General Interest

  • 352. Top Tips Tuesday - Bone Idle!

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    If you are like me and are the owner or skipper of either a yacht or powerboat that has been ‘bone idle’ over the past year and a half and you had the foresight to treat the onboard fuel before lockdown, all well and good. However, if not and you are worried as to the condition of your fuel in the tank now is the time to act before you leave your berth! Did you know that you can purchase, for a very reasonable price, a Marine 16 Diesel Bug Test Kit? It can be used to check for microbial contamination of diesel fuels in boats, storage tanks, home heating fuels, road going vehicles etc.

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    Should you be unfortunate enough to find you have an issue, Marine 16 Diesel Treatment(as used by the RNLI) is the way forward. Marine 16's Diesel Bug Treatment is specifically designed to prevent or eradicate diesel bug contamination. It will disperse into both the fuel and water phases and will remain active in the fuel for over a year. As you use the treated fuel it will eliminate growth throughout the fuel feed system.

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    Prevention: Add Diesel Bug Treatment at a rate of 100ml to 2000 litres of fuel. Simply pour the product into the tank filler point. Do not allow contact with skin or eyes.

    Cure: Ideally the tank should be cleaned out as much as possible prior to treatment in order to remove sludge deposits. The treatment will break down this sludge over time but several treatments may be required. Diesel Bug Treatment breaks down the slimes and dead organisms to small black particulates that pass through the system like any other dust.

    For moderate contamination where there is evidence of stringy slime in the fuel or the filteruse the product at 100ml to 500 litres of fuel. Ideally this should be added to a full tank to ensure contact with all surfaces.

    For severe contamination where filter blocking or injector fouling is occurring use a shock dose of 100ml to 100 litres of fuel.

    After treatment continue to use at a preventative level so that the problem does not reoccur.

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    As you well know Marine diesel engines are reliable and economical - unfortunately these benefits can soon be lost unless the fuel system is maintained. Excessive exhaust smoke, increased fuel consumption, rough running, poor cold starting, dirty injectors and blocked filters are primarily caused by contamination inside the engine or the existence of bacteria within the diesel fuel.

    With the introduction of biodiesel and Ultra-Low-Sulfur diesel things can only get worse, especially with regards to diesel bug and lubrication. Marine 16's Diesel Fuel Complete treatment is a highly sophisticated package designed to quickly, thoroughly and safely clean all marine diesel engine fuel systems turning carbons, fats, acids and other contaminants into a harmless liquid form which is then burnt through the normal combustion process. It releases combustion rings, frees injectors and valves and dissolves contaminants completely.

    The important benefits from using this product are:
    ✓ Stops diesel bug
    ✓ Cleans injectors and filters
    ✓ Protects fuel pumps
    ✓ Contains antifoam
    ✓ Demulsifies water from fuel
    ✓ Increases cetane rating
    ✓ Gives easier starting
    ✓ Improves fuel consumption
    ✓ Reduces smoking
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    Speaking of smoking, however, Marine 16's Diesel Injector Cleaner is a "one shot" single treatment to remove harmful deposits in the fuel pump and injectors of diesel engines.

    Diesel Injector Cleaner (DIC) is a once only treatment to remove harmful deposits in the fuel pump and injectors of diesel engines. DIC cleans fuel lines and injector deposits providing a cleaner, easier starting engine. DIC reduces emissions, improves fuel consumption and prevents smoke from exhausts.

    If your engine is smoking, we recommend you use DIC before calling an engineer to remove injectors etc. Smoking is often due to gumming and lacquering of fuel components which develops over time or from using degraded fuel and will be a lot more cost effective than removing injectors unnecessarily.

    Kill-Clean-Protect sounds like one of those Public Health England utterances but in reality, using all 3 treatments will ensure your engine and fuel are fully protected. Add Diesel Bug Treatment and Diesel Injector Cleaner together then add Diesel Fuel Complete as an after
    treatment to use at a preventative level.
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  • 351. Top Tip Tuesday - Were you caught short? We were!

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    Despite carrying more stock than Andy's accountant and his bank manager think sensible, it has been hard to keep certain products in sufficient quantity to satisfy demand as the country wakes up! Was this caused by the hold up in the Suez Canal the other week, maybe it was all this ‘home working'. International Paints had a major setback with a fire in their Felling factory! We are still waiting for their Watertite epoxy filler however we have stocks of both the Hempel & Epifanes (incidentaly the Epifanes is superb value for money). Other items are now slowly starting to trickling through. Our sailmaking side of the business is currently struggling to get hold of 25mm stainless tube end fittings, YKK zips and certain threads are proving hard to come by. On the chandlery side, apart from scarcity of certain International paint items which are currently O.O.S. inflatable dinghies are getting as rare as hen's teeth and even though the 'boss' had some inside information and doubled up on his stock certain models are already sold out! Lagun cockpit table frames we now have back in stock after a shortage. In the last two months we have sold more than in the last three years, which hasn’t helped! Not only are they a favourite with yachties but it seems that these new motor home proud owners are also snapping them up, mind you our offer of a free storage bag worth £50 does help!

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    Magma Marine Kettle BBQ's are also selling like hot cakes and are no longer, as I write, subject to delay. Once again the offer of a free breathable cover (worth £70-00) and manufactured in a colour to match one's boats spray hood, stack pack or some other item of canvas work is proving irresistible! If, however, you are a traditionalist you may decide the charcoal fuelled Magma kettle grill is for you as against the gas powered one. This model also comes with that superb free breathable cover.

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    A hundred and counting! Probably because we have sold so many of these Bynolyt binoculars (as used by the RNLI and a PBO Best Buy product) in the last three months the importer of these superb optical instruments ran out, however the good news is that we should have fresh stock imminently, please form an orderly queue.

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    Oops I forget to mention, what else is in short supply? Another eight day ‘week’ for Andy!

  • 346. Top Tips Tuesday - A Bit Of Spit And Polish

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    WASH:

    Gone are the days when folks used to polish the paintwork of their car on a regular basis (well these days I certainly dont!) however this is not the case with my gelcoat finish. Topsides most certainly do benefit from at least one application per year (or preferably 2 in my case as the boat lives in Greece) of a good quality wax such as Meguiar's Flagship Premium Wax. Having said that If you have topsides in a dark blue, red or green gelcoat they do fade and chalk at a quicker rate than the pale colours so applying a coat of wax on a regular basis not only seals the surface from ingress of dirt but also protects against UV degradation. To get the best result and protect your investment, we recommend that you first wash the surface down to remove any surface contaminants such as salt crystals and boatyard dust to avoid scratching the surface once you start polishing. One of our favourites for preparing surfaces prior to polishing is Yachticon GRP supercleaner. If after carrying out that task you then discover you have some minor gelcoat damage that requires attention, now is the time to tackle this.

    GELCOAT REPAIRS:

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    To prepare the crack or scratch I use a Dremel with a fine cutting ‘blade’. If however you don’t have access to one of these excellent tools a sharp Stanley knife blade can be used to enlarge fine cracks. Then wash down the surface with acetone. Use MagicEzy 9 Second Chip Fix for ‘sorting’ minor nicks, chips and gouges. This excellent product is available in 11 colours (inc five shades of white) however to ensure you get a good colour match when tackling a gelcoat repair we suggest you use some fine wet and dry, say 1200 grade, next to the area that is to be treated as over the years the gelcoat will have faded slightly and by gently removing the top surface you can get back to the original.

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    Getting the correct coloured gelcoat can be a pain, should you however need a larger quantity of gelcoat in the first instance, we always recommend in the first instance you contact the original boatbuilder or importer of the boat whilst armed with the hull build number to see if they can supply. Once you have ascertained the correct match and prepared the surface to accept ‘catalysed’ gelcoat, apply with a soft brush leaving the material slightly proud. Carefully apply a piece of clear Sellotape or cling film over the gelcoat, this will prevent the gelcoat drying tacky. When set remove the tape and carefully sand to shape using a sanding block with 400 then 600 and finally 1200 wet/dry paper and plenty of water. Do this carefully so as not to damage or rub through the surrounding gelcoat. The repair can then be polished to a mirror finish using Farecla or a similar compound and then to seal the surface a good quality wax polish such as 3M marine ultra performance wax.

    POLISHING:

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    After any repairs are completed we recommend that you use a mild cleaner such as Meguiar's Colour Restorer which will safely remove light oxidation and most stains from the gelcoat either by hand or machine. By using a machine to do the hard work the task will be completed quicker than buffing by hand using a 100% cotton polishing cloth. If using a machine we recommend a variable speed machine like the Shurhold Dual Action polisher with either a microfibre or foam polishing bonnet. Keep the speed slow and don’t stay in one area as it is all too easy to overheat and damage gelcoat. Don’t be tempted to use an electric drill with a polishing bonnet, they are usually too high a speed and can result in burn damage to the gelcoat. If there is no power available, the OrbiPro Cordless Orbital Tool is a useful investment, particularly as you can rent it to your neighbours when they see the fabulous finish you have achieved. An oxidation remover will bring life back into a hull, however, if the topsides are very chalky and dull (as mentioned above red, green & blue gelcoat are particularly susceptible) you can start with a coarse paper 200-300 working up to 800 or 1000 grade, or after using the more aggressive grades spread compound evenly onto the hull in areas of about a square metre so it doesn’t dry. Work with the polisher in lines. While working, don’t place your polishing mop on the ground or on the plank you are working on; one speck of grit on its surface can have disastrous results on your topsides! When applying cleaner or oxidation remover always work on a cool surface in the shade.

    BRIGHTENING AND RESTORING YOUR TOPSIDES:

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    Don’t try to polish or rub down rust or black berry bird droppings marks from your decks or hull, the stains can be deep into the gelcoat. Instead try using a stain remover containing oxalic acid such as Y10 or Davis FSR, either should bleach out the stain. Y10 was used on the above Contessa 32 to great effect. After thoroughly cleaning with either the mild cleaner or the oxidation remover the surface must then be sealed using a good quality uv resistant wax, for best results apply at least 2 coats with a day between each coat to allow the wax to harden. Applying the second coat too soon will only remove the first! For GRP cabin sides and other smooth gelcoat surfaces the technique is the same, however for cleaning and removing oxidation on moulded in nonslip I always use Vistal Hard Surface CleanerVistal can also be used to help bring a sparkle back to dull painted or varnished surfaces; its also great for brightening your stainless pull/pushpit, alloy stanchions other metal surfaces and of course fenders.

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    LAST:

    If after lockdown you are greeted with your pride and joy looking rather ‘green around the gills’ and aren’t in a position through work or family commitments to tackle the shades of green look, why not purchase some Wet & Forget, dilute then spray it on and leave, over a period of time it will lift the green off as if by magic with no effort!

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  • 342. Top Tips Tuesday - Tidy Up

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    Fortunately, our chart table is a little less cluttered than our kitchen work surface but at times we do run out of space in Hindsight's navigational area. It does seem when we spend time on our Mystery that we are forever either charging phones, Ipads, handheld VHF, rechargeable spotlight or whatever. Ok I hold my hands up, it’s never going to be a container full of USB cables like at mon repose but it would be rather nice to cut a bit of the clutter out!

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    This rather nice piece of kit as shown above from the guys at Scanstrut caught my eye the other day. It can "Store, Charge & Connect". Nest is its name and it safely houses & wirelessly charges your phone at the same time. Now you can keep your phone in a safe place onboard, tucked away, charged and ready to go!

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    Nest is IPx6 waterproof 12/24V Qi certified enables wireless charging for the outdoor environment without the need for phone charging cables. Perfect for integration into consoles, seating, cabinetry and more! Simply slide your phone into the pocket and instantly start wirelessly charging. The super grippy mat stops your phone sliding around inside. The front lip with an easy access thumb bevel acts as a safety barrier, making sure your phone stays in the Nest!

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    Beautiful Design Rounded corners and tapered front design eliminate all snagging risks, making it possible to install in high traffic areas of the boat where phone charging/storage until now has been impossible.

    Simple Install One easy cut into your chosen mounting location,4 screws supplied for fixing and a front fascia to leave the finished result clean and uncluttered –you're now ready to Store. Charge. Connect!

    Wash Down Worried about getting water inside? No problem! Nest automatically drains either out of the front or through the self-drill drains out of the rear of the housing with the option to use a push-fit drain tube to route water away.

    Dual Functionally  Featuring an intelligent Foreign Object Detection, Nest is perfect for storing your other personal items such as wallets and keys as the charger will only begin to charge when a phone is placed on the mat – nothing else!

  • 337. Top Tips Tuesday - Power Crazy!

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    No folks I am NOT going to mention what’s happening in the USA but I can image that the regimes such as North Korea, China etc are rubbing their hands with glee as to what is happening across the Atlantic in the democratic West! Speaking of power, however, I must confess that this past week the over-ride button on the central heating has been busy! Must be my advancing age or a slower recovery from my morning dip. This past Saturday morning we had an air temp of -4, add wind chill and there was talk amongst the other swimmers of -10 degrees on the Tynemouth beach. It did, however, feel quite ‘warm’ once in the briny with a sea temperature of around 5 degrees!

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    If you are a live aboard or perhaps a sailor keeping a heater or dehumidifier running in these cold winter months, it can be a good idea to keep a weather eye on your power consumption. The Metermaid is an excellent piece of kit that will do such a thing.

    METERMAID™ is an in-line portable electricity meter that has been specifically designed to accurately measure individual electricity consumption - wherever it is needed.  It is a true kiloWatt hour meter and is the result of years of extensive research and development. METERMAID™ incorporates the latest in state-of-the-art technology and only the highest quality components are used in its manufacture.  As a simple and cost-effective metering system METERMAID™ offers many benefits:

    • It is designed to be ACCURATE.  As a Class 1 meter METERMAID™ is precision equipment so when it comes to charging (or paying) for the electricity recorded by METERMAID™ you may rest assured it only displays exactly what has been used.  With a non-resettable 6 digit counter and fully-encapsulated electronics METERMAID™ cannot be tampered with, slowed down or reversed.
    • It is built to be WATERPROOF so that it will cope with the vagaries of the British weather and will be a match for any situation where it is likely to come into contact with water.  The enclosure is rated IP673 within Europe and 4X in North America.
    • TOUGH so that it can withstand the harshest of environments around the world, everything about METERMAID™ is robust and the build-quality is plain to see the minute you hold it in your hand.
    • It is built to be USER-FRIENDLY.  It needs no maintenance, servicing or re-calibration - ever!   When you receive METERMAID™ you just plug in and go!  It could not be any simpler!
    • Total flexibility to meter boats or caravans wherever they are because it is PORTABLE
    • A solution to the problem of financing capital expenditure as it can easily be sold or rented to the end-user making it very COST-EFFECTIVE
    • Acceptance by end-users because it is FAIR and they only need to pay for the electricity they know they have used
    • Control over your expenditure on electricity and peace of mind with a 2 YEAR CONDITIONAL WARRANTY

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    If you haven't already got one of our Shore Power Splitters it is a useful device to keep in your lazarette. I put one on board our Mystery after seeing the 'Greek spaghetti junction' on the quayside of a small harbour on the island of Meganisi. Since then our own personal splitter has been brought into use on a number of occasions by Jenny and I (especially when one of the charter flotillas turn up). I have, of course, felt tipped the yachts name on both sides of it so there is no Mystery as to whom it belongs to!

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    Popular amongst some of our customers who don't have a 240 volt set up on board is the Outdoor Mobile Mains power unit with RCD & Breaker.
    • Plugs directly into marina  or boatyard power supply to bring safe 230V power to your appliances
    • Ideal for use in your yacht, camper van or motorhome
    • Built in RCD & circuit breaker for total protection
    • 3 UK 3pin power sockets suitable for large plugs & adaptors
    • Integral 20m orange connection cable & site plug
    • Indicator light shows power supply is connected
    • 10 Amp maximum total capacity
    • Splash-proof assembly (NOT waterproof)
  • 328. Top Tips Tuesday - Must Be Good, Faslane Gets Through Loads Of It!

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    We, like a lot of other businesses, are finding that supplies of certain products are in short supply due to the Chinese import of Covid. I was in a decorator's merchants this past Saturday and they still haven’t got any Polycell Brush Restorer, Jenny ordered a 1Litre container some five weeks ago and apparently, they are still awaiting stock. Builder's merchants the same and as for our chandlery and the mail order arm www.marinechandlery.com one product we sell pallet loads of (especially in the winter) is an American product called Rydlyme Marine descaler and at the moment we cannot get enough! We sell in large quantities to the Royal Navy at Faslane on the Clyde on a regular basis but also a lot of our retail customers, both power and sail, purchase it to dissolve unwanted deposits in the heat exchanger and in engine cooling systems. Last week we finally received a half pallet load which we had been waiting for over a month. God willing or President Trump perhaps, we will see the balance of the order, another one and a half pallet loads turning up this week!

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    In my blog of the other week you will have read that, when ‘on annual leave’ in the Ionian the other month, there was a minor earthquake, when I had the boat lifted some two weeks later I did notice that there was a lot more fouling from baby barnacles round the water intake than I had been used to seeing after only eight weeks in the water. An old local fisherman did comment (not to me I hasten to add) that strange things happen after earthquakes such as increased or heavy fouling! With this in mind I intend, on my next trip out to Hindsight on Lefkas island, to take a 5L container of Rydlyme with me, dilute 50/50 with water and offer the mixed solution up to the saildrive water intake and with the engine running circulate the mixture through the leg and into the engine cooling system. Haven’t worked out yet how I am going to capture the liquid as it exits the exhaust as you need to circulate this product for at least a couple of hours but more than a few months to work that one out!

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    Rydlyme Marine is an innovative biodegradable descaler designed for the maritime industry to improve the performance of vital water systems by safely dissolving deposits, such as:

    • Water Scale
    • Calcium
    • Rust
    • Barnacles
    • Zebra Mussels
    • Tiger Shells

    Use Rydlyme Marine to dissolve unwanted marine deposits on heat exchangers, engine cooling systems, condensers and much more. It is non-corrosive to metals and materials commonly found on water operated equipment.

    Rydlyme Marine is non-toxic and non-hazardous. Unlike other descales and traditional harsh acids, Rydlyme Marine can be safely handled by personnel, you can even hold it in your hand without injury.

    With Rydlyme Marine, you can clean in place to reduce downtime and maintenance costs. There are no waste disposal issues as it is non-toxic and biodegradable in any concentration. It can be disposed of through normal sewer systems.

    Use Rydlyme Marine on recreational boats, such as cabin cruisers, power boats, yachts, mega-yachts, jet skies and more...

     

  • 327. Top Tips Tuesday - It All Filters Down Eventually

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    If you’re not a petrol head, and I must confess I am a sort of one apart from my love of a life on the ocean wave, past wheels have included a very tired Austin Healey 3000 at the age of 17, an original Lotus Seven with a Coventry Climax power unit when I reached 20 (eventually sold to purchase my first of a long line of Int 14 dinghies). Jenny's wheels at the time (she was, in those days, a well paid teacher) was an MG Midget. Both cars then sold to 'hopefully' finance a Morgan Plus 4 with the rare Fiat twin cam engine. Then came a period of practical wheels, Volvo estates capable of towing double banked dinghy trailers loaded to the gunwale of the two boats with orders for customers sails, masts, booms and other goodies. Once in my sixties I tried to rediscover my need for speed, first a kit built Westfield and then a Caterham SV Roadsport just before I hit the big 70, trouble was at this stage I could climb into the cockpit but getting out was fraught with difficulty! The Caterham now gone but Jen's wheels, a Fiat 500 Arbarth, reminded me of my very early forays onto the Go Kart track as a spotty 15 year old youth! We do of course see, with evolution, components that have been on the cutting edge of high performance cars filtering down to production models; disc brakes, fuel injection, four wheel drive, pioneered of course by the 'father of the modern farm tractor' Harry Ferquson, in 1952 he built the R4 4WD prototype car. Nowadays we have energy recovery systems first developed for F1 cars but filtering slowly down. Likewise in yacht racing, over time, products or systems developed for the race track are common place on cruisers.

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    Take the cunningham eye, a downhaul used to modify the shape of a sail, named after it's inventor, Briggs Cunningham victorious America's cup skipper in 1958, incidentally also a lover of fast cars! Carbon fibre used in aerospace, high performance cars, sporting goods such as tennis rackets and of course golf clubs, is a material that first appeared on racing sailboats methinks some forty odd years ago? Carbon spars are now common place in super yachts, production cruising yachts and of course in dinghies, light weight so less righting movement required and pitching, likewise carbon is used to add strength with very little weight gain to areas of the hull that are subject to high loads.

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    One way carbon can make a big difference is in the attaching of blocks, Loups or lashing points to say a deck. In the past it's always been the case that with, for example an U-bolt, it's a case of removing headlining, drilling through the deck (possibly scooping out a foam core and filling the void with a mixture of epoxy and the appropriate filler like colloidal silica). Drilling holes, applying sealant to the hole (counter sink the outer surface and fill with sealant), attach fitting and when sealant has cured give the nut at least another turn, replace the headliner. Or purchase from our our online store a carbon stick-on loop, prepare both surfaces by abrading, then degrease, apply epoxy adhesive such as Gflex or Probond and stick down. These carbon stick-on loops have been tested to around 250kg as for the time saved, almost two hours if fitting a set of four if not longer. No issues of leaks and you ain't going to stub your toe on one! Great for liferaft lashings, barber hauler take off points etc etc. Time efficient and cost effective at only £19-95 each. We should have stock by the end of the month!

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  • 325. Top Tips Tuesday - This Stuff Really Works

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    At last we have stock of DeBond Marine Formula again. It's been a long wait but this answer to many a frustrated sailor who is removing say a fitting bonded on with Sikaflex 291 is now sitting again on Andy's chandlery shelves. I was certainly getting worried to say the least as the last remaining container which I jealously guarded was 'feeling' very empty! As can be seen in the below paragraph it's brilliant in a variety of different senarios and I make no excuse in repeating a portion of a blog that I posted in May 2014. Since then I have used it in all sorts of situations where I have to 'DeBond' cured adhesives. I also discovered that in the sail loft it's brilliant at shifting the adhesive residue that is left on the sail when peeling off sail numbers!

    Having fitted out, repaired and renovated more than my fair share of boats in the last forty odd years, it's not often that one comes across a product that makes life so much easier! The other month we were involved in the complete renewal of all the standing rigging on a twelve year old American built Island Packet. The yacht was in excellent condition for its age with the exception of the alloy mast collar which had, over the years, corroded badly. Once the keel stepped mast had been lifted out I rang the importers to ask if they knew what sealant/adhesive had been used to attach the collar to the deck, only to be told, "If you have removed the six screws and it doesn't budge don't bother cos you will never get it off!" At this stage I thought lets try Marine Formula by the Debond Corp. Ten minutes later the collar was off and on it's away to the powder coater for refurbishment. Apart from the ease of removal there was no damage to the gelcoat/laminate. Since then I have used it on a seacock which had been bonded in with Sikaflex, once again a nightmare of a job made easy with Marine Formula.

  • 324. Top Tips Tuesday - The Tale Of The Leaking Dinghy (Or Not)

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    Last October I brought back to England my elderly (1992 vintage) Avon dinghy as one of the patches that a previous owner had stuck on the underneath was starting to lift. Like most of my good intentions the job was put on the 'back burner' until a week before I was due to come back out to Greece when I realised my Hypalon two pack adhesive and patch material were still in foreign parts, on Hindsight! Fortunately in the sail loft there was some scrap Tear Aid, a brilliant clear repair material which we use for all sorts of repairs where stitching would be inappropriate, like delaminating 'plastic sails' invisible mends to foul weather gear etc etc.

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    With now over five weeks of the dinghy bobbing gently in our wake it hasn't budged an inch however last nights electrical storm followed by fearsome winds and torrential rain resulted in some 50mm of rain dumped in the dinghy. Getting rid of that rainwater? I must confess at the moment I still rely on brute strength and ignorance; pull the bow of the dinghy up over a guard rail covered with Andy's split tube* and a couple of sail chafe protectors (maybe that's why the original patch started to fail in the first place?).

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    However my 'neighbour,' clever folks these Germans, didn't do what I did (and he has an extra eight years of maturity on me, me 'slightly' over seventy). He got into his dinghy with what looked like, from 15m away, a Whale easy bailer stirrup pump and within less than five minutes his dinghy was empty. No strain on his body and no possible damage to the dinghy. Was he feeling a little smug watching me struggle to get my boat upright? Heaven knows, however I did feel maybe a little smug as my Vulcan anchor (designed by the guy who invented the Rocna) held last night whilst his 'plough' type anchor did not and he ended up almost alongside Hindsight! He told me earlier that he had been approx 400m to windward of us when the breeze picked up!

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    Methinks a little plastic pump such as the Whale Easy Bailer might be a useful addition to our inventory next year, what say you Jenny? Or to make it even easier, how about a Seago battery operated pump? Just press the button on the top and wait for the water to empty!

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    * Don’t forget that stainless steel will rust if not exposed to air. Split tube should either be a loose fit or if snug removed on a regular basis and trapped dirt removed from the wire.

  • 323. Top Tips Tuesday - Fitted In The Nick Of Time

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    I finally got out to Hindsight on my tod, Billy no mates was the expression Jenny used, and why did I set off on my own? Concern for the boat's batteries was the reason. Last October, on the advice given to me some years ago from a seasoned sailor and sparky to boot who told me 'best to disconnect the batteries before you leave the boat as against leaving them connected to a charger'. Well I have followed his advice over the years and never had any issues, off to the UK, batteries disconnected in Oct 2019, due to go back out this year in early May, what could go wrong? A virus called Covid19 came and scuttled my early season plans so once things 'settled down' and we could venture to far away shores we decided that we would go out early September, get those batteries connected and charged and then go sailing just as we usually do. Tickets were on hold from our earlier travel so it was just a case of rebooking... or was it? Jen then started having second thoughts, sitting up in the sky in a tin tube with 200 odd passengers for a few hours didn't appeal to her as she has had a couple of health issues in the past. So here I am, writing this blog on my tod and having just ridden out my second Medicane in three years. Some folks know how to have fun! However, I'm very pleased that I got round to fitting the folding grab rail kit to the sprayhood just before the storm hit! Incidentally it was brought out to Greece at my good ladies request! It was a bit hairy going forward to check the condition of the anchor chain and snubber line at 2am in the morning in the pitch black with the boat being laid over and yawing widely.

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    Being on my own meant, however, that I could spent all my time doing those 'little jobs' which I never get round to do when Jen's out with me (we are too busy enjoying and socialising ourself when she's on board). On the list of things to do was a means of making it easier to go forward past the sprayhood in a breeze or a lumpy or rolling sea, so a relatively new to the market set of folding sprayhood bars came out with me. The package, as can be seen in the above images, comes with two hinged bars, available in two different lengths, complete with four split clamps and four tube ends, all of course in 316 stainless. As I was installing the assembly on the boat far away from Andy's sail loft, I also took a packet of Tear Aid with me to reinforce the four holes that I had cut in the spray hood, Tear Aid would also stop the raw edge from fraying.

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    As for fitting the two folding bar assemblies, it was the time spent making sure that I got the bars in the correct plane that took the longest. Once I was happy with the aesthetics it was cut four holes in the hood, reinforce the fabric then cut the bars to length and assemble once the clamps had been attached to the bars. The complete job was done afloat with the exception of the hacksawing of the tubes, I took them ashore and found a suitable object to hold them whilst attacking them! Another job crossed off the list and I hope a satisfied customer, Jen, when she hopefully comes out next year!

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    Incidentally, with the cruising we now do in the Ionian, sailing in a t-shirt as against a set of foulies the Spinlock Deckvest Lite+ lifejacket is our preferred jacket of choice. Much lighter than its big  brother the Spinlock Deckvest 6D. Obviously when the Medicane hit the other day it was worn even in the cockpit! It has the same buoyancy as it's all singing and dancing brother inc crutch strap and built in harness however it doesn't have a light or a sprayhood so it's almost half a kilo lighter. And folks, that’s not me in the below image. I ‘lost’ my head of hair many years ago!

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