296. Top Tips Tuesday - Banana Peel Decks

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Working the foredeck is a hazardous occupation even when berthing,  just ask Jenny! More so if it’s dark, windy and of course choppy. And don’t forget my boss Andy who has performed with great aplomb over a number of years at the pointy end of a raceboat, particularly so at the sadly now defunct St Peters marina winter series for keelboats, tight racing on a narrow river and if you lost your footing in the middle of a gybe with the mast head kite up... the river bank came up mighty fast. Racing in the series was in one design sports boats, participants included a triple Fly15 world champion helming a Sigma 8 and not always getting his own way. Mind you there were other highly rated helms who, in the past, had raced Int14's, Enterprises, National 12's with success! So slick foredeck work was essential.

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Maintaining your footing on a foredeck in one of these tippy keelboats whilst wrestling with the kite and the spinny pole is not the easiest thing in the world, nor is setting or lifting the anchor when the boat is bucking like a mechanical bull at a rodeo! Your deck shoes/trainers or wellies must have a good non slip sole, think Dubarry, Musto or Orca Bay. Of course it goes without saying that the deck should have an excellent non slip surface. A teak deck on a cruiser or powerboat does give you excellent grip and there are a lot of production boats on the market that have a good moulded in non slip pattern, however if your craft is past its first flush of youth and the tread is poor and you are not happy with your foredeck, there are a number of DIY options available which are easy to apply and give good results. My favourite is a product manufactured on the other side of the world called Kiwi Grip. Water based, it's available in a limited range of colours and easy to apply. You can select your own 'grip' from aggressive to fine and once applied it will hide a multitude of sins, old purely executed repairs, poorly filled machine screws holes (where a fitting has been removed) etc. International’s Interdeck is very popular, a fine grit can be found in the paint, comes in a range of colours from white to grey as does  Hempel’s Non-Slip Deck Coating.

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Some sailors, including me, like strips of non slip self adhesive tape on hatches (especially foredeck or cockpit ones). My favourite is the excellent TBS range;  it's kind on clothing and bare feet. For our companion way steps we have used the self adhesive 3M tape on our Mystery, not particularly kind on clothing but it does offer superb grip and is slightly easier to clean than the TBS product! If you want to really push the boat out Awlgrip non slip granules are excellent but you will need a deep pocket to afford them! Asked what's so special about them to justify the price, multihull trophy winner Ross Hobson replied, 'You don't slip and they are warm to the touch if sleeping in the cockpit!' The below image is of his sleeping 'quarters', not sure if that is when he is racing or at rest.

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