• 151. Top Tips Tuesday - Reduce the trip factor

    Jenny's bruised leg!

    Jenny, my better half, is well known amongst our sailing friends for having a ‘slight’ lack of spatial awareness. When on board our last yacht, never a day went by without her bouncing her head off the companion way sliding hatch, banging an elbow on the companion way steps or ricocheting off the cooker. Yes, she can even stumble on a peanut  which has been dropped in the cockpit on our friends Oyster at ‘gin o clock’ but strangely, never ever spills a drop of the precious liquid in her left hand! Back on dry land she once managed to fracture her elbow, tripping on a raised paving stone when walking to, yes to, the pub and surprising as it may seem she has never had a problem when coming back! The poor girl is at the moment suffering from an extremely painful  hematoma in her upper thigh after slipping on a rock whilst walking in the Lake District the other day, however, the plus points of my good long-suffering wife are too numerous to mention and include proof reading and correcting my awful spelling and punctuation on each and every blog at midnight on a Monday night!

    Outboard lead block assembly

    When fitting out Hindsight we put a lot of thought into reducing the ‘trip factor’ on the deck. The side decks of the Mystery are not particularly wide so when routing the furling line I went for Schaefer’s ‘Clear Step’ blocks which keeps the walkway clear as the reefing line is on the outside of the stanchions.The Clear Step is indexed to easily slip over most existing stanchions and is secured by a simple set screw, large diameter ball bearing Delrin sheaves ensure smooth rolling. Harken do manufacture a similar product, the ‘Outboard lead block assembly,' however the nod went to the former as it looked more in keeping with the traditional looks of the boat, however for the aft turning block I did go for a Harken ratchet with becket.

    Shock cord keeps block off the deck, preventing damage

    I wanted to keep some tension on the line when furling (prevents a riding turn on the drum) as against relying on a crew member to ease the line out! Why a turning block with becket? Cos I attached a short length of shock cord to the block/guard rail to stop it or the deck being damaged in a bouncy sea state. We also lead the backstay control line through the cockpit coaming as against over the teak capping on the production boats as a way of helping reduce the trip factor and we shied away from U bolts and went for folding padeyes for safety line and jackstay take off points as a means of preventing stubbed toes or even more bruises.

    Leading the backstay control line through the cockpit coaming

    Am not sure if Jenny is ‘proud’ of her past track record but she did point out (when proof reading the blog last night) that this past Christmas, whilst enjoying a sunshine break in the Canaries, she managed to stub her toe while taking a ‘comfort break’ at 2am in the morning, she blames it on an unfamiliar layout in the flat we were renting and not the alchohol consumed earlier. It however meant that she has only just tried on her new Dubarry boots which were her Christmas prezzie as the little toe of course was broken!

    Folding pad eyes used for safety line clip points

  • 9. Top Tips Tuesday - Furling: If It Doesn’t Roll, Don’t Force It!

    IMG_2048-1 You would be amazed at the number of skippers who, when discovering their roller reefing headsail is not running freely, resort to brute strength and sadly ignorance! One of the most frequent causes of dismasting is genoa halyard wrap. This can be caused by a number of factors, however, if you have trouble getting your reefing headsail in and out STOP and first of all look up. Maybe use your binoculars to get a clearer picture or use a digital camera (on zoom) to help ascertain what the issue is. Whatever you do, don’t put the line onto a winch and grind away cos the forestay wire will bird-cage, possibly fail and then the mast comes tumbling down! It may be difficult due to the sea and wind state but once you are safely clipped on try and get the sail down by easing halyard tension; this may well do the trick. The reason I mention digital camera on zoom is that you can often see what’s happening up aloft once safely back in your marina berth.


    Bird-caging caused by halyard wrap

    To prevent halyard wrap, you need to make sure that the foil is full length on the forestay as per the manufactures recommendation and the top swivel is almost to the top of the foil. If the sail is short in the hoist either use a strop at the tack or have us or another sailmaker remove the old luff tape and sew on a longer tape that moves the swivel to the top of the foil.  If no halyard diverter is fitted perhaps consider one, my personal choice is to go for a diverter fitted to the mast as against the disc type on the forestay. Make sure, of course, you have sufficient tension in the backstay, thus keeping the forestay/foil from sagging.

    If the problem isn't up aloft, check for an issue on the drum. Is there a riding turn on the control line, if not perhaps one of the lead blocks has seized and the line has worn a flat on the sheave? To prevent a riding turn  on the drum, our recommendation is, when pulling the sail out always maintain tension on the line, either by hand or if short handed the excellent Harken Stanchion ratchet block can be used. When furling or when you are finished for the day, once again keep tension, this time on the sheets.  For replacement lead blocks there are excellent bits of kit on the market, like the Schaefer ‘Clear Step’ Block which routes the furling line outboard of the stanchions or the Harken furling lead kit. Other good but lower tech blocks to consider are the Barton and Seasure ones. For relatively straight runs on  larger yachts the Spinlock  Stanchion blocks and eyes are a well made reasonably priced lead.


    For today and right up to midnight on Monday the 5th May 2014 we are offering at least 10% OFF all furling lead blocks.

  • MO's On The Tyne - St. Peters Winter Series supports Storrar Marine Chandlery in aid of Movember

    Mo's On The Tyne

    Where else would you see a bearded lady(s), correction attractive young fillies with MO's? Well, there they were, flashing their facial hair, the crew members on Buddy, Colin Davidson's sports boat and Athol’s MR Big. Not only was competition fierce but the competition to win the prizes on offer for the best Mo's was cut throat and that was before they shave them off!

    Anyway, almost two hundred pounds was raised to add to the Storrar MOrine Chandlery team coffers. Grateful thanks to all those who entered into the spirit of the day and those companies that helped by donating prizes, in no particular order: St Peters Marina, Seago, Orca Bay, Gill, Musto and Gul


    • Best MOteam, by a close shave, were the guys on Mr. Big
    • Best MOsportsboat, by a whisker, the team on Wild Reiver
    • Best MOfemale crew, by a hair's breadth, Anne Ainsworth
    • Best MOmale, by a mature mustache, Bob Baird
    • Best MOrib crew, by a natural look, Nick Thwaites
    • Best MOspectator, by a short hair, Lorraine Thwaites
    • Best MOrace Officer, by the real mccoy Tony Ainsworth

    Next weekend the MOSailing MOstorrar mustachioed mystros movement moves to (RMOYC) at Blyth, MOrthumberland where we hope beyond hope that we can raise even more MOsh,

    PS there will be MOre great prizes on offer from the likes of Spinlock, Dubarry, Marathon, Gul and Harken

    If you're interested in our progress heres a link to out Movember Team Page http://uk.movember.com/team/990741


  • Great Performance,Great Value...

    In the recent Practical Boat Owner test, Barton's size three block wins test comparison! Proven to have the lowest frictional resistance in both plain bearing and ball bearing, great performance and of course great value. Check out the competition, Harken, Lewmar, Ronstan and Selden.

  • 5.Outwards & Upwards - Suspicious stains on your headsail...


    Harping on as I always do about casting your eyes around the boat we had a customer in the other day complaining about some stains on his genoa, after he describing them (see piccy) I said to him, ‘sounds like you have a joint problem’ In other words the connectors between each of your headsail roller reefing foils are starting to work loose.  The end result can be bolt rope damage when you hoist your sail at the start of the season followed by unsightly staining on the sail as the alloy ends grind away, followed by chafe on the sail leading to holes that will need repairing (second piccy), or failure of the foil, on a windy day an inability maybe of being unable to furl the genoa, which could be potentially life threatening.  If you can get replacement joints obviously that’s the solution however if it’s an old system disassembling a headsail roller reefing can be a nightmare thru stainless/alloy ‘welding themselves together’

    Plastimo do a budget range of systems, however my favourites at the lower end is either the new Harken ESP or the Profurl system, both are superbly engineered and easy to assemble.  For assembling units containing dissimilar metals ie stainless/alloy use Tef Gel or Duralac and for your sail washing and proofing requirements, Tip Top via our sail loft.

  • 9.Top Tips Tuesdays: Crushed Balls Will Bring Tears To The Eyes...

    An awful lot of cruising boats, as well as almost all race boats, rely on ball bearing races to keep their blocks, traveller, furling systems running freely. Human nature being what it is, its more often than not 'fit n forget' However if you neglect to maintain the consequences can be disastrous. Roller reefing upper swivel bearing fails, the forestay then bird cages as you try and furl/unfurl your head sail and bang mast comes down as the wire snaps! The majority of ball bearing races or rollers are fitted with either hi Torlon or low load Delrin races, regular washing out with fresh water is essential to flush out debris and to ensure their free running. These fine specimens (I thought they were rat droppings) are way past their sell by date, no wonder putting the 2nd reef in was proving difficult! Team McLube One Drop Ball Bearing Conditioner is great for putting the bounce back in your traveller or battcar balls, as for the rest, keep washing regularly! Other great products (and I have and continue to use them) from McLube include their Sailkote High Performance Dry Lubricant and Hullkote High Performance Speed Polish. The latest offering from the company is the McLube Antifoul Alternative Polish  which I haven't tried however, co director Andy will no doubt be polishing his bottom this autumn in preparation for the local winter series!


  • Storing up trouble‏!

    Just because the last owner did it a particular way, doesn't necessarily mean that you should do it the same! Some years ago we had a guy change from his old Lavac toilet to a new twist and lock Jabsco, grabbed me a week later in the marina to say that the conversion had gone well, boat was afloat and would I like to step onboard and admire his handiwork. Conversion looked great however I did query why he had not double clipped all his pipe work below the waterline. His answer 'just copied what the previous owner had done'...

    Was in a boatyard the other day installing a Harken furling system on a clients mast, was working alongside another mast where next to one of our customer who was installing a replacement Raymarine Radar and happened to notice that he had not fitted a plastic bush to protect the cable against chafe, pointed it out, his reply 'feed the new cable thru as per the old' What's that saying measure twice cut once!

    Storing up trouble
  • Antifoul Alternative...

      For the keen racing guys and gals out there who often dry sail, or leave their racer in the water for only a few weeks, this new antifoul alternative speed polish may be the answer, due into our store in the next few days I have no doubt it will be ‘flying of the shelves’ at only £31-95 per bottle .  

  • Ball Games...

    There I was sitting in the bar across the road from the marina, thinking about the February newsletter that I had to start composing, (only reason I was in the bar was that it has Wi-Fi and it's free, not because of the beer), when this truck turns up and dumps a pool table on the main road outside! Shortly after the table was 'dumped' the local Guardia Civil turned up and demanded they move it from the middle lane of the Avenue Fred Olsen. Speaking of balls, I wish I had some Harken McLube 'One Drop'  ball bearing lubricant on the Channel as despite washing out the self tacking traveller with fresh water it's still not sliding as well as it should!

  • Man Enough?...

    Barton make a great range of cost effective blocks, traveller systems and a variety of other bits of excellent kit such as the award winning Clam Seal (repairs inflatable's even when wet). However there is a limit to what you can ask a small Barton, Spinlock or Harken stanchion block do without it failing! Take for instance this poor Barton stanchion lead block, great for leading the furling line aft or changing the angle slightly, however if you are asking it to be used as the final take off on a furling line you should always go bigger and incidentally, if the lead is turned thru say 180 degrees that dramatically increases the loading on the block, in fact doubling it!  Old sea dogs like me always prefer to introduce some friction into the line when you are unfurling the genoa, means the furling line coils round the drum without any issues (like a riding turn round the drum) when unfurling the genoa. Friction can be introduced by using a ratchet block such as one of the Harken Hexaratchets.

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