Monthly Archives: December 2020

  • 335. Top Tips Tuesday - Ant, Our 'Wee" Saturday Boy

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    Anthony, his dad used to call him Ant, I assume as a reference to his stature all those years ago, when he first came knocking on the Storrar Marine Store door (parent company of www.marinechandlery.com) on a verbal CV submitted by his father told us that he couldn't blow the skin of a rice pudding but was a very very determined youngster, and that if he set his mind to do a task would do it well. Well, who could have foreseen that one day he would be single handedly competing in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge a rowing race across the Atlantic, start line just offshore of the harbour in San Sebastián, Gomera, one of the smaller Canary Islands with a finish line at Nelsons Dockyard English Harbour, Antiqua more than 3000 miles as the crow or in his case a seagull flies. This year there is an entry of 21 boats in total, comprising of solos, of which Anthony is one of the entrants, twins and three or four person. The record for solos is 30 days (done in exceptional weather condition) our old 'Sat' boy is aiming for 40-45 days!  We think that the 'terrible' working conditions that he put up with and the boredom of monotonous shelf cleaning that he endured all those years ago coupled with his time spent racing in the winter series on the river Tyne, as foredeck hand on the Storrar Marine works boat when he did get into some hairy situations will stand him in good stead!

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    My bosses involvement with Anthony's Talisker Atlantic Challenge started in December 2019 when his dad asked if the sail loft, a division of the Storrar Marine Store Emporium could manufacture a waterproof and breathable cover for Wave Warrior and also make up a pair of light weight ventilated lee cloth(s) and a chest strap to stop Ant falling out of his bed when trying to get some shut eye if the going gets rough, see images below. As well as the above, Andy also supplied safety equipment (let's hope he never needs to use it) including 2 X EPIRBs, PLB, EDF, a Spinlock Deckvest and safety line. Other items included 4 of the chisel tipped safety knives c/w despatcher, I assume for fighting off sharks? For days when the weather is foul, part of his protection against the elements consists of a Musto HPX smock and HPX salopettes. Whilst boss man Andy didn't give the above away, all his equipment that was supplied was sold at a very very attractive price!

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    On Boxing day we received the following email from his dad...

    WAVE WARRIOR UPDATE 26/12/20: Row, eat, row, sleep, pee and poo sometimes and repeat. He has had a couple of issues, blisters in the first few days which he has had to really protect to stop them bursting and getting infected. At one of the final meetings before the race they emphasised that one of the biggest issues in the race was looking after your body and stopping cuts and grazes becoming infected.

    He has spent a few hours trying to investigate a tremor/vibration he was getting through the hull. Checked all the steering gear, skeg slot and skeg. Nothing. First chance over the side and clean the bottom still nothing, although he had not realized the growth rate on the hull. Needs a polish every few days when possible. Eventually tracked the vibration down to the wheels on the rowing seat. Just shows how your thought process slows, becomes fogged when tired etc.

    Has seen very little sea life but has been passed by a very large ship and a yacht passing through. Recently has been on watch for a couple of the other boats as they were within 10 miles of him.

    Last week he found he was in some rather large following seas and has thoroughly enjoyed surfing his boat down the waves. His speed recorder stops at 15kn's, so his best is inexcess of 15kn's down the face of a wave. Only one squeaky bum moment when he dipped a gunnel into the water going down a wave and thought he was going to roll it!! Possibly a good experience to keep him on his toes and not get too cocky!!

    As you can see from the Boxing Day position update below he is sitting 2nd in class and just under 2000 miles to go. The last two days have been very fickle. The wind has remained between a Northerly and a North Westerly. He has spent quite a few hours on his para anchor but hates the motion. A few minutes of wallowing in the swell then a couple of corkscrewing rolls then it jerks on the para anchor. He says he's more exhausted from that than the rowing.

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    He's getting very demanding on his updates, sitting here at home plotting everything every 4 hours to give him an update as to what the competition (1st & 3rd of the solos) are doing. Should they make a break for it he wants to know.

    Hopefully the Easterly winds will pick up over the weekend and he will continue to push towards the Northerly Equatorial Current.

    Cheers, Haydon

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    Christmas at sea was, I would assume, just another day but glad to see he did enter somewhat into the festive spirit and no doubt his mum Yvonne packed a couple of 'treats' among the ship's stores. Incidentally if you look closely the festive hat that he was wearing was a 'Gilbert', apparently it's based on the Wilson that featured in the Tom Hanks film Castaway! Yvonne did also mention that the Dogs Trust is Anthony's nominated charity and she wrote 'any help to enable him to hit or exceed his target would be much appreciated the link to the Just Giving site is as follows:

    https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wave-warrior

    This morning just before this went out Andy went onto the Taliskers site and pulled off the current position of Wave Warrior, keep up the good work, we are all ‘rooting’ for our old Saturday Boy.

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  • What! No Top Tips?

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    Well I regret there will be, for once, no 'pearls of wisdom' from your blogger but just a short message from boss man Andy and all the guys at www.marinechandlery.com and the staff at his Newcastle based bricks and mortar store www.storrarmarine.co.uk to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and let's all hope that the vaccines do their trick and we can get back to normality before too long enjoying quality time on the water this coming year!

    Your continued support throughout 2020, a very difficult trading year to put it mildly, has been very much appreciated, thank you indeed! Niche products that Andy now stocks and retails in quantity, and I think makes his company that little bit special (but I am biased, of course, having started the business around 50 years ago, retired for the past five) and helped put a smile on his face, have been, without a doubt, the brilliant Ewincher, Freebags in both styles, Bynolyt binoculars, (back in stock on the 29th of December we are told) Debond, that brilliant solvent for de bonding Sikaflex and other adhesives like 3M 5200, the chisel nosed deck safety knife and of course the amazing Hook & Moor.

    Order tomorrow any of the above or other items and you may still get delivery for Christmas Eve if the carriers don’t let him down. Binoculars will be delivered early January. Assuming the chandlery remains in tier 3 it will be open until 5pm Wednesday the 23rd then reopening Tuesday the 29th at 9.30 For the New Year, it will be closing at 1pm on New Year's Eve and reopening 8.30 Saturday 2nd January.

    As for the online store, I have no doubt Andy will be monitoring that side of the business in between cooking the turkey on Xmas day and enjoying the occasional tot of Jack Daniels however if you do get bored and surf the web on either Christmas or Boxing Day, knowing the way his mind works, if you are tempted to order he will be in bright eyed and bushy tailed, dispatching on the 29th!

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  • 334. Top Tips Tuesday - Little And Large

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    When I decided to seek fame and fortune in the marine trade, I went 'South' to work for a sailmaker. After living in a bed sit for a couple of months, I upped sticks and ended up sharing a house in Benfleet, Essex with a couple of fellow employees of the company. At the time I was the proud owner of my first International 14 racing dinghy so every weekend in order to race against the best sailors in that class UK wise I used to drive down to Itchenor some 30 odd miles from Southampton. Late one Sunday evening on my return from the South coast I opened the front door to our rented accommodation, walked into the hall, smelled 'old smoke' and switched on the hall light to discover that the walls were black with smoke damage, the glass pane missing from the adjoining door and the kitchen was looking decidedly shabby! It transpired that one of my younger flat mates had come back from the pub on the Friday night, decided he was hungry and a chip butty was to be eaten, so it was on with the chip pan. However, he then nodded off, woke to find the fat had caught fire and, in his panic, threw a pan of water onto the flames and, from what I can gather, he either got blown or stumbled through the glass door! My girlfriend at the time, Jenny, was with me when we discovered the damage and for the life of us we both cannot remember who redecorated the hall and kitchen never mind the other smoke damaged rooms however the upshot of that incident is that in the four houses we have lived in since we got married, we have always played safe. No chip butties after a trip to the pub, extinguishers and smoke alarms at strategic locations and, of course, the guide to the correct deployment.

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    Last month we got a call from the company that services our extinguishers. Could they come round and do their annual check, however Jen and I agreed if the existing extinguishers were 'past their sell by date' and needed replacing we would downsize to the multi-use compact Fire Suppression Systems ones that we have on our boat. For home use the fact that they can be used on any type of fire appeals, including cooking oils and fats. They are much neater, of course, and there is no need to get them regularly serviced with a minimum 10-year shelf life. As for the mess created in the likely event of a deployment, there is none. No powder nor foam to remove once the fire is extinguished.

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    • Works on ALL major types of fire: A B C F and electrical
    • Lasts far LONGER to fight the fire
    • SAFE & EASY to use
    • Totally non-toxic & environmentally friendly.
    • Fast to activate
    • 10 years proven shelf life (3yr warranty)
    • No Maintenance Required
    • Small & Light
    • Free mounting Bracket
  • Looking For A Unique Gift?

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    If you're like me and are a nightmare to buy a present for, there is 'nothing I want' or you are incapable of suggestions, (like me!) and your wife, partner, girl friend, mistress, first mate or the flown the nest offspring have almost given up, why not think out of the box and suggest to them a Chart Art? My unexpected Christmas present some three years ago was a Chart Art of the Mediterranean and, unknown to me, Jen colluded with one of the crew of Hindsight to get the log of the delivery trip when we sailed and motored her from Port St Louis near Marseille to Corfu back in June 2017 and the passage was then added to the chart! Every time I glance at the chart, which incidentally is hanging in our lounge, I remember little moments about the voyage, the lack of wind, being buzzed by a blacked out naval ship, the long long wait for diesel in Sardinia, entering at night and navigating the straits of Medina being 'challenged' by the authorities and finally running the engine on 'fresh air' as we turned the western corner of Corfu island and motored down to the tiny marina of Mandraki!

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    Chart Art prints are a genuine Admiralty chart printed on canvas and mounted on artist grade stretcher bars. These are great for hanging on the wall of the family home, office (as can be seen from the first image we have one hanging in our operational headquarters of the ‘other’ Andy’s favourite cruising ground the West Coast of Scotland) or given to that faithful crew member who, come torrential rain, howling blizzard or occasionally sunshine can always be relied on to turn out and prep the underwater surfaces of your boat ready for the first coat of antifoul. As already mentioned above, the beauty of Chart Art is that it can be ‘customised’ such as showing only a favourite anchorage such as Tinkers Hole on Mull or locally the Kettle in the Farne Isles, or the route of last year’s summer cruise. Photos can be added of your boat, your crew or maybe the pub where you rowed ashore and had that rather raucous evening! Sadly, like all things special, there is an extra charge for customising but as can be seen from the example below well worth the extra cost incurred!

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    The Chart Art printing process uses technologically advanced 12 colour UV ink printed onto the finest 100% Cotton artist's canvas, which is sourced from some of the biggest international art suppliers. Museum Quality Artist's Stretcher Bars are made of the finest quality European kiln dried knotless pine, which has the advantage of being extremely hard wearing and not susceptible to warping that cheaper woods are prone to. Each bar features a rounded back edge which is designed to ensure that the canvas is always kept a full 1⁄2" (13mm) above the stretcher bar to ensure that there can be no ghost impressions on the canvas. These stretcher bars also incorporate ‘wedges’ which are placed in each corner and allow the canvas to be stretched extremely tightly over the frame. It also allows the canvas to be restretched over time, which can be of particular importance for the larger sizes. Hanging kits are supplied with each Chart Art canvas so putting them up on the wall is easy. The Canvas hanger incorporates a cut-out which allows the canvas to be hung on a standard two pin picture hook, which is also included. Using the included kit ensures that the canvas is “pulled” flush to the wall on a secure fixing.

    If your budget cannot stretch to Chart Art (prices start as low as £154.96 and that includes free UK delivery worth £10-00!) why not purchase an UNFOLDED Admiralty chart of a favourite cruising ground at only £37.95. Customers to whom we have supplied a chart in this format have had them framed (suggest non reflective glass), pinned to a wall and on a couple of instances wallpaper paste has been used to stick them to the wall of a sailing club bar!

    A review from a satisfied customer reads:

    Andy! The Chart Art arrived and it's beautiful! Genuinely impressed by the quality and resolution of the print and the solid wooden frame. My expectations were exceeded. Bravo!

    Stephen

  • 333. Top Tips Tuesday - What's The Point?

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    What's the point of removing your sails and canvas work during the winter when they have to go back on again in a few months time? Well don't remove them and you run the risk of ending up with a green leech to your furled headsail,  possibly not as bad as the one on the image above. Likewise your canvas work, sprayhood, stack pack etc may well 'turn green' due to a lack of sunlight striking the surface. Consider, also, that clear canopy or hood windows can be vulnerable on very cold and windy days especially if they are not in the first flush of youth, bit like me? If one side of the boat doesn't see any sun during the close season you may well also find the halyards running across the deck on that particular side change colour. By removing sails and canvas work, windage, of course, will be greatly reduced resulting in less strain on fenders, deck cleats and mooring lines, if you haven't already fitted rubber snubbers to your warps now might be the time to do so? As for the halyards, remove and use mouse lines as drawstrings, don't forget to slide a foil saver up the bare extrusion once the genoa is off!

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    On the subject of removing sails, one of our 'avid' readers got in touch the other week and asked 'how do you fold sails on a pontoon'? Well since his e-mail I haven't had the opportunity to take sails off a yacht and possibly video staff members folding same due to restrictions but hope the above and below line drawings plus 'action' footage of a sail being folded in a relatively confined area in our sail loft will help.

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    In my opinion it is better to fold sails off the boat than on, however finding a clean area to carry this out can be problematic as a conveniently grassed over area can often be muddy this time of year and a concreted car park not that clean! The pontoon walk way and finger pontoon, whilst not as large an area, we would like to think is often the best place to fold a sail however make sure it's reasonably dry and free from sea bird droppings! If it's a bit windy always try to have the foot or base of the sail facing upwind and when folding keep the body of the sail as low as possible so any breeze doesn't take control of the canvas! Use your knees, and your companions knees as anchors (unlike the footage where Andy and Norma 'should' be anchoring the right hand side of the sail ie the base or foot of the main, that of course is my mistake as the director and cameraman!)

    If your sails, canvas work etc were damp or wet through washing with fresh water (don't use high pressure lance under any circumstances) once you get them home make sure they are thoroughly dried before storing, however, if not taking to your local sailmaker, for the once over, this is the best time to run a beady eye over the sails. The leech of both the main and the genoa get more abuse than the leading edge. With the mainsail it's the inboard and outboard ends of batten pockets that take the most hammer less of an issue if you have a fully battened sail, followed by the leech tabling, check each horizontal seam at least 30cm in from the leech for stitching that is failing. Do not, of course, ignore the rest of the main, give it the once over as well. Check out luff eyelets if fitted and the bolt rope around the plastic shackles that connect to the sail slides. As for the genoa, check for chafe especially the leech area, spreaders ends may be in contact helping break down stitching. The aft edge of an overlapping genoa comes into contact with the rigging/mast each time you tack so that also needs close examination. If a sacrificial strip is fitted, check that for UV damage, if the strip has changed colour say from a dark or med blue to a very pale imitation of its former self, consider getting it changed, better to have replaced now than pleading with a sailmaker for a quick turn around during the season.

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    As for your canvas work, consider after washing, reproofing the material. Not only will it help keep it waterproof but it will also repel atmospheric pollution! If clear panels are starting to turn brown and brittle they need to be replaced, if still in good condition perhaps consider purchasing some Plast-Rx. It not only protects the window agains UV damage but will remove fine scratches from the surface. If for whatever reason you have to leave halyards in place or the sprayhood in situ to protect your bright work, spray them, the deck and topsides also with Wet & Forget. A solution of this will keep the green at bay! See above and below images, before and the after result, no hard work guaranteed!

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    As for cruising chutes, spinnakers etc, wash in cold water to get rid of any salt, dry thoroughly and if checking over and you come across a nick or two, Tear Aid - Type A is far superior than spinnaker repair tape. No need to worry about matching the colour as its translucent. Tis also the only 'patch' material that will permanently adhere to acrylic canvas work!

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