blurb’ it’s a fast cure adhesive with rapid strength, it will bond alloy, steel and carbon steel. Composites such as epoxy and GRP polyester/vinylester laminates and as for plastics apparently it will bond ABS, Acrylics, Vinyl & Polycarbonates and you don’t always have to pretreat the surface! Well being the suspicious sort of guy that I am, beware of snake-oil salesmen, I asked if I could have a sample to try (nowt like a freebie being off Scottish parentage) sadly no was the answer, but buy some and if not happy with the performance send back and we will refund your monies, so two weeks later with our sail loft wanted to securely fasten a poorly fitting plastic batten end to a GRP rod for an industrial application (had to take a 100 kilo pull) it was a case of lets put Gee Pro Bond to the test and of course it did what the packaging said, a brilliant bond with no surface preparation!

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    Since that then I have repaired the sail lofts trusty Dyson and i'll be taking a Gee Pro Bondout to Greece, I have a couple of jobs in mind, first one is to repair the plastic man overboard light bracket, the second being put together our dish rack drainer, I managed to snap an upright after attempting to load it up with a deeper than normal plate!

  • 274. Top Tips Tuesday - Thumbing Through

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    I was thumbing through a trade catalogue whilst having a bite to eat the other lunchtime when I came across this little bullet point which got me thinking. I haven't ventured past my second spreader since the Mystery mast was re-stepped in 2017, so let's add it to my 'to do' list when we return to Corfu early September. These days the majority of yacht masts don't get unstepped at the end of the season so it is very important to inspect on a regular basis (unlike me). As I mentioned in my previous blog “TTT 265 - I Wish”, we had deliberately upgraded our halyard winches in the hope that Jenny would be able to hoist me aloft and in fairness to her she had managed to get me to the upper spreaders earlier this year. Being the cunning so and so that I am, my plan is to beg borrow or steal boss man Andy's demo Ewincher this time and kill two birds with one stone, get to the top of the mast easy peasy and then later on keep him happy by writing another of my 'brilliant' blogs on the marvellous electric winch handle!

    When I am 'climbing' a mast I always use two halyards, the second being the back up in case the first fails or we have a mechanical failure. Once in my bosuns chair I then get my wincher to hoist me a couple of feet off the deck. I then proceed to 'bounce’ up and down as hard as I possibly can to try and discover a weak point in either the halyard, sheave, clutch or self tailing arm on the winch. Then it's a case of up you go, the safety halyard tightened, if possible, at the same time.

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    If you are unlucky enough not to have an Ewincher to take the effort out of hoisting you up, you can suggest that at each spreader or fitting the wincher takes a break to get their breath back whilst an inspection is carried out. Inboard and outboard ends of the spreaders, lower shroud terminals and so on. You may be surprised at what you find, be it a steaming light full of water or an opaque lens, further up a spinnaker turning block shackle that has deformed and cracked as can be seen above, maybe a block that has started to open allowing the halyard to jump the sheave or a block that not swivelling sufficiently causing the side plates to be 'attacked' by the halyard.

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    On top of the world but not quite on 'top of the mast' I find the Solent Top Climber is a great aid to get me a little higher up so I can inspect the top of the mast and yes, one of the more unusual items that I’ve found was a small fish lodged in the mast head halyard assembly! Whilst up there take a good look at the VHF antenna and masthead transducer cables that may be suffering from either chafe or UV degradation. Check also the navigation lights for crazing or cracking of the lens. When going up aloft I always take my mobile and no it's not to play a video game whilst up their but to record anything that may look a little suspicious. Email your image(s) to Andy or myself at rigging@storrarmarine.co.uk for expert advice. Mclube dry lubricant and a roll of PVC tape also keep me company!

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    And no I didn't climb a mast to get this shot, ‘twas taken from the deck of the ferry that runs from Ancona in Italy down to Igoumenitsa on mainland Greece. Methinks a little bit of chafe on a tang, not life threatening in this case but should another tang fail? I will have to check this one again when we once again migrate North this coming October!

  • 273. Top Tips Tuesday - Jealous Guy

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    John Lennon started writing the song Jealous Guy back in 1968. It was a track from the Imagine album. Since then it has been covered by a variety of artists, at least 92 cover versions we are lead to believe, including our own Geordie Brian Ferry. Released as a single by Roxy music (Brian was the vocalist) it reached number 1 three months after Lennon's death. Being a Geordie, Ferry that is, meant that he always got a brilliant reception at the City Hall Newcastle, as he spoke our language. Jenny and I saw him perform at least three times at that iconic venue and almost fifty years later she still thinks he is hot! Sadly the last time we saw him perform was at the Metro Arena in Newcastle. Soulless place, it smells of hot take away food, the beer was poor and as for the feed back from the sound system that night, bloody awful!

    Andy Lawrence, our website expert, has over the last few years restored a lovely looking Cutlass sailing yacht which was built in the early seventies. Two years ago he upgraded the electronics and went for the B&G Vulcan chart plotter and B&G VHF which has a built in AIS. Fast forward to the other day when the sales manager of Vesper Marine came a calling. Now we guys know it takes a lot to get Andy, our resident Scotsman, excited; haggis and a wee dram have been known to do the trick but after Sales Director Mathew Forbes had finished his pitch, pointing out what the Vesper Marine WatchMate Vision² SmartAIS can do, our man from North of the border and resident IT/website whizz was heard to mutter under his breath "if my boss gives me a pay rise, I will buy one!" Talk about a jealous guy.

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    This now excitable Scotsman then blurted out to yours truly, who had heard him muttering under his breath... “It's very clever, tells you when things are going wrong. It triggers an alarm to warn you of a potential collision situation, it has a brilliant safety at anchor feature, it silently and continuously watches for a man overboard and sounds the alarm as soon as it detects one. It has built in WORLD WIDE coastal outlines for better situational awareness and, of course, it transmits as well as receives!”

    Exclusive vesper marine advantages -

    • BUILT-IN WIFI - Manage your transponder using your smartphone and smartwatch
    • HIGHER RESOLUTION GPS - Fast 5Hz 50 channel GPS receiver
    • NMEA 2000 GATEWAY - Translates NMEA 2000 navigation data and routes it over WiFi, USB or NMEA 0183
    • UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY - Compatible with all AIS enabled MFDs and marine equipment
    • LOW POWER CONSUMPTION - Always on, always visible, always watching
    • SECURE PORTS - Galvanically isolated ports protect your equipment from high current damage
    • WATERPROOF - IPx7 rating - can be mounted anywhere
    • UPGRADABLE AIS PLATFORM - Get the latest transponder features automatically using your smartphone or tablet
    • WATCHMATE APP - Monitor navigation data, AIS and GPS, manage alarms from your smartphone or tablet
    • DECKWATCH APP - Monitor navigation data, AIS and GPS, view alarms, manage settings from your smartwatch
  • 727. Top Tips Tuesday - The Cat's Whiskers

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    I know Storrar Marine is not my 'baby' anymore, Andy is, these days, the driving force behind the original bricks and mortar chandlery Storrar Marine and of course our internet site www.marinechandlery.com (and doing a much better job than I ever did) but it still gives me a kick to see most afternoons that I manage to stagger into my old place of work the number of boxes, tubes etc ready to be collected by the carriers and to learn facts like, for instance, that in the past year he has shipped over 200 pairs of Boarding Ring Glasses to the USA and Canada, never mind the European sales of these brilliant anti seasickness glasses that work. Blakes Seacocks seem to fly of the shelf more often than not for export. Whale/Henderson waterproof hatches usually destined for these guys that think rowing across the Atlantic is just a walk in the park incidentaly one of our old ‘Saturday lads’ has signed up to the challenge, best of luck Anthony! Andy's latest find, Ewincher, the electric winch handle, trickles out as well as the excellent Stormbag as for the Forespar Telescopic poles it ain't quite one a week but it's a steady stream!

    The Forespar telescopic whisker pole is a great way of getting a bit more oomph when sailing downwind, They find their use in non spinnaker class racing and short handed cruising, or whenever downwind performance is desired without the use of conventional spinnakers. A properly sized and deployed whisker pole will allow the headsail to add considerable power and speed to downwind sailing. Telescoping whisker poles allow one pole to be used with furling headsails. Reduce your genoa sail area and then retract some of the whisker pole, easy peasy!  By projecting the headsail out to weather and out of the mainsail's 'wind shadow' the headsail can fill and stabilise. Without a whisker pole the headsail will flop from side to side, limp and useless. The use of a whisker pole will allow "wing on wing" sailing dead downwind with surprising performance. The expression ‘the cats whiskers ’is to be highly enjoyable, desirable, or impressive... sums up the Forespar telescopic whisker pole nicely!

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    For pole stowage on our Mystery we use a couple of Nawa pole stowage loops. They can be easily attached to stanchions or push-pit; they keep the deck free so no danger of stubbing one toes!

  • 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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