Laying up

  • 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

  • 32. Top Tips Tuesday - Protect Your Headsail Reefing Gear With A Foil Saver

    P1060296With the excellent Indian summer we have recently been enjoying, thoughts of laying up have, in most cases, been put on the back burner, however, with yesterday’s strong winds and driving rain I have no doubt that for a lot of us it will be a case of battening down the hatches in the near future!

    Once you have lowered the headsail, check it for any damage to the stitching, especially on the leech, and for signs of UV degradation on the sacrificial strip. If you are not into DIY sail repairs, sail makers need your work now, not at the hectic start of the season! Apart from making sure they are stored dry* and free from salt its worth running a foil saver up your headsail reefing systems. The foil saver helps stop, in strong winds, the vibration that can loosen the joints thus preserving the furling system. It prolongs the life of the standing rigging and should you be spending a night in the boatyard it will make life a lot quieter and sleep will come quicker. Each foil saver is custom made to suit your furling system, to order we need to know the make and model of your system and the diameter of the bolt rope.

    *If storing sails in a garage or attic, suggest a loaded mouse trap placed nearby. It’s surprising how many sails we get into our sailloft for repair at the beginning of the season that have been damaged by vermin.

  • Laying Up

    Almost as scary as helping your wife through childbirth is watching the travelhoist, crane or trolley lift your pride and joy from the water at the end of the season. How much should you be involved in this process? You will find most yards these days allow you to spectate but not take part, and this is fair enough unless you happen to be a rigger or a crane driver. They are after all responsible should anything go awry and their insurance premiums and charges reflect this. Perhaps the most useful input you have is to help make sure the fuel and water tanks are close to empty and that the slings are positioned correctly. Empty fuel tanks of course give bugs a better environment, so make sure you give them the Grotamar treatment. Just as cars have jacking points, so boats have correct slinging positions, and if these are not marked on the deck then they are usually at the interior bulkheads, providing the greatest stiffness. If your boat is placed on the hard and supported by jack stands instead of a cradle, then the slings are going to be right in the way of where the jack stands should go – at the bulkheads, so some shuffling and re-adjustment will be needed. Hulls are designed to be supported by water, not by pinpoint props which can create deformations if not placed properly. As for your insurance cover, do not let it lapse over the winter period. Claims can arise whilst ashore from a variety of possibilities, including fire and theft, vandalism, damage by vehicles, ice or storm damage. There are increasing levels of outboard motor and deck gear thefts, and it’s more important than ever to remove such items or adequately secure them. If propellers can’t practically be removed, check that the boatyard itself has good security. Rising costs have also increased the risk of fuel theft (which isn’t covered by most policies), so as well as emptying main tanks, portable fuel containers should be removed from lockers. Once ashore, reduce windage and ensure tarps are properly secured to help protect against gale damage. Removing all your valuable equipment and leaving drawers or lockers open should also reduce the temptation to thieves and therefore the likelihood of break-ins. Canopies, dodgers and sails split by the wind is a common exclusion on most policies, so it’s advisable to remove them to a safe, dry environment. You may also send your sails to us. We will check them over, repair where necessary, and clean so they are in top condition for the new season. Our sail loft is just the place for winter storage. Where your hard standing is exposed to weather always try and have the mast taken down. Indeed, you may find some yards insist on it (not normally without good cause). Not only will it reduce the risk of vibration fatigue – it will also provide you with an excellent opportunity to inspect the rig thoroughly. Should you find a rigging problem, contact us for a quote for repair or replacement. Another precaution is to take particular care if you leave battery chargers or dehumidifiers running over the winter period. A number of devastating fires have occurred as a result of electrical faults on shore-powered devices. You could also consider temporarily mounting an automatic fire extinguisher. Keeping your boat dry over the winter is sensible, but you need to be sure that any dehumidifier is well secured, has a clean filter and adequate drainage. You should also remember that you must still check on your boat periodically or pay someone to do it for you. If you ventilate the boat you may just end up heating or drawing moisture from the atmosphere. If you plan to have a heater running as well, use a low load tube heater just to provide a small amount of background warmth.

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