Monthly Archives: October 2015

  • 87. Top Tips Tuesday - Sooner Rather Than Later - Electronic Chart Updates


    So the clocks have gone back and for a lot of us the season is drawing to an end, not for co-director Andy, he starts his Sports Boat winter series campaign early November (missed Sundays race ‘cos he says he wants to give the other competitors a fighting chance). Speaking of a fighting chance, maybe now is the time to get your C-Map updated as againstat the start of next seasons activities when there is so much else to think about!

    This week we see the new release by C-Map of all electronic charts, they as you probably know are used in the majority of plotters including Standard Horizon, Furuno, RaymarineLowrance & Humminbird. The price of an update can be as low as £50-00 and as for the turnaround... if we receive it on a Tuesday morning you would get back Wednesday but please send your chart to us tracked and signed for and enclose a copy of our update form!



  • 86. Top Tips Tuesday - A Good Blunt Sailing Knife

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    The other year (cannot remember how long ago but it was probably four) Gill brought out an excellent range of knives which consisted of a Personal Rescue knife, Marine Tool and a Marine Rescue Knife which had a blunt tip, it was in my opinion an excellent knife for grabbing in an emergency! It was a a knife we sold to yotties, rescue boat crews and, in our area, the Inshore Fisheries Conservation guys, however much to my disappointment, they discontinued it earlier this year.

    Well the make we now sell as a ‘large’ fixed blade rescue knife is the Typhoon Divers. It features of course a blunt tip, it has a stainless steel (titanium coated) blade, one edge is serrated/ the other straight and a rubber inset handle for grip in the wet. It comes with a protective sheath which locks the knife in place, with the option to attach to the mast, pushpit or binnacle with the rubber straps supplied.

    I am however pleased to advise that Gill still market and we still retail their Personal Rescue Knife as well as the Marine Tool, great for carrying in foulies. Incidentally the superb Spinlock 5D Deckvest is supplied with an ‘Emergency S’ line cutter and for those of you who's life jacket is not a Spinlock, a similar product is available from Gill - the Harness Rescue Tool.

    Dare I say it? All the above, including the Typhoon Divers would all make great stocking fillers however not sure how good they would be at carving the turkey!

    Sailing knife.

  • 85. Top Tips Tuesday - 'Fit and Forget' MOB Light

    85. Top Tips Tuesday -  Reliable MOB Light Now Half Price*

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    Yes I know that the season is drawing to a close but for those guys still out on the water and the possibility that they will be tying up in a fading light or entering harbour in the dark, it is even more important to make sure you have a reliable MOB light attached to your horseshoe. So often I have seen (when working on customers boats) either the lens filled with water, the bulb missing or the liquid (potassium hydroxide methinks) that has oozed out of batteries draining into the lens cap! Well for those hardy guys still cruising, maybe about to start an autumn series, and for those folks who are already thinking ahead to 2016, we have a never to be repeated offer of a compact but powerful JOTRON SL-300 sealed horseshoe lifebuoy light c/w with holder at less than ½ retail price at £24-95*.

    Jotron SL-300 Lifebuoy Light

    The advantages of this Jotron model is apart from it being a sealed unit, there is no danger of bulb failure as it utilizes an unbreakable high intensity LED. As required by IMO Solas regs it flashes as a mimimum between 50 to 70 times a minute at 2 candela intensity and the ‘burn’ time once activated is greater than two hours!
    *expiry date of the battery is August 2019
  • 84. Top Tips Tuesday - Laying Up Your Boat For Winter


    Winter view of a marina in Trondheim


    When laying up your sailboat we suggest that you, weather permitting, remove ALL sails once you have stopped sailing. You would be surprised at the number of furling head sails we get in for washing just after the start of the sailing season all with a ‘lovely’ green stripe down the inside of the sacrificial strip! Please also be aware that a lot of insurance companies will NOT cover you for the loss or damage to a furling genoa if it comes adrift and flogs itself to death whilst either on the water or on dry land!

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    Once you take the headsail off the foil we strongly recommend you run a foil saver up the furling system track and tension the extrusion using a 6mm pre-stretched line tied back to the mast. By using a saver it will save the foil joints from shaking themselves stupid on a windy day.

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     For both powerboats and yachts with canvas work, be it canopies, spray hood, bimini, dodgers etc, winter gales and chafe are enemy no 1. They can shorten the lifespan of a canopy etc by at least 50%. Enemy no 2 is bird droppings (seagulls and of course starlings eating berries at this time of the year leave purple poop stains) so remove these fabric items asap after you have stopped using your craft. The exception to the rule? Only if the canvas work’s sole purpose is protecting bright work, instrumentation or seats and you cannot protect by the use of a tough tarpaulin. However if using one do make sure you create a ‘ridge pole’ effect so that rain runs off and secure it well! If you have a tailor made winter cover, brilliant, if not maybe consider one especially if you have teak decks, they are not cheap but worth their weight in gold. If your budget allows, send your sails and canvas work to us and we can wash (this removes airbourne contaminents and the salt crystals that damage the stitching and fabric) dry them and if applicable reproof, check over and store till the start of the new season.

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     If you would rather D.I.Y, our Yachticon Sail and Canvas Cleaner is excellent as is Iosso its a brilliant all round cleaner that can be used to remove mould, mildew, tough to shift dirt in fact most stains. It is of course safe to use on fabrics, vinyl, plastic, fibreglass and wood. For canopies manufactured from Weathermax, Holmenkol Textile Wash is the one, can also be used for washing Goretex, Coolmax and Thinsulate garments. Granger’s Fabsil Gold is the industry standard when it comes to re-proofing if you have just cleaned your acrylic spray hood or canopy. The  proofer to use for Weathermax fabric is Holmenkol Hightec Proof. A word of warning, DO NOT, under any circumstance use a high pressure washer to remove bird droppings or green mould/alge. This method of 'cleaning' can knock the stuffing out of the fabric and blow stitching apart in five seconds flat. The ‘softly softly’ approach of soaking and the careful use of a sponge/soft brush is the only way.


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    If you have lifted out we strongly reccomend that the mast is removed, we have all seen or read about the domino effect in boatyards however before its unstepped, we suggest that you mark the threads of the rigging screws with PVC tape so that come the spring it is easy to replicate the same rig tension. Once the mast is off and before its stored on a mast rack or trestles, remove all the rigging both standing (after labeling) to avoid an electrolitic reaction between the stainless wire and the alloy spar and the running rigging. Wash the mast down with fresh water and apply a coat of alloy polish. If the mast is fitted with an Aquasignal Quickfit Tricolour remove and cover the terminals with the purpose made cap. If the mast does not have a mast foot make sure you cover the end as birds and other creature are liable to build their nests inside! If you are NOT removing the mast and boom for whatever reason, purchase some thin strong line, attach to the tail of the rope halyard and carefully pull them through.

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    After you have stripped the mast, remove jackstays and at the same time don’t forget your danbuoy, man overboard horseshoe, etc. To keep the ropes in good condition when not in use, hand wash them (warm water only) to remove salt and dirt deposits. If your boat winters afloat check the condition of your mooring lines, especially where they go through a fairlead or are made off on a cleat. If you haven’t already done so consider purchasing some mooring compensators, when fitted they take the snatch away preserving lines, fairleads and cleats and should you be spending the night aboard they help to ensure that you get a good nights sleep. Last but not least, any lines taken off the boat should be coiled when dry, avoiding kinks and finally do not store in direct sunlight.




    Make sure you disconnect the gas cylinder at the end of the season. After that I would suggest you check the date printed on the flexible rubber hose, it may well be past it's sell by date! For cleaning galley surfaces my favourite cleaning products is Vistal (almost the same as Universal Stone which we used to sell however Vistal is 'home grown' ....made in the UK) its great for hobs and work surfaces including Corian. Check for perishable foodstuffs and remove, likewise any out of date tinned ‘emergency’ supplies often stored in the bilges! Take all the alcoholic drinks home and drink whilst planning next year’s on the water activities. Make sure fridge and freezer lids are left propped open after thoroughly cleaning , likewise, lockers and cupboards.




    Heads I win, tails you lose. Cleaning and winterising the heads is a job that I just love (to avoid). If you have holding tanks fitted, discharge them and add to the tank some Clean & Green (which helps to break down the waste) and fresh water, then flush through and empty again. To ensure that you keep the uric scale build up to a minimum I always tell my guests to pump at least 20 times to clear the lines, however at the end of the season I am a great believer in using LeeScale fast marine de-scaler, which I suggest you leave in the system overnite for maximum effect then flush system thoroughly. For cleaning the toilet bowl I use and recommend Starbrite’s toilet bowl cleaner, it’s specially formulated not to damage seals or valves.





    Don’t forget to drain down your fresh water systems and run non-toxic Freezeban through the system to protect water pressure pumps, pipe work, taps and calorifier. With the cold snaps a few years ago we have had quite a few boat owners coming in late Feb/early March reporting damaged water pressure pumps, water filters, impellers, taps and shower heads. Even though most systems had been drained down, sufficient water had been trapped to expand the appliance and cause, in some cases, an expensive repair.







    Down below, remove as many of your soft furnishings as you can, however be careful where you store them. Mice do so like to make their nests out of fabric and foam as well as low and high tech sails! So if they are going in the attic or garage or wherever, worth loading up a couple of traps with some rind from that rather nice Stilton that you have just polished off.






    For cleaning vinyl we would suggest either Starbrite’s Vinyl cleaner and Shampoo or their Vinyl Cleaner and Polish. For woven fabric, Sunbrella fabric/vinyl cleaner or Iosso are both excellent products that we have used with success. Peek Spray Away is a superb spot cleaner (saved our skin on a couple of occasions when our fitter has walked muck through the chandlery).


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    Make sure you wash down all hard surfaces in the saloon and cabins with something like a mild solution of Iosso, remember a little goes a long way. Starbrite Citrus Bilge Cleanerwhen added to bilge water will remove grease, scum, floating oil and keep the bilges smelling sweetly. Don’t forget to wash and dry the underneath of the floorboards if possible leave up so air can circulate. Stubborn stains on most surfaces including those that are painted or varnished can be cleaned with Vistal. As it’s 100% natural, it’s safe for use when there are children present, allergy sufferers or pets.




    Remove all foulieslifejackets & clothing and take them home. For foul weather gear we recommend that you wash them with Granger’s 2 in 1 which is a combined cleaner and proofer. It can be used with confidence on Goretex and other breathable fabrics (to maximise water repellency tumble dry afterwards on a med heat setting) Lifejackets; If auto, remove the activation unit and gas bottle then wash the jacket by hand in warm water and dry naturally. Check your jackets for chafe and before reassembling/repacking check the expiry date on the activation unit and if bottle is rusty or has rust spots, discard. For further advice on the care of your lifejackets, if you go onto either the Crewsaver or Baltic sites you can get some first class tips. We do carry rearm kits in stock for the majority of popular life jackets and for the few that we don’t, they can be obtained within a few days.



    If you have the luxury of a 240 volt supply its worth investing in a tube heater. They are available in a variety of sizes, with thermostats, and prices start as low as ?29-95. These low power consumption heaters create air circulation in enclosed spaces and help to prevent condensation, dampness, mould and mildew. If you can leave hatches a tiny bit open it will also help.
    240 volt dehumidifier is worth considering. If you do decide to take the plunge go for one which has the facility to drain directly into the sink outlet. The Meaco DD8L Junior (best on test according to operates using the ‘desiccant principle’ and will work at a lower temperature than those using a refrigerated coil. No power supply? Then the Starbrite No Damp Dehumidifier is great for removing moisture and of course refill packs are also available.
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    Wet & Forget is superb at keeping away the green algae which tends to form on boats in the winter (especially the side that does not see so much sun). You dilute it 5:1 with water then simply spray it on decks be they teak, grp or painted. If you decide to leave halyards, covers or canopies on (sailing throughout the winter?) Wet & Forget will keep the algae at bay with NO HARD LABOUR NEEDED!
    If you are ever worried about your electricity consumption whilst using either a dehumidifieror tube heater you can check your consumption with a Metermaid, just add the ‘maid’ to you shore supply cable and you can keep a close eye on your outgoings!

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