Boat Maintenance

  • 176. Top Tips Tuesday - When Waiting For Weather


    Yesterday, sheltering below deck on board Hindsight in Mandraki harbour, which is just under Corfu town fort, and listening to the rain beating down with a 'little' lightning and obviously thunder got me thinking, has the weather broken yet in the UK, has Autumn arrived? Youngest daughter then WhatsApp'ed Jenny and I, saying there was no sign of her baby coming yet and then started complaining about the poor weather back in the UK. Next minute boss man Andy texted, weather is c..p here; no doubt you are enjoying fabulous sunshine and how about letting me have next week's blog on time for once so I can correct all your spelling, grammar and punctuation as I am short staffed on Monday/Tues! Having spent Sunday morning slowly working through the list of to do items (only thirty three still to do) and failing miserably it got me thinking about what has been our four most popular autumn Tuesday Top Tips over the last few years?


    Number one without a doubt has been Wet & Forget, this superb product was first featured on my blog 'Flying off the Shelves' in December 2013. Spray your decks, canvas work or anything that turns green through lack of sunshine in the autumn or winter with a diluted solution of Wet & Forget and it won't! PS. It doesn't need any hard work; you wet the surface you want to protect and that's it.

    be2c1652-55fc-46ec-b1ec-1f2082dc05b5Second on my list is Freezeban. See My Top Tips Tuesday blog 'Lay Up For Winter' in which I advised that this non toxic antifreeze is an excellent safe product for protecting water pressure systems and calorifiers. Regular repeat orders would certainly confirm this, however beware last year our supplier 'ran dry' so don't leave it too late.

    As for my third TTT that was my blog on 'Winterising Your Marine Engine'. Don't forget that even though it's considered standard practice to fill your fuel tanks up to the brim help prevent condensation and of course the possibility of contracting the dreaded diesel bug, (especially  now they add a small measure of Biofuel to the diesel) Marine 16 is the perfect product to help keep your fuel healthy 365 days of the year and your filters clear.

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    Tested out on my backside when we sailed Hindsight down from Marseille to Corfu, was an excellent product called Tear Aid which we import from Holland. The week before the delivery  trip I managed to tear the backside on my 'past their sell by date' mid-layer salopettes. Our supplier had none in stock surprise surprise when I ordered them so it was make do and mend. Over a thousand miles later my backside was still dry, the patches showing no sign of letting go so I have cancelled the order and will carry on with old faithful. Tear Aid which I blogged about in blog 'Wonder product' in August 2016, does what it says it will do. It repairs all sorts of hard to stick to materials, it's brilliant on acrylic canvas, so if you are leaving your canvas work on this winter to protect your bright work and it's looking a little thin on say a stress point, Tear Aid is more than up to it! Abrasion or a tear on foullies, it's brilliant. Cracked window on a spray hood or canopy a repair using Tear Aid will outlast the item!


  • 150. Top Tips Tuesday - Wet & Forget mould, lichen & algae remover works superbly!

    Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 08.58.11Yes I know I have ‘gone on and on’ about Wet & Forget on a number of occasions; it’s that brilliant with no effort required in removing/keeping decks, canvas work, ropes etc., free of the green mould that appears when there is a lack of sunlight. I was asked the other day to look at a leaking hatch on a Colvic motor sailor which was moored astern of Hindsight. I think I have this customer's leaking hatch issue sorted, a simple replacement inner seal for the Houdini as against making up an acrylic cover, that is assuming it’s not the seal between the deck and hatch that's the issue. Ten minutes before clambering onboard his boat I had been spraying a diluted solution of Wet & Forget on Hindsight as the starboard side deck and teak capping of the Mystery (doesn’t catch any sun) was starting to show ‘shades’ of green after the last few weeks of poor weather. As I had some left I also sprayed the finger pontoon and then a flash of inspiration, which makes a refreshing change for me! Why not use the remaining diluted solution as another demo with some more images, before and after? So without asking his permission which was, I know, a bit naughty, I sprayed the last of the liquid on the starboard deck on Friday the 3rd of February, on Saturday and Sunday the weather was so awful that instead of freezing my butt off on Hindsight I treated myself to a wood fire, a glass of wine and three rugby matches. The next time I was down at the marina was a week later Friday the 10th, just out of curiosity I took a quick look at the Colvic to see if the Wet & Forget had started working and it had BIG STYLE!


    Once treated with Wet & Forget the surface needs no waterblasting, scrubbing or rinsing. The surfactants work on contamination in conjunction with the elements (wind and rain) to slowly but gently wash the contamination away from the treated surface. No doubt the horrendous weather we had on the East Coast that weekend did speed the process up but it is impressive, lets hope the owner likes the unauthorised demo! Don’t forget Wet & Forget can be used at home or work on timber decking or fences, block paving etc so the purchase of a 5 litre container (dilutes to 25 litres) does not have to come out of the boat budget.

  • 98. Top Tips Tuesday - MagicEzy - Fix Hairline Cracks and Chips in Gelcoat

    98. Top Tips Tuesday - MagicEzy - Fix Hairline Cracks and Chips in Gelcoat

    Some years ago Jenny and I purchased hull and deck mouldings for a Hunter Channel 31. The build quality was excellent however nine months down the line we noticed in the corner of the cockpit some very fine stress cracks. On querying this with Hunters we were told that would have been caused by relatively new moulds and due to a lack of flexibility when our cockpit was 'sprung' the gelcoat cracked in one particular area and we only noticed it due to contamination (airborne dirt) which had worked its way into these fine cracks. We did eventually get it sorted but it took a very skilled operator to get rid of the damage. Unfortunately MagiEasy HAIRLINE FIX had not reached the market when we came to carry out this particular exercise!

    P1070448     Stress Cracks In Fibreglass

    Last season saw the introduction to the UK marine market of MagiEasy HAIRLINE FIX and 9 SECOND CHIP FIX as well as their powerful Primer Sealant MEGA FUSION. Imported in from Australia they have without a doubt been one of our best selling products in 2015. They are easy to use, there is no mixing involved, except for colour matching if required, however surface preparation is important. The crack should be cleaned out using a pin or toothbrush then washed with dishwashing detergent and rinsed clean. You can use a hairdryer to accelerate the drying process. Hairline Fix would of course be perfect for those tiny stress cracks and 9 second Chip Fix would, I am sure, have been the way to tackle the 'chip' caused by a screwdriver falling out of a bosuns chair 40 foot up and of course hitting the deck point first!

  • 91. Top Tips Tuesday - Protect Your Threads - Galling


    Last Tuesday in my TOP TIPS TUESDAY blog the headline I used was ‘Stainless Doesn’t Rust (or does it)' I then went on to talk in the article about crevice corrosion, and I also stated that crevices can form under welds, WRONG* (but more about that later!)

    Galling is the term used when two surfaces in contact seize up as a result of cold welding. The problem (also known as adhesive wear) is most common in materials such as stainless steel and we in the marine trade come across it occasionally where you have stainless rigging screw body** and a stainless stud or fork. To help prevent galling make sure that the two surfaces are clean and free from any contamination, do NOT use a mild steel brush to help you clean the threads; consider the Shurhold Detailing Brush which has stainless steel bristles and a squirt of WD40. My recommendation after cleaning is to use a lubricant such as Lanocote or Selden Rigging screw oil to lubricate the threads.

    ** most good turnbuckles these days either have a chrome plated phosphor bronze body, or if the body is stainless there is a bronze threaded insert both ends which prevents galling however, threads should still be clean before adjusting.

    Incidentally when mooching round our local boatyard a couple of years ago I came across these very simple homemade covers (made from old bits of hose pipe) for protecting the threads and help keep them clean.

    Some skippers of course leave their mast up when lifting out, me, I prefer my mast to be down and then you get the chance to check everything out, rigging, nav lights, mast head equipment etc and of course all the fastenings used to hold the fittings in place.
    As a consequence of last weeks article I did get a response from an ‘avid reader’, a retired metallurgist, who wrote and I quote "Your summary of the significant subject of crevice corrosion is fine - that is it is caused by a lack of oxygen in the crevice leading to a breakdown of the oxide film (chromium oxide) that gives stainless steel its corrosion resistant properties (see below image showing the results of crevice corrosion).
    * However you also mention corrosion associated with welds. This is commonly known as weld decay and is brought about by the heat of the welding process causing the chromium present in stainless steel to combine with any carbon present to form chromium carbide - thus depleting the steel in the vicinity of the weld of its essential chromium. (Lose the chromium and you say goodbye to any corrosion resistance). This problem can be overcome, at a cost, by adding titanium to the alloy. Titanium has a greater affinity for carbon than does chromium, hence mopping up the carbon to form titanium carbide and thereby leaving the chromium behind to do its corrosion resisting job". Thank’s to Peter Baylis for putting me right!
  • 90. Top Tips Tuesday - Stainless Doesn't Rust! (Or Does It?) - Crevice corrosion


    We all take our stainless steel fittings for granted, after all stainless doesn’t rust or does it? Stainless steel, as you probably know, was ‘discovered’ like all great things in the world in Great Britain by Harry Brearly and yes I have been known to rant on about the Hovercraft, the Harrier Jump Jet etc etc.

    However let’s get back to stainless. Keel bolts, for example when buried in timber are in a non-oxygenated environment and thus the corrosion resistance can be adversely affected likewise the fastenings used to bolt a pintle(s) or gudgeon(s) to a wooden rudder.

    P1050803     P1040909


    Now to get a bit more technical:

    Crevice corrosion is a localised form of attack which is initiated by the extremely low availability of oxygen in a crevice. It is only likely to be a problem in stagnant solutions where a build-up of chlorides can occur. The severity of crevice corrosion is very dependent on the geometry of the crevice; the narrower (around 25 micro-metres) and deeper the crevice, the more severe the corrosion. Crevices typically occur between nuts and washers or around the thread of a screw or the shank of a bolt. Is this the reason the anchor swivel failed?


    Crevices can also occur in welds which fail to penetrate and under deposits on the steel surface.

    Now here’s an interesting one, self assembly rigging terminals from manufacturers such as Sta-Lok or Petersens. At Sta-Lok they used to write (nowadays its personal preference) that for ‘interior waterproofing, you should unscrew the two parts and insert a blob of silicon rubber about the size of a grape on the former inside the bottom of the end fitting before assembling, Petersens don’t believe in filling the fitting with silicon, they reccomend regular flushing with fresh water.

    Our recommendation is that at this time of year, go over all your stainless steel shacklesswivels, rigging screws etc with a fine tooth comb and check their integrity, if the mast is down likewise all mast fittings. If the mast is still up and assuming the wind abates before it gets too cold up you go in a bosuns chair and check out all the stainless fittings.

    If you want to bring your stainless back up to a ‘new look’ there are a number of excellent polishes on the market. Vistal works well and can be used with success on a number of other substrates. Shurhold Magic Wool is an excellent product for a wide variety of surfaces and of course there is the excellent Daveyshine high performance metal polish. If abroad where temperatures are in general warmer, Spotless Stainless is my favourite. Why? Because there is no work involved! Paint it on, (suggest you crack open a can at this stage) leave and as long as its not allowed to dry out  your stainless will look like new in no time!

    photo     photo[1]

  • 83. Top Tips Tuesday - As The Nights Draw In - Flood It LED Floodlight

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    How time flies! Last week, and it seems such a long time ago, I was sailing in shorts and t-shirt and thinking life cannot get much better. Now, I’m back in the UK and by the time I had finished last nights evening meal it was almost dark. With the light fading so quickly and with so much to be done before the onset of winter, why not treat yourself to a FLOOD-IT PRO LED floodlight. It’s the original cordless rechargeable work light, its ultra tough design is IP65 water resistant with a 120° beam angle for lighting, it will illuminate up to 30mtrs and has a battery life of 4 hours. It’s great for use on the boat or in the boatyard. If however, you want double the output (20watt as against 10) the Flood-It-Prime is the one to go for.

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    We have been using a Flood-it Pro all this summer to provide illumination in a variety of situations on boats, engine compartments, lazarettes, illuminating the inside of a mast and it certainly is a great bit of kit. It could also be used as a spotlight in say a man overboard situation or spotting mooring buoys in an estuary.

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    Flood It LED Floodlight

  • 82. Top Tips Tuesday - Spaghetti Junction - Shore Power Splitters & Shurhold Dual Action Polisher


    Sheltering from the afternoon sun at Spartakhori (Port Spiglia) in the Ionian, it's hard to imagine that in a couple of days it will be back to the grind in the UK. No doubt some skippers will be making plans to lift out, some may have already done so, others will no doubt leave till later in the hope that the autumn weather will give some quality time on the water. Seeing the way that power is distributed to the boats on the Greek quayside reminded me that it's worth investing in a 'splitter' should you wish to have 240 power for onboard and ground level consumption too.

    Splitter     3pin mains

    Before you finally lay up your boat for the close season you should of course give her a thorough wash down then rinse with fresh water and at the very least polish the top sides to help protect and maintain the shine, it also makes it easier to clean down next spring. To ease your task Shurhold's dual action polisher isn’t the cheapest but it has a unique random action orbit for a professional shine and leaves no swirls or burn marks. For safety's sake it has a built in RCD trip should you happen to be a little careless!

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  • 81. Top Tips Tuesday - The Need For Speed (And A Good Grip On The Wheel) - Leather Steering Wheel Cover Kit


    Half way through a two week cruise on our good friends' Oyster ketch, I was so chilled that another Top Tips Tuesday was the last thing on my mind as we broad reached at 6-7 knots with five sails drawing, main, mizzen, yankee, staysail and mizzen staysail. With three retired International 14 helms on board whilst we like to cruise, once a 'target' is selected, sail selection and trimming becomes extremely important and hopefully we will then overhaul them!  Steering Nimrod this year is a joy as earlier Anita had brought out a leather steering wheel cover kit and recovered the wheel. It took her a tad under five hours including planning, the result speaks for itself! Yes I know Christmas is over 14 weeks away but maybe the leather steering wheel cover kit, available in two colours, is worth putting on your wishlist?

  • 79. Top Tips Tuesday - Lest We Forget - Maintenance Logbook

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    Yup it’s the 1st day of September and for us Northern Folks summer is almost over, in a couple of weeks, if not earlier, there will be a nip in the air and of course the nights are drawing in fast, so whilst it’s still fresh in your mind why not put pen to paper and start listing (if you haven’t already done so) those maintenance jobs that you possibly forgot to do last fit out, but have now become a priority this time round! If like me you need a bit of discipline in your life and no I am not talking about my missus Jenny, why not invest in  that excellent Weems & Plath ‘The Maintenance Log’. Being spiral bound it can be opened flat and apart from a page devoted to the specification of the boat, there is a spare parts list, maintenance record, repair record, drawing pages in fact its 80 pages of critical maintenance information!

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    Whilst we are on the subject of ‘coming to the end of the season’ with shorter days and an awful lot less sun, damp and windless days don’t forget there is an easy and cost effective way to stop the spread of green mould on your pride and joy, you can protect your lines, covers, decks etc and it entails NO yes NO hard work, Wet & Forget is a brilliant product that does what it says, when diluted in a ratio of 5:1 and sprayed on any surface it will prevent the growth of green mould on all substrates and if you already have mould present it will dissolve it. A bonus to this wonderful product is that you can also use it round the exterior of the house so it can be paid for out of the household budget!

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    Next Monday Jenny and I fly out to Corfu to join our good friends on Nimrod Of Tyne for a couple of weeks of rest and recreation sailing in the Ionian, should there be no Top Tips Tuesday for three weeks you know the reason(s) why, could be a combination of too much sun, too much Ouzo/Retsina, or maybe a lack of WIFI!

  • 77. Top Tips Tuesday - Brizo! Back By Popular Demand (And At A Much Much Lower Price!)

    Some four years ago we were introduced to BRIZO and no it’s not a washing up powder but it does help to keep things clean! After field testing the Brizo at our local sailing club I then wrote an article in our July 2011 newsletter (issue 43) about the advantages of using this excellent bit of underwater cleaning kit and I make no apologies for repeating them, see below. So impressed was I with the performance of the Brizo, that I then took the kit out to the Canaries where it helped keep the underwater surfaces of our Channel 31 clean. What with only being able to get out to the yacht every three months or so we used to get more than our fair share of fouling, so the day after we arrived, out would come the Brizo and after a max of one hours effort the result was once again a clean  bottom, keel and rudder. When the time came to sell the Channel you could still get Brizos and I thought nothing of selling it on to the new Spanish owner, however soon after, the company selling them stopped and as footballers are often heard to say ‘I was gutted!’ The new Brizo is on for sale at £80-00 less than the original, quality is still the same however by careful sourcing of the various components the retail price is now only £150-00!

    The advantages?

    • I’m sure we don’t need to remind you of the costs of hauling out? A survey of 10 random marinas in the UK found that the average price of a haul out and pressure wash was £195.
    • It doesn’t matter whether you are using soft or hard antifouling paint because the Brizo can be used on either.
    • For the power boater, reduced fuel consumption as you can drop your revs off whilst maintaining speed.
    • For the racing yachtsman a cleaner bottom will give you that competitive edge on the race course.
    • For the cruising skipper more miles covered in a day’s sailing 1/2 a knot over 12 hours is 6 nautical miles, 24 hours 12 miles!

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