• 338. Top Tips Tuesday - Marlin Strike


    Our 'old' Saturday boy Ant (see my blog posted Dec 29th) is, as I compose this, doing alright in his group of solo rowers competing in the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and, according to an email we received Monday morning, he's managed to almost seal the gash in his hull after he got 'torpedoed' by either a hungry or angry Marlin! Apparently the bill of the fish pierced the skin and the force of the impact fractured a watertight bulkhead. If you are considering an Altantic row in the future, say like the event Ant is participating in, or sailing wise maybe some coastal cruising, perhaps a Channel crossing or even a circumnavigation you must always be prepared for the day that the unexpected occurs! Collision damage from whatever source in our polluted seas is a real worry these days. Sadly Alex Thompson had to retire from the latest Vendee Globe when he lost his rudder after hitting, I assume, abandoned fishing gear and you may not know but the WSC (World Shipping Council) looked at shipping container losses over the period 2008 to 2019 and estimated on average 1382 of these steel boxes were lost at sea each year! We hope, of course, we will never be the unlucky one to be holed but it's always worth preparing for a worst case scenario.


    The following email was received early yesterday from Ant's, 'shore support crew' :

    "Just a quick update from Antigua (it's midnight here) Our Anthony has had his hands full tonight. He has taken a hit from a Marlin that has pierced the hull of his boat in his food locker and fractured the water tight bulkhead between the locker and the aft cabin. Sadly the Marlin managed to get free without breaking off its bill  so left nothing in the hole it made.

    He has been fighting with this for the last six hours, 1) to keep the water level in the aft cabin below the electrics which is all his kit from water maker to navigation lights and 2) to try and make a repair.

    For some reason the marine epoxy he has with him is not setting to seal the hole so with a bit of "outside the box" he has made a patch from his cutting board, seat and an eye bolt that he has removed from inside the aft cabin that holds some bags in place , pulled this through the hole in the hull from the outside and tightened in place with a Spanish windlass.

    The leak is down to a slight  trickle, so he has been able to remove the sea water from the aft cabin.

    He's going to grab a couple of hours sleep and try to seal the leak between the food locker and the aft cabin when dry. Luckily the food is in sealed bags.

    Hopefully after a rest he can complete the repairs (finger crossed) and get back to the task in hand Further update to follow."


    I carry on our Mystery 35 a selection of 'worst case scenario' hull repair materials, including a square metre of flexible PVC material, two sizes of Forespar emergency Sta-plug, a Seabung Through Hull/Seacock breach controller and a repair kit containing amongst other things some G-Flex epoxy which can be used to bond a wide variety of materials such as grp, wood, alloy, concrete and most plastics. For 'flexible' repair to sails, both laminate and woven, use Dr Sails and, of course, Tear Aid is brilliant. Speaking from my nearly fifty odd years as a sailmaker, for 'canvas work' ie acrylic there is nothing better on the market than Tear Aid type A and it's also great for inflatable dinghy repairs if the hull fabric is Hypalon; Tear Aid B is superb for PVC dinghies, paddle board repairs and vinyl windows.


    Ant's nominated charity for the Talisker Atlantic Rowing Race  is the Dogs Trust and any help to smash his target would be appreciated. The link to the Just Giving is as follows...

    Screenshot 2021-05-02 at 12.11.48

  • 172. Top Tips Tuesday - Bragging Not Blogging

    IMG_1469So we won last Wednesday night, good boat speed, having said that half the fleet were on a summer break/participating in the Fastnet etc etc. Skipper had a smile on his face (unlike the previous Wednesday night when we went from first to third due to my tactical wizardry, the expression on Marks face was more like that of a slapped backside!) However, despite fitting a Soak halyard clip, trying it out before the race and then not using it for some reason best known by our foredeck man, we still got the spinnaker halyard caught, fortunately not when it was at a critical time! The Soak clip can be used with as small a diameter as 4mm and up to 9mm, strip the outer cover of a 12 mm? Whilst it will find more and more favour with the racing fleet methinks it will find a use on my Mystery when I decide to go for a hoist of our cruising chute.

    Writing about the Mystery (and if all goes to plan we will, at last, be 'cruising' the Ionian early September) I had promised a guy I met out there that if he was still interested I would bring him out three of the Clear Step outside lead furling blocks. He had admired them when moored alongside me in Mandraki harbour back in September! The Schaefer Clear step gives you a clear lead aft for your furling line, one less thing to trip on!

  • 157. Top Tips Tuesday - Tame That Leech with the Antal Dynablock

    Hindsight Deck Plan

    The Stephen Jones designed Mystery 35 has a 110% jib (probably best way to describe it as being tall and slim, bit like me?) The headsail is long in the luff/leech and relatively short in the foot and it is easy to handle by a lighter weight crew member like Jenny. The jib on our boat is sheeted through adjustable cars with the control line taken back to the cockpit. Chris Owen, when he designed the jib, incorporated vertical battens in the headsail to help control the leech. However, with a narrow sheeting angle which equates to good pointing ability there are times, when reaching, that even with the cars in their forward position the upper leech is too open. To control this a barber hauler block can be successfully deployed; it keeps the slot open once the main is eased and with the genoa sheet then ‘popped’ into the block a perfect leech can be achieved. Attach to a stanchion base or through a folding padeye - see no 17 on the deck plan!

    Antal Dynablock

    The new Antal Dynablock caught Andy’s eye when shown them the other month and with him knowing my need for speed he conveniently left one on my desk (good salesman that boss of mine, I taught him well) so the upshot is I am going to carry a couple on board for this very purpose. Also available from Antal is a Barber Block, twice the working load but twice the price. If you are a ‘proper’ racer unlike me, a fast cruiser or just enjoy the pleasure of a yacht with bigger genoa sheets than 12mm this is the one to go for. It's feature include an easy 2:1 control (a line thru the ring allows easier control of the block height and with the larger 54mm dia sheave will take up to 16mm.

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