Monthly Archives: August 2020

  • 319. Top Tips Tuesday - The Air That I Breathe

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    Those of a certain age will remember a couple of classics from the hit parade from a considerable number of years ago, 'The Air  That I Breathe' was a recording by the Hollies and released in 1974 (showing my age again) it reached No.2 in the Hit Parade. The ballad was written by Albert Hammond and initially recorded by him on his 1972 album, 'It never rains in California.' It's since been covered by a variety of artists, my favourite version, of course, was by the Hollies. 'Every Breath You Take' was written by a Geordie (Sting) back in 1982, during what he later said was a 'mental breakdown! Interesting lyrics methinks but shame about the husky voice! With the Covid threat, we certainly have to be careful when taking a breath of air!

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    If you're like me, particular about the air that you exhale and breathe, and like me have forgotten on a number of occasions to 'pack a mask', why not consider buying one, or a couple, of BUFF's (wash and a wear?) and pop one around your neck from the time you leave your house or crawl out of your bunk till the time you get back in? Consider the benefits; firstly they are unbelievably eco friendly being made with 2 recycled plastic bottles! They are 'unbreakable', you don't get them tangled if wearing glasses, they're  washable and fast drying. They can, of course, be worn in a large variety of ways to protect you from the sun! The image(s) above is of course of your ‘handsome’ scribe wearing a Buff against the background of Jans famous ‘The liveaboard wife’ tea towel! Boss man Andy is on holiday with his good lady on the West Coast, currently sheltering from storm Francis and the below image is of his two girls wearing their Buffs, taken before the storm hit!

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    The trouble with most face masks if you ask me is that because they are not user friendly, they are liable to be forgotten, resulting in a 'refused entry' or a trek back and they certainly don't look smart!  You can easily break the ear loops,  with a lot of masks you cannot wash and reuse them. Plus, as stated above, most are not ECO friendly use and throw away!  For water based activity and socialising the majority of masks are certainly not practical! Buffs are extremely comfortable to wear being 100% seamless, the fabric has a four way stretch for improved comfort and elasticity. On a hot day a Buff will have a cooling effect, managing heat and sweat to keep you dry and comfortable.

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    Please note as of present, due to unprecedented demand, the junior size Buffs are not in stock having said unlike me with my big head my good lady just pulls her Buff over her ears and it stays in place!  As for colours and patterns it's a case of what we have in stock and they are moving fast!

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    For more inspiration on how to wear your Buff. Watch Henry's quick demo below.

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  • 318. Top Tips Tuesday - Nice But A Bit Pricey

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    Storage of mags, papers and other ‘things’ can be a contentious issue, especially if the boat you are on doesn’t have that much spare space once you get your Reeds, Imray pilot books and a few paper charts stowed. On our Mystery, with its traditional interior, we purchased a U-shaped chrome plate fixture c/w an elastic storage net and attached it to a bulkhead. Tis a good job that Jenny never saw the invoice for it, didn’t quite break the bank but got close to it. The other day, however, Malcolm (that rather nice ‘retired‘ salesman from Kingfisher ropes) came a calling and like a magician pulled out from his van, not a rabbit but a couple of net storage assemblies. Both come complete with a black ‘U’ shaped matt plastic frame, 4 pre-drilled P securing brackets and an elasticated top which, of course, will expand or contract depending how much you stow in them and guess what ... they are at a very attractive prices! The smaller of the two, dimensions of 30cm x 19cm retails at £9.95 and the larger, 50cm x 19cm, at £13.95!

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    Next from his hat, or should I say van, a Kingfisher splicing kit containing every item you would need to splice high and low tech ropes. Contents include a set of four Selma fids, small Swedish fid, 1pr of D-16 scissors (they cut through all hi tech ropes such as Dyneema, Kevlar and Vectran with ease), a right handed sailmaker's palm (please advise if left handed required), 5 sailmakers needles and much more. And if you didn’t already know… a splice is considered to maintain a much greater working/break load than a knot! ‘Ah’ I hear you say, ‘I can do a three strand splice, a sort of braid on braid splice but anything else……..’ Splicing Modern Ropes is the book for you according to Andy, whose homework is often a ‘bit of splicing on the side’.

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    For those skippers who already have a palm, a Swedish fid, needles etc we do offer a set of Selma fids in neat little storage tubes. Great for splicing Braid on Braid or Dyneema, the set of four covers 3.5mm up to 10mm, if your inclination is to splice up to 14mm the set of five is the one for you.

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    If you are looking to splice lines thinner than 5mm, consider perhaps the D-splicer needle. It’s the ultimate solution for splicing thin yachting ropes and in other scenarios where existing fids are not suitable.

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  • 317. Top Tips Tuesday - What Gets My Back Up...

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    Some three or four years ago I got it into my silly little head that it would be good for my constitution if I joined a small but dedicated (some may say crazy) bunch of guys and girls for an early morning dip in the North Sea. No rules that I knew of but no one seemed to wear a wetsuit! My first venture into the briny was a December morning two days after Jenny and I had just come back from a winter break on Gomera, one of the less popular Canary Isles. By the time I tip toed up to my knees I honestly thought I going to freeze to death but carried on determined that an old sea dog such as I wasn’t to be out done by a husband and wife couple also taking the water who’s combined ages would be over one hundred and fifty. I survived that first immersion and carried on, not sure why! However, further down the road the rewards for me include seeing some fabulous sunrises, a definitive feeling of well-being and definitely less colds and If I get a ‘chesty feeling’ I seem to have the ability to shake it off by the next morning. The reward for long suffering Jenny is that she has been delighted that I now don’t snore in bed anymore!

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    What gets my back up these mornings is the amount of plastic pollution that we find on the beach. Tiny pieces of plastic, polystyrene beads, polypropylene rope from fisherman’s nets, plastic straws and loads of discarded plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes. And don’t mention the litter left by families and youths after a day out at the seaside. One can ‘happily’ spend 1/2 an hour each day picking up rubbish which has been discarded by thoughtless individuals never mind the seaborne debris. Since that first tentative toe in the water it's strange how certain of my habits change, and no I have not become an eco warrior but I now, once back home after my early morning dip, shower using a bar of soap as against shower gel from a plastic bottle!

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    The guys at Marine 16 who manufacture and sell us the additives that we recommend you put into your diesel fuel tanks have recently brought out a new range of completely different products. The line-up consists of 3 biodegradable products and I quote ‘in compliance with Marpol Annex 5 1.7.5 not harmful to the marine environment that will collectively cover over 95% of on-board cleaning requirements‘. ZerO cabin and heads cleaner, ZerO deck and sail cleaner and last but not least ZerO engine and bilge cleaner. The beauty of these three products is that they support ZERO plastic pollution by the fact that you can purchase a 100% recyclable bottle for life to refill and reuse. When empty you can top up your original dispenser with a 10x concentrate pouch and with one 500ml pouch that’s 5 refills! Once the pouch is empty, firmly replace the screw on the ‘envelope’ and send back for recycling; it’s even got a post-paid label attached! Remember Refill - Reuse - Recycle.

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  • 316. Top Tips Tuesday - BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free)

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    My father, born in Scotland, had a few favourite sayings such as "There's no such thing as a free lunch", often rolled out if a product or service was being advertised at a bargain price on the TV, in magazines or maybe in a cafe. The offering, whatever it is, has to come at a price, be it of inferior materials, perhaps a cheaper cut of meat or less substance and loads of gravy! With almost 50 years in the marine trade, I have become very wary of 'copies' of a particular product, especially when it comes to a customer's safety at sea. Yes your Jabsco impeller to fit your Volvo or Yanmar water pump may seem to be pricier than an alternative offering but as Dad pointed out (when I proudly bought my first socket set as a 17 year old for a bargain price and the 1st time I used the ratchet it failed) quality does come at a price. I ended up with a skinned knuckle and a salutary lesson that if you buy cheap, more often than not you invariably get cheap.

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    Take the 2 above images. The 1st image is of a failed impeller extracted from a water pump which was installed in a professionally reconditioned engine (which cost the owner over £2,500). The engine ran for a total of 2 minutes before grinding to a halt. On investigation he found that the water pump housing had literally melted (2nd image) and he was faced with a second extremely large bill! We carry a large range of Jabsco impellers in stock. To make life easier, below is a table which you can use to cross reference your engine's water pump and impeller. If you can't find the exact model, give us a ring or email us and we will work out which impeller you need. We also carry the excellent Yanmar service kits which contain oil and fuel filters as well as a replacement impeller and gasket.

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