• 218. Top Tips Tuesday - Three Times As Fast


    My old iPhone and iPad are a bit like me, long past their sell by date; the phone was one of my bosses cast offs from some four years ago and as for the iPad, well it was won in a competition run by International Paints many many years ago, both still working (just) and both held together with West's G-flex epoxy! Like me their endurance or battery life is not that great and, when on our Mystery during May and June of this year, it seems like they both needed charging constantly. The iPad was in the cockpit repeating our Raymarine plotter information, as for the phone, we used it to keep us up to date on the weather, the Windy and Foreca apps being our preferred source of information. Both devices are protected from the elements in those excellent, easy to use, Gooper waterproof to 30 metre cases!


    Our waterproof Scanstrut USB port, as shown installed on our Mystery 35, has been excellent in giving us an 'on deck' source of power, but the two units have a very short battery life so the new Scanstrut Rokk Charge+ which charges at three times the rate and costs only £36.95 would have a vital role to play onboard Hindsight.


    • The socket will work with any USB Type-A connector to charge up to 2 devices at a time.
    • Compatible with phones, tablets, fish finders and chartplotters.


    • Tested and approved IPX4 waterproof rating with the cover closed and waterproof with 1, 2 or even 0 cables plugged.


    • Designed for use in all marine environments, whatever the conditions. Anti-corrosion coating on circuit board combines with a UV resistant shell and 316 stainless hinge and spring.


    • Easy to install with a low profile and small mounting footprint, the socket can be both opened and closed with ease; even with gloves on.


    • Standard barrel size also fits existing USB sockets.


    • Input Voltage: 6-30V
    • Output Voltage: 5V =/-5%
    • Cut out Dimensions: 29mm (1 1⁄8'') dia.
    Scanstrut Rokk Charger+
  • 187. Perfect Timing

    The impossible small gap between the car and the boiler

    So they released me from hospital last Wednesday morning along with a pair of crutches, goody bag of pain killers, physiotherapy notes and a DIY 'self injection kit' for injecting your stomach once a day. I soon found out, it's a slightly different technique from using a set of West or SP Syringes to inject epoxy into a wood or GRP void! Since being discharged I have read more in the last few days than in the last fifty years, likewise have watched more rugby. Saturday all on BBC, apart from the England matches (Jenny obviously thought I wasn't worth a short subscription to watch those on Sky), life wasn't too bad. However, by mid Sunday morning, boy did I end up depressed. I had managed to get a few hours of sleep but after shuffling along to the loo at 4am (10 min round trip) then back, hoisting myself back into bed, shuffle into position, stick pillow between legs and then attempt to pull bedding over, could I get back to sleep? So it's was switch on radio 5 and listen to the cricket. England out for 195 and our bowlers making no impression on the Aussies, Jenny then came through with a cup of tea at 6:30 before leaving to walk the dog and said "house seems a little colder than normal, looks like the heating hasn't come on." Off she trotted, with yours truly hoping that it was a just the weekend timing and nothing else. (Incidentally the boiler is due it's annual service this coming week.) However, it was not to be. On inspection by Jen it was the closed circuit circulating water pressure. Simple to solve, just twiddle the two knobs under the boiler, watch the needle(s) rise and then when both in the green sector twiddle opposite way again. However with Jenny still suffering from the effects of a broken wrist earlier this year she didn't have the strength. It's normally five or less minutes to do and usually happens if we haven't been using the system for some weeks. The boiler is mounted in a, by modern standards, narrow garage and for me to get to it whilst on crutches the car would have to moved and guess what, because I am not going to be able to shoehorn myself into the Caterham for the next few months, apart from it now being on SORN I have disconnected the battery and brought that inside. I didn't have the guts to ring boss man Andy B up at 6:45 on a Sunday morning even though he had said on more than one occasion, "Need any help just give me a shout and your wish will be my command!".

    It just so happened I had in the workshop a old main sheet tackle with Ronstan ball bearing blocks

    Dressing gown on, down into the garage and yes there is no way I could get to the boiler. Tow the car out backward with Jenny's proper car? No way to get me or expect Jen to grovel on the ground with 125mm ground clearance and secure a tow rope round the back axle. Lever under the front wheel? A good idea but the only item long enough to use was the Forespar Telescopic Whisker Pole for the Mystery which is stored in our attic ready for next season. How did we move the 'boy toy' to gain access to the boiler? It just so happened I had in the workshop a old main sheet tackle with Ronstan ball bearing blocks. One end was attached to the roll bar through a soft shackle to avoid damaging the powder coating the other end through the towing eye on the proper car.

    Soft Shackle

    Job done boiler fired up, Jen goes off to walk the dog. I grab the Ipad to do a final check on this week's TTT and then send it through to work, I find the images but no text. Was convinced I had written it just after being discharged from hospital last Wednesday or was it the drugs that made me think I had, yes perfect timing!  At least today's 'adventure' gives me something to write about. My son-in-law Ian is driving up from Leeds with Clare and the new baby later today so as the car only weighs 540kg he can, I am sure, push it back in without too much difficulty!

  • 137. Top Tips Tuesday - Bored? West Systems have the solution. Meet Hoppy!


    As avid readers of our regular blog will know I, with a lot of help from my friends and of course Jenny (she is brilliant at rubbing down varnish or epoxy in preparation for another coat) have been fitting out a Mystery 35 hull and deck for the last six years, finally launched the other week with just a ‘few’ outstanding jobs! Well in my very limited spare time away from the boat the other night I was reading the excellent newsletter from West System that regularly ends up on my iPad. Scrolling through, I was fascinated to read about Hoppy, the bike which you can build from wood, I'm sure it would be the perfect set of wheels to have on Hindsight, however, I have been advised by Benjy the boatbuilder and designer of the bike that there are no plans to design a folding one as yet, but hopefully early next year when the ‘jobs to do list’ shrinks a bit more who knows I might have a go at building a non folding bike, but will we now need a larger boat?screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-11-28-44

    Another first class article in this latest newsletter was one by an expat Geordie, Hamish Cook, West's UK technical expert (I used to race Enterprise dinghies against his dad many many years ago and usually got beat by a country mile) on flame-treating plastic which helps create a better bond between epoxy and plastic.

    I used this technique to glue successfully, using their G-Flex, a polyethylene Whale grey water tank to the hull of our Mystery as well as using the same technique to bond a Scanstrut waterproof junction box. I had tried some years earlier in the fitting out process to bond these items to the hull with two different well known makes of adhesive sealant, G-flex was not on the market then.

    409554cc-5582-441c-8dce-4cbc0e6491e7     c316a9d9-2d4d-4251-8a2f-012825770a2d     d9d55799-ff87-478a-9b19-c8ae27879242


  • Dodgy Batch? Things to consider when mixing Epoxy...

    We sold a Plastic Padding two part epoxy 'kit' to a customer the other afternoon, came back late next day saying that he had mixed the two components as per the instructions, 7 am that day, eight hours later the mix was like chewing gum! I did ask him if it might be a temperature issue, he said no building was heated. As the customer is always right, I gave him a replacement, made sure it was a different batch no and was delighted to learn that this mix had cured within a few hours, later out of curiosity I mixed up some of the dodgy epoxy and was amused to note that four hours later it had cured problem solved and put the original tubes in our workshop for our own consumption, see 'chewing gum mix on left hand side of table, same batch on right hand side fully cured! When mixing epoxy/paint/resins in colder conditions its always worth making sure that the temperature of the components involved is not low (found later he had left the box in the boot of the car overnite) so it's worth remembering as temperatures start to drop, before use store at room temperature/stand in warm water, make sure that you mix as per the instructions, do NOT be tempted to add extra hardener and make sure you thoroughly mix! Surface temperature could be an issue so if working outside, consider a wind break/heat lamp or maybe both!

    Dodgy Batch
  • Tip of the day - working with Epoxy

    On very hot days you can extend the pot life by a) Chilling the resin and hardener in a fridge beforehand b) Mixing in a large flat tray rather than in a tub The chemical reaction is exothermic (produces heat) so keep it cool as much as possible.

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