Monthly Archives: June 2020

  • 311. Top Tips Tuesday - Cutting Edge

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    My father always carried a pocket knife on his person, maybe it was something to do with his generation and him being the son of a Scottish village joiner. As for me I do carry a knife with me almost all of the time, however it's not for personal protection or whittling wood as I never joined the scout movement. My knife is on my car key ring and it's the 'baby' of the Leatherman range. It’s correct title, appropriately enough, is the Leatherman Squirt. Even though it is only 57mm long when folded it packs a big punch with it’s pliers, knife, scissors, file... in fact nine tools in all! I cannot count the number of times it has got me out of trouble, such as, a simple task like sending a tape measure up a mast to measure say a halyard and the shackle pin is wound up tight and the pliers have been 'borrowed' from my riggers kit bag. On many occasions the little Squirt has saved the day, open it up and there is an excellent pair of stainless steel pliers to hand. Small yes but perfectly adequate, not to mention again the, knife, scissors etc etc.

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    On the Mystery we do have a Leatherman Wave just inside the companion way, if working up at the pointy end or going aloft it's first into the zipped pocket of my Musto shorts, however our emergency deck knife is secured to a vertical tube on the pushpit ready for immediate deployment. I have been banging the drum repeatedly about this brilliant stainless knife that has a razor sharp 'straight' blade (see below how it cuts with ease through 16mm braid on braid and high tech Dyneema). The other blade, which is serrated, is perfect if you want to attack for instance a heavy duty polythene bag or a lobster pot danbuoy float wrapped round your stern gear or rudder! Handle with care, yes, but note there is no sharp point to this beast, no chance of stabbing yourself with this blunt end! Finally if you do a bit of fishing over the stern and are lucky enough to catch yourself some supper, at the end of the handle is a dispatcher, hope you get my drift!

    The emergency deck knife comes in a solid bright yellow rigid holder (easy to spot when it's dark) and two fixing straps are included. As for maintenance, all stainless will 'rust' if the surface is contaminated, be it dirt or say fish scales, so before returning to the sheath wipe it clean and then rub the surface with a tiny bit of oil on a piece of rag.

  • 310. Top Tips Tuesday - At Risk Of Repeating Myself!


    Being a 'semi retired' sea dog a year or two over seventy, 'anything for an easy life' is my motto these days. However, last week it didn't quite go as per the grand plan! With the marinas, boatyards and most sailing clubs now open or part open for business, work that should have been done in March, April and May goes from pending file or on hold to 'I need this done this week without fail you had my instructions in January!'

    As for me, if not enjoying myself, May and June (after the pre-season rush) or September and October cruising the Ionian in our Mystery or falling off my inflatable SUP which is great fun when the wind dies, when back in the UK, Tuesday, Wed and Thursdays are my sail loft days and the rest of the week it's slippers on, read the papers and an after lunch doze followed by a waddle down to my favourite ale house. However, this last week a call from boss man Andy on the Sunday evening, 'Can you work Monday as well as your usual days and on Friday can I have you as 'wing man' on three mast climbs and, by the way, the last one is a very tall three spreader rig!' Well I know I am fit as a butcher's dog and have forearm muscles like Popeye but as I stated in my blog on Tuesday the 9th of June and now repeating it 'the Ewincher is your best crew member!' If you click on the below video you will see why mast climbing is so easy!

    This piece of kit, what a godsend to have on board, worth its weight in gold! The second mast climb we tackled down at Hartlepool marina was on a 36 foot production yacht from a well known French builder and the self tailing winches were adequate enough for hoisting the in mast furling main and genoa at the start of the season, but as for getting the other Rob up the mast to change the tricolour, it would have been a nightmare from a physical aspect as well as the time involved if we hadn't got the companies demo Ewincher with us. Once we had that yacht's original tri removed and replaced, lenses were badly crazed through the effects of UV exposure, and as it was not the LED version of the Aquasignal series 40 Tri, we fitted this version. It was then masks back on, jump in the van and head North. Our brief once we got up to Royal Quays marina... check out the mast head gear on an extremely tall three spreader rig. Just as Rob adjusted his bosun chair, and before I could say, 'I am getting too old for this lark, 'I had him up the mast with the minimum of effort thanks to this brilliant bit of kit!

    Of course it's not just hoisting a crew member aloft that make the Ewincher such a valuable bit of equipment, trimming or hoisting sails is a pleasure and if you are short of muscle through lack of crew in these strange times or old age (like me) it's not an issue, Ewincher takes the strain! As I stated two weeks ago, until the end of June if you purchase one in either the traditional yellow and grey livery or one in the new colour scheme of white and black, a spare battery pack worth almost £300-00 is dispatched with your order!

    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 one 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).


  • 309. Top Tips Tuesday - What A Difference A Day Makes!


    Well not quite a day but a week or a bit longer, however this was the view that greeted me the other day when I went for my constitutional morning dip this past Thursday. No more wall to wall sunshine, 20 or more degrees but an onshore North-easterly breeze, big lumpy sea, air temperature about 11 degrees and the water temp up from its winter low of 5 or 6 degrees to an almost balmy 10 according to the Magic Seaweed website. The joy of this sea state, once one gets over the shock of the cold water, is that body surfing, if you can connect with a good wave, can be good sport even without a wetsuit! Having said that, being out in a yacht or powerboat in those kind of waves can be, for a lot of us folks, a stomach churning experience!

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    Stugeron, ginger biscuits, the Sea-bands and so on, there are many products and 'remedies' that are supposed to help one 'conquer' sea sickness. The one that seems to work for my long suffering wife, Jenny, is the Boarding Ring Glasses. Whether it's a lumpy passage trip from the Lefkas canal up to Corfu, the joy of an often lumpy North Sea or on land a descent in a hire car from the 'tropical rain forest' high up in the mountains of Gomera down to San Sebastián marina, wearing a pair of these glasses seems to do the trick, banishing her motion sickness.


    Drivers of a certain make of car in the USA and Canada love 'em. Last year we shipped over 300 pairs as a result of an in-house motoring magazine feature article on car sickness. Feeling off or a little bit green, be it whilst out on the open sea, passenger in a car, on a bus or in an aircraft, a pair of our Boarding Ring Glasses will help you with your motion sickness! As for me, it has been known for me to be a bit green round the gills, not from the alcohol I have consumed but from being chased by a rather 'strong wind' across the sea whilst on passage from Newcastle, our landfall being the island of Heligoland near the entrance to the Kiel Canal. The Boarding Ring Glasses were a great help in keeping me from suffering once I put a pair on!

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  • 308. Top Tips Tuesday - Your Best Crewmember


    There are an awful lot of us sailors, like me, getting a little long in the tooth who have just started sailing again now that marinas and yacht clubs are opening up, but are a little apprehensive that due to current rules a 'non family' crew member  is not going to be able to step aboard and help with all the donkey work such as hoisting the main, sheeting the headsail or assymetric in, perhaps hoisting the helm to the top of the mast should the Windex vane arms need fine tuning. Whats the solution? Major expense by converting a couple of your existing sheet winches to electric (assuming it can be done) at a cost of around £4000 and then next season do the same with a halyard winch or alternatively purchase an Ewincher at under £2000-00 that renders that 'imaginary' willing and able third crew member surplus to requirements!

    As can be seen from the above the Ewincher is your 'best crew mate' it's like having a quite strong, silent and always available crew member. Jenny and I took the plunge at the beginning of last year and bought one and within five minutes were totally convinced. The Mystery 35 has a tall rig and even with Harken ball bearing cars fitted to the luff to remove the majority of the friction, using the Ewincher to hoist the main was a joy even in the hot Greek sun. Once hoisted we transferred the Ewincher to the appropriate headsail winch and sheeted in, initially in manual we then used the high speed mode finally changing to the high load low speed at a press of the conveniently located button on the handle, For precise final trim, the Ewincher can be used like a conventional winch handle if so required. Ready to put a tack in, swap the handle to the opposite winch after loading the sheet onto the drum and you're ready to go!  In the below tutorial you can learn how easy it is to use the Ewincher and don't forget until the end of June each Ewincher comes with a free spare battery worth almost £300-00!


    Power all your winches with just one winch handle!

    Ewincher is the easiest way to power your winches. It includes a lot of features that will help you with all your manoeuvers:

    • 3 operating modes: electric mode, manual mode, combined mode.
    • Two speeds of the winch + variable speed: Use the two speeds of your winch by simply reversing Ewincher’s rotation and precisely control your manoeuver with Ewincher’s variable speed (from 15 up to 85 rpm with motor up to 145 rpm in combine mode).
    • Powerful: torque of 80Nm (32kg on the grip), 400 electric Watts.
    • Removable 24V li-ion battery: gives you at least 1 day of cruising (for boats up to 45 feet). Charging time: 1h30 with 12V or 220V (charger and inverter included).
    • Torque limiter: safely set up a torque limit to avoid any risk of damaging your boat or injuring yourself.
    • Suits all boats up to 55 feet, no installation needed, plug and play solution.
    • Easy to handle: low weight (2.2kg), features a locking system into the winch. Delivered with a custom made winch handle pocket.
    • Waterproof for ocean sprays and rainfalls: IPX6 certified.
    For more information, click here to discover our videos.
  • 307. Top Tips Tuesday - Your Wish Is My Command!


    Usually boss man Andy leaves it up to me as to what subject or gossip I pontificate about in our weekly (or twice weekly as it had been for the first two months of the lockdown) blog. However this week is the exception to the norm. "You must tell folks that as the lockdown eases and they look forward to quality time on the water, now is the time to purchase a Navionics Platinum+ chart at a greatly reduced price"

    Platinum+ charts include all Navionics+ content and features, enhanced with additional viewing options, like satellite overlay and SonarChart Shading. Until the 15th of June we are offering 20% discount off the retail price of all Navionics Platinum+ XL and XL3 charts. For example 28P+, the UK & Ireland chart (RRP £339) is now only £271.96. Please note this offer does NOT apply to Platinum updates/exchanges.


    To find out if your plotter is compatible with Navionics Platinum+ charts check out our compatibility table by clicking here.


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