Monthly Archives: July 2018

  • 219. Top Tips Tuesday - Hot, Sweaty And A Flash Of Lightning

    Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 10.38.55

    With the kind of weather we have been experiencing over the last few days it does so remind me of our last two weeks in the Ionian, just before we abandoned the good ship Hindsight to escape the Greek mid summer heat. Yes we also got lightning, thunder and hailstones, not to mention torrential rain! Back in the UK with the unseasonably warm weather we have been having (certainly for the North East), we have seen a sharp increase in products that Andy retails that help keep you comfortable below deck. High tech materials to put on top or under your bunk mattress, windscoops to circulate air through the boat when the breeze is up and electric fans when the breeze switches off.  Easy to erect and stow sunshades, and maybe, after this weekend's electrical storms, we will sell a few Forespar Lightning dissipators.


    Should you have a classic yacht or powerboat or just a boat which has the bunks covered in traditional vinyl, with the night time temperature we have been experiencing you will probably end up all hot and sweaty so why not consider investing in some CoolMax high tech fabric, it's designed to manage moisture by improving air circulation and to reduce humidity build up while you sleep. It's manufactured from an innovative fabric which ''breathes'' so that when you lie on it, the heat and moisture generated by your body will evaporate within the first hour. This will then allow your body to maintain a cool environment while you rest. Cut to size, lay it on the bunk and enjoy a cooler nights sleep! CoolMax can, of course, be used with great success on bunks that have a woven covering.


    Airmat has always been a steady seller but now it's hard to keep up with demand. Unlike Cool Max you put it under the bunk(s) or the saloon upholstery. Designed to allow improved airflow, which of course dramatically reduces moisture build up, through its 8mm thickness. This provides a solution to the age old problem of left over condensation and resulting mildew growth under bunk mattresses or cushioned areas.


    12 Volt fans are now not only being shipped abroad to hotter climates but of course there is a demand for them in the UK. From the market leading Caframo range, the three speed Bora is the model Jenny and I have fitted in our cabin and on those still nights when the temperature is still high, the breeze has disappeared and the Windscoop ineffective, the fan can be a godsend. Mind you if it had been around when we fitted out Hindsight the new Maestro would have been the one to go for. Why? Because it's remote control and if I wanted to switch it on or off I wouldn't have to get out of my bunk!


    If, however, there is a little or more breeze we rely on a Windscoop, the original ventilating sail. It’s aerodynamically designed to force the slightest breeze into your cabin to keep you cool and comfortable. It fits any hatch or companion-way up to 120cm and can be hung from a halyard or rigging.


    Now that the build of Hindsight is 'almost' complete (only 35 items on the list to tick) and we have the Bimini fitted (still needs a little fine tuning however) the Free hanging Sunshade is now redundant. It was, however, last year a brilliantly effective piece of kit as the Bimini was still in kit form back in the UK! The Deck Sunshade from the same company is a great way of helping to keep the interior cool. Like the free hanging Sunshade you can assemble and pack it away in a minute and both are manufactured from rip stop, reflective material that provides UV protection.


    Never thought about fitting a Forespar Lightning Dissipator however after a year in Greece and experiencing a few of the lightning storms, I thinks I may have been remiss in not fitting one to the top of our mast; oops my list of jobs to do has just jumped to 36!

  • 218. Top Tips Tuesday - Three Times As Fast


    My old iPhone and iPad are a bit like me, long past their sell by date; the phone was one of my bosses cast offs from some four years ago and as for the iPad, well it was won in a competition run by International Paints many many years ago, both still working (just) and both held together with West's G-flex epoxy! Like me their endurance or battery life is not that great and, when on our Mystery during May and June of this year, it seems like they both needed charging constantly. The iPad was in the cockpit repeating our Raymarine plotter information, as for the phone, we used it to keep us up to date on the weather, the Windy and Foreca apps being our preferred source of information. Both devices are protected from the elements in those excellent, easy to use, Gooper waterproof to 30 metre cases!


    Our waterproof Scanstrut USB port, as shown installed on our Mystery 35, has been excellent in giving us an 'on deck' source of power, but the two units have a very short battery life so the new Scanstrut Rokk Charge+ which charges at three times the rate and costs only £36.95 would have a vital role to play onboard Hindsight.


    • The socket will work with any USB Type-A connector to charge up to 2 devices at a time.
    • Compatible with phones, tablets, fish finders and chartplotters.


    • Tested and approved IPX4 waterproof rating with the cover closed and waterproof with 1, 2 or even 0 cables plugged.


    • Designed for use in all marine environments, whatever the conditions. Anti-corrosion coating on circuit board combines with a UV resistant shell and 316 stainless hinge and spring.


    • Easy to install with a low profile and small mounting footprint, the socket can be both opened and closed with ease; even with gloves on.


    • Standard barrel size also fits existing USB sockets.


    • Input Voltage: 6-30V
    • Output Voltage: 5V =/-5%
    • Cut out Dimensions: 29mm (1 1⁄8'') dia.
    Scanstrut Rokk Charger+
  • 217. Top Tips Tuesday - Small But Perfectly Formed


    Yes I know I have, at times, rambled on or gone off at a tangent when 'blogging away.' I always blame it on the alcohol that seems to lubricate the creative juices! However, to get to the point quickly, this Saturday past I was on the front line, working in the bricks-and-mortar chandlery when a customer  started questioning me about the range of hand held VHF radios we carried. Little did I realise that in the display cabinet under the counter I was standing behind held a little gem, the new Standard Horizon Ultra Compact HX40Ehandheld vhf. Reading off my script I told him about the HX300E, at just over £100.00 with 5 watts of output probably our best-selling handheld, I then mentioned the top of the range HX870E with its 6 watt output it has the advantage of built in DSC and GPS, great as an onboard backup or chuck into the grab bag if the s..t hits the fan. At that moment my boss butted in (obviously wanting to deny me my commission) saying "hot off the press is this little beauty, the new ultra compact HX40E" and cutting me out completely he ran through all it's features!

    The new Standard Horizon HX40E compact handheld VHF radio

    The new HX40E is only 52mm wide by 95mm high by 33 mm deep making it the smallest marine handheld Standard Horizon have ever produced. Despite its small size, it still offers 6W of output power and delivers a loud 600mW of audio output.

    Other valuable features of the new HX40E are; Submersible (IPX7 – 1m for 30 minutes), FM Broadcast Receive, ATIS setting for inland Waterways, Preset key used to recall up to 10 favorite channels, Easy-to-Operate Menu System, Scanning operation and Multi-Watch (Dual Watch and Triple Watch), CH16/S Quick Access. The built-in Lithium Polymer battery is 1850mAh which delivers exceptional battery life as well as 3 hour quick charging with the supplied charger.

    Mind you I had the last laugh as just after Andy finished his sales pitch, the phone rang. It was an urgent call for him; I made the sale, hopefully I'll be getting the commission but don't hold your breath!

  • 216. Top Tips Tuesday - Wash Day Blues


    Having spent almost two months on Hindsight earlier this year living the life, it was an eye opener in so much that, even though we lived in shorts and t-shirts, washing them, underwear and of course bedding came round so quickly. Back in the days before automatic washing machines started to appear, Monday tended to be the day for washing and of course ended up in song with Dolly Parton the American country and western singer writing and recording a song entitled 'Wash Day Blues' which included the lines....' No blue Monday washday I look like a lady hobo, just rubbing and scrubbing'. As for Jenny and I it was a case of rubbing and scrubbing small quantities and frequently! Collapsible buckets came in very handy as did our brilliant stainless steel clothes pegs, which were tested to 35 knots of breeze!

    Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 10.23.19

    If you're willing to pay for it, there is, in Greece, the opportunity to have your laundry done in marina complexes (assuming you are near to one) and in most towns or larger villages where a laundry service is available. Prices do vary from around 12 euros a 'load' or less. On our return from Greece I was staggered to learn, when back at my ‘part time work’ (six days last week/six days this), that in the last week of June Andy sold via his website no less than 5 Soba Babynova washing machines! Sadly we cannot fit one in on our Mystery 35. The below image shows one of these machines installed on a Sun Oddessey 42DS thanks Kevin for the that, incidentally he writes ‘the plinth can be removed to get to the filter’.


    Features include:

    • Compact size
    • 3kg drum capacity
    • Bolt down or roller option
    • Stainless Steel drum and tub
    • Automatic temperature control
    • 50KG Weight when empty

    Technical Data:

    • Spin Speed 1000rpm
    • Dimensions (h/w/d) cm 67/46/46
    • Energy Efficiency class B
    • Power consumption (60 degrees) 0.7kWh
    • Washing efficiency B
    • Drum capacity 3kg
    • Water consumption 48L
    • Programme Duration (60 degrees) 100mins
    • Features: Wool programme, temperature selection, eco valve, body galvanised & powder coated, stainless steel drum & tub, detergent drawer to front.
    • Power and Water Supply: Voltage – 230V, Watts – 2.2kW, Fuse protection – 10A,
    • Cold water supply
  • 215. Top Tips Tuesday - Clawing To Windward


    It's a well known fact that as you start to reduce the area of your roller reefing headsail area in response to the breeze piping up, one’s ability to make good progress to windward diminishes rapidly and before you say it, yes, a sail fitted with a foam luff does help flatten the sail but nothing beats a nice flat headsail for that upwind performance. In the good old days before roller reefing systems became the norm and a genoa or jib was hanked on, one would go to sea with a ‘quiver’ of headsails consisting of at least a number 1, 2, 3 and of course a storm jib. Many a happy hour was spent by sailors of my generation clinging on for dear life on a foredeck whilst we did a head sail change as the wind increased! The downside, of course, was time spent on the bucking foredeck but on the plus side windward performance was not compromised which is always reassuring when there is a leeshore close to hand. The question is….how does one get the best of both worlds, the convenience of a roller reefing genoa which can be reduced in area at a ‘pull of the line’ and once the sail is an appropriate size for the wind strength still retain pointing ability? Perhaps you should consider the French made Storm-Bag.


    We have been selling the Storm Bag in the UK for over eight years and the feed back we get is that yes it makes a brilliant storm sail, easy to deploy with minimum time spent on the foredeck, however a number of our customers have also used it to great effect as a number three jib praising its excellent ability to punch to windward. If you have, say, a yacht of thirty three feet and wanted a dedicated storm jib we would recommend the 6m²model, however if you want a heavy weather head sail/storm jib you may want to consider the next size up which is the 8m² model. The Storm-Bag, (whatever size from 4m² to 13m²) is packaged for immediate deployment with minimal hassle on a furled headsail. The main virtue is simplicity and safety, less time on the foredeck and also avoids the need for a baby stay with all the expensive installation that would be required. The Storm-bag wraps around the furled genoa and forms a perfect aerofoil eliminating any dead area at all and avoiding the turbulence that can effect a sail on an inner forestay.

    Here is an article by Norwegian sailor Jon Amtrup:


    “Today, Norwegian sailor Jon Amtrup, cruising expert and publisher of TheSailNews shows you a new innovative product that allows you to hoist a storm jib faster and easier and from the safety of the cockpit!

    There is no really easy way to hoist a storm sail when the weather is bad. The key is to be prepared. And the new Storm-bag looks like a product that can make life on foredeck and on board much easier in a big blow.

    The Storm-bag is a new concept from the company Storm-bag Delta voiles in the French sailing Mecca Trinité sur mer. They have seen the way modern cruisers are set up with one furling Genoa and very seldom any cutter stay.

    What to do when there is a big blow coming? The shape of a nearly rolled up Genoa is very seldom a good solution.

    And to take the Genoa down on deck may seem like a nightmare for people who are only taking it down every autumn.

    There already exists a few different solutions for rigging a storm jib, but most of them require a lot of work on the foredeck in heavy conditions. The Storm-bag is so far the smoothest solution we have seen.

    It comes folded in a yellow soft bag. Wrap it around the furled Genoa, attach the halyard, tack strop, and sheets and it is ready to be hoisted from the safety of the cockpit. The orange sail is double so it folds around the furled Genoa, and the two separate clews join together as one.”

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