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  • 266. Top Tips Tuesday - We Like A Drink

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    I must admit that Jenny and I do like a drink. As we age 'gracefully' it's quality not quantity and as we are now enjoying the Ionian weather (took a long time arriving, the weather that is) it's often a refreshing pre dinner G&T before we row or motor ashore after firing up our little Yamaha. Well for the last three years that we have had Hindsight in Greek waters it's been a case of slipping on a couple of old but regularly serviced lifejackets for our shore leave (our regular Spinlock deck vests being too valuable to leave in the inflatable whilst we wine and dine at a nearby taverna). Touch wood the old jackets have never been 'borrowed' or gone walkabout whilst in Greece but we still have concerns about leaving safety equipment such as lifejackets in the dinghy, faced with maybe a 1/2 mile walk. Having said that I don't fancy carting them up to our choice of eating place then dumping them on the floor, table or chair either!

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    Those clever guys at Spinlock have, however, come up with the answer to my prayers. The recently introduced Alto, not a lifejacket but a flotation aid that is worn round the waist rather like a 'bum bag' or as they are called in the US of A, a fanny bag. You can wear it in the small of your back or facing forward. Once you have fastened it round your waist, you tend to forget it's there. Certainly, sitting on a bar stool at the Tree Bar in Nidri the other day with it nestling in the small of my back I wasn't aware of its presence; meal times its small enough to be removed and placed on the table or deposited on a convenient empty chair!

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    Please be aware the Spinlock Alto is not a full blown lifejacket, it's described by the manufacturers as a 75 Newton floatation aid which, as a ex-dinghy sailor, I know that it gives you 1/2 as much  flotation again as most standard foam buoyancy aids. The Spinlock Alto is designed for adult use only, 40 Kilos upwards, and is only available in one size to fit from 70 to 140cm waist. As can be seen from the Spinlock promotional video below it's also great for canoeing, or in my case when I inflate my Gul paddle board and disappear off to do a bit of exploration of the coastline when Hindsight is at anchor. Keeps Jenny happy that I am wearing a flotation aid, me happy that I am not wearing a full lifejacket!

  • 265. Top Tips Tuesday - I Wish

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    Having climbed a good number of masts over the last forty five years and winched work colleagues up aloft more times than I wish to remember, it's not very often we come across winches (especially on production yachts) that are man enough to get myself, weighing in at just over 12 stone or my boss Andy, these days a mere 10 stone, up a mast easily. On our Mystery I decided to go for larger size winches than were fitted to the production ones, ours being a home built one. Not only do they serve as halyard winches but with the 110% jib being sheeted on the coach roof they also service this need. Why larger ones? Well, I felt that if I was sailing with Jenny and if I had ever to do a mast climb, at least going up in barrel size would give my long suffering wife a fighting chance to get me aloft should the need arise. Well the acid test came the other day; the PVC tape that I had used to wrap round the clevis pins and split pins had finally given up the ghost due to exposure to UV and nearly three years of Greek temperatures and the tape on both the lower and upper spreaders was streaming aft like a set of jib telltales!

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    Well last week Jen succeeded in hoisting me up the mast to the lower spreaders. It was slow progress but she managed it and today was the acid test, the upper spreaders were the target. However, once at my 'destination' the old tape removed and replaced with new, and after I had been safely lowered she did comment, "I wish I had given you permission to purchase an Ewincher." Let's hope she remembers those words when we fly back out to Greece in early September as I haven't broken the news that I need to go a bit further up the spar, this time to the mast head, as the vanes of our Windex are slightly 'skew whiff'.

    With its 3 modes of operation, Ewincher is your new crewmember that assists you with all your maneuvers on your sailboat:

    • In assisted mode: Ewincher does the work for you in the winch's 1st or 2nd speed
    • In manual mode: you can use Ewincher like any other winch handle to make adjustments
    • Combined mode: add your own speed to the one of the handle to reach exceptional hauling speeds

    Ewincher's extreme power and adjustable speed allow you to perform all possible maneuvers while sailing: hoisting, sheeting, adjusting sails, furling your genoa or even hauling a crewmember up the mast.

    • Genuine winch handle - 2.2kg
    • Brushless engine
    • Manual or assisted mode
    • 15 to 80 revolutions per minute
    • Torque of 80Nm: Ewincher is equipped with an adjustable torque from 10kg to 32kg of traction on the handle, it allows manoeuvring sailing boats up to 55 feet without damaging anything. As you hold it like a regular winch handle you will feel immediately if there is a blockage in the lines, any problem. This is something you don't have with electric winches: you press the button and if something is wrong and you are not careful enough, the electric winch will keep on working and can damage the sails or boat.
    • Waterproof and locking system
    • Long-lasting battery life: Ewincher offers a great autonomy thanks to its Lithium Ion battery: more than a day of sailing with only one charge. Charging time takes about 1½ hours and consumes 7Ah (1.7% of a 400Ah battery bank) It is a high efficiency Lithium-ion 25v battery 3000mA.On a 40ft boat that means you can in one day: Hoist the mainsail 3 times, put in 30 tacks and put an 85kg man up the mast (15m lift).

    An optional extra battery is available if desired. Ewincher includes the unit, one battery, the charger, a lanyard, a winch handle pocket for the cockpit, and carry case. It comes with 2 years warranty.

  • 259. Top Tips Tuesday - Searching for the sunshine (and some sailing)

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    As was mentioned in last week’s ‘I have failed’ blog, being too busy clearing the sail-loft floor to contemplate putting pen to paper before my search for sun and some sailing out of Corfu. Leaving behind a cold North East we embarked on the Newcastle to Ijmuiden ferry, our estate car loaded to the gunwales with antifouling, roller trays, Shurhold Orbital Polisher, Yanmar engine and gear box oil etc etc along with a Gul Cross inflatable SUP for a customer of ours who keeps his yacht in Gouvia.

    It was looking promising weather wise once we had disembarked on Saturday morning. However as we drove thru Holland then Germany the outside temperature kept falling and by the time we entered the Swiss road system we were greeted with sleet and snow and zero degrees! With darkness came poor driving conditions, the glare of the unlit road surface from the headlights and to boot no cats eyes to keep us on the straight and narrow! Just before we pulled over in Italy for a few hours shut-eye we observed the outside temperature climb from zero to fifteen degrees in a matter of twenty minutes! Arriving in Ancona ferry port Sunday morning we were greeted with a spectacular lightning display and torrential rain which left the terminal car park flooded. Methinks the English registered camper van with the lifebuoy on its stern knew what we were about to receive!

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    Booked in only to be told that the ferry which runs from Ancona in Italy to Igoumenitsa in Greece was running 4 hours late! Then learnt  that when we arrived at Igoumenitsa the ferries that run from there to Corfu would be on strike tomorrow! Looks like our proposed launch day of next Saturday may have to be put back till Monday!

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    As I mentioned above we are transporting a Gul Cross SUP (inflatable stand up paddle board) for one of Andy’s mail order customers; wish they had been available when I bought mine some two years ago, as it’s much better value for money, and of a superior construction!  They are great for exploring the various inlets/coastline and they do give both Jenny and I a chance to keep slightly fitter!

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    I use a 12volt high speed inflator to inflate/deflate it, also my trusty dinghy, the one I have sadly has been discontinued however the new SUP 12v Air Pump does the business.

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    Jenny worries that when I disappear on one of my paddle board explorations that I am not wearing a life jacket, however this year I have purchased a couple of the new Spinlock Alto life jackets. Worn as a belt they are perfect for paddle board safety and if we are going ashore in the dinghy at night, much more convenient than a life jacket as you wear them round your middle like a ‘bum bag’ so no more worries of facing lifejackets pinched from the Avon!

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  • 250. Top Tips Tuesday - Super Max

    Our Claire, she who posts my blogs, has given birth (congratulations to her and partner Mark) the other week to Robyn, a beautiful girl weighing in at 7 pounds 9 ounces sister to Lilly, 10, proper young lady now and Max, recently 3 and already out and about in the wilds of Northumberland. His future preferred vocation, trainee husky sleigh driver. Wonder when he might get a little jealous of his gorgeous sister who already is sleeping better than he does! On the same subject, I wonder if the Whale Supersub pumps will be a little jealous of the new super Rule LoPro now there is a new kid on the block?

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    On our Mystery there is a ‘keel sump’ at least 75cm deep, see image above, and the current set up to empty it, should it fill with water for whatever reason, is that the bilge pump is mounted just aft of the cavity and to gain access to any liquid that may be there is a length of reinforced 25mm hose attached to the inlet on the pump and on the other end of the hose is a  strum box c/w non return valve which is fed down and ‘sits’ ontop of the keel bolts. It's secured with a tiny dollop of G Flex epoxy sufficient to hold it in place, but not so much that it cannot be removed should a blockage occur.

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    If you have the need to empty a small space it may well be that the Rule LoPro could be the answer! It's compact only 193mm long and 59mm in dia. Its output is 12.5 gallons per minute and its max discharge head is 3m. The pump can be mounted with the outlet hose exiting either vertically or horizontally and can be used with 19mm, 25mm or 28mm bore hose. Its voltage is 12vdc and the current consumption at maximum flow is only 4amps. You can purchase it as a manual only pump which will need a an on/off switch, you can upgrade it to auto with a Rule float switch or buy it in ‘electronic mode’. In this auto or electronic mode there are 3 Operation Modes:
    • High water mode; The pump starts when the water level reaches 50mm (2")
    • Low water mode; Turn the motor cartridge 180º and the sensor starts the pump at 33mm (1.3")
    • Full Electronic mode; The pump automatically turns on every 2.5 minutes to check for water, if water is detected the pump runs until the water is gone.
    • Finally for peace of mind he Rule LoPro pump of course comes with a 3 year warranty.

     

  • 248. Top Tips Tuesday - New Arrival(s)

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    ‘Our’ Claire, she who has the patience of a saint, she who sorts out all my random scribblings, vague or garbled instructions, contradictions, last minute additions and all things relating to our regular Tuesday’s Top Tips should, if all things go to plan, have given birth by now. The new addition to the Green family may be just over a week old assuming the baby arrived on the due date! And just for once I seem to have got ahead of the game as if it was an early birth, the TTT of the 29th January, 'Not Fade Away', was written around the 10th of that month. This ‘New Arrival’ blog was started the day after, and if the baby is very late, yes got that one nailed and ready to roll, because that one has been signed off too! Surely the new arrival will not give Claire as many sleepless nights as my TTT words of wisdom, nor her last child Max who, at three, is apparently still not the best of sleepers!

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    This winter we have already seen some excellent new products to grace the shelves. There is, of course, the excellent Ewincher which I wrote about on my TTT blog of Tuesday the 22nd of January, which, despite it's cost, I am confident will be a best seller this year! Incidentally it got a great reception at the huge German boat show in Dusseldorf which has just finished! There is already a new Standard Horizon handheld VHF in the market place, a new Ronstan quick lock winch handle, an Ocean Signal ATB1 class b AIS Transponderand a new bottom wiper or cleaner! I wonder what the next couple of months will bring not, I hope, another Beast From The East!

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    For folks like me with a very poor memory, the spec of this handheld reads like a prayer. The Standard Horizon HX890E is a floating handheld, it features 6 watt output and is a class H DSC. It’s 'job' description is 'Forget about trying to memorise the owners manual because a brand new easy to operate menu system makes this the most intuitive handheld on the market. DSC calling, position sharing, waypoint and route navigation and navigation to DSC distress call can be performed with just a few simple steps.' Sound like it’s the perfect VHF for me!

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    Are you like me, no not with a poor memory, but suffering from arthritis in your fingers and wrists? Then why not consider the new Ronstan Quick-Lock winch handle? The Ronstan Quick-Lock allows you to immediately place the drive head into the winch socket, WITHOUT the need to rotate a knob or depress a button. It's stainless steel locking lever then retains the handle securely in place until you are ready to remove it. It makes my life so much easier and less painful as I used one of the prototype handles last year and yes it can do the same for you!

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    The new Ocean Signal ATB1 class B AIS Transponder incorporating the superior SOTDMA access scheme provides increased visibility and safety at sea. Features include, simple installation and a free user friendly mobile app for set up. Other features include a faster reporting rate and higher output power than CSTDMA class B units. It sends AIS Transmissions every 5 seconds instead of the maximum two transmissions per minute and the 5W output power instead of 2W allows your transmission to reach further. Finally it's quick and easy to install and comes complete with an external GPS antenna.

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    Do you have a clean bottom? Whilst the antifouling that you use does what it's supposed to do, if you are not on your boat and using it regularly chances are you will end up with a coating of slime on the underwater surfaces and more pronounced growth around the waterline. All is not lost as the Scrubbis could well be the answer to your dirty bum! We used to sell the Brizo, a device that you could use to clean the below waterline surfaces. It worked well (I used one on my Channel 31 when we had it in the Canaries) and was great for getting rid of the growth which had accumulated in my absence! My now boss used one to great effect when he was campaigning his Sports Boat with the guys winning the winter series more often than not! Shame we left my Brizo with the Channel when we sold it some five years ago but transporting it back from the Canaries with all our other personal belongings was not an option. Whilst this cheaper product is not quite as sophisticated as the Brizo it still seems to do the business! New to us, the Scrubbis is an innovative tool to clean the boat hull in a timely and effective manner. The cleaning head is buoyant and is attached to a telescopic handle, the head is equipped with flexible scrapers that effectively clean the hull. Whilst the boat is in the water fouling is soft and has not hardened so the buoyancy acting on the thin scrappers make the ‘scratch’ force very high and effective. Scrubbis is environmentally friendly, using a Scrubbis instead of toxic paints is the solution to an environmental issue. It's foldable and easy to stow with its detachable cleaning head and telescopic handle.

    NOT FAKE NEWS!

    Yes I know I got all excited about the Ewincher the other week but I do think this is the way forward to taking the effort out of winching and judging by the reaction to our blog so do others. I will shut up, however it's worth reading this testimonial from owners who are living the dream and sailing round the world.

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    Since 2011, we have been sailing around the world on board our sailing yacht Ganesh, a 15-metre lifting-keel aluminium yacht from the Alliage Yachts boatbuilding yard.

    There are two of us on board, Corinne and myself, and I wanted to electrify 3 or 4 winches in order to facilitate handling operations with a small crew, when, visiting Paris in December 2016, I came across the Ewincher at the Nautic boat show. Attracted by the concept, we decided to try this winch handle, which was not yet in production, and we received one of the first units on board 6 months later.

    Over the past 6 months, we have covered more than 3000 miles, from the Maluku Islands to Phuket in Thailand, by way of Flores, Bali, Borneo, Singapore, Malacca, Penang, Langkawi, Ko Lanta…

    Sailing conditions were very varied, close-hauled, broad reach, flat calm, reefing in strong winds, launching the gennaker, etc., and Ewincher truly became a 3rd crewmember.

    Handling operations that used to be performed by two people are now carried out singlehanded with Ewincher – marvellous when night-sailing - the battery life is excellent, familiarisation takes just a few moments, Ewincher enables easy management of the highest loads on board a 50-foot yacht such as ours.

  • 246. Top Tips Tuesday - Brace Yourself!

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    It’s a bit of a topical title, as the lovely Claire Green (she who used to run the chandlery clothing department and for the last few years has used her IT expertise to put together the ramblings of a grumpy old git into a presentable blog) is due to give birth on the 13th of February! For once I thought I would get ahead of the game by preparing this one in advance, just in case the new edition to the Green family came early! For my wife Jenny it was a case of brace yourself when we were cruising in Greece last autumn and ended up in the middle of some rather nasty weather. This has been described by some as a Medicane, sometimes referred to as a tropical hurricane. For the first customer who bought a Rocna from us back in 2010 for his Moody it was an instruction that he shouted to the guy on the windlass the second time it was deployed, his new anchor dug in so fast the first time it was used in anger it nearly sent that foredeck hand over the pulpit!

    Grateful thanks to Jake Kavanagh for allowing us to use the above cartoon.

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    As for Jenny and I we had been tracking, with growing concern, the weather that was predicted to hit us around the 28th of September and decided to make our way up past Nidri and find what we hoped would be a secure and safe anchorage in Vliho bay. The morning before the bad weather was due to hit we anchored in 5 mtrs of water, our anchorbeing a Vulcan (same designer same superb holding power as a Rocna) let 40mtrs of chain out and hooked up our 18mm octoplait snubber using 7mtrs in length to help take the shock out of an all chain rode. During the day as the wind started to rise we dismantled the bimini, removed the outboard from the inflatable and took the cruising chute, code zero and gang plank down below to reduce windage over the deck (the Mystery doesn’t have the large cockpit lockers that a lot of cruisers have).

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    Sadly I didn’t deflate the dinghy and bring it onboard but as it’s always stored on the foredeck I was concerned that it would be a windage issue if the s…t hit the fan! Finally 8 fenders were deployed around the topsides, with our large ball fender ready close to the mast if we ended up with a visitor alongside.

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    Whilst Jen was making some sandwiches and dug out the flask to give us a source of hot drinks later, I sneaked a quick look at Happy Hooking by Alex & Daria Blackwell, their excellent book on anchoring technique, and concluded that if we had room to swing (which we did have) it would be sensible to let some more chain out and increase the length of the snubber, so we ended up with a ratio of 10-1 ie 50 mtrs.  Later in the afternoon we spotted a rather large charter cat (height and windage of a double decker bus) slowly drifting down on us with no sign of life on board. Out came the fog horn but no response. Just as the stern cockpit got within 2 mtrs of our pulpit and each hull almost level with our bows help arrived in the form of the Sailing Holidays rib with one of their instructors onboard and a couple from Carlisle, customers of my old company back in Newcastle. Dave & Karen had seen our predicament and rang the Sailing holiday base at the Iris pontoon, they boarded the cat and managed to pull it away from our bows; thanks once again guys! I believe it then took them something like eight or so attempts to get the charter cat's anchor to hold! Text and WhatsApp messages were starting to come through of a sinking in the Lefkas canal and the nearby marina was 'closed’ for boat movements.

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    By eight that evening as the wind was still increasing, it was a case of on with our baseand mid layers followed by full foul weather gear and then our Spinlock lifejackets with safety lines ready to deploy. Handheld Standard Horizon VHF in the cockpit plus our powerful rechargeable spotlight and a couple of waterproof LED torches. Ready for anything, or so we thought. It was then I decided that I would try and get a little shut eye before the wind peaked. Ten minutes later a mighty shriek up on deck from Jen as the spotlight which had been secured, or so we thought, shot across the cockpit as the boat heeled right over. Back on deck it quickly became apparent that no sleep was going to be possible as Hindsight was now being thrown sideways, and veering wildly. Later that night, when the wind was at its worst, the Avon dinghy, which had already been flipped over and back probably seven or eight times, decided this time it would try and join us in the cockpit! At least three yachts to windward of us that we could just make out in the pitch black were dragging and our searchlight was constantly being used to warn those whom we felt were getting close. Apparently the crew on one of the 'drifters' made ten attempts to reset his hook and the talk at the Vliho yacht club three days later was that up to 30 boats had dragged. Others that had abandoned the pontoon on the lee shore opposite Tranquil Bay and the quay at Nidri spent the night motoring round and round, unable to get their anchorsto hold.

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    As we have a retractable bowsprit on the Mystery to use with the cruising shute and the light wind code zero, we could not go down the Rocna route as the roll bar would 'clash' with the sprit, instead we went for the Vulcan which like the Rocna was designed by Peter Smith. The Vulcan has no roll bar but features a  unique combination of shank and fluke geometry which, in conjunction with a roll palm at the rear of the fluke, self rights. As for its holding power, one word for that: magnificent!

    Due to the holding power of the new generation anchors such as the Vulcan, Rocna, Manson as compared to old faithfulls, the Blackwells do feel that in certain anchorages the description of the holding ground perhaps should be altered, see their comments below!

    "We are converts to the new generation scoop-type anchors and have retired our CQR as well as our Admiralty-type anchors from active duty. No, it is no longer about a weight on a rope. The new generation of anchors represent significant advances in anchor technology and engineering.

    In fact, we're so convinced that we are intending to help re-write many of the cruising guides. Where anchorages are rated as having poor holding, we believe they may have been rated with inferior anchors, as we have often found the holding to be good. So if your anchor is not holding as well as you might like, consider your options. The insurance of having a good modern anchor may just let you sleep peacefully through the night secure in your chosen anchorage".

  • 244. Top Tips Tuesday - Bingo Wings

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    With my next birthday rapidly approaching, my better half suggested that, as I had decided to turn the clock back by at least twenty years by purchasing an elderly RS 400 dinghy to club race in a local early spring series before switching to sedate cruising in the Mystery mid May, it might be sensible to exercise my stomach muscles in the gym instead of down at the pub on a Tuesday night! Furthermore it might be an idea to also work on my calf muscles, as the last time I had hiked a Flying 15 in earnest was a fair few years ago and I had difficulty walking the next day. That was not because I slipped on the ice whilst getting the boat ready to compete in the RNYC winter series!

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    Never one to disobey Jenny, this past Saturday saw me 'enjoying' a conducted tour of a gym which I am glad to say has a close association with a hospital who last year fitted me with a new hip and now say......go dinghy racing if you so desire! After seeing the facilities and casually noting that I would not be the oldest if I joined, I then signed up, closely followed by she who shall be obeyed at all times signing also on the dotted line. Questioning her on the drive home I asked her why she should take such a rash step, she muttered under her breath something about bingo wings. "Strange expression that" I said, “enlighten me.” It's believed to have originated in Australia (where else) where a lady's upper arm, through a slight lack of muscle tone, can wobble around like wings as she waves her winning bingo ticket in the excitement at having won. Jenny felt, last year, that whilst she was happy tiller steering, not wheel I hasten to add, the Mystery on the wind under full sail in up to a force four, winching in the 110% jib was starting to get beyond her, never mind hoisting me up the mast! Being the sympathetic sod that I am, I assured her that her upper arms were just as well toned as the day that I first set eyes on her across the beach at Tynemouth sailing club in 1969, but perhaps we should consider a very early combined birthday/Christmas present for her of an EWINCHER powered winch handle and if we did that we could cancel her gym membership within the 'cooling off period' they offered us thus saving us money which would be set against its purchase! As for bingo wings, she should keep them at bay by helping me hand polish the topsides, never mind rubbing down the antifouling.

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    Why not go down the powered electric winches route I hear one or two folks say. Well for the Mystery there is, firstly, their location as the sheeting angle of the genoa is fairly close to the centreline and the Andersen winches that are fitted are mounted on the cabin coach roof and thus  a winch motor would protrude into and through the headlining! Secondly if you do your sums and work out the cost of retrofitting a couple of sheet winches say Lewmar 40 self trailers at a discounted price of £2250-00 each plus the relay, switches, heavy duty cabling etc which then adds another £250-00 and then if you then get a boatyard to do the work you probably wouldn’t get much change out of £3000-00 per winch. Go down the ‘Anderson route’ and the discounted price of a single similar size winch jumps to £3500-00 before the add on(s). However assuming you can upgrade your winch, ie fit a motor/gearbox, a conversion kit will still cost you around two grand. For example a Lewmar 40 conversion kit for a single winch will set you back £1800-00 plus cabling etc and boatyard charges and don’t forget you will need two kits unless you want to sail on one particular tack for the rest of your life!

    The beauty of an EWINCHER is that you only have to buy one to service all your winches, be it for sending a super slim me (after three months in the gym) up the mast, for hoisting the main, trimming the cruising chute and of course sheeting in the the jib. I gather that if your windlass fails it will even help recover your Rocna.

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    • It’s very easy to handle and insert into the winch socket, thanks to its ideal ergonomic design and very light weight (2.2 kg)
    • The electric assistance is easy to use, with all the controls located on the hand grip, allowing you to keep winching as you normally would, but with the addition of considerable torque (80 Nm) while ensuring precision (15 to 80 rpm). You maintain the feeling of winching while considerably reducing the physical effort involved.
    • You can use the assisted or non-assisted mode, or both at once, to ensure maximum precision all while maintaining the feeling of winching. You can use the ewincher as a manual handle at any time.
    • It’s always in the ideal position to limit your effort.
    • The removable, rechargeable battery lasts a very long time
    • Waterproof

  • 241. Top Tips Tuesday - Out With The Old, In With The New

    For a good few years we have been singing the praises of Grotamar, the diesel fuel additive that helps prevent the dreaded diesel bug. We first mentioned this product back in my blog of October 2010 and since then we have used it ourselves on our own craft and sold it to a variety of users like the local truck service centres, domestic central heating oil suppliers and a number of farmers as well as scores of powerboat and sailboat owners. We were, I must confess as they say in footballing terms, ‘gutted’ when the importers of this product advised us that it would no longer be available for retail sale in the UK.

    November in Amsterdam for a lot of the marine trade means METS, and to this huge Marine  European Trade Show (almost 16,000 exhibitors from all over the world) went our commander in chief Andy armed with a load of missions including ‘find a replacement for that excellent product Grotamar’ After three hard days of foot slogging and the occasional Amstel in the evening he once again landed on these shores, this time with his passport, wallet and loads of technical leaflets with him,  but that’s another story. Marine 16 Ltd was a company that caught his eye and it’s a British company to boot, which makes a pleasant change. They have, in their own words, been ‘bringing the most comprehensive range of fuel treatments on today’s markets.’ Yes I had heard of them and they had an excellent comparable product to Grotamar according to Practical Boat Owner but as the saying goes ‘if it ain’t broke don't fix it’ so we never stocked it. Well with our supplies of Grotamar now well and truly dried up, we are now stocking the complete range of Marine 16’s diesel fuel products. Incidentally the guys at Marine 16 are ‘proud to supply the RNLI’ what better recommendation do you need!

    If you are confident that your fuel is ‘bug’ free Diesel Fuel Complete is the additive to use. The important benefits from using this maintenance product are:-

     

    • Stops diesel bug
    • Cleans injectors and filters
    • Fuel complete bottle
    • Protects fuel pumps
    • Contains antifoam
    • Demulsifies water from fuel
    • Increases cetane rating
    • Gives easier starting
    • Improves fuel consumption
    • Reduces smoking

     

    If you think your diesel fuel supply may have an issue with the dreaded bug, we do sell at a very reasonable cost a Marine 16 Ltd Diesel Bug Testing Kit and can be used to check for microbial contamination of diesel fuels in boats, storage tanks, home heating fuels etc. It is easy to use and can of course put your mind at rest if you think your fuel is dodgy!

    Diesel Bug is the boating name given to the organisms that forms slime in diesel fuels. Diesel bugs are, in fact, microbial organisms and come in three main varieties where fuel spoilage is concerned. There is bacteria, yeasts & moulds in case you were ever asked at a sailing club quiz night! They feed on water, hydrocarbons and nutrients in the fuel and, if present, form a slime in the fuel and on the sides of the tank which, when disturbed, such as in rough seas, blocks fuel filters which often leads to engine failure. Regular users of Grotamar will be delighted to learn that Marine 16 has the same active ingredient and not surprisingly, produced very similar results and in a Practical Boat Owner test conducted some months ago Marine 16 performed as well and slightly better in filtration test results. In the PBO decontamination trial it gave a complete kill after just three hours and came top of the list  for filterability. Marine 16 not only prevented microbial growth but killed inoculated microbes to below detectable limits after 14 days.

    You may ask how does the dreaded diesel bug grows? Well its impossible to prevent microbes entering fuel tanks and systems however the presence of water is a key factor in determining the rate and extent  of microbial growth so to help prevent Diesel Bug we would suggest investing in the brilliant Mr Funnel. Not only will it prevent dirt and debris entering the tank but its built in filter is so clever that it does not allow any water present in the fuel to pass through! What Mr Funnel cannot do though is stop condensation, so don’t forget to keep your tanks topped up, especially in winter!

     

  • 217. Top Tips Tuesday - Small But Perfectly Formed

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    Yes I know I have, at times, rambled on or gone off at a tangent when 'blogging away.' I always blame it on the alcohol that seems to lubricate the creative juices! However, to get to the point quickly, this Saturday past I was on the front line, working in the bricks-and-mortar chandlery when a customer  started questioning me about the range of hand held VHF radios we carried. Little did I realise that in the display cabinet under the counter I was standing behind held a little gem, the new Standard Horizon Ultra Compact HX40Ehandheld vhf. Reading off my script I told him about the HX300E, at just over £100.00 with 5 watts of output probably our best-selling handheld, I then mentioned the top of the range HX870E with its 6 watt output it has the advantage of built in DSC and GPS, great as an onboard backup or chuck into the grab bag if the s..t hits the fan. At that moment my boss butted in (obviously wanting to deny me my commission) saying "hot off the press is this little beauty, the new ultra compact HX40E" and cutting me out completely he ran through all it's features!

    The new Standard Horizon HX40E compact handheld VHF radio

    The new HX40E is only 52mm wide by 95mm high by 33 mm deep making it the smallest marine handheld Standard Horizon have ever produced. Despite its small size, it still offers 6W of output power and delivers a loud 600mW of audio output.

    Other valuable features of the new HX40E are; Submersible (IPX7 – 1m for 30 minutes), FM Broadcast Receive, ATIS setting for inland Waterways, Preset key used to recall up to 10 favorite channels, Easy-to-Operate Menu System, Scanning operation and Multi-Watch (Dual Watch and Triple Watch), CH16/S Quick Access. The built-in Lithium Polymer battery is 1850mAh which delivers exceptional battery life as well as 3 hour quick charging with the supplied charger.

    Mind you I had the last laugh as just after Andy finished his sales pitch, the phone rang. It was an urgent call for him; I made the sale, hopefully I'll be getting the commission but don't hold your breath!

  • 196. Top Tips Tuesday - Good News! Antifouling Prep Just Got Easier

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    We all hate antifouling and the preparation that goes beforehand, however the good news is that it's just got easier, why? Read and inwardly digest and if you have either a large build up of rust on your keel or multiple layers of antifouling you want to remove easily perhaps consider using one or both of the products mentioned just below.

    Removing rust from cast iron keels has always been a soul destroying job however the relatively new to the market Tercoo has made it so much easier. We have first hand experience of how effective the Tercoo tool is, it certainly made my task so much easier when tackling a badly rusted Albin Express keel that we were wanting to get ready for applying fairing filler. Also in our local boatyard the owner of a steel Bruce Roberts thought it was the best thing since sliced bread for preparing the underwater surfaces. As for the other Rob, he has not stopped smiling since he started using the Tercoo for prepping rusted keels!

    Where there are copious coats of antifouling that need to be removed, Peelaway Marine, a new product to the market, looks the business, doing the job in just one application. Peelaway Marine can be used on a wide variety of substrates, grp, wood, metal and ferocrete, however, it works faster in temperatures above five degrees so I haven’t had a test run of it myself yet but word from the yard is that it works well.

    Unsure of what to do next, read our 'Definitive Guide To Antifouling'

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