Monthly Archives: August 2018

  • 223. Top Tips Tuesday - Got That Sinking Feeling


    If your boats in the water and you're 'abandoning ship' for a few weeks or more you need to have the utmost confidence in your electric bilge pump and the float switch if ones fitted*. You must of course, make sure the pump is permanently connected to the battery once you turn the isolating key to the off position! The correct size fuse must be fitted in case there is a problem with the pump. If a float switch is fitted you must make sure that there is no debris in the bilge that may impede the working of it ie floating debris jamming it open maybe resulting in a burnt out motor. *If your yacht or powerboat is on a swinging mooring perhaps a quay wall and there is no external power source and if your automatic electric bilge pump is the type that does not have a float switch but is activated by sensing a resistance against the impeller every 2 1/2 minutes you should of course be aware of the current drain on the battery, if it's say a small Rule 500 GPH, its weekly consumption is 1.4 amps per week in checking mode, if it's the larger 1100GPH Model it's 1.8 amps per week.

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    As for manual bilge pumps, when was the last time you replaced the diaphragm? There are no hard and fast rules as to when it should be replaced however if it's exposed to the weather and you do not know its history, my advice would be to change it ASAP! If ordering a replacement don't send us the old one, we only need the model type ie Whale Gusher Urchin or Henderson MK V etc.

    As for bailing out your dinghy or getting to the bottom of a deep bilge on say a Folkboat, there is nothing better than the Whale easy bailer. It's available in two different sizes and can also be used as a diesel (not petrol) transfer pump. Maybe you are participating in the ARC this year, if so it's great for transferring fuel from Jerry can to the tank. Alternatively the Rule Submersible and Inline pump can be used with a lot less effort or the Battery Operated Handy Pump which can also pump petrol as well as diesel. Writing about diesel however, if the diaphragm on your manual bilge pump is neoprene and not nitrile and you have had a small amount of that fuel in the bilge and pumped it out (responsibly of course) the chances are that it's now beyond redemption!


  • 222. Top Tips Tuesday - Toilet Tips


    Alliteration, apparently it's when the first letter of every word in the sentence is the same, according to my retired school teacher wife! However let's get back to the subject in question. Most sailors would agree that it's in or around the heads, be it a yacht or powerboat, that more often or not we end up with an issue. In our years of owning a boat and having sailed with friends on their yachts,  touch wood it's always been in the headscompartment that we have come to a 'sticky end' and not at the seacock! However if the problem is down below where the discharge pipe exits the hull, its not usually a costly lift and a couple of days lost as that excellent device the Seabung could save your wallet as no expensive lift out nor time on the water lost!

    A well known marine toilet manufacturer recommends that, after visiting the heads you should pump the waste away with the minimum of seven strokes (both up and down) per metre of discharge pipe, but having on occasions being awakened by the sound of a manual toilet pump being used in the middle of the night methinks not a lot of guys adhere to this guideline! As for me, and having in the past had to unblock the outlet on more than one occasion, the first image of the blog was taken on the pontoon at Graciosa a small island off the tip of Lanzarote, Jenny abandoned ship whilst I cursed and sweated buckets! Nowadays I usually pump through some more 'fresh' water to help prevent a build up of uric scale. However, I am also a great believer in a dose of LeeScale on a regular basis, not for me I hasten to add, but a 10%  mixture (20% if you have a large build up) flushed down the toilet to help clear build up on the inside of the outlet pipe. Incidentally, LeeScale can be left in the system overnight for maximum effect.


    Starbrite Toilet Bowl Cleaner & Lubricant, which we keep in our heads compartment, helps remove stains and water deposits from bowls easily and quickly. It can be used with confidence in all plastic and china bowls, and as it contains no harsh chemicals it will not damage seals or valves. Starbrite Toilet Bowl Cleaner will not interfere with the action of most holding tank treatments and the product that I now use is Odourlos. It breaks down waste, is 100% organic and biodegradable and prevents unwanted odours!

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    When working on the interior of Hindsight and concentrating on the heads area, we fitted an Oceanair Brush & Stow Compact toilet brush. The Brush & Stow is wall mounted and has a lock-in lid which keeps shower water out and odours in! The brush head is the perfect size for all marine toilets and replaceable brush heads are available. From the same company we also flush mounted their DRYroll waterproof toilet roll dispenser. As its name implies, it's perfect for keeping the toilet paper dry and the clever design means that when you close the 'lid' it automatically rewinds any spare paper! The dispenser can also be surface mounted, all in all an excellent bit of kit!


    The saying 'don't put anything down the toilet unless it's been eaten first' is a rule that should be strictly adhered to and for the crew of Hindsight that includes toilet paper! Yes you can get soluble paper but why increase the risk of a blockage and hours spent taking the plumbing apart? Been there, got the medal!

  • 221. Top Tips Tuesday - Sacrificial Strips And Another Exciting Subject


    In the last three weeks we have had in our sail loft a couple of large furling genoas that have suffered badly from UV damage, so much so that we have had to remove a 30cm strip from one and about 40cm of damaged cloth from the other. In both these instances there was no sacrificial strip sewn to the aft edge of the leech nor the foot to protect the sailcloth from the effects of UV exposure. In the UK the majority of furling genoas are fitted with UV strips as standard, however some sailors prefer to use a 'zipped sock' which is hoisted up to protect the sail when not in use. The skippers who go down this route are often club racers. Why? The sail sets better in light winds because of the lighter weight. Across the North Sea Dutch sailors seem to be much keener on these protective socks, perhaps it's because a lot of sailing is on inland waters and the winds tend to be lighter. If you don't have a sac strip fitted as standard to your roller reefing headsail, you need to either lower the sail after sailing, hoist a 'Furled Headsail Cover' or contact your local sailmaker and have a UV strip fitted! Don’t forget to tell the guys in the loft which side the strip should be fitted on alternatively we can supply an ‘off the shelf’ cover in pale grey. However, if you want a bespoke in your favourite colour no problem give us a bell and we will make one!


    Sacrificial strips, as their name suggests, will over a number of years deteriorate whilst protecting the sailcloth below. However, if the strip is nearing the end of its useful life (you can often tell by the dramatic colour change in the cloth) and you are on your summer cruise when it starts to fail don't attempt to repair it with adhesive sail repair tape, instead use  some Tear Aid A. It's strength and adhesive properties are outstanding on fabrics and is, to the best of my knowledge, the only repair tape that will successfully adhere to acrylic canvas. However, it has its limitations. Tear Aid A can not be used to repair clear panels in sprayhoods or PVC products, for those applications you need Tear Aid B, great also for repairing boss man Andy's garden paddling pool, repaired almost  three years ago and still going strong! Tear Aid is brilliant as a repair material for foulies and other sailing garments, my images shows my 'team' Vounaki Jacket which was repaired in great haste just before I disappeared off for six weeks of hard sailing! The repair, incidentally, is still holding up four months later having survived a vigorous washing at the wrong temperature.

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  • 220. Top Tips Tuesday - Scrub A Dub Dub

    c7e6d2ef-136c-4e99-84f4-278619fed724With our Mystery 35 now in Greek waters, last year, to escape the midsummer heat, we abandoned the good ship Hindsight in late June. Hindsight was 'parked' up in the small marina at Mandraki on Corfu Island while we flew back to the UK. When we returned early September that year I noticed that round the waterline we had a rather nice 'beard' on the starboard side of the hull; on the port side (which didn’t get nearly as much sun) the start of one too. It's a fact that no matter how good your antifouling is, if your boat is not being used regularly you will, especially with the sunshine we have been having recently in the UK, get some growth round the waterline. Assuming you have used a boot top antifoulround the waterline at the start of the season, scrubbing the surface to remove the growth will not remove this coating.


    If you are on a pontoon berth with access fingers, the Shurhold speciality angled brush is an excellent weapon to remove this growth with minimum effort; available in two style of head round or oblong, both can also be used for topside cleaning! OK you will have to turn the boat round to get to the other side, but it shouldn't take you too long to give her a 'shave.' If, however, you don't have the luxury of a finger pontoon and are on 'slime lines' as we are in Greece, or on a swinging mooring, you may well find that the best way to attack the waterline growth is jump into a dinghy and hold yourself in position with a Suction Lifter (I also use it for lifting my floorboards, but that’s a different story!). In your other hand is a 3M Scotch Brite Hand Pad which will, with very little effort, clear the waterline of the growth.


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