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


    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.

    P1050803     P1040909


    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?


    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!

    photo     photo[1]

  • 81. Top Tips Tuesday - The Need For Speed (And A Good Grip On The Wheel) - Leather Steering Wheel Cover Kit


    Half way through a two week cruise on our good friends' Oyster ketch, I was so chilled that another Top Tips Tuesday was the last thing on my mind as we broad reached at 6-7 knots with five sails drawing, main, mizzen, yankee, staysail and mizzen staysail. With three retired International 14 helms on board whilst we like to cruise, once a 'target' is selected, sail selection and trimming becomes extremely important and hopefully we will then overhaul them!  Steering Nimrod this year is a joy as earlier Anita had brought out a leather steering wheel cover kit and recovered the wheel. It took her a tad under five hours including planning, the result speaks for itself! Yes I know Christmas is over 14 weeks away but maybe the leather steering wheel cover kit, available in two colours, is worth putting on your wishlist?

  • 78. Top Tips Tuesday - Cruising... "The Wild Atlantic Way"


    It may be a little late for some skippers and crew who have already started, or perhaps finished, this years Irish cruise however "Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way" will inspire water sports enthusiasts and landlubbers alike to appreciate the challenges and the rewards of cruising along the rugged and unspoiled west coast of Ireland, this excellent newly published book is written by Daria & Alex Blackwell (authors of the superb book 'Happy Hooking The Art of Anchoring')

    Ireland's untamed West Coast, dotted with islands, is one of the most challenging and daunting coastlines to sail; find out what it takes to cruise the Wild Atlantic Way. Learn the secrets of how to prepare, where to stop, and how to thoroughly enjoy this unique cruising ground. Norman Kean, Author Of Cruising Ireland and Irish Cruising Club Sailing Direction writes "It's a charming book, and it conveys a sense of the joy of discovery"

    Authors Daria and Alex Blackwell are lifelong sailors. They sail a Bowman 57 cutter rigged ketch, have crossed the Atlantic three times to date; visited many countries along the way. They have sailed up and down the West  coast of Ireland from Cork to Donegal, and consistently cruise along the west coast islands. The Wild Atlantic Way can be purchased for £27.95 Happy Hooking The Art of Anchoring is in my opinion the definitive book on how to anchor £15.95, or purchase both books at a special price of £39.95! Offer ends September 30th 2015!

  • 76. Top Tips Tuesday - Chart Art, Preserve Your Summer Cruise For Posterity


    Yes I know its on a different ‘tack’ to my usual Top Tips Tuesday however, how often have you thought that it would be nice to have a visual record of your summer cruising area hanging on the wall of your study or lounge to remind you of those magical moments (possibly the slightly scary ones as well). With a lot of folks setting off or about to set out on their cruise it occurred to me that not an awful lot of you know about Chart Art. Chart Art is the brilliant new concept of internationally known yachting photographer Rick Tomlinson and his wife Annika, the licensee, with the rights to reproduce UKHO nautical chart images on canvas.  For your home or work place, Chart Art can provide a talking point or allow you to dream about maybe next year’s cruise. If you want to add your course sailed, taken from your GPS lat and long fixes during the week, favourite anchorages etc this can be done at a small additional cost, it gives added interest and makes for interesting conversations if friends or your crew come round for drinks or supper. Recent deliveries of Chart Art include one of the island of Jersey and the French coast for Jersey Customs and for the Scapa distillery on Orkney a chart of Scapa Flow for their boardroom.

    The Chart Art process uses technologically advanced 12 colour UV ink printed onto the finest 100% Cotton artist's canvas, which is sourced from some of the biggest international art suppliers. Museum Quality Artist's Stretcher Bars are made of the finest quality European kiln dried knotless pine, which has the advantage of being extremely hard wearing and not susceptible to warping that cheaper woods are prone to. Each bar features a rounded back edge which is designed to ensure that the canvas is always kept a full 1⁄2" (13mm) above the stretcher bar to ensure that there can be no ghost impressions on the canvas. These stretcher bars also incorporate ‘wedges’ which are placed in each corner and allow the canvas to be stretched extremely tightly over the frame. It also allows the canvas to be restretched over time, which can be of particular importance for the larger sizes we offer.

    Ordering is simple. Search our charts for the one you need, note the number then click on the charts link on that page, select a size, enter the chart number and that’s it! For custom chart areas call or email your requirements. A draft proof will be emailed for approval before the order goes ahead. As they are printed to order delivery is usually within 10 days.


  • 75. Top Tips Tuesday - Lift, Tap, Shake, Guess No Longer With The Dometic Gaschecker

    In the ten years or so that we kept our Channel 31 out in the Canaries it was only after three years that it became a guessing game as to how much gas we had on board. We initially used a Camping Gas spring balance, that 'rusted up' and then of course let us down badly over Christmas, so we then resorted to a lift, tap, shake and guess, not very satisfactory when it comes down to domestic harmony on board! Why didn't I use a Dometic Gaschecker? heaven knows, perhaps it wasn't around in those days. The Dometic Gaschecker indicator is of German manufacture, it allows one to accurately check the level of gas in all standard propane and butane gas bottles in a matter of seconds and could one day save your bacon, never mind grilling or frying it! Whilst we’re on the gas bottle subject, the Blue Performance gas cylinder tray is worth considering, stops those unsightly rust stain from marking the locker.

  • 69. Top Tips Tuesday - My Midge Misery! - Mosquito Nets For Boats


    Many many years ago when I was just a simple sail maker I would travel the length and breadth of the UK and Eire, even got as far as India, running sail setting clinics and race coaching  sessions for a variety of dinghy classes however I digress. My first really bad experience of midges was when (after spending a day on the water coaching the Flying 15 fleet at the Clyde Cruising Club Loch Lomond) myself, Jenny and our two young daughters attended a barbecue on a small island on the loch on the Saturday night. When we stepped ashore Jenny and I could not understand why all the club members were standing in the barbecue smoke, we soon found out. Yes it’s not a pleasant experience being eaten alive when the breeze dies!

    As we graduated to cruising bigger boats on the West Coast of Scotland and the inland waterways of the Netherlands we did of course experience similar experiences. For personal protection ‘Avon’s Skin So Soft’ is Jenny’s choice of repellent to help keep the critters at bay but for me Malibu aftersun and insect repellent is my secret weapon! For the boat, these days, there is an excellent choice of barriers to help keep flying insects outside the interior, from companion way covers to throw over mosquito nets and screens as well as a dual hatch cover and mosquito nets, however, if we are ‘going out for the night’ we always, after of course covering up any fruit etc, spray the interior with insect repellent before abandoning ship!

    Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 09.16.04         IMG_0228


    Mosquito Nets For Boats

  • 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.



  • 62. Top Tips Tuesday - Tried And Tested - Gill Sense Bifocal Sunglasses


    It’s not often that I am lost for a topic to write for my ‘Top Tips Tuesday’ feature, however if I am, a glass or two of port on a Monday night after my evening meal usually refreshes the part of the brain that is needed to start the thought process! Last Saturday morning I had to make my biannual visit to the optician and during my eye examination we were of course talking sailing (he is a keen flotilla devotee). The conversation got round to forthcoming holidays and I mentioned that, once again we are going out to the Greek Isles cruising on a friend’s ketch. I mentioned to John that I had taken one of the first pairs (in fact the Gill reps sample pair) of the Gill Sense Bifocal Sunglasses away on our Greek cruise last year and said at the time...'What a brilliant bit of kit’.

    Come Monday past I ate my evening meal grabbed a coffee and retreated to my command station sadly minus the bottle of port, subject matter was already there!

    The new Gill Sense Bifocal Sunglasses are, in my opinion, perfect for those who spend time on the water and don’t want the hassle of changing glasses to read the small print when in the cockpit, or lounging at the waterside tavern after a day’s sailing. They are available in two strengths +1.50 & +2.50, they float (but would the skipper go back to retrieve if you were racing? mine wouldn’t!) Other features of these excellent glasses, they include a hydrophobic outer coating which sheds water and reduces salt residue, they use oleophobic technology which when applied to the inside face repels finger prints, sun lotion and skin oils and, of course, they are 100% UV400 which blocks out harmful UVA, UVB and UVC radiation. Not only are we offering these glasses at a discounted price we are throwing in a free pair of glasses retainers worth over £6-00!P1060977

    A word about our pontoon "models" Trevor with the + 1.5 glasses is the ‘live aboard’ owner of the steel Dorothy Mitchell she is berthed at Royal Quays marina, Trevor is a RYA qualified sailing instructor and apart from working on his ketch spends his time on the water instructing and delivering yachts.

    Roger who is modelling the +2.50 glasses has yes a mistress but she is not the charter fishing boat (as can be seen in the background) but a drop dead gorgeous Canadian built Contessa 32, last year he was cruising in the Baltic and Netherlands, this year who knows?


  • 52. Top Tips Tuesday - Preparing Spars And Rigging - A Step By Step Guide By PBO Columnist Mike Coates


    So you antifouled her three weeks ago, polished the topsides the week after and during half term week got your brownie points back up (or some of us did) by leaving the boat well alone and not checking your deck gear out. The next stage in our pre-season  preparations is inspection of the spars and the rigging and assuming your mast is down (easier than dangling from a bosun's chair, more about that later) we start with the masthead light. Check it's secure and the lens isn't suffering from UV damage, check cables for chafe where they exit the light and enter the mast. Remove the lens, then bulb(s) and make sure all the contacts are clean by using the excellent specialist fast drying contact cleaner, if they are the filament type bulb our recommendation is to replace regardless (keep old as a spare) or consider going for replacement LED bulbs, a lot less current drain and almost bullet proof in a heavy beat to windward!  However, remember you shouldn't put a white LED behind a coloured lens, only use a coloured LED bulb. After replacing the bulbs, spray electrical connections with Boeshield and then clean the lens both inside and out. Before replacing the now clean lens, you must of course check the lights are working (our Top Tip is to use a small 9 volt alarm battery and connect to the wires where they exit  at the bottom  of the mast, it's much easier that lugging round a big heavy 110 amp hour beast) satisfied, then reassemble.


    Check the condition and security of the mast head VHF aerial or combined VHF wind indicator (if the Windex is becoming brittle through UV damage consider replacing) Examine carefully any other antennas like the AIS or Active band transmitter/receiver and of course don't forget the condition of any cables. Assuming mast head wind speed and direction is stored below deck whilst the mast is down, check manufacture's handbook for information on lubrication and maintenance, clean contacts as above and once again spray with Boeshield after refitting. As for me I prefer to leave the transducer off when the mast is being refitted as the 'small print' of a boatyard's terms and conditions often does not cover you for accidental damage, yes its a mast climb however replacement transducers can set you back £400-00! Satisfied with your mast head gear? Now turn your attention to the mast head and check all masthead sheaves for damage and wear. On some masts especially older Selden (Kemp) it's impossible to replace the sheave without taking the masthead fitting out of the spar. Clean and then lubricate with a ‘dry’ lubricant don’t use a grease or oil as it attracts grit and can damage sheaves made from  Tufnol (recognised by it’s brown colour/fabric weave) Next check the condition  of the forestay and backstay attachments, draw the clevis pins out, examine them for wear and at the same time check that the 'hole' that they pass through has not elongated. If satisfied, replace and secure with new split pins.

    P1060742 P1060746

    If you have been unfortunate enough to have suffered a halyard wrap(s) last season, pay particular attention to where the wire strands exit the swaged terminal/talurit splice, flex the wire gently for any sign of broken strands, even  if it's only one broken strand replace. If the forestay shows signs of birdcaging (wire opening up) you should also replace the forestay without question. Your spinnaker/asymmetric halyard block can take a hammering, out of sight out of mind, so check condition of the side plates, swivel and the shackle. Working your way down the mast, if an older rig and stainless tangs are used for the attaching of standing rigging, examine carefully behind the fitting for signs of corrosion. Consider drilling out the old rivets and replacing with new monel ones after you have used a barrier between the two disimilar metals. If a fractional or similar rig, remove the combined genoa and spinnaker halyard  box, check for stress cracks, worn sheaves and then clean and lubricate as above. Then check the security of the spreader brackets, paying particular attention to rivets and any signs of corrosion underneath a stainless bracket. Turning to the spreader tips, if the rigging is still attached to the spreaders check for a broken strand(s) possibly hidden in the spreader end clamp. Slacken the clamp, move the tip up or down and flex the wire gently. Consider fitting a pair of leather spreader boots once you have satisfied yourself that everything is ok. Steaming and deck flood lights are often neglected, check and service as per your mast head lights.


    Check the gooseneck and base of mast kicker bracket for wear, replace if badly worn, replace worn nylon spacer washers. Check for any cracks around halyard exit slots, this is especially important on fractional rigs set up with high amounts of pre-bend, consult your rigger if any are found. Keel stepped spars should have their deck coats/seals checked as it’s impossible to replace them without lifting the mast out again. At this stage don't forget to run  your eye over the rest of the rigging, examine all rigging screws for damage, if the threaded lower stud is bent replace and pay particular attention to any rigging screw that is not toggled as they do not articulate and are liable to more stress.

    P1050479 (2) P1060756

    Wash out and lubricate (as per manufacturer's instructions) halyard swivels and drum bearings on headsail reefing gear – Furlex has a specialist grease. Pay particular attention to the joints in the headsail foil, if slight movement there is a danger of mis-alignement. Consequences; the sail jamming whilst hoisting and you may run the risk of tearing the luff tape. You may also end up with some rather nasty stains on the sail opposite the suspect joints caused by fretting of the alloy. If you have movement it may be a loose rivet or fastening that's missing or a worn jointing piece. Consult the manufacturer's manual for details on how to remove and replace. Foils may be cleaned by washing with soap and water. A scrap of luff tape may be run up foil to scrub inside grooves. If lubrication is required, spray a thin coat of McLube SailKote on sail luff tapes away from boat deck. Check the end stop at the top of the foil is secure and that the bearing just inside the top of the foil is still round, if its oval replace!

    If you haven’t already removed and washed your halyards do so. Do not wash at a high temperature or use a biological washing powder as it can damage some polyester ropes, preferably leave to soak in water for a couple of days prior to washing. Don’t tumble dry as the heat will damage most synthetic ropes, instead hang out to dry then leave in the airing cupboard for a few days. If using a washing machine place any shackles inside a pair of socks to prevent damage to the drum on the machine and keep the other half happy! Check all eye splices, worn or damaged halyards should be replaced. Wire halyards that are found to have spikes are fatigued and should be replaced as they are on the point of failure, consider replacing with Dyneema, Spectra or similar ultra low stretch materials as it is cost effective and usually has a longer life span.
    When re-stepping your mast replace all split pins that secure clevis pins or lock turnbuckles, mouse shackles with Monel seizing wire, lightly grease all turnbuckle threads with Lanocote or Loctite 8065 prior to re-assembly. Consider fitting turnbuckle covers adding shroud or guard rail rollers or at the very least tape over turnbuckles with self amalgamating tape after setting up your rig which all help to reduce chafe on sails and prevent damage to crews clothing and boots which can easily be damaged by sharp split pins etc.

    Mast still up? Read and inwardly digest Spinlocks excellent article on 'Going Aloft'. Spar and rigging inspection with the mast still up, will take a lot longer as it has to be carried out from a bosuns chair but it shouldn’t be neglected, if for whatever reason you have not removed the rig this year, inspect whilst swinging from halyard(s) and if necessary, budget for its removal next year. If I am climbing and I still do so on a regular basis, even at my advanced age, their Mast Pro harness isn’t the most comfortable but without a doubt the one that I feel most secure in! Incidentally, if I ever have to go aloft alone, then I always use the Topclimber mast climbing kit. All the above still applies however it will take a lot longer and obviously it's more weather dependant!

     P1060759 P1060762

    Check the inboard end of the boom casting for wear, check rivets are sound and if any jammers/pulleys are part of the assembly, that any sheaves are free running and not chipped and when the cam lever is rotated they will hold the load from reef and outhaul lines! Check the kicking strap slide (if alloy) for wear from the stainless shackle/attachment point on the strut/strap assembly, make sure any fastenings are man enough for the job and that the slide is not creeping towards the mast. Examine the boom in this area for any stress cracks and corrosion from stainless fastenings if used to secure. Next check the reefing lines take off attachment eyes are secure and then pull through the lines for signs of chafe. Make sure that when you come to fit the main back on the boom, you reeve the reef line under the boom first to ease the load on the fitting! If the main sheet pulley blocks are secured mid boom as against attached to the end casting examine as per kicking strap slide. Next the outboard boom casting, check the condition of the pulleys then check (if end boom sheeting) that the shackle securing the mainsheet block still has plenty of alloy left on the attachment casting. If you still have a wire outhaul check for spiking in the lay of the wire and if any are found replace. Reef lines, especially in single line systems, can be a source of friction. If fluffed up, consider changing as the difference when putting a reef in can be chalk and cheese.

    Finally if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to give the mast and boom a wipe over with Hempel’s Alu-protect, it’s a silicone free oil for cleaning and protecting alloy spars!

  • 51. Top Tips Tuesday - Preparing Deck & Running Gear - Your Step By Step Guide By PBO Columnist Mike Coates



    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 and the mechanical fastening(s) could be the source of a leak into the interior. 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 as against a silicon sealant. 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. 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 to prevent an electrolytic reaction, same if you are using stainless stanchions in aluminium bases isolate between the 2 dissimilar metals. Split pins can be very sharp, likewise the end of a stainless bolt, they should be covered in self amalgamating tape or a blob of clear sealant applied to prevent snagging on footwear, foulies and of course skin!



    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 thru a stanchion, If any broken or worn strands are found they MUST be replaced, it’s certainly not recommended & 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 thru weakening of the internal wire strands – if rust stains are in evidence  replace without question, preferably with uncovered 1 x 19 strand stainless wire. Ensure all pelican hooks in gates assemblies are free to operate preferably single handed, and that the piston fully engages when closed, lubricate same with a dry film spray or similar. If your method of tensioning the guard rail(s) is a cord lashing by the pushpit we would suggest that this is replaced on a regular basis. Check that all the clevis pinsrings or split pins in the assembly are secure and either tape over to avoid snagging or cover with those rather nice chrome leather boots. 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 its 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!

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


    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 degrading 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

    Mooring cleats, Fairleads, bollardseye bolts or u-bolts, like stanchions, should be checked thoroughly for movement. Should you suspect a deck fitting as a source of a leak, 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 sealant to cover.

    Blocks, Track and Cars

    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 WD40 or 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)

    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. Rope clutches, often neglected, should be washed thoroughly & checked for holding power, service kitsare certainly available for Spinlock, Easy Marine & Barton, other makes no doubt also please check with our staff.


    Headsail furling/reefing systems

    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. 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!


    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.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 13.10.24

    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 again.

1-10 of 15

  1. 1
  2. 2