Monthly Archives: September 2019

  • 279. Top Tips Tuesday - Stupid O'Clock/Good and Bad News

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    As you may have read in an earlier blog, we had to abandon our second 'sailing in the sun' holiday. The good news is that Jenny's chest pain, the doctors have discovered, is the result of her throwing the ball every day for Millie our dog using what we Storrar's call the 'twanger'. For the uninitiated it's a length of plastic, handle one end and a cup to hold a ball see image above. Once loaded and 'fired' it will (in the right hands) propel a tennis ball a fair old distance! Her UK doctors have now diagnosed a muscular issue/repetitive strain causing the problem as against something a lot more serious. Having said that we cannot fault the staff at the Corfu hospital for the care that Jenny received the other week during her hospitalisation.

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    So here I am again out in the Corfu boatyard awaiting an early Monday launch. The Newcastle to Corfu flight departed at six am Sunday morning, the first part of the bad news was a stupid o'clock taxi collection 3:30 in the morning to meet up with friends who were flying out to their yacht. Mind you, whilst cursing the early start that they had requested, I was glad of the extra time 'twiddling my thumbs' as my carry on cabin bag was rejected by security. Twas bad news again, because a pair of elastic shock cord pliers in my carry on bag were apparently a dangerous weapon. They didn't seem bothered about the Ewincheror the MOB1 I also had in my hand luggage. Seven pounds  sterling was what it cost to get my carry on sent out as hold luggage. Incidentally I have borrowed these same pliers from the sail loft on three other occasions and never had an issue, must have been the early start security crowd not yet bored sitting behind the X-Ray machine! So today, this Monday morning, the bad news continued as I watched the boat yard guys move our yacht to the slipway cradle I get a text from Jenny still in the UK. "Thomas Cook are in liquidation, I'm trying to find another carrier, watch this space". Another text follows, "I'm back on schedule, same airline that you flew out on, same ungodly hour but now four times the price that you paid some two weeks ago!"

    The good news out in the Ionian is that you can almost guarantee sunshine but the bad news is that the sun and UV exposure certainly play havoc with items made from PVC, nylon etc in double quick time and even though we strip the boat down of all 'perishables', when not on Hindsight it is surprising just how quickly they can degrade. Our horseshoe life buoy three and a half years old which has only been exposed to daylight for 13 months has already turned sticky (depending on the make you can often purchase replacement outers at a sensible price) and the Rescue Throw Bag outer cover has already perished through exposure to the Sun's rays.

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    To prolong the life of all the soft items on the deck I always say, 'not using it? Store it away' and that not only applies to boats in hot countries but also the UK! Yes it's easy to remove a horse shoe buoy etc but if your not using the boat from say December till March get the spray hood, canopies and sails off (the exception to the rule, if the canopy or hood is protecting varnish work or a vulnerable hatch) and by reducing windage you are also taking the strain and chafe out of mooring lines, fenders etc.

  • 278. Top Tips Tuesday - Winch Me Up Wench!

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    Before anyone gets upset and calls me a male chauvinist pig, or worse, the headline title was thought up by my extremely bolshy wife Jen who is getting sick of being confined to barracks! The other week (in my blog ‘Thumbing Through’) I wrote that we were borrowing the works ‘demo‘ Ewincher for when the two of us were flying out to Corfu to relaunch Hindsight and sail off into the Greek Sunset. This nice bit of kit was first of all going to get my bolshy bosun the opportunity to get me to the top of the mast of our Mystery with absolutely no effort at all on her behalf. I had wanted to do a little workout up aloft such as remove the fibre backstay and replace with a 'fresh’ one out of Andy’s rigging shop. Apart from that, I wanted to cast my beady eye over what was happening up in the clouds as it had been some three years since I had checked the upper section of the spar out, adjust the vanes on the Windex etc etc. On our early season time on Hindsight Jen had managed to get me up to the second set of spreaders but even with our upgraded winches she had run out of puff so this would be the ideal opportunity for her to test drive the Ewincher. However, the best laid plans... sadly we had to fly back suddenly to the UK before we had the opportunity to 'test drive' the Ewincher as a mast climbing assist, for hoisting the main and of course sail trimming!

    The good news for you avid readers of my words of wisdom is that for the duration of the Southampton Boat Show (ends Sunday the 22nd) you have the opportunity to purchase an Ewincher and save almost £200-00 in the process. The bad news is that we can only deliver the Ewincher to a UK address for this offer, sorry!

    With its 3 modes of operation, Ewincher is your new crewmember that assists you with all your maneuvers on your sailboat:

    • In assisted mode: Ewincher does the work for you in the winch's 1st or 2nd speed
    • In manual mode: you can use Ewincher like any other winch handle to make adjustments
    • Combined mode: add your own speed to the speed of the handle to reach exceptional hauling speeds

    Ewincher's extreme power and adjustable speed allow you to perform all possible maneuvers while sailing: hoisting, sheeting, adjusting sails, furling your genoa or even hauling a crewmember up the mast.

    • Genuine winch handle - 2.2kg
    • Brushless engine
    • Manual or assisted mode
    • 15 to 80 revolutions per minute
    • Torque of 80Nm: Ewincher is equipped with an adjustable torque from 10kg to 32kg of traction on the handle, it allows manoeuvring sailing boats up to 55 feet without damaging anything. As you hold it like a regular winch handle you will feel immediately if there is a blockage in the lines, any problem. This is something you don't have with electric winches: you press the button and if something is wrong and you are not careful enough, the electric winch will keep on working and can damage the sails or boat.
    • Waterproof and locking system
    • Long-lasting battery life: Ewincher offers a great autonomy thanks to its Lithium Ion battery: more than a day of sailing with only one charge. Charging time takes about 1½ hours and consumes 7Ah (1.7% of a 400Ah battery bank) It is a high efficiency Lithium-ion 25v battery 3000mA.On a 40ft boat that means you can in one day: Hoist the mainsail 3 times, put in 30 tacks and put an 85kg man up the mast (15m lift).

    An optional extra battery is available if desired. Ewincher includes the unit, one battery, the charger, a lanyard, a winch handle pocket for the cockpit, and carry case. It comes with 2 years warranty.

    All being well we hope to ‘borrow‘ the works Ewincher again and resume our Greek Oddyssey later this month if not early next, watch this space!

  • 277. Top Tips Tuesday - The Stripper

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    The best laid plans and all that! Jenny and I flew into Corfu airport Sunday the 1st of September and by midday we were sitting high and dry on Hindsight, not jet lagged but sleep starved having left our house at ‘stupid O’ clock’ (as our eldest daughter used to say, probably still does but having flown the nest we are not these days party to her early morning rants). Well Sunday the 8th we are once again high and dry and back in the boatyard, circumstances beyond our control see us flying back to England on the Monday! Whilst stripping all the canvas work off Hindsight, putting the dinghy to bed and therefore out of the sun, along with all the other deck gear that does fade in the UV, as you do I got talking to a German sailor on the next yacht (incidentally under a Dutch flag, as he reckons that to register in his fatherland there are too many regulations) who was washing all his fenders and fender socks and sun screens, told me he had fun and games the other day when a rope wound itself round his prop and that his son had spent some considerable time diving down to untangle/cut the rope from the prop and there he pointed out was the offending piece lying on the ground!

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    I then told him the tale(s) of how our friends Pete and Anita had got a lobster pot line round the prop of their new-to them 50ft Oyster. Was the usual story, unmarked pot with the float just under the water. Fortunately the lifeboat got to them just before they hit the rocks on the lee shore. Some years later when we were holidaying in the Ionian on their Oyster, now fitted with a rope cutter, we witnessed just how effective they are as it chewed through a rogue lazy line, however I am not sure if another of my mates, had he had a Stripperinstalled, would it have coped with an enormous,  discarded, builders waste bag that we picked up exiting the last lock of Neptune’s staircase on the Caledonian canal!

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    When we were fitting out Hindsight one of our must have items that we considered essential to stress free sailing was a rope cutter which we duly fitted to the Yanmar saildrive. It was easy to fit took me and Andy all of twenty minutes. As for its effectiveness I am not sure if we have ever put it to the test however after a very windy sail from Sami in early May this year we were about to enter the channel to Sivota, engine was started and then into gear, when we felt a severe vibration or knocking. We immediately put her into neutral, checked over the side for  trailing sheets none that we could see, no debris, so back into gear, now no problem. Had we picked up a rope and the cutter had worked? Heaven knows, however the vibration/knocking did remind me of that incident in the Caledonian canal!

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  • 276. Top Tips Tuesday - Who Needs Viagra!

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    My ramble last week was all about the new Blue Gees adhesive Pro Bond. It’s so enlightening that some folks do actually read my blog(s), within two hours of it being posted we sold out, had 10 in stock! This past Saturday, and mulling over what my words of wisdom would be, and yes racing against the clock, only 16 hours before I catch a flight and rejoin Hindsight, I thought what can I 'get out' in a hurry and then I remembered that in early July we had used some Doctor Sails flexible epoxy to repair an old Sobstad Sigma 33 genoa that was delaminating in the reinforced tack area and at the time I had some Dr Sails mixed that was surplus to requirements so it seemed a shame to waste it and I should put it to good use, why not put its legendary flexibility to the ultimate test!

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    I used to sail International 14's some years ago but now we are a little bit more mature our time on the water can be considered more sedate. Back in late June, Nick, my old 14 crew (trimming the kite in the headline image, me hanging on like grim death) called into the chandlery. He was after a replacement pair of sailing boots as his old Dubarrys had, in his opinion, given up the ghost. They had given sterling service when he was out on the water but also when walking his dog on Northumberland's glorious beach at Beadnell. Ideal winter footwear as his mutt has a habit of dropping his ball in the sea. Andy, after selling him a replacement pair, did happen to ask what happened to the old ones? His reply was, 'I have managed to wear the heels down walking over rocks and hard sand and as a result the heel has parted company with the uppers. He did say however, “They ain’t leaking!" Being the nosy so and so that I am (was just walking through the chandlery to grab a coffee) I said, “What you need to repair them is a cartridge of Dr Sails flexible epoxy.” So it came to pass that muggins ended up having a go at a sticky repair. So far so good, the sole is still attached and has passed my test. Only time will tell if they survive the Beadnell beach this winter but the signs are encouraging!

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    From what I can gather Dr Sails is always carried on board the RTW racers for laminate sail repairs and also as a brilliant adhesive for using in difficult conditions! If Nick and I were still ‘enjoying’ white knuckle rides on a 14 it would certainly be in our repair kit! As for the name of the new boat.... Jenny suggested after proof reading this blog ‘IT TAKES ALL NIGHT TO DO WHAT YOU USED TO DO ALL NIGHT!’ Was she referring to the fact that at one years championships l spent the whole night rebuilding my carbon mast while she partied late into the night?

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