• Confined To Barracks - Week 5, Part 2 - Bits For A Houseboat, Boat Or House


    The trouble with being confined to barracks is that over the last five weeks the waist band on my strides has shrunk and the bathroom scales have decided to tell little white lies; however Jenny has an idea in her head that it's the extra food and drink that I am currently consuming! Five weeks ago when it all kicked off and I, like most folks, was confined to barracks, to comfort myself I started to have a biscuit with my elevenses, a KitKat or similar with my afternoon cuppa. With lunch there was often a bag of crisps to hand as well as a sarnie. Come five o'clock it's been a pre-dinner gin, a glass or two of wine with dinner and then the cheese with the coffee.  The good news was that I think it helped keep my spirits up, the bad news was that this 'wining and dining' is starting to show in the wrong place! Sadly this week it's been 'boot camp;' kick out the biscuits, no more cooked breakfasts and as for the booze at least two or maybe three dry days a week, tis a shame one of them is today!

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    In the dim and distant past when Andy and I often worked a seven day week at the start of the season, the way that we differentiated the weekdays from the weekend was that on a Saturday I had a good old fashioned fry up and for a Sunday it was a Seahouses kipper. As we were putting in the hours, weight was never an issue, so it was a shame we didn't have a Boaties frying pan at the time as you can pack an awful lot more in due to its unique shape. Tis perfect for your houseboat, power or sailboat and of course your home.

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    Andy keeps one of these brilliant spotlights at home, reckons it great for when two cats try and out wail each other in his back garden; quick as a flash he is out of bed and with a quick dazzle they are off. Strange noises in a darkish street?  It's the perfect deterrent. As for me I've got one on the Mystery with it's Super-bright 630 lumens on high power or 250 lumens on standard beam it's great to have on board, spotting buoys, warning shipping off, rowing back to your yacht at anchor on a pitch black moonless night. Of course it would be indispensable in a MOB situation, let's hope one never occurs.

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    Did you know that Bilgex is not only handy on the boat but useful round the house or garage. It's the perfect product for removing traffic film from cars and grease and soil from paintwork and it dispels sickening odours. On the boat it emulsifies oil and grease in the bilge, gets a fresh smell in that area and of course it's biodegradable!

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    Starbrite mildew remover is a great product for keeping at home and for life on the ocean wave. At work we have a washroom that isn't insulated or heated with a North facing outer wall, so every winter without fail we get those little black spots appearing on the painted surface. A quick spray of this product and its away before long. Mildew on Shower curtains? It makes quick work of that and as for Andy's girls play tent that was put away slightly damp two winters ago, Starbrite mildew remover put a smile back on their faces the following spring, in double quick time!

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    On the boat it's a handy product, it's surprising that even in Greece with its more temperate climate but very wet winter, items stowed in cockpit lockers like horse shoe life buoys, ropes etc do suffer from mildew. A quick spray and then a rinse in fresh water deals with it. In the sail loft, sails covers etc can be successfully treated and even my boat jumble find, a replacement seat for the Avon dinghy got the treatment!


  • 138. Top Tips Tueday - Cut The Clutter With Seago's 3 in 1 Rescue System


    On our last boat which we first launched just after the Millenium, on the pushpit we fitted a Baltic soft foam horse shoe buoy c/w with a Jotron automatic light, a Seago self inflating danbuoy with auto light and I also had a Plastimo safety recovery ladder as well as an outboard bracket and motor. For our ‘new’ yacht Hindsight (destined  for loads of what we hope will be hassle free stern-to mooring in the Greek Isles next year) to help cut the clutter and make it easier to throw lines to the quayside, we are opting for the new this year Seago 3 IN 1 RESCUE RECOVERY SYSTEM. It’s contained in an easy to fit/remove plastic container (means if leaving the craft for a few weeks you can remove quickly so as to avoid it fading from prolonged UV exposure). The Seago 3 in 1 Rescue Recovery system is contained in a compact waterproof burst hinge case. Inside is a danbuoy with built in lifebuoy, automatic life light, lifting loop with snap hook and sea anchor. Solas reflective tape is fitted as standard and to insure the danbuoy remains upright there is 2.5 kilos of lead weight. To deploy its just a matter of opening the case, the contents drop into the water and the danbuoy and lifebuoy inflate automatically.


    Talking about stern-to mooring, our friends who have successfully cruised the Greek isles for a number of years and given us loads of good advice on equipping our craft,  fitted to the side of the pushpit a reel containing a long length of strong 25mm webbing  which they use to great effect when in a bay and space is limited, tying back to a tree trunk or fastening round a large rock at the waters edge.

    Two makes spring to mind and take up very little space and I cannot for the life of me remember which one they fitted to their yacht, was it the sun or the pre dinner drinks that have dulled my memory? My involvement  was  to jump into the dinghy, row to the shore towing the webbing behind and secure to a suitable object. Finally, on the return ‘journey’ secure a small pickup buoy or two onto the line. The Ankarolina is made from high impact UV resistant plastic and there are four line lengths available, an alloy reel is also available but only with a 70mtr line length. The other make we also retail and I must confess I like the look of is by NAWA. It consists of a heavy duty stainless mooring reel with an adjustable friction brake. Like the Ankarolina it comes with an excellent mounting kit and is available in three webbing lengths. Both of course take up very little space on the pushpit however you must not  forget to cleat the webbing to the boat!

  • 102. Top Tips Tuesday - Brown Trouser Day - The Importance Of A Bow Fender & A Sharp Knife


    Every second Sunday during the winter months our boss Andy goes frostbite racing on the river Tyne, it's raced in a mixture of Sigma 8 and Cork 1720 sports boats. Breezy, its the Corks that tend to win, lighter winds the Sigmas with their mast head kites usually come out trumps with their ability to sail dead downwind.

    The racing is very competitive and tight, and on a relatively narrow river, if it's windy, the margin for error is small if the mast head kite is pulling well and suddenly the wind changes 30 degrees, the steel piles carrying the riverside walk are never more than 100 metres away. However, if you are running into the tidal stream it pays to hug the sides as the tide is invariably slacker by up to three knots and if you are lucky you sometimes can pick up a back eddy! Seasoned Sigma sailors in the know always carry a spare pair of underpants onboard if the breeze is up!

    Speaking of luck, with two wins under their belt from the last two races, our boy took to the river this past Sunday in a confident mood. However, on the second run in an effort to get up close to the leading Cork up went the big mast head kite and 30 seconds later their luck ran out, the wind shifted 40 degrees. A Chinese gybe was inevitable as was the coming together with the 'wall' ! Shame they were not sporting one of those superb Dutch bow fenders that we started importing the other week, shame they left their fenders on the marina in an effort to keep the weight down and shame the foredeck man (Andy) was not carrying one of those excellent blunt nosed knives we stock. With its serrated blade it's ideal, amongst other uses, for cutting the spinnaker halyard at the mast exit point if the wall is approaching at ten knots and the halyard won't come out of the cleat!

  • 96. Top Tips Tuesday - Be Seen In The Water - Lifejacket Lights

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    Last week I wrote about some excellent value, good quality LED navigation lights that we are importing from Holland. The response to the blog was excellent, so much so that we 'sold out', however, the good news is we have another large order crossing the North Sea in the near future.

    Writing about being seen in the water, however, have you done everything possible (if the unthinkable happens) and you have to be spotted whilst you’re in the briny? Worry not as further help is at hand. Those clever guys at Spinlock who raised the bar when they introduced the pylon lifejacket light to the marine market four years ago, have raised it a bit further with the introduction of the Lume-on Light at the back end of 2015.

    It's easy to fit to any lifejacket which has a separate bladder, the two water activated self adhesive flashing LED lights can be fitted in seconds (see video below) and by using  the inflated bladder as a diffuser the visibility of the light is greatly increased however please be aware that it is not a stand alone lifejacket light, it is to be used in addition.

    We all hope we never have to be in that situation but if we are, we do want to be seen!

    Incidentally now is the time to check out your lifejacket(s) before the fitting out season kicks in, check the auto rearm is in date,  inflate the jacket to check for sign of a leak etc. Further information can be found in this useful RNLI Guide (Page 22) and don't forget we do carry a full range of lifejacket spares.

  • 85. Top Tips Tuesday - 'Fit and Forget' MOB Light

    85. Top Tips Tuesday -  Reliable MOB Light Now Half Price*

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    Yes I know that the season is drawing to a close but for those guys still out on the water and the possibility that they will be tying up in a fading light or entering harbour in the dark, it is even more important to make sure you have a reliable MOB light attached to your horseshoe. So often I have seen (when working on customers boats) either the lens filled with water, the bulb missing or the liquid (potassium hydroxide methinks) that has oozed out of batteries draining into the lens cap! Well for those hardy guys still cruising, maybe about to start an autumn series, and for those folks who are already thinking ahead to 2016, we have a never to be repeated offer of a compact but powerful JOTRON SL-300 sealed horseshoe lifebuoy light c/w with holder at less than ½ retail price at £24-95*.

    Jotron SL-300 Lifebuoy Light

    The advantages of this Jotron model is apart from it being a sealed unit, there is no danger of bulb failure as it utilizes an unbreakable high intensity LED. As required by IMO Solas regs it flashes as a mimimum between 50 to 70 times a minute at 2 candela intensity and the ‘burn’ time once activated is greater than two hours!
    *expiry date of the battery is August 2019
  • 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.




    ISAF/RYA OFFSHORE SAFETY 'EXTREME' COURSE to be held at South Shields Nautical College 30mins Airport 30mins off M1 approx! KTY Yachts were trainers for the VOLVO OCEAN RACE CREWS for the 2005 and 2008/09 races.    Preparation for life at the extreme decided that the ISAF Offshore Safety and First Aid Course  training in 2008 was run at South Shields Nautical College including use of their environmental pool! We plan to run an 'Extreme'  ISAF Offshore Safety and First Aid Course at SSNC on: Course date;   26/27 February 2011 The training runs the ISAF Offshore Safety and RYA First Aid syllabus and includes a 3 hour pool session in the ssnc environmental pool with its Force 7 wind and sea state, horizontal rain, thunder and lightening;  a helicopter hi-line lift;  climbing a scramble net;  use of MOB recovery systems including the Jonbuoy Recovery Module.   Two liferafts are used for the excercises, with one for the finale while one crew watches the extreme experience, followed by a changeover of crews!- nev er to be repeated hopefully!  The pool session uses our instructors with the college safety cover instructors and their environmental conditions co-ordinator. There is a 1 hour fire fighting session at the SSNC fire fighting school with our and college  instructors.  The course also encompasses the RYA First Aid syllabus for certification. The new RYA Survival Handbook by the RNLI, and the St John's Ambulance Manual plus KTY Yachts Course Notes are included. A comprehensive selection of Ocean safety equipment can be seen and handled, if not all experienced!   The Course is aimed at experience and hands on approach, however, not 'survival', ie. your fitness will be monitored, it is not an endurance test. Cost £360. inc coffee and lunches. Booking Form plus Accomodation from very cheap to very reasonable. Bring your own oilies and lifejacket if possible for the personal experience, or we will lend some equipment. AN AMAZING COURSE PROGRAMME TO BE EXPERIENCED.....

  • Distress Equipment - What the RYA/RNLI/MCA recommend you carry aboard.

    Guidelines for pleasure craft under 13.7m in length, compiled with the RNLI and MCA, outlining the combinations of equipment including flares, EPIRB, and VHFDSC, you could consider carrying and using to indicate that you need assistance, depending upon the type of your vessel and where you use it.

  • Useless unless worn - the RNLI lifejacket campaign.

    If you are in the drink and your lifejacket is in the locker, then things are going to be bleak to say the least. Of all the bodies that the RNLI have pulled from the water, precious few are wearing lifejackets, those that are have died from secondary causes, and certainly all casualties would have had their survival prolonged to allow the search part of SAR to take place. The RNLI feels it is risky to specify conditions where it is appropriate or not to wear a lifejacket, as it is better to err on the side of caution, knowing that inevitably somebody will drown because they felt they had not been told that they should wear a lifejacket. Useless unless worn! Find out more here

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