Short Handed Sailing

  • 323. Top Tips Tuesday - Fitted In The Nick Of Time


    I finally got out to Hindsight on my tod, Billy no mates was the expression Jenny used, and why did I set off on my own? Concern for the boat's batteries was the reason. Last October, on the advice given to me some years ago from a seasoned sailor and sparky to boot who told me 'best to disconnect the batteries before you leave the boat as against leaving them connected to a charger'. Well I have followed his advice over the years and never had any issues, off to the UK, batteries disconnected in Oct 2019, due to go back out this year in early May, what could go wrong? A virus called Covid19 came and scuttled my early season plans so once things 'settled down' and we could venture to far away shores we decided that we would go out early September, get those batteries connected and charged and then go sailing just as we usually do. Tickets were on hold from our earlier travel so it was just a case of rebooking... or was it? Jen then started having second thoughts, sitting up in the sky in a tin tube with 200 odd passengers for a few hours didn't appeal to her as she has had a couple of health issues in the past. So here I am, writing this blog on my tod and having just ridden out my second Medicane in three years. Some folks know how to have fun! However, I'm very pleased that I got round to fitting the folding grab rail kit to the sprayhood just before the storm hit! Incidentally it was brought out to Greece at my good ladies request! It was a bit hairy going forward to check the condition of the anchor chain and snubber line at 2am in the morning in the pitch black with the boat being laid over and yawing widely.

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    Being on my own meant, however, that I could spent all my time doing those 'little jobs' which I never get round to do when Jen's out with me (we are too busy enjoying and socialising ourself when she's on board). On the list of things to do was a means of making it easier to go forward past the sprayhood in a breeze or a lumpy or rolling sea, so a relatively new to the market set of folding sprayhood bars came out with me. The package, as can be seen in the above images, comes with two hinged bars, available in two different lengths, complete with four split clamps and four tube ends, all of course in 316 stainless. As I was installing the assembly on the boat far away from Andy's sail loft, I also took a packet of Tear Aid with me to reinforce the four holes that I had cut in the spray hood, Tear Aid would also stop the raw edge from fraying.

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    As for fitting the two folding bar assemblies, it was the time spent making sure that I got the bars in the correct plane that took the longest. Once I was happy with the aesthetics it was cut four holes in the hood, reinforce the fabric then cut the bars to length and assemble once the clamps had been attached to the bars. The complete job was done afloat with the exception of the hacksawing of the tubes, I took them ashore and found a suitable object to hold them whilst attacking them! Another job crossed off the list and I hope a satisfied customer, Jen, when she hopefully comes out next year!


    Incidentally, with the cruising we now do in the Ionian, sailing in a t-shirt as against a set of foulies the Spinlock Deckvest Lite+ lifejacket is our preferred jacket of choice. Much lighter than its big  brother the Spinlock Deckvest 6D. Obviously when the Medicane hit the other day it was worn even in the cockpit! It has the same buoyancy as it's all singing and dancing brother inc crutch strap and built in harness however it doesn't have a light or a sprayhood so it's almost half a kilo lighter. And folks, that’s not me in the below image. I ‘lost’ my head of hair many years ago!


  • 322. Top Tips Tuesday - True Story (Luv My Ewincher)


    The plug was pulled some months ago on the official 2020 Southampton Boat Show, in its place sprang up BOATS2020. Sadly this was cancelled literally at the last hour (less than a day before the official opening!) Apparently Southampton City Council decided the show could no longer go ahead due to the rising risk of Covid-19 and growing government fears! As for Jenny and I and Covid-19, this year's on the water activities have been frustrating to say the least as usually we drive down to Greece with all our 'goodies' including antifouling, polish etc to keep the UV damage at bay. Once that's out of the way it's island hopping in the sun! If you are frustrated by the on/off/on/off situation re the just cancelled show, we do have a cracking 'SOUTHAMPTON SPECIAL' to warm the cockles of your heart, if that's the correct expression, seeing the temperature gauge back in the UK is on the up again.

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    From today till the 4th of October we are repeating that fantastic offer we had the other month which helped kickstart our turnover and that of the manufacturer of the handle as we came out of lockdown. Buy an ewincher and we will throw in a spare battery worth almost £300 (incidentally when the last offer was running we had to place four more orders with the French manufacturers to keep up with demand) However before you discard this 'hard sell', take a minute to read the below email that my boss Andy was sent the other day, the guy in question sails the West Coast of Scotland on a forty five footer, with a big tall rig, fully battened mainsail, as for the weight of that sail, I should know cos his main and genoa are in our sail loft once a year for a 'wash & brush up' and they weigh a ton!



    I wanted to give you some feedback about the ewincher you supplied. I had been thinking about buying one for a while and finally went ahead this summer. I bought it mainly to help with delivery trips when single-handed in these times of social distancing. My expectation was that it would help to limit jib sheet flogging by speeding up setting the genoa after tacking. Of course it does that, but the main revelation was the effortless hoisting of the main sail. It completely transforms sail management. Shaking out a reef after yet another squall in this stormy summer we're having, is no issue. The battery easily lasts for a day's sailing and the multiple charging options (boat 12v system and shore power) make it easy to keep it charged. Of course, the free spare battery that was on offer helped clinch the sale as the unit is always available. A secondary benefit is that I can ditch the cumbersome kit I previously used to climb the mast. Once I'd volunteered my son to go aloft to change the failed windex (Rob subsequently diagnosed a seagull strike), he was up there in a couple of minutes (literally) and had the unit changed for a new one in not many minutes more. The sheer versatility of the ewincher and its ability to deal with the "heaving lifting" jobs means that, even when fully crewed, there's no shortage of willing hands to manage the sails. I should have bought one long ago!

    Regards, Andrew


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