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Life Onboard

  • 228. Top Tips Tuesday - Adonis On The Stern Deck?

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    Poseidon was the Greek God of the sea, earthquakes, storms and horses and is considered to be one of the most bad-tempered, 'bit like me' says my better half? Having said that, would you have opened this blog if it was titled Poseidon on the stern deck? Probably not! Posing for this shot wasn't too hard, I managed to hold my breath and keep my stomach in long enough!

    The last couple of days we have been at anchor in Vliho bay around the corner from Nidri, no shore leave possible as the weather system worked its way past.  I'm so glad we have a Vulcan anchor, one of the new generation anchors (same designer as the Rocna/same holding power but no roll bar to foul our Selden bowsprit) on the end of our chain with a scope of 7:1, which according to the authors of that excellent book 'Happy Hooking, The Art Of Anchoring' is ok. Having said that, I would have preferred 8:1 however the room to swing was limited as there was an awful lot of folks sheltering. We didn't drag, however it was a night to stay on deck as there was a lot of movement! Fenders were deployed in anticipation, a large flashlight and horn joined us. Luckily no one made contact but there were a few near misses.

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    Our heads compartment is set up for one to have a shower,  the mixer unit trigger head is on a hose so no problem, however with space being limited and if it's warm enough, I prefer to use the Whale unit in the cockpit. Yes it's cold water only, however as a tough old Northern git sailing in Greece (whenever Andy gives me shore leave) I can live with this! The shower unit also gets called into use when I have just had a swim or the cockpit needs a wash down.

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    The more sophisticated units have both hot and cold taps in a self contained unit which usually are flush mounted into the transom, the idea being you stand on the 'swim platform' and wash yourself down after a swim or if you want to keep the combined heads/shower area dry.

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  • 227. Top Tips Tuesday - Look, No Hands!

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    Sorry it's a bit misleading this title of mine, should read 'look no feet’. However it don't sound rite as a title. The Mystery 35 is unusual in so much as most modern cruising yachts these days over 30ft are fitted with a wheel steering, however Hindsight has a good old fashioned tiller c/w a Spinlock adjustable tiller extension. The advantages of tiller steering are that you get so much more feedback when going upwind, it also lets you know when you need to reef as the tiller starts to load up, or if you are starting to broach when hard pressed downwind, the rudder loses grip and the feel through the extension disappears....it goes light. The downside of tiller steering is that when you are going astern, unless you keep a very very firm grip and only use small amounts of movement, it kicks like a mule! So letting go of the tiller to throw the lines when stern to quay mooring 'Med style’ can be a challenge whilst Jenny is still up forward paying out the chain.

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    Whilst we haven't had any cross words (plenty time for that yet) we did feel it would be nice on occasions to have Jenny back on the stern deck with lines ready to step ashore/ fend off or whatever. We fitted a Quick windlass during the build. No complaints as yet, however two years on and a growing number of stern to berthings I did notice the other week that they do sell a remote radio receiver and hand held fob at an attractive price.

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    Trouble is that electrics are not my strong point however when we took the plunge it wasn't that hard to fit. In fact the hardest thing was stopping the sweat running into my eyes when attempting to fix the receiver (grey box in the image) to the chain locker bulkhead. The smaller box to the left of the receiver is an on/off switch and the fuse, both recommended by Quick so that in the case of a issue you can isolate the receiver.

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  • 226. Top Tips Tuesday - Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

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    Once upon a time we dreamt of eventually taking a yacht down to the Mediterranean as we had spent a number of very enjoyable fortnights on Peter and Anita's ketch rigged Oyster and thought in my retirement (or semi retirement as it's worked out) this would be that dream.

    The first time we spent a night aboard their ketch some eight or nine years ago was in Vlikho Bay near Nidri at Levkas. Next morning after, dare I say it, a rather late session in the Vlikho yacht club and feeling a bit shabby (must have been the dodgy prawns I ate the night before) I was told by Anita that my task as we got underway was chief washer up, ie washing the anchor and chain of the glutinous mud for which the bay is famed, and woe betide me if I left any trace as Jen my long suffering wife's task was to flake the chain down below in the fore peak chain locker. The high pressure hose that they had was an excellent weapon, bit like a surgeons scalpel as to the way it cut through the muck!

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    Well some years later, after we sold our Hunter Channel 31, we persuaded Cornish Crabbers to sell us a Stephen Jones Mystery 35 bare hull and deck c/w internal bulkheads, fitted keel and rudder assembly (incidentally the original builders, Hunters, refused us this option years earlier, likewise Select before they went into liquidation, same answer). Three quarters of the way through the build Jenny said 'don't forget the deck wash' and of course I had forgotten. We had already fitted those excellent Forespar through hull seacocks, so no worries about electrolysis, 3/4 inch for salt water toilet inlet and two 1 1/2 for black water waste (toilet and holding tank) so was very reluctant to cut another hole in the hull. Fortunately, my co director Andy, now some years later my boss, came to the rescue. "Why not fit an Aquafax Brass Manifold to the 3/4 inlet, 'T' off for toilet, deck wash and here is your bonus ball why not also fit a salt water pump next to the sink and use salt water for washing dishes/boiling spuds etc as carrying fresh water on the Mystery may be an issue".

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    Well Jenny's happiness is complete, or almost, as when raising the anchor it's so easy to clean the chain whilst it's being lifted. The Parmax deck wash pump is fitted below deck in a small locker and it's been wired so that once the windlass is switched on the 'pistol' can be used for cleaning duties.

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    The hose assembly is stored in our chain locker however the self sealing bayonet fitting on the end of hose allows the assembly to be disconnected should storage space be an issue.

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  • 225. Top Tips Tuesday - String Em Up

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    No it's not a rant about our current batch of politicians, nor for those of a similar age who may have worn the popular sixties string vests and pants, a reminiscence of days past when men were men and my teacher wife Jenny could hug a child in the playground who had grazed her knee! Trap the air (that was the theory behind these undergarments) between the skin and the next item of clothing. Nowadays the excellent base layers from Gill or Musto do a great job of keeping you warm and wicking moisture away.

    Storage on our Mystery 35 is fairly limited, being of a relatively narrow beam and a traditional layout, no aft cabin but a quarter berth next to the nav station so storage is an issue. When it comes to reading matter I prefer the feel of paper rather than say a Kindle, which means we carry loads of books, mags, Sudoku books for Jenny and sometimes newspapers. Storage of paperbacks is easy, we have a dedicated book shelf, however for the other items we rely on the chromed, elasticated string, storage/magazine rack, it's surprising just how many 'hard to stow items' it will accommodate.

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    Fruit, with the exception of bananas, we pop into one of the hanging string storage netsthat Andy sells by the bucket load! Not only fruit but glasses cases seem to find their way there too! It’s great not to end up with all these on the saloon boards once the breeze picks up!

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    Writing about storage, Blue Performance do a large range of items from rail mounted stowage 'bags', cockpit bags, halyard bags, bulkhead bags and of course cabin tidies. It’s worth browsing through their range it’s very comprehensive!

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    Whilst our local Wednesday evening series has now finished up at the RNYC Northumberland with, dare I say it, a satisfactory conclusion, we are sitting in the waterside bar of the yacht club, Corfu Mandraki, composing this blog (claiming expenses of course from Andy for the cool beers consumed). Once Jenny has proof read the subject matter, it will be an afternoon zizz under the Blue Performance Free Hanging Sunshade (note to self, I must finish the Bimini which I started to fit over a year ago), head and back supported by those brilliant Freebags! Second note to Andy....  add Jen's two ice cold rosé blushes to my expenses account.

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    Once the breeze dies and it's time for beddybyes, we rely on our mozzie companion wayand hatch nets to keep those nasty critters away from our delicate skin!

  • 221. Top Tips Tuesday - Sacrificial Strips And Another Exciting Subject

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    In the last three weeks we have had in our sail loft a couple of large furling genoas that have suffered badly from UV damage, so much so that we have had to remove a 30cm strip from one and about 40cm of damaged cloth from the other. In both these instances there was no sacrificial strip sewn to the aft edge of the leech nor the foot to protect the sailcloth from the effects of UV exposure. In the UK the majority of furling genoas are fitted with UV strips as standard, however some sailors prefer to use a 'zipped sock' which is hoisted up to protect the sail when not in use. The skippers who go down this route are often club racers. Why? The sail sets better in light winds because of the lighter weight. Across the North Sea Dutch sailors seem to be much keener on these protective socks, perhaps it's because a lot of sailing is on inland waters and the winds tend to be lighter. If you don't have a sac strip fitted as standard to your roller reefing headsail, you need to either lower the sail after sailing, hoist a 'Furled Headsail Cover' or contact your local sailmaker and have a UV strip fitted! Don’t forget to tell the guys in the loft which side the strip should be fitted on alternatively we can supply an ‘off the shelf’ cover in pale grey. However, if you want a bespoke in your favourite colour no problem give us a bell and we will make one!

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    Sacrificial strips, as their name suggests, will over a number of years deteriorate whilst protecting the sailcloth below. However, if the strip is nearing the end of its useful life (you can often tell by the dramatic colour change in the cloth) and you are on your summer cruise when it starts to fail don't attempt to repair it with adhesive sail repair tape, instead use  some Tear Aid A. It's strength and adhesive properties are outstanding on fabrics and is, to the best of my knowledge, the only repair tape that will successfully adhere to acrylic canvas. However, it has its limitations. Tear Aid A can not be used to repair clear panels in sprayhoods or PVC products, for those applications you need Tear Aid B, great also for repairing boss man Andy's garden paddling pool, repaired almost  three years ago and still going strong! Tear Aid is brilliant as a repair material for foulies and other sailing garments, my images shows my 'team' Vounaki Jacket which was repaired in great haste just before I disappeared off for six weeks of hard sailing! The repair, incidentally, is still holding up four months later having survived a vigorous washing at the wrong temperature.

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  • 220. Top Tips Tuesday - Scrub A Dub Dub

    c7e6d2ef-136c-4e99-84f4-278619fed724With our Mystery 35 now in Greek waters, last year, to escape the midsummer heat, we abandoned the good ship Hindsight in late June. Hindsight was 'parked' up in the small marina at Mandraki on Corfu Island while we flew back to the UK. When we returned early September that year I noticed that round the waterline we had a rather nice 'beard' on the starboard side of the hull; on the port side (which didn’t get nearly as much sun) the start of one too. It's a fact that no matter how good your antifouling is, if your boat is not being used regularly you will, especially with the sunshine we have been having recently in the UK, get some growth round the waterline. Assuming you have used a boot top antifoulround the waterline at the start of the season, scrubbing the surface to remove the growth will not remove this coating.

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    If you are on a pontoon berth with access fingers, the Shurhold speciality angled brush is an excellent weapon to remove this growth with minimum effort; available in two style of head round or oblong, both can also be used for topside cleaning! OK you will have to turn the boat round to get to the other side, but it shouldn't take you too long to give her a 'shave.' If, however, you don't have the luxury of a finger pontoon and are on 'slime lines' as we are in Greece, or on a swinging mooring, you may well find that the best way to attack the waterline growth is jump into a dinghy and hold yourself in position with a Suction Lifter (I also use it for lifting my floorboards, but that’s a different story!). In your other hand is a 3M Scotch Brite Hand Pad which will, with very little effort, clear the waterline of the growth.

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  • 219. Top Tips Tuesday - Hot, Sweaty And A Flash Of Lightning

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    With the kind of weather we have been experiencing over the last few days it does so remind me of our last two weeks in the Ionian, just before we abandoned the good ship Hindsight to escape the Greek mid summer heat. Yes we also got lightning, thunder and hailstones, not to mention torrential rain! Back in the UK with the unseasonably warm weather we have been having (certainly for the North East), we have seen a sharp increase in products that Andy retails that help keep you comfortable below deck. High tech materials to put on top or under your bunk mattress, windscoops to circulate air through the boat when the breeze is up and electric fans when the breeze switches off.  Easy to erect and stow sunshades, and maybe, after this weekend's electrical storms, we will sell a few Forespar Lightning dissipators.

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    Should you have a classic yacht or powerboat or just a boat which has the bunks covered in traditional vinyl, with the night time temperature we have been experiencing you will probably end up all hot and sweaty so why not consider investing in some CoolMax high tech fabric, it's designed to manage moisture by improving air circulation and to reduce humidity build up while you sleep. It's manufactured from an innovative fabric which ''breathes'' so that when you lie on it, the heat and moisture generated by your body will evaporate within the first hour. This will then allow your body to maintain a cool environment while you rest. Cut to size, lay it on the bunk and enjoy a cooler nights sleep! CoolMax can, of course, be used with great success on bunks that have a woven covering.

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    Airmat has always been a steady seller but now it's hard to keep up with demand. Unlike Cool Max you put it under the bunk(s) or the saloon upholstery. Designed to allow improved airflow, which of course dramatically reduces moisture build up, through its 8mm thickness. This provides a solution to the age old problem of left over condensation and resulting mildew growth under bunk mattresses or cushioned areas.

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    12 Volt fans are now not only being shipped abroad to hotter climates but of course there is a demand for them in the UK. From the market leading Caframo range, the three speed Bora is the model Jenny and I have fitted in our cabin and on those still nights when the temperature is still high, the breeze has disappeared and the Windscoop ineffective, the fan can be a godsend. Mind you if it had been around when we fitted out Hindsight the new Maestro would have been the one to go for. Why? Because it's remote control and if I wanted to switch it on or off I wouldn't have to get out of my bunk!

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    If, however, there is a little or more breeze we rely on a Windscoop, the original ventilating sail. It’s aerodynamically designed to force the slightest breeze into your cabin to keep you cool and comfortable. It fits any hatch or companion-way up to 120cm and can be hung from a halyard or rigging.

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    Now that the build of Hindsight is 'almost' complete (only 35 items on the list to tick) and we have the Bimini fitted (still needs a little fine tuning however) the Free hanging Sunshade is now redundant. It was, however, last year a brilliantly effective piece of kit as the Bimini was still in kit form back in the UK! The Deck Sunshade from the same company is a great way of helping to keep the interior cool. Like the free hanging Sunshade you can assemble and pack it away in a minute and both are manufactured from rip stop, reflective material that provides UV protection.

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    Never thought about fitting a Forespar Lightning Dissipator however after a year in Greece and experiencing a few of the lightning storms, I thinks I may have been remiss in not fitting one to the top of our mast; oops my list of jobs to do has just jumped to 36!

  • 218. Top Tips Tuesday - Three Times As Fast

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    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!

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    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.

    UNIVERSAL

    • 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.

    WATERPROOF CHARGING

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

    MARINE READY

    • 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.

    GREAT DESIGN

    • 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.

    RETROFIT

    • Standard barrel size also fits existing USB sockets.

    SPECIFICATIONS

    • Input Voltage: 6-30V
    • Output Voltage: 5V =/-5%
    • Cut out Dimensions: 29mm (1 1⁄8'') dia.
    Scanstrut Rokk Charger+
  • 216. Top Tips Tuesday - Wash Day Blues

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    Having spent almost two months on Hindsight earlier this year living the life, it was an eye opener in so much that, even though we lived in shorts and t-shirts, washing them, underwear and of course bedding came round so quickly. Back in the days before automatic washing machines started to appear, Monday tended to be the day for washing and of course ended up in song with Dolly Parton the American country and western singer writing and recording a song entitled 'Wash Day Blues' which included the lines....' No blue Monday washday I look like a lady hobo, just rubbing and scrubbing'. As for Jenny and I it was a case of rubbing and scrubbing small quantities and frequently! Collapsible buckets came in very handy as did our brilliant stainless steel clothes pegs, which were tested to 35 knots of breeze!

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    If you're willing to pay for it, there is, in Greece, the opportunity to have your laundry done in marina complexes (assuming you are near to one) and in most towns or larger villages where a laundry service is available. Prices do vary from around 12 euros a 'load' or less. On our return from Greece I was staggered to learn, when back at my ‘part time work’ (six days last week/six days this), that in the last week of June Andy sold via his website no less than 5 Soba Babynova washing machines! Sadly we cannot fit one in on our Mystery 35. The below image shows one of these machines installed on a Sun Oddessey 42DS thanks Kevin for the that, incidentally he writes ‘the plinth can be removed to get to the filter’.

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    Features include:

    • Compact size
    • 3kg drum capacity
    • Bolt down or roller option
    • Stainless Steel drum and tub
    • Automatic temperature control
    • 50KG Weight when empty

    Technical Data:

    • Spin Speed 1000rpm
    • Dimensions (h/w/d) cm 67/46/46
    • Energy Efficiency class B
    • Power consumption (60 degrees) 0.7kWh
    • Washing efficiency B
    • Drum capacity 3kg
    • Water consumption 48L
    • Programme Duration (60 degrees) 100mins
    • Features: Wool programme, temperature selection, eco valve, body galvanised & powder coated, stainless steel drum & tub, detergent drawer to front.
    • Power and Water Supply: Voltage – 230V, Watts – 2.2kW, Fuse protection – 10A,
    • Cold water supply
  • 214. Top Tips Tuesday - Summer Cruising Prep

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    It’s that time of year when you may be thinking of, or have already started to get ready for, your summer cruise, here are a few tips that may help you have a trouble free and enjoyable cruise. Have you checked your rig recently? Make sure all split pins are secure in the clevis pins and have been taped over to prevent snagging on boots or worse still slicing into your bare ankle; go aloft in a bosun’s chair; if you don’t have one consider purchasing one before you leave, you may need to climb the mast sometime during your cruise and it's not always possible to borrow one! Make sure you go up on two halyards that are in sound condition and don’t use snap shackles to secure the chair to the halyards, use a standard screw pin shackle through the spliced eye in the halyard. Check all split pins aloft together with tangs, T terminals, backing plates, spreader roots etc for security. Rig tensions should be checked with a tension meter. This is even more necessary if you have recently re-rigged and not re-tensioned. The wire will have bedded in and stretched causing a reduction in rig tension. Make sure all running rigging is free of chafe or damage, replacing any defective lines before they break. Consider replacing spiked wire/rope halyards with one of the modern low stretch materials such as Dyneema, Spectra etc. All navigation lights should be checked to make sure they are in working order, it’s far easier to change them while in port than up a mast while at sea: carry spare bulbs for each type of lantern. Ensure spinnaker pole piston fittings are free and well lubricated, if you use a full batten mainsail system it’s worth while spraying the track, batten and intermediate slides with a PTFE type dry lubricant which will make hoisting easier.

    If you didn’t do it pre-season, make sure the water in your tanks is drinkable. If necessary flush out with a proprietary tank cleaner to remove any nasties that may be lurking, which could result in an upset stomach for you and your crew, and make sure you change your water filter if fitted. Carrying a pack of Aquatabs is always a good idea when filling up elsewhere in case the water you take onboard isn’t very good quality. It's advisable to sample a glassfull before filling your tanks and carry a quantity of fresh bottled water as a back up if you should have any issues with the quality of the water available. If an electric pump is the only means of drawing water from your tanks consider having an alternative method such as a Whale Flipper; you could be left without means of obtaining water from your tank if you have a pump or electrical failure which could be serious on a 2-3 day crossing.

    SAILS:

    Check your sails before you depart. Its no good remembering a couple of days into your cruise that you didn’t have that small tear in your genoa repaired that’s now developed into a long split! Carry a repair kitsail repair tape, sail cloth, needles, twine, webbing, sewing palm etc on board. Being able to carry out a temporary repair may save your sail from further damage and prevent you having to curtail your cruise.

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    ENGINE:

    If you haven't already done so pre-season, make sure your engine has been serviced. If cruising abroad, make sure you have sufficient oil and filters to make at least one oil change, it may just get you home if you have either an oil leak or water entering the engine and emulsifying the oil. Dose your fuel with a diesel biocide and carry additional to add to your uptake of fuel together with a couple of sets of fuel filters in the event you develop a fuel bug problem. Tip, if buying diesel abroad try to buy from somewhere that has a good turnover rather than somewhere off the beaten track where fuel may have been standing in storage tanks for some time. Carry spare water impellers and a kit of gasket material so you can make your own; it can be notoriously difficult to obtain even the simplest of spares while abroad. Carry details of your engine parts supplier in the UK, the only way you may be able to obtain spares is to have them shipped from the UK. Ensure you have spare electrical fuses of the correct type and amperage.

    SAFETY:

    Test your VHF with the Coastguard before you leave, if you have a hand held make sure it’s fully charged and in working order. If cruising offshore consider carrying an emergency VHF aerial in the event of a dismasting. Check your flares are in date. Any that are out of date should be removed and replaced with new as some authorities will fine the skipper a considerable sum of money. Gaining in popularity are the new LED flares like the Ocean Signal EDF1 and the Odeo Distress flare. Benefits include a ‘burn time’ of up to 9 hours at full illumination, up to 14 year shelf life with supplied batteries. It can be carried on aircraft with your baggage and its search and rescue aircraft safe and no problems with disposal like traditional pyrotechnics. If you carry an EPIRB or PLB (an essential item if you plan any sea crossings or sailing more than a few miles away from the coast) make sure the batteries are in date and very importantly that you have registered it with the Coastguard EPIRB registry who will hold your details; in the event of an emergency it makes their job much easier to know who or what they are looking for! An AIS beacon is worth considering if you are crewing a yacht or powerboat, should you go overboard and are carrying one it enables those on board a vessel with an AIS to quickly and effectively locate you. Check your liferaft to make sure it and any hydrostatic release’s are within their service date. As a minimum, a set of wood plugs for every through hull fitting is essential, preferably attach them to the through hull fitting etc; it's no good having to go looking for an item to bung up a hole when you're sinking in the middle of the night, however, these days a lot of skippers are investing in a Sta-Plug Emergency Bung and a tub of Stay Afloat or, for a blocked valve, Seabung. If you are planning on any night sailing or even have the chance of getting caught in the dark ensure you replace batteries in your Danbuoys and torches; always carry spare sets of batteries on board. Have you serviced/checked over your lifejackets, if not, now is the time to do so. No crutch strap? Your jacket is useless without one. Ensure you have more than just one re-arming kit per lifejacket: it's no good if you discharge your lifejacket on the first day of your holiday and render it unusable! Make sure all jackstay lines haven’t been degraded by UV, replace if necessary, check you have harnesses (or lifejacket with harnesses) complete with safety lines for each person on board. It's preferable to always wear a lifejacket and be clipped on at all times and essential at night, never leave the cockpit to go on deck without being ‘clipped on’ and never leave the security of the cockpit at night without telling someone. While the idea is not to fall overboard, it does happen so make sure there is someone who can take charge and know exactly what to do in the event of a man overboard. For the small cost its worthwhile carrying at least one thermal protection aid (TPA) it can be a lifesaver in helping keeping a wet cold person warm and alive. Ensure you have a good first aid kit and someone who knows how to use it together with one of the approved first aid books which can be an excellent reference manual when in a panic! If cruising offshore where you may be a couple of days away from help, add items such as ‘Steri-strip closures for treating severe/deep cuts, Melolin dressings for treating minor burns and a ‘Sam Splint’ which is an easily storable roll up splint for immobilising fractures.

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    NAVIGATION:

    Make sure your GPS, chart plotter etc is working, update or buy new electronic charts. If going abroad make sure you back up your plotter charts with up to date paper charts both for the crossing and your destination. The North Sea has numerous rig movements, it can be quite daunting to suddenly come across a rig or production platform at night or in the fog that isn’t on your old chart and then there are wind farms... enough said! Pilot books for the area you're cruising will both simplify navigation and give details of where you can berth, obtain supplies, fuel etc. Make sure you carry the correct documentation for both yourself and the boat; some countries now demand your insurance policy is available for inspection in their native tongue. Many countries now require a ‘Certificate of Competence’ (ICC) in preference to the Yachtmaster/Yachtmaster Coastal, it’s as well to check with the RYA as to what documentation is required for a specific country. Keep all fuel receipts especially if visiting Holland where you may be asked for proof of purchase of red diesel in the UK.

    PERSONAL:

    You need to be warm and comfortable while at sea, many a passage has been spoilt by the crew being cold and miserable. Make sure you have a good set of foul weather gear and importantly the correct mid and base layers to wear under them. These days foulies are there to keep the elements out. They no longer give much thermal protection so you need to invest in some form of thermal wear to keep you warm. The North Sea and beyond, even mid season, can be a very cold place, day or night, especially if you get wet. Appropriate boots and deck shoes are a necessity. If your budget allows go for breathable, they are so much warmer and more comfortable. Consider purchasing a couple of pairs of waterproof, breathable Sealskinz Socks if short of funds. Does your wife/partner dread the summer cruise as a result of sea sickness, there’s nothing worse than being debilitated for days while the husband is enjoying his sailing, try one of the electronic ‘Relief Bands’, not the cheapest pieces of kit but something that really works and can save a holiday! My wife who having sailed more than 25,000 miles in the last 15 years for no apparent reason started becoming seasick while on passage, a Relief Band has been a complete cure allowing her to carry on sailing, I’m sure without it she would have packed up. An alternative to the Relief Band and roughly half the price are Boarding Ring Anti-Motion Sickness Glasses which are excellent. Before you leave port make sure you tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to depart/arrive, make sure you set yourself a realistic ETA, don’t think you can do it in two days when realistically it will take you three. It can cause worry when you haven’t arrived when expected. If you haven’t already done it register a CG66 with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which can be done online.

    Be safe and enjoy your cruising,

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