Monthly Archives: March 2019

  • 253. Top Tips Tuesday - Practical Prezzies For Mum


    If you're like me and impossible to buy presents for, just imagine how hard it must be for your kids to buy their sailing mums a really really useful Mothers Day present. Yes we know she has the tea towel, now well past its sell by date, of sail boats or that newer one of sea birds, the pinny (apron) with a nautical theme. Port and Starboard socks seemed like a good idea at the time as did the old fashioned Sou'wester but seeing the expression on her face....... I don't think so! Kids, this year just give her a really useful present that won't be tucked away in the port locker along with the out of date flares, a half a tin of Brasso a 'useful' ball of string which in an earlier life was the action part of a lead line and three tins of extra strong lager!


    Skippers, sometimes you just have to give your kids a gentle nudge in the right direction to give their mum that really useful gift. Ok it may break the bank but as parents all over the world will know, you can always 'lend on an interest free loan' safe in the knowledge that it will never be repaid!


    Bring a smile to mum's face with a Freebag. It's great for keeping her comfortable in the cockpit when motor sailing to windward in a force six with wind against the tide or, having endured that 'exhilarating  sail', it can be loaded into the dinghy and taken ashore for ones 'creature comfort'  on a rocky beach. However, if mum's sick of being cold and wet and has finally taken up an alternative hobby such as gardening, maybe some archaeology, the little sister of the Freebag, the Freebag Pro, will no doubt bring  another smile to her face!


    We skippers tolerate seasickness, most times it comes with the job description. However, when it's mum, who can be described as fair weather sailor at the best of times, a pair of our brilliant Boarding Ring Glasses may help prevent the mutiny on the Bounty or whatever your pride and joy may be called! They are also very useful if eldest son decides that his road racing or rallying skills are to be practised whilst giving his mum a lift to the supermarket.


    Mum may be like the skipper, both his and her eyesight failing (in my case rapidly) and as we all know, nowt is worse than a damp, tired slightly tetchy man hugging the helm cos he's feeling a little green and wanting to know in double quick time if the faint smudge off the port bow is a lobster pot or the start of the buoyed channel. It's times like this when mum wishes she was not chief bottle washer, galley slave and the lookout boy! However with a little bit of help from the skippers deep pocket, the brilliant Bynolyt binoculars may, in the future, help prevent a cross word or two from being spoken when searching the horizon! Used and recommended by the RNLI for the last 15 years, these binos are fully waterproof and they float. They feature a shockproof case, are nitrogen filled, 7 x50 magnification and of course the built in compass is back lit! Oh, by the way, they are guaranteed for 25 years!


    Kids are you feeling flush? Your latest Youtube offering has just gone viral, fancy being paid to post a video or two on house cleaning and earning squilions for endorsing a fancy toilet cleaner or a tip on using shaving foam  to remove red wine stains!  Guys are you one of these lucky teenagers that have hit that jackpot? (if so, please share your thoughts with me) Why not spend some of your hard earned dosh on an Ewincher. Mum will love you for it and, just as importantly, so will dad. This little beauty takes all the pain out of pitting muscle against that imovable object. Not only can she who must be obeyed at all times now hoist the main with no effort, she can also get the skipper to the top of the mast. Incidentally if he becomes too much of a pain why not leave him there or she could use it to hoist the dinghy aboard whilst leaving him ashore. It can also be used to raise the anchor if the the dedicated windlass battery or the motor has failed. As for sheeting in the genoa, easy peasy! Need convincing? Why not read the report?

  • 252. Top Tips Tuesday - You Must Be Joking

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    For a good number of years I have been singing the praises of the French researched and developed Boarding Ring Glasses. They have trickled out through our chandlery and via our internet site on a regular basis; sold as a device that is effective in relieving the effects of motion sickness. Jenny, my wife, swears by them. She first used them on board our Hunter Channel 31 which, in those days, was berthed in the Canaries where, in the acceleration zones between certain islands, the winds can go from 5 knots to 30 in the space of five minutes and as for the wave pattern nuff said! If the weather was such that quality time on the water was impossible, car hire and the subsequent trips into the volcanic hinterland went from being an endurance marathon to an enjoyable day out as the majority of roads on these volcanic islands are very very twisty! I must confess that I have used them on a couple of occasions when being chased across the North Sea by Hurricane Bertha but please don't tell Jen!

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    Last June Boss man Andy came into work, switched on his computer and started to download the overnight internet orders and then let out an expletive, too rude to publish followed by 'you must be joking', 16 orders for Boarding Ring glasses mostly from the United States and Canada. By the end of that week he had dispatched our complete stock of over 50 pairs and had placed an order with the U.K. importer for another 100. By close of play the week after he had upped the order to 250! What caused the surge in interest? Well, we believe it was caused by a well known French manufacturer of automobiles releasing an article on the amazing Boarding Ring Glasses in their 'in house magazine'


    We, of course, couldn't believe our luck, what with winter coming, trade was slowing down and still the orders came pouring in. However, when Andy enquired as to the status of our order for 250 with the importer it was another 'you must be joking' followed by a milder 'bloody hell now we are really up s..t creek!' Well I must confess it was one of those times when I was glad that I was no longer a director of the parent company Storrar Marine, and these days spend my 'retirement' passing the time in his sail loft three days a week and, when the mood takes, me churning out the very popular, I like to think, Top Tips Tuesday blog.

    Nine months later, after numerous phone calls to the English importer, loads of e-mails and even using a fluent French speaking English girl to try and get some sense out of the French manufacturer, (thanks Marie,) we eventually got the majority of the initial order, finally fulfilled the existing demand (thanks all you guys for being so patient) and emailed those folks who had cancelled due to the uncertainty. Incidentally, we were pleasantly surprised to see how many 'reordered' and the feedback we got, for example:


    For you folks, the good news is that at the time of sending out this blog we have currently 53 pairs in stock and no idea when we will be receiving our next batch, so guys if you want to keep a pair on board or in your car, it's a case of first come first serve!

    Ps, Boarding Ring glasses would make an excellent mothers days gift for those kids who want to give their mums a practical prezzie!

  • 251. Top Tips Tuesday - Etiquette


    As a 'proper' bricks and mortar chandlery (with, however, a very strong online presence established some forty odd years ago, I must have seen it all. Young children chasing their little/bigger sister/brother round a tower of 3 litre special offer antifouling tins, Tarquin picking up shackles and placing them back on a different peg, Sparrow playing hide and seek in the clothing, older guys calling in with a 1/2 eaten hot Greggs pasty in their hand or young ‘adults’  carrying open cans of pop or something a little stronger 'just browsing in the clothing' and sometimes if it's a really hot day it can be a topless (slightly plump) male, with a handkerchief or a back to front base ball cap providing essential UV protection to his bald head!  As probably one of the few UK chandleries with carpet tiles for an awful lot of the chandlery floor, Andy's heart can flip when he gets one of the local commercial fishermen in looking for a replacement Jabsco impeller wearing a pair of very oily steel work boots, buying the correct one then stepping off the vinyl flooring and proceeding to do a walkabout over the tiles! As for mobile phone conversations that start up when you are 1/2 way through serving the recipient! Having got all the above off my chest I must confess the above sign did catch my eye when out enjoying a holiday in Mogan a harbour/marina village in Gran Canaria with Jenny, our two daughters, their husbands and the three grand children! Speaking of children one of the best things we ever did was to put an activity centre in the clothing area of the chandlery, now at least whilst the adults browse, the kids behave themselves till they have to go, and then all hell lets loose as they want to stay and play!


    Many many years ago when I first started on a sailmaking career at Musto & Hyde, as it was called in those days, every weekend we used to travel cross country from Benfleet in Essex to race International 14s at Itchenor sailing club on the river Itchen near Southampton. Two young green Geordie lads Peter, my crew, and I joined the club as 'probationers' or similar and very soon told that it was considered 'not on' to wear leather shoes on the dinghy park planking by the late great sailing legend Stuart Morris and that on the other side of the wall one had to be suitably dressed if taking afternoon tea on the lawn! Years later sailing at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club I can also recollect being bawled at by the Wednesday night race officer for crossing the starting line of the evening race with a red ensign still flying on the stern, fortunately I wasn't at the helm at the time. If I had been, perhaps an involuntary trip to the committee? Years later when I decided to build a yacht and go cruising I quickly found (more likely was told) a little bit about flag etiquette at the marina at Mogan, Gran Canaria, where we used to moor our old Hunter.  Spanish, Danish, Dutch & I am ashamed to say Red Ensigns were left flying 24/7 and of course the occasional Spanish courtesy flags on the starboard flag halyard!


    As time went by I decided to go 'upmarket,' applied and was accepted by the warrant officer of the RNYC to fly and I quote 'their blue ensign defaced by the club badge' on Hindsight, our current yacht. As a reaction to that I have now become a little bit more careful or concerned (Jenny calls it pedantic) about letting the side down, so the little Reeds Maritime Flag Handbook has been a godsend in trying to keep me on the straight and narrow! If in doubt I look it up, however I must admit that a couple of times the ensignhas been left flying after its bedtime, skipper must have been indisposed having drunk a tumbler or two of dodgy gin! This little gem of a book is the perfect on-board pocket-sized reference for all the maritime flags of the world and their usage. It includes chapters on what flag goes where and when, types of flags, signal flags, special ensigns, yacht club burgees, international maritime flags and most importantly legal requirements. On the back of this excellent publication is the following text: "Anyone who has ever put to sea wondering about the different types of flag flown, how they are made up, and the dos and don'ts as well as the traditions and myths of flying flags should find this a fascinating and useful handbook."


    ‘Happy Hooking’, that excellent book on anchoring by Alex & Daria Blackwell, has helped me sleep better at anchor however in part 6 of this publication ‘Hooking Rules’  there are some very useful words on Anchoring Etiquette including the ‘Top Ten Rude Behaviours’ that show disrespect and breach of etiquette in an anchorage!

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    Why not purchase both books and if you do so we will throw in a top quality leather bookmark worth £3-95 printed with either the code flags or numerals.image

  • 250. Top Tips Tuesday - Super Max

    Our Claire, she who posts my blogs, has given birth (congratulations to her and partner Mark) the other week to Robyn, a beautiful girl weighing in at 7 pounds 9 ounces sister to Lilly, 10, proper young lady now and Max, recently 3 and already out and about in the wilds of Northumberland. His future preferred vocation, trainee husky sleigh driver. Wonder when he might get a little jealous of his gorgeous sister who already is sleeping better than he does! On the same subject, I wonder if the Whale Supersub pumps will be a little jealous of the new super Rule LoPro now there is a new kid on the block?


    On our Mystery there is a ‘keel sump’ at least 75cm deep, see image above, and the current set up to empty it, should it fill with water for whatever reason, is that the bilge pump is mounted just aft of the cavity and to gain access to any liquid that may be there is a length of reinforced 25mm hose attached to the inlet on the pump and on the other end of the hose is a  strum box c/w non return valve which is fed down and ‘sits’ ontop of the keel bolts. It's secured with a tiny dollop of G Flex epoxy sufficient to hold it in place, but not so much that it cannot be removed should a blockage occur.


    If you have the need to empty a small space it may well be that the Rule LoPro could be the answer! It's compact only 193mm long and 59mm in dia. Its output is 12.5 gallons per minute and its max discharge head is 3m. The pump can be mounted with the outlet hose exiting either vertically or horizontally and can be used with 19mm, 25mm or 28mm bore hose. Its voltage is 12vdc and the current consumption at maximum flow is only 4amps. You can purchase it as a manual only pump which will need a an on/off switch, you can upgrade it to auto with a Rule float switch or buy it in ‘electronic mode’. In this auto or electronic mode there are 3 Operation Modes:
    • High water mode; The pump starts when the water level reaches 50mm (2")
    • Low water mode; Turn the motor cartridge 180º and the sensor starts the pump at 33mm (1.3")
    • Full Electronic mode; The pump automatically turns on every 2.5 minutes to check for water, if water is detected the pump runs until the water is gone.
    • Finally for peace of mind he Rule LoPro pump of course comes with a 3 year warranty.


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