Monthly Archives: November 2020

  • 332. Top Tips Tuesday - Light At The End Of The Tunnel

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    Driving to work early Monday morning I listened with interest and with growing optimism to the interview about the results of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trials. Effective, easier to store and cheaper! By that time I had just about thawed out following my early morning swim off the beach at Tynemouth, the reward being a fabulous sunrise. Later that morning I was once again 'rather cold' having spent a couple of hours at our local marina up a ladder with my Spinlock Mast Harness buckled up whilst doing the final fit to a roof canopy on a rather large powerboat. Back in the sail loft with a hot coffee in my hands it was a case of pick a sail repair, start work on it and start worrying about tomorrows blog! In the light of the success of the vaccine trials I did then start  to wonder if there really was a light at the end of the tunnel. The retail shop will once again be open for retail customers as of the 2nd of December (mail order and click & collect at present remain the same) as for access to sailing clubs and marinas who knows but let's hope that 'we lot' will be lumped in with shops, gyms, and leisure centres which will be open in all tiers? Assuming therefore we are allowed out to play are you ready to do battle and protect your boat from the damp with a Dehumidifier, maybe a tube heater under the engine and Freezeban run through your fresh water system before the temperature drops any more?

    Three other products which may well come in useful; a Tercoo rotary blaster, perfect for removing rust from plate steel and cast iron keels, the Freebag Pro to take the pressure off your knees and finally Rydlyme. When flushed through the engine cooling system it safely removes any build up.

    A Foil Saver is a good investment. Run one up your headsail track once you have lowered the Genoa, once tensioned it stops the foil vibrating on a windy day. Need to unstick a fitting bedded in Sikaflex? Debond is the answer. To the best of my knowledge its the only 'bond breaker' that works! Finally, keep that green look at bay. Wet & Forget is the one to use outside, dilute, spray on and forget! Safe to use on all materials, such as woven fabrics, ropes, painted and gelcoat surfaces.

  • Confined To Barracks Round 2 - Part 3

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    Reasons To Be Cheerful, part 3, is a song and single by Ian Dury and the Blockheads on the 20 July 1979 (more of that later) however Andy Burgess boss man of www.marinechandlery.com is also feeling cheerful this weekend not because Black Friday is looming but because he has just discovered tucked away and wrongly labeled in the corner of the electronic store room, 4, yes 4, Ewinchers which include the free spare battery pack. How that happened he has no idea but maybe now is the time to invest in an EPOS stock control system? So folks if you were tempted, he has 2 of each colour at £1989-95 each c/w that free spare battery pack worth almost £300-00! So it’s a case of first come first served and judging by the take up last time they won't still be available on Black Friday!

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    If, like me, you’re struggling with arthritis in your wrists, getting old (like me) or just want an easier life on board (like me) and were considering electric winches but the cost put you off, or maybe you need to climb the mast and the person on the winch doesn't have sufficient upper body strength why not consider investing in a Ewincher. This electric winch handle makes hoisting the dinghy back on board easy peasy and if your anchor windlassisn’t as reliable as it should be (thankfully not reached that stage yet) the Ewincher is the answer. With the Ewincher you don’t change anything about the way you sail and you can perform one task after another regardless of your physical condition, your age or your strength. Ewincher can be used straight away, without mounting anything, on all winches of a sailboat

    Well if that doesn't make you cheerful (its first come first served) you can always sing along with Ian Dury and the Blockheads if you click on the link below. As for me as I finish composing another 'master piece', get that fire lit, telly on and watch England & Ireland do battle at Twickenham!

  • 331. Top Tips Tuesday - Left Handed & Dyslexic To Boot!

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    When I was a little boy my big brother joined the Tynemouth Sea Scouts. Their premises, or hut, was about 100 metres from Tynemouth Sailing Club, the establishment that I have been a member of for over sixty years: cadet, junior, full, outport (when working for Musto & Hyde in Essex in the early seventies) to family member. When I stopped dinghy sailing and went 'big boat' I transferred to VIP, I think, then it was back to full membership in the hope that I could rediscover, with the  purchase of another RS400, some of my lost youth!  A hip replacement some two years ago and then ‘the virus’ put paid to that but who knows what 2021 will bring?

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    As a cub back in the fifties, to achieve the ‘step’ up to the sea scouts, apart from being of the correct age, one had in those days to be able to pass a a certain number of tests; if my memory serves me correctly,  one of the criteria to join was the ability to tie certain knots; well I failed big style! The only knots that I could master were the reef knot and the figure of eight or stopper knot at the end of my Heron jib sheets!  For many a year it was my various crews that tied the sheets to the spinnaker, these days I can manage a bowline, with a lot of thought, and hang fenders without them disappearing over the side but sadly nowt else! Onboard Hindsight, our Mystery, we do have a couple of knot books which are written for right handed folks (my wife and crew Jenny is, like me, left handed) On the rare occasions where we are bored or unable to take shore leave we do dig the books out but our efforts usually end up with us downing a stiff drink as consolation for another failure.

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    A knot which we have tried on many occasion to master is the 'rolling hitch' which is tied round a 'Master' line and then it's used when pulled to either tighten or ease tension, useful if you have say a riding turn on a winch or making it possible to tension up a large diameter mooring line which, because of its size, we cannot get it round a cleat. Think 20mm Greek lazy lines in Mandraki, Corfu or Port Spillio further South! For 2021, assuming we ever get there, I am going to purchase from boss man Andy a Davis Line Grabber. Hopefully no more getting the knot book out, reading and twenty minutes later getting the correct result or not! Boss man Andy was dragged up to the sail loft to demo the below, perhaps I should have been demonstrating however I do think (he would no doubt disagree) that my skill when taking an image or short video are better than his!!!

    • It adds, in a couple of seconds, a strong convenient attachment (and is left hand dyslexic proof says me).
    • Cinches securely to any line 1/2 inch to 1 inch (1.27 cm to 2.54 cm) in diameter. Just loop it twice around a line, snug it tight, and it will hold.
    • Loosens easily for adjustment or removal.
    • Ideal for taking tension off a jammed line, rescues, climbing a main halyard, looping around a handrail or steering wheel, and leading lines around difficult areas.
    • Ultra high modulus fiber stands up to UV rays and resists abrasion.
    • Holds up to 2000 lbs (900 kg). Safe working load is 500 lbs (225 kg).
    • Will not damage braided or twisted line.
    • 1/4″ (6 mm) ultra high modulas fiber.
    • Includes: One pair of LineGrabbers. Each LineGrabber measures 9″ (23 cm) long.

    If anyone reading the blog is ambidextrous and fancies helping me out I would love to produce a small booklet on knot tying for left handed people, any offers? Finally, and you will no doubt hate me for mentioning it again, a pair of LineGrabber's would make a perfect stocking filler.

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  • Confined To Barracks Round 2 - Part 2

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    Folks, if you have been putting off running repairs to the fabric of your dwelling, this one's for you! Those nice guys at Wessex Resins, the manufacturers and distributors of West Systems Resins in the UK, have very kindly, at the request of yours truly, managed by sleight of hand and other magic (which an old fogie like me doesn’t understand) enabled you to click on this link and view the contents of the excellent publication, "West Systems Epoxy's Other Uses" on your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. If however you don’t have one of these fancy gizmos (my iPad is steam driven) contact boss man Andy Burgess and he will stick a paper copy in the post! I have been using West epoxy on my numerous boatey projects for more than forty years, As for 'land use', we are now into house number four and with the first three needing lots of TLC, it has been used in all sorts of ways and saved me truck loads of money. Uses include sticking plaster ceiling mouldings back in  place, saving rotten window frames that should really have been replaced, repairing marble fire place surrounds  etc etc.

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    As for the fourth, the one we currently are living in, our ‘fake’ wooden kitchen beam was glued and coated with West before finishing with Epifanes two pack matt varnish. Twelve years down the line it's still looking superb with its original varnish finish. Our front porch canopy upright should have been repaired during the first lockdown but was put on the back burner, that’s to tackle this time around.

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    According to West’s Dave Johnson, their technical guru, during lockdown they have received a marked number of enquiries for the repair of rotten window frames...

    "WEST SYSTEM 105/205 and 403 microfibres to graft in any new timber and 410 microlight to fair is the answer. 410 microlight has a cured density similar to Cedar or Pine so is very easy to sand or machine, in fact a hand plane gives the same feedback as wood. Any good quality household PU paint will function to protect the epoxy from UV please note that cured epoxy can upset the chemistry in oil based paints and varnishes and result in a surface that doesn't dry!"

    Using West epoxy in the winter months can present a challenge however the article on 'How to work with epoxy in cold weather' and 'How to build your own epoxy hotbox' will help you successfully use West epoxy this Autumn!

  • 330. Top Tips Tuesday - Bullet Proof (well almost)

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    Some five odd years ago, in a moment of madness when I was walking Millie our cross Lurcher/Collie along the promenade at King Edwards Bay Tynemouth in the middle of the winter, I told a very small group of cold water swimmers that when I retired I would join them in this strange ritual! A year later when Andy took 'full control' of Storrar Marine Store and the mail order operation www.marinechandlery.com, I found myself on the beach (incidentally a day after returning from a holiday on the island of La Gomera in the Canary Isles) suntanned and handsome, of course, but wondering what I was letting myself in for! I survived that day and the next and the next and four years later I am as addicted as ever. In the winter it's shorts and, as a concession to my arthritic hands/wrists, a pair of Gill neoprene winter gloves. At this time of the year the sea temperature is about 11 degrees surprisingly mild but come February when it drops down to five a neoprene hat is also worn, it stops me getting 'ice cream head' when a wave breaks over!

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    Last week I decided that, once again, it was time for digging out the neoprene gloves, chucked them in my Musto bag and cycled down to the bay. Kit off, shorts on and it was then I remembered that my five year old gloves were in urgent need of repair. Well needs must, the torn gloves went on and into the North Sea, had my swim then into my Gill Changing Robe and cycled off home. Once showered and changed I washed out my swim shorts and gloves, put them on the radiator with a view to gluing the seams back together again using Stormsure, a superb flexible but extremely tough repair adhesive. That night with the gloves dry I dug out the tube of adhesive to discover that I hadn't put the cap on properly last time and the contents of the tube were solid! Plan B was then sprung, 'borrow' some Tear Aid from the 'take out to the boat cupboard,". Prep of the repair site is easy, simply clean with one of the included alcohol wipes. You then cut your patch to size, peel the backing off and smooth down and, as can be seen in the clip below, the adhesion is instantaneous, I haven't even bothered to stick the rest of the material down!

     Today's 6am swim was with warm hands. Tear Aid is not quite bullet proof but almost, but if it stands up to being tugged over my swollen wrists and the North Sea it cannot be bad! There are two types of Tear Aid; Type A which is suitable for most materials except PVC/vinyl. Incidentally, earlier this year, I used Tear Aid to stick a patch on the bottom of my elderly Hypalon Avon, after six weeks of immersion it was still securely fastened. We have used it in the sail loft to repair laminate sails and woven sailcloth, superb on spinnaker nylon, foul weather gear and Andy L's (torn with thorns) Gill Hydrophobe Down Jacket! Type B is the one to go for if you want an instant repair to an inflatable dinghy manufactured from PVC, It's spot on for the repair of clear panels in spray hoods and cockpit enclosures. And speaking of spray-hoods, Type A is, to the best of my knowledge, (as a sailmaker of some fifty years experience) that will permanently repair acrylic canvas! Tear Aid is extremely strong, watertight, airtight, very elastic, does not fade, does not dry out, it's very versatile and permanent. Folks I hate to say this but both make practical stocking filler prezzies. Nuff said?

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    Sorry girls, it's not the image of Daniel Craig in his budgie smugglers but yours truly first thing this morning and no I am not dodging real bullets! The red mark on my chest is not an assassin lining up his laser gunsight but my safety light. Worn so that my socially distanced swim buddy can keep an eye on me and vice versa during our 6am dips on the three days I stagger into the sail loft or as Jenny says ‘dipping at stupid o'clock time today?’

  • Confined To Barracks Round 2 - Part 1

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    Andy's Newcastle upon Tyne bricks and mortar chandlery www.storrarmarine.co.uk is now, due to government decree, closed for callers. However, all is not lost as customers can 'click and collect’. Sorry folks no browsing in store except on www.marinechandlery.com: here its business as usual! Having said that I have a feeling, as per the last lockdown, that the carriers will be under pressure for those folks shopping online, overnight delivery could streeetch perhaps to a couple of days methinks! As for me, the old codger who is still going to be working three days a week in Andy's sail loft (cos I cannot work from home) Jenny has resurrected my uncompleted list of lockdown house hold tasks from last time for the days I am 'not on duty,' and like magic it has started to grow again! Maybe if you are confined to barracks and have to get down on your knees for some DIY during the lockdown why don't you invest in a Freebag Pro?

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    With my knackered knees after fifty odd years of sailmaking and dinghy sailing I now use, in the sail loft, a Freebag Pro to protect my aching bones. I would take it home for the chores that await me such as painting skirting boards but as I don't want to get it dirty and covered in paint or varnish I use my elderly original Freebag, which has seen sterling service, first on our old Hunter Channel 31 and now at Dene Road.

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    Mrs Storrar, who is always thinking ahead, suggests for a husband and wife joint Christmas present get one of each, the skipper a Freebag Pro for use in the boatyard and for working on home related tasks indoors and out. For Jenny’s rest and recreation on the boat the original Freebag, use one as a comfortable backrest in the cockpit, by the mast or take to that secluded rocky beach that you have always wanted to linger on whilst watching the sun sink over the horizon.

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  • 329. Top Tips Tuesday - Here We Go Again

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    Well, it's deja vu. Come Thursday our bricks and mortar chandlery, Storrar Marine, is back on lockdown as a 'non-essential' retail premises. Having said that, perhaps the proprietor of this fine and worthy establishment should get a drinks licence and start selling 'essential' booze. If off licences and newspaper shops are to be allowed to stay open, maybe, because we sell safety equipment like life rafts, flares, lifejackets, bilge pumps, impellersetc etc to the commercial fishermen, we should be able to as well. Plus, of course, there are the fisheries patrol boats, local river pilot launches, the fire brigade and the river police boats that need spares. There must surely be a case for chandlers to remain open! I have no doubt that my boss Andy will get it all sussed out however before the drinks licence comes through!! In the meantime, for 'locals' it will be a case of click and collect and for those living further afield, nothing changes for mail order customers. Order online before 2pm and the staff will do their upmost to get it onto the carrier the same day. Don't forget, if your order is over £100-00 it's free delivery*. Our sail loft, rigging department, the marine engineering side will be working as usual so sails, rigging and outboards requiring servicing can be dropped off for attention, but please ring first of course.

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    Collection for orders placed online will be available from the front gate Monday-Friday from 8.30am-4pm. Just give us a ring on 0191 266 1037 when you arrive and we will bring your order out to you.

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