Outwards & Upwards

  • 257. Top Tips Tuesday - Pre-season Prep - Above Deck

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    GUARD RAILS AND STANCHIONS

    Even though they are ‘staring us in the face’ throughout the season, stanchions and guard rail wires are often items that are overlooked during pre-season checks. Stanchions should be checked for security; make sure the base is fastened securely to the deck and/or toe rail, there is no movement and ALL fastenings are in place.

    An unstable base is not only dangerous (it could possibly lead to a man overboard situation) but the mechanical fastenings could be the source of a leak into the interior. If the stanchion is secure but there is evidence of water leaking into the interior of the boat, as a stop gap you could apply sealant round the base however the correct fix is to remove the stanchion and re-fix as per our suggestions below. If the base is found to be loose, remove, clean and re-fit using the appropriate sealant, my recommendation is to go for a polysulphide, such as Arbokol 1000 or Geocel 201 as against a silicone sealant.

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    Before refastening a stanchion or any other deck fitting, make sure you remove any old sealant using Debond Marine Formula, degrease the fitting and deck using acetone or similar and, if the hole is not countersunk to accept the sealant do so. Finally, mask both the deck and the base so any excess sealant that is squeezed out as you tighten down can easily be cleaned up. However when bolting down make sure that you don’t squeeze ALL the sealant out, tighten, allow the sealant to set then go for a final turn on the spanner.

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    Should there be an issue with the integrity of the deck click here for further guidance.

    Check stainless tubular type stanchions where they are drilled (for mid height guard wire to pass through) for signs of stress cracks round the hole. Make sure the stanchion is well secured into its base either by lock nut and bolt or by split pin, however if an alloy stanchion is being secured with a stainless fastening you must use a barrier such as Duralac or TefGel to prevent an electrolytic reaction, same if you are using stainless stanchions in aluminium bases isolate between the two dissimilar metals. Split pins can be very sharp, likewise the end of a stainless bolt. They should be covered in self amalgamating tape or have a blob of clear sealant applied to prevent snagging on footwear, foulies and of course skin!

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    Guard rail wires should be carefully examined for broken strands, especially where the wire exits the swage or Talurit termination and where they pass through stanchions. You will have to slacken each wire and draw it through the stanchion to fully inspect. Flex the wire gently at the start of a termination or where the wire has passed through a stanchion, if any broken or worn strands are found they MUST be replaced. It’s certainly not recommended and highly dangerous to just tape over them! PVC covered stainless steel guard rail wires (banned some years ago for use on offshore race boats) can hide broken or corroded strands, especially where the PVC cover butts up against swage or Talurit terminations. Moisture and a lack of oxygen provide the ideal scenario for crevice corrosion to go unnoticed. Any signs of rust in these areas can be a pointer to wire failure through weakening of the internal wire strands – if rust stains are in evidence, replace without question, preferably with uncovered stainless wire.

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    Ensure pelican hooks in gate assemblies are free to operate, preferably single handed, and that the piston fully engages when closed. Lubricate same with a dry film spray, Boeshield T9 or similar. Incidentally, Wichard have just brought out an automatic locking pelican hook that has been designed for single handed use and the piston engages in a different manner to traditional types. If your method of tensioning the guard rails is a cord lashing (strongly recommended as should you need to 'drop the wire' it's an awful lot quicker cutting the cord) by the pushpit, we would suggest that this is replaced on a regular basis. Check that all the clevis pins, rings or split pins in the assembly are secure and either tape over using self amalgamating tape to avoid snagging, or cover with those rather nice leather boots as blogged about on TTT.193

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    If small people or dogs etc are going to be found on board this season and netting is already fitted, examine for signs of degrading through UV exposure and check it is secured to both guard rail wires and toe rail. There’s no point in fitting it if your precious cargo can roll under the lower edge! Remember that saying 'there is no such thing as a free lunch'. Cheaper netting is welded whilst the stronger and, of course, more expensive netting is knotted!

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    Once you have finished your inspection of guardrails and stanchions, check the security of your bolt on accessories such as the liferaft cradle, horseshoe bracket and while you are in that area, are any electrical cables passing through the pushpit showing signs of chafe?

    JACKSTAYS

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    Whether wire or webbing they should be inspected. Check wire termination, especially PVC covered as per guard rail wires, for corrosion. Webbing jackstays should have their stitching checked for integrity, if any nicks or cuts are found in the webbing or if more than 3-4 years old they should be replaced owing to UV degradation of the material. If replacing wire jackstays, consider changing to webbing as an alternative, it is kinder to decks and doesn’t roll under foot.

    DECK FITTINGS

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    Mooring cleats, Fairleads, bollards, eye bolts or u-bolts, like stanchions, should be checked thoroughly for movement. Should you suspect a deck fitting as a source of a leak, as we said before the application of a bead of mastic round the edge is only a short term solution! Any shackles securing a block or similar should all be checked for wear and moused with either monel seizing wire or cable ties for added security. However, if using ties and they have been snipped, watch out for razor sharp edges, use a drop of silicone sealant to cover. Water in the fuel last season, was it a 'dodgy' refill or is the fuel filler cap nitrile seal past their sell by date, spare seals are available for the Easy filler caps and some other makes, however if sourcing a seal don't forget diesel rots neoprene in double quick time.

    BLOCKS, TRACK AND CARS

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    Blocks, especially ball or roller types, should be given a good rinse with fresh water from a hose to remove all traces of grit. Lubricate ball bearing blocks using Harken’s OneDrop Ball Bearing Conditioner or if plain bearing McLube. Don’t use grease as it will attract and hold grit which makes a very effective cutting compound causing wear. DO NOT oil or grease any Tufnol based block or fitting as it causes the material to swell and will seize sheaves onto pins. Any sheaves that are found to have wear between axle and the sheave (either sideways or vertical play) or nicks in the edges of sheaves which will cause damage to sheets or halyards should be replaced. Check all cam jammers on mainsheet block systems if the teeth are worn or the springs have lost their power replace. Rinse all mainsheet and headsail cars especially those using ball systems with a hose, inspect for wear and lubricate as per blocks. If fitted with plunger stops ensure these are free, lubricate with light oil and make sure they locate correctly in the track system. Check all track fastenings for integrity and make sure all track end stops are securely fastened, any rubber pads within the stops should be replaced if worn.

    WINCHES (HALYARDS & SHEETS)

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    Winches should be stripped and cleaned of all grease, if the grease is hardened it may be necessary to use paraffin and a de-greasing agent. Inspect for wear especially pawls (rounding of the edges and cracking), check for play in all bearings and especially those bearings between drum and the gearbox, if drum can be rocked excessively the caged roller (or plain) bearing is most likely worn. Re-assemble using winch grease, don’t use the white stern tube grease as it isn’t suitable for the purpose, and don’t smother parts heavily, a light coating will suffice. Keep grease away from pawls as it will make them stick, only apply a light pawl oil. Replace all pawl springs as a matter of course, a pawl that doesn’t engage through a broken or worn spring subjects the other pawls to overloading which can lead to damage. On self tailing winches check the rope gripper on the top of the winch for signs of wear, if worn replace. A manufacturer’s service kit is recommended as it usually contains most parts that are required for a full service together with an exploded diagram and instructions for stripping and rebuilding the winch. Ex-Geordie Mark Gardiner who works for Harken often jetting off round the world to service Volvo RTW winches and the like some years ago kindly wrote an excellent article on winch servicing, click here to access. Rope clutches, often neglected, should be washed thoroughly and checked for holding power, service kits are certainly available for Spinlock, Easy Marine and Barton, other makes no doubt also please check with our staff.

    HEADSAIL FURLING/REEFING SYSTEMS

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    A good hosing out of both the upper swivel and the lower drum unit will remove grit and salt deposits, check both items revolve freely on their bearings, if not rinse again, DO NOT attempt to strip swivels or drum units especially older Furlex units as you will almost certainly lose some of the bearings and possibly damage the retaining circlip(s) during stripping, you may also find it impossible to re assemble the unit without the use of a special press, seek advice regarding this. Only grease systems according to the manufacturers recommendations, some systems use grease, others recommend a dry type lubricant such as McLube. Check the integrity of the furling line especially the knot that secures it to the drum and most importantly are the stanchion leads, if of the sheave type, running freely and check for flats on the sheave. If you haven't introduced some 'friction' when unfurling the genoa to prevent a riding turn on the drum why not consider a Harken ratchet block complete with becket (elastic tied to becket/guardrail to avoid it damage deck or itself)

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    WINDLASS

    Last but not least don’t forget the windlass, out of sight out of mind and you certainly don’t want it to fail if you have to up anchor in a hurry! Despite having a great bunch of guys with a shed-load of expert knowledge windlass servicing is not our forte so I make no apologies for reproducing the following maintenance schedule courtesy of Lofrans. A. Clean all external surfaces and hidden points with fresh water and remove all salt layers. B. Grease the rotating parts, particularly, the main shaft threads and clutch cones. Check for evidence of corrosion and mechanical stresses. A coat of Boeshield T9 is recommended. C. Remove and clean the terminals of the electric motor. Coat terminals with Vaseline before re-assembly, then when everything is back in place, spray with Boeshield T9. Test the voltage drop at the terminals. D. Replace all gaskets. E. Remove the anchor windlass from the deck with a little help from Debond, clean all salt deposits and the like from under the base and seal with polysulphide again.

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  • 247. Top Tips Tuesday - Blade Runner

    Blade Runner, the film, was released to the public in 1982 and is set very conveniently in the year 2019 (believe it or not I have been waiting to use the name of the film since I started my TTT blogs many years ago) Director Ridley Scott was born in South Shields, just across the river Tyne from my favourite pub the Low Lights, and like me managed only one O level. I wondered if he found that skiving off school to go messing about in boats was more attractive than schoolwork? In the film Blade Runner, ex detective Rick Deckard is called out of retirement to track down and eliminate a team of humanoid androids that have escaped. Up on planet Newcastle today, February the 12th 2019, the boss of www.marinechandlery.com Andy Burgess has been asked to track down the missing blade which has done a runner, boom boom! Does he fail to complete his mission or does he pass with flying colours and track a replacement down? Only time will tell.

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    If you take a wander round your local boatyard and stick your head down low you will be surprised with the number of both powerboats and yachts that have been lifted out with little or no anode(s) left on the backing plate! If the anode is not doing its job for whatever reason, earth wire broken, been painted over, fallen off or just wasted away, failing to keep an eye on the anode(s) can lead to some very expensive repair bills. Whilst a replacement two bladed prop can be had from around three hundred pounds a rebuilt stern drive for a powerboat or sail drive, what with parts labour, lift out/in can run into thousands. A sinking through the failure of a skin fitting, apart from the danger of loss of life may be hundreds of thousands. I have seen an aluminium yacht salvaged from the seabed and the hull reminded me of a colander, what happened to the cathodic protection?

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    Sacrificial anodes are supposed to do what they say on the box ie sacrifice themselves whilst protecting the superior metal, however for me to even try to attempt to explain this ‘black art’ would be like me trying to explain the theory of relativity to Jenny!

    However our very good friends at M.G.Duff advise us that Cathodic protection is an electrochemical process which halts the natural reaction (corrosion) of metals in a particular environment by superimposing an electrochemical cell more powerful than the corrosion cell.

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    Sacrificial Anodes are fitted or bonded to the metal to be protected, this results in an electrical potential difference and the metal becomes cathodic causing the sacrificial anode to waste instead. In a correctly installed MGDUFF Cathodic Protection System corrosion only occurs to the sacrificial anode which is replaceable. The number and size of anodes is determined by the type of material and the surface area being protected. Several factors determine the type of cathodic protection system fitted. Firstly the environment in which the vessel is operating, secondly the size and type of construction and finally the length of time that the vessel is likely to be afloat before the next maintenance slipping.

    I knew that you could use either zinc plated or stainless 316 bolts however I didn’t realise that bilge water could cause a problem, stainless bolts will place more of a demand on the anode than zinc plated but this is not a problem. With a stainless bolt it is normally easier to undo the nut to change the anodes as the end of the season. It is extremely important to ensure no bilge water is allowed to wet the bonding connection on the inside of the boat, whether stainless or zinc plated the bonding cable may start to corrode and develop high resistance. Make sure you cover the connection with Lanocote or similar to protect the connection. If you have a boat be it yacht or power and you do have an issue with water in the bilge it makes sense to use zinc plated bolts. If you are like me and need to work to a list spend a couple of minutes reading the MGDuff preseason checklist :

    1. Check you are using genuine MGDuff anodes
    2. Check that your anodes will last for the duration of the forthcoming season. Renew if more that 50% wasted
    3. Check that your anodes are surely fastened, the fixing blots, nuts and washers are tight
    4. Check all internal bonding to ensure that the connections are clean and the cable is clipped up where necessary. if you have an MGDuff electro eliminatorcheck that the springs are sound and it is positioned so that the brushes are in contact with the shaft.
    5. Check that you are fitting the correct anode material for the waters you are in i.e.
      • Salt water = Zinc 
      • Brackish Water = Aluminium
      • Fresh Water = Magnesium
    6. When fitting a new anode you should also replace the serrated fan disc washers under the nuts and change the backing sheet on wood and GRP hulls. Exposed fixing studs, nuts and washers should be well greased or painted after assembly

    Andy, being a bit like our hero the detective Rick Deckard (note the 'nautical' name) did manage to track down a replacement so the story does have a happy ending!

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  • 229. Top Tips Tuesday - Laying Up For Winter 2018

    It's that time of year again when we pull together our joint experience and expertise to offer you 'Top Tips' and 'Essentials' for laying your boat up for the winter. Below are the links to this years series of articles and offers. We hope your find them useful.

  • 193. Top Tips Tuesday - Old Age, I Hate It!

    Snap Shackles

    I never thought it would happen to me but I have to finally admit that old age is definitely catching up with me. Last night we were eating out and what with the background noise there were times that I was having to ask the lady sitting next to me to repeat herself. Furthermore, earlier this week, whilst attending my regular Tuesday ‘put the world right’ session in my local, I had trouble picking up my first pint, mind you, having spent an hour with needle, left handed palm and whipping twine in the sail loft earlier that day didn’t help, the joy of arthritic hands! As for my other body parts, well the offending hip that had been giving me gyp for the last few years has been sorted, but I blamed the demise of that on my rock and roll lifestyle when I was a teenager! Unfortunately my sail maker's knees, after almost forty odd years on the loft floor, ain’t too brilliant these days, shame I couldn’t have a lubrication nipple fitted to the side of the joint so that first thing in the morning I could squirt some Mclube into the relevant area! However on the plus side, Jenny assures me my good looks haven’t faded and with the fashion for close cropped hairstyles I can get away with being bald as a coot. On the down side, however, my six pack seems these days to be more of a family economy bundle.

    Leather Pull Tags

    On the Mystery some six years ago, in anticipation of not being able to get my leg over (the guard rails) when we finally put her in the water, we fitted stanchion gates on both port and starboard gunwales next to the chain plate/cap shrouds. What I should have done, once we launched her, was to make it a lot easier to grasp the ring pull on the pelican hook. This year when we launch Hindsight she will be fitted with a couple of leather pull tags, likewise for the spinnaker halyard snapshackle. They can be purchased in silver or tan and incidentally, if you are so inclined and wish to customise or ‘pimp’ your boat, you can have them custom printed for a small extra charge! This spring I also intend to fit a couple of our leather chafe protectors over the fork terminals connecting the upper guard rail to the pulpit. As for the leather spreader boots we retail, I will at some stage be the one climbing our mast, but methinks I will wait till my hip joint has fully bedded in before going aloft, maybe add to the 2019 to do list!

    Leather Chafe Protectors

    Whilst on the subject of leather, the other day we exported a couple of our leather steering wheel kits out to Portugal, they trickle out on a regular basis. As for a recommendation, I know my mates Peter and Anita Kassell recovered the wheel on their Oyster Nimrod. Once fitted in place it brought the cockpit back up to scratch!

    Suede Leather Wheel Cover Kit

  • 165. Top Tips Tuesday - Climb It Now!

    Small tear on the casting of starboard spreader root. Clevis pin missing stainless ring; a piece of bent wire has been substituted.

    If you are one of the many who didn't lift your mast out at the end of the 2016 season and haven't, as yet, made a trip aloft to check your rig out, now is the time to climb that spar before you set off on your summer cruise. Why? Because you never know what issues you may find up there! The other week, whilst in Corfu, a member of my local club who is living the dream and keeps his yacht out in Greece met up with Jenny & I in Mandraki for just a couple of beers and a bite to eat. Conversation, as always amongst us blokes gathered round the table, inevitably got around to boats and after what I think was a 'couple' more beers (or was it more?) I found out next morning that I had apparently volunteered to climb his mast and check his rig out. When professionally climbing a mast back in the UK I always use a Spinlock Mast Pro "bosuns chair", as I think its the most secure of all the chairs on the market (and of course that's the make we have on our Mystery) along with a Solent Top Climber. This allows me to 'stand up' in the chair and get right to the very tip of the mast head gear. When climbing a mast for an inspection I always take a mobile phone with me, Leatherman, roll of pvc tape and white self amalgamating. Should my Leatherman multitool not provide me with the correct size screwdriver or pliers one can always be hoisted up. Two days later (not that I needed a full day to sober up) as it was bright sunshine, and as I am long sighted, I climbed his mast wearing my Gill bi-focal sunglasses. Yes I know I have said it before but what a brilliant item of kit this is!

    Gill Bifocal Sunglasses

    For safety reasons I always go up on two halyards and would strongly reccomend that you do also, this is after examining the halyard for strength (get your winch man to hoist you so that your toes are just touching the deck then bounce up and down as hard as you can) and any signs of chafe. Satisfied with the integrtity of the climbing halyard and the back up one, I was then winched up the mast, got to the lower set of spreaders and discovered that the casting on the starboard spreader root had a small tear and that the clevis pin was missing the stainless ring; a piece of bent wire had been substituted. Climbed further and found that the same had happened to the upper starboard spreader bracket, once again a small tear. As the owner of this boat is not happy aloft, this is where my mobile phone comes in useful, providing images that can be down loaded later onto a computer or in this case to my iPad so they can view from the comfort of the cockpit. No more issues until I got to the top of the mast and found that the inner forestay was badly stranded where the wire entered the rollswaged T-terminal! Inner forestay condemned and as for the tear in the spreader root(s) I suggested that he monitor the bracket(s) over the next few months.

     Upper and lower part of Tricolour full of water and lens badly crazed from UV

    Fast forward two weeks and now back in the Uk, with even the temperature on the North East coast as hot as Corfu, and this time the task was to fit a replacement TV antenna at the top of a mast. Climbed and once up there, before we fitted the Glomex antenna, noticed that his mast head tri was way past its sell by date. Upper and lower part of the light full of water and the lens badly crazed from exposure to sunlight! Not only that, the halyard diverter had seen better days. It was badly worn where it clamps on the forestay wire allowing it to tilt, making it as much use as a chocolate fire guard! My message, it's always a good idea to inspect your mast at least once a year. Click onto this link for our thoughts on mast inspection.

  • 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

  • 90. Top Tips Tuesday - Stainless Doesn't Rust! (Or Does It?) - Crevice corrosion

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    We all take our stainless steel fittings for granted, after all stainless doesn’t rust or does it? Stainless steel, as you probably know, was ‘discovered’ like all great things in the world in Great Britain by Harry Brearly and yes I have been known to rant on about the Hovercraft, the Harrier Jump Jet etc etc.

    However let’s get back to stainless. Keel bolts, for example when buried in timber are in a non-oxygenated environment and thus the corrosion resistance can be adversely affected likewise the fastenings used to bolt a pintle(s) or gudgeon(s) to a wooden rudder.

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    Now to get a bit more technical:

    Crevice corrosion is a localised form of attack which is initiated by the extremely low availability of oxygen in a crevice. It is only likely to be a problem in stagnant solutions where a build-up of chlorides can occur. The severity of crevice corrosion is very dependent on the geometry of the crevice; the narrower (around 25 micro-metres) and deeper the crevice, the more severe the corrosion. Crevices typically occur between nuts and washers or around the thread of a screw or the shank of a bolt. Is this the reason the anchor swivel failed?

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    Crevices can also occur in welds which fail to penetrate and under deposits on the steel surface.

    Now here’s an interesting one, self assembly rigging terminals from manufacturers such as Sta-Lok or Petersens. At Sta-Lok they used to write (nowadays its personal preference) that for ‘interior waterproofing, you should unscrew the two parts and insert a blob of silicon rubber about the size of a grape on the former inside the bottom of the end fitting before assembling, Petersens don’t believe in filling the fitting with silicon, they reccomend regular flushing with fresh water.

    Our recommendation is that at this time of year, go over all your stainless steel shacklesswivels, rigging screws etc with a fine tooth comb and check their integrity, if the mast is down likewise all mast fittings. If the mast is still up and assuming the wind abates before it gets too cold up you go in a bosuns chair and check out all the stainless fittings.

    If you want to bring your stainless back up to a ‘new look’ there are a number of excellent polishes on the market. Vistal works well and can be used with success on a number of other substrates. Shurhold Magic Wool is an excellent product for a wide variety of surfaces and of course there is the excellent Daveyshine high performance metal polish. If abroad where temperatures are in general warmer, Spotless Stainless is my favourite. Why? Because there is no work involved! Paint it on, (suggest you crack open a can at this stage) leave and as long as its not allowed to dry out  your stainless will look like new in no time!

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  • 63. Top Tips Tuesday - Secure enough to prevent a M.O.B?

    Jackstay underside (hidden from UV)      Jackstay Topside (exposed to UV)

    Secure enough to prevent a M.O.B?

    Had a skipper in the chandlery on Saturday, brought in his old jackstays and asked us if we could make up a new set to exactly the same length, my reply "yes no problem I would agree the stitching looks well past its sell by date" his response, "Didn't notice the stitching, I just wanted to smarten up the deck!" Anyway instead of making a set up (turn around in our extremely busy sailloft doesn't match his equally busy sailing schedule) he purchased a set of Baltic Adjustable Jackstays and went away a happy skipper. Later that day, just out of curiosity, whilst I was in the sailoft I gave a sharp tug of the stitching, it failed with very little effort, even with my arthritic wrists! and as can be seen from the footage taken later whilst pulling the other end, just as weak!

    If you haven't already done so we do strongly recommend you spend half an hour checking the condition of your jackstays this weekend. Attachment points, be they U-bolts or folding padeyes (my preference) and securing shackles (check the monel seizing wire is still intact) and whilst you're at it even the industry standard hooks can occasionally fail to operate properly! As can be seen from the second image featuring a safety line, this particular one was recently condemned to the bin.

    Shackle Fail       Safety Line Spring Fail

    If the unthinkable does happens and you have to abandon your boat, for the month of May only we are offering free delivery (mainland UK only excluding Highlands) on all Seago liferafts.

     

     

  • 15. Top Tips Tuesday - Water In Your MOB Light & Other Quick Checks That Could Save Your life!

    You would be staggered by the number of boats that I work on that, after a cursory glance over, I can often pick up potential life threatening issues like MOB lights that are full of water and don’t work! Split rings that secure guard rail terminations to the pullpit/pushpit that are on their last legs, genoa reefing line lead blocks that are seized etc etc. When boarding your boat for a day’s boating its always worth carrying out a quick check of the deck, five mins max is all you need to set aside. MOB lights of the variety that are sold on a lot of  horseshoe and traditional lifebuoys are susceptible to water ingress round the rubber O ring seal. At the start of the season after changing bulbs or batteries it is worth using some Lanocote on the rubber and threads, it makes an excellent seal and, very importantly, also helps preserve the rubber. However my preferred MOB light is the Jotron SL-300. It’s fully sealed so no danger of water ingress, yes a little more expensive but a great bit of kit. Genoa furling line lead blocks can end up with flats on them as a result of the sheave binding, with the potential of the reefing line cutting into & jamming. The result, perhaps a sail that cannot be reefed as the squall hits. Lead blocks to consider if you want to upgrade include the excellent Clear Step by Schaefer which keeps the line free from the deck. Guard rails, I positively hate plastic coated guard rails, water can sit behind the coating, and as its stagnant (no oxygen) the stainless can rust, you lean against the rail and the wire gives way! Aside from that, I always use split pins as against split rings to secure the clevis pin, so many times I have seen rings that are opened up and hanging on by a wing and a prayer. Worried about them snagging? Use self amalgamating tape or those rather nice leather chafe protectors.

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  • SEASONAL BASH GONE BAD. Better Check Your Mooring Lines and Fenders.

    Was down at our local marina just after the height of the storm the other day and apart from the remains of a furling genoa flapping sadly in the breeze, I did see a few Mooring Lines and Fenders that were definitely past their ‘use by date’.

    If you are not using your boat during the winter, my recommendation is to strip all the ‘canvas’ work off to reduce windage and wear and tear, however if you are sneaking in the occasional sail, consider investing in a container of  Wet & Forget. It is a great treatment that will prevent sails/canopies etc ‘turning green'. Incidentally, it can also be used on teak decks, fiberglass etc as well as on your patio at home!

    Fenders with exposure to UV will, over time, lose their elasticity. That combined with a low temperature can give rise to failure just when you need them most, so make sure the best of the bunch are taking the most load.

    Lines are, of course, subject to chafe. Consider using chain round the pontoon berth cleat, a spring shock absorber and then make sure that your warps are protected from chafe at the ‘boat end’ by using something like the Spiroll Chafe Protectors.

    Picture 23

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