Monthly Archives: November 2018

  • Top Tips Tuesday's Top Christmas Picks 2018

    This year we have pulled together our  'Top Tips Tuesday's Top Christmas Picks' to create a series packed full of Christmas gift inspiration. Just follow the links below to see what we have on our 'Christmas List' this year...

    Top Tips Christmas Picks - 1

    Top Tips Christmas Picks - 2

    Stocking Fillers - 3

    Practical Prezzies - 4

    More Nautical Gift Ideas

  • 236. Top Tips Tuesday - A Chip Off The Old Block

    My love affair with the Rick Tomlinson Portfolio Calendar started over thirty years ago and each year there are always a couple, if not more, images which really stand out for me; again this year is no exception. One of my all time favourite shots from years gone by (1989 to be precise) is the one that he took of Jameson Whiskey, the Irish one tonner, with its keel almost completely out of the water. One thinks that he ‘just happened to be in the right place at the right time’  Tis a shame however that Rick wasn’t in his rib up in Scotland some years ago during Tay week when I was helming a J24. Perhaps if he had 'happened to be in the right place at the right time,’ he could have got a picture of the helm, me, after our wild kite ride (wind over tide and blowing hard which ended in a massive broach) standing on the keel trying to right the capsized keelboat dinghy fashion along with the other rather wet crew members, imagine yours truly starring in one of his calendars! I did learn after the event that if you push them hard enough, J24’s can sink!


    Rick, as well as a very talented photographer, is also a very experienced yachtsman. His CV includes four Whitbread Round the World races as a crew member where he somehow managed, on his off watch periods, to take some amazing shots. Rick has in the past used chase boats and helicopters, and this coupled with his sailing skill has meant that he can be found exactly where the action lies!

    Not only is Rick a very talented photographer but he is a very approachable guy. He has travelled North to Newcastle on at least two occasions to help our company raise funds for our local RNLI station. ‘An evening with Rick Tomlinson’ was the theme during which he showed slides and talked about his various assignments. The last time in the area he devoted half the evening to talking and showing slides on one of his Round the World Races and the second part was from when on assignment on the superyacht Adele; fabulous images of the yacht amongst the icebergs and some enchanting shots of the wildlife. Whilst on assignment to the RNLI in Ireland some years ago, he was involved in the rescue of two fisherman and was subsequently awarded their bronze medal! To the best of my knowledge the last time Rick was up North, which was earlier this year, was not to film or show slides/lecture but to obtain his commercial drone licence. Maybe in future years we will be seeing some images shot from one of them. This year my favourite image(s) have to be January’s, shot at Cowes week during the windy Friday and is of Redshift Reloaded just before all racing was abandoned and of DSP about to come down with a thump!

    Be Prepared is the scouts motto, however were the scouts on the DSP (Discovery Sailing Project which is part of the scout association) prepared for the troughs they encountered whilst sailing over the ‘Falls’ in the Round The Island Race this year? I hope the guys on board had taken some Stugeron or were using our Boarding Ring Glasses! Once again Rick’s intimate knowledge of the performance of sailing boats in various states of tide and wind has enabled him to come up with another superb image!

    An aspect of the calendar that I particularly like, apart from the piccys, is the notes that accompany each one. Whilst reading one of them I was intrigued to see that Rick’s son, James, has contributed with photographs of his own. My favourite of his in the 2019 edition is the photo of CQR. James is a student at Southampton University studying on the Yacht Design and Production course and like his dad is a talented sailor. He was competing on CQR in the RORC Atlantic Anniversary Regatta from Lanzarote to Grenada as the onboard media person to earn some pocket money. In his fathers own words "my son James has a great eye for photography and I am very proud of him" Yes, a chip off the old block!

    Not to be outdone, however, is James' mum Annika who is the driving force behind Chart Art. She has developed a way of printing genuine UKHO (Admirality) nautical charts onto canvas. These charts can be customised to feature, for example, a plot of the track of your cruise round Britain. We supplied a Chart Art  for HM Customs and Excise of  St Helier, another was of the Gulf of Thailand for a company that had floating production vessels, photos of the FSO vessels, of course, featured on the chart. My favourite was the Chart Art of the English Channel swim, you can certainly tell on this canvas when the tide turned!

    Beware, however, if you think a Chart Art would make a unique Christmas present there is a cut off date of the 12th December so get your order in soon to avoid disappointment.

  • 235. Top Tips Tuesday's Top Christmas Picks

    This year we have pulled together our  'Top Tips Tuesday's Top Christmas Picks' to create a series packed full of Christmas gift inspiration. Just follow the links below to see what we have on our 'Christmas List' this year...

    Top Tips Tuesday's Top Christmas Picks

  • 234. Top Tips Tuesday - Give Your Knees A Break

    Having started my marine trade career in the early seventies as a ‘trainee’ sailmaker with Musto and Hyde, in those long gone days the part assembled sails, 'triangles' of sailcloth had the luff, leach and foot shape drawn out by hand on the loft floor. Nowadays, with computer aided design and laser cut panels there is no need for a sail to touch the floor, which is a blessing in disguise for those old timers like me with dodgy knees! Having said that I am sure that wearing a heavy padded weight jacket (before they were banned) whilst competing in both the Int 14 class and the Flying Dutchman didn’t help either my knees or my back!

    The Freebag Pro® is the perfect solution for protecting knees and preventing skeletal lesions. I must confess to also sneaking the sail loft one home when it came to stripping, restoring and then recoating our entrance hall floor. The Freebag Pro®, which was designed by a Norwegian yachtsman, is also finding favour in a wide range of professions, not only protecting ones knees but for archaeologists in Norway & Sweden helping prevent muscle and skeletal lesions.

    Of course using the Freebag Pro® at home means it can be paid for from the household budget, however it’s perfect for your marine projects make use of a Freebag Pro® the next time you're on your knees recaulking the teak deck or you have your head and shoulders wedged between two stringers as you clean out the bilge under the engine tray. Once you've used one you'll wonder how you managed without it.

    For knee protection whilst sailing, Spinlock have just released their latest kneepad design that builds on the popular features of their existing range with a super new soft touch neoprene fabric for ultimate long term comfort. The PERFORMANCE KNEEPADS use ergonomically-shaped, high density foam to keep the kneecap correctly located, providing reliable patella support and impact protection without restricting intensive working of the knee joint. Abrasion protection is provided by the extra tough ‘Tatex’ moulded outer protection with sticky rubber compound coating increasing grip in all conditions. Easy to put on the kneepads, the close fit and high flex panelling which moves with the knee, ensure the knee pad stays in place.

    If the Spinlock knee pads don’t wet your whistle why not consider a pair of Intelligent onesfrom Musto? Experience exceptional impact absorption from these durable and ergonomic D3O® Kneepads. The material's intelligent molecules outperform soft foams of the same thickness by up to six times. D3O tailors itself to your movements but locks together upon impact, channeling its energy away from your body. The Kevlar® knee patches add durability and abrasion resistance for hardwearing protection.


  • 233. Top Tips Tuesday - Planning Ahead


    Yes, I know I can be the world’s worst person for planning ahead, having said all that, during my Ionian sailing this year I did write notes in my Weems & Plath Maintenance Logbook (Jenny also makes notes on her mobile in case I forget to act on them) but me actually taking any notice of what I have written until a week before we make our annual pilgrimage down to Greece is another matter! Having said all that if you are considering refreshing the topsides of your boat before the start of this coming season and don’t have a deep enough wallet to get it profesionally sprayed nor the temperature to brush or roller coat using two pack polyurethane, can I suggest that you take a look at the Epifanes Mono-urethane yacht paint range if your boat is of fiberglass construction. However if your pride and joy is of a wood construction Epifanes Bootlak yacht enamel is the one to go for. It flows out well, with excellent gloss, durability & flexibility.

    When I decided, nearly 40 years ago, to spread my sailmaking wings by purchasing a small chandlery in Newcastle,  the previous owners had only stocked one make of paint manufactured on the South side of the river Tyne however some two years later I went South to sail in a championship near Salcombe and on the day that the racing was cancelled due to strong winds, decided that I would call in and see a famous local boat builder called Alex Stone. After admiring his build quality and the superb paint and varnish work on a Salcombe yawl we got round to talking paint and varnish. Alex swore by the Epifanes range which is manufactured by a Dutch company W.Heeren & Zoon BV and so it came to pass that I too fell in love with this company's products once I had tried them! Since those early days our sales of Epifanes have gone from strength to strength. 'IT' Andy painted (his method of application foam roller and he didn’t even bother tipping it off with a dry brush so pleased was he with the result) the topsides of his yacht some two years ago and as can be seen from the reflection on the hull it is a credit to the quality of the paint and the way it was applied.


    Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 13.53.17Living very near the North Sea our old wooden front door takes a battering but as it is white in colour we use Epifanes Nautiforte which apart from being ideally suited for wood that expands and contracts has excellent ‘non yellowing’ properties which keeps in looking fresh, five years on it's looking in better shape than our next neighbour’s door which was painted by a make that in the adverts features a big woolly dog! In our kitchen and above the hob we have a wood ceiling which we installed over ten years ago and then coated first with five coats of Epifanes gloss varnish and then finished with a coat of their rubbed effect varnish. Since varnishing it all those years ago the only refreshing we have done is to wash it down once a year! Methinks it's good for at least another ten years!


    Ok, it doesn't get a lot of hard wear like the bar top on the opening image but just read what Simon Band has to say about the Epifanes varnish applied to his village community pub’s bar tops! Praise indeed and I am told that the real ales they offer are also outstanding! Talking of a hard life in a nautical environment, our floor boards on the Mystery are finished with Epifanes two pack matt finish varnish, very very hard wearing even Millie our ships dog didn't manage to scratch the surface last year!


  • Epifanes at the Rose & Crown

    Hi Rob,

    Glad you are on the mend. You have picked the worst possible time to think about a blog on the Rose and Crown as it is closed for winter maintenance, same fortnight as last year. There is not a lot of business around so we have builders in pulling the kitchen around and a new disabled entrance at the rear. However when it is all done it will be in fine form. I will come back to you in a fortnight or so and would gladly join you and Jenny for lunch.

    Although the mahogany bar top only got five coats rolled and tipped because that was all we had time for I can truthfully say Epiphanes is nothing short of sensational. After a full year on a busy pub bar it is unmarked and still very impressive and although the bar front has just been repainted the top needs no attention though I had intended to wire wool it and give it another couple of coats, probably will do that next year. I am using Epifanes to coat some of the restaurant tables because the surface is a usable one and currently have a large table top in my garage to do.

    Will be in touch.



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