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  • 170. Top Tips Tuesday - Up A Height . . . Use A Mast Harness

    Mast_pro_frontRegular readers of my blog (posted 27th June no 165) will possibly remember that when out in Corfu the other week I ended up climbing a friends mast to check it out and yes I did find a couple of ‘issues’. No doubt when we fly back out to Corfu end of August, sail down to Lefkas and then meet up at the Vliho yacht club for a couple of sherberts I will be once again coerced into climbing the mast(s) of my mate Pete’s Oyster. Conversation may go something like this ‘nice to see you again, have a beer and ‘oh by the way, if your not doing much tomorrow do you fancy taking a trip up aloft to ...’ No issues with that as long as he buys me another Mythos once I get back to the deck. If you, as a reader, haven't climbed a mast before and may need to for what ever reason, can I suggest you read and perhaps download these words of wisdom that the guys at Spinlock have allowed me to reproduce.

    As a professional mast climber of some forty odd years I agree wholeheartedly with their statement that a mast harness is inherently more safer for going aloft than a typical bosuns chair!

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  • 169. Top Tips Tuesday - Ten Top Tips To Prevent A Man Overboard


    Schools have broken up and your summer cruise is looming. However, have you worked out the 10 best ways to prevent man overboard? Consider this quote from the Essentials of Sea Survival, F Golden & M. Tipton 2002 'There are no circumstances when you are better off in the water than out of it'. Food for thought, certainly made me think when I first switched from dinghies to bigger boats.

    My thanks must go to the guys at Spinlock for allowing me to reproduce their thoughts on preventing a man overboard however I must confess that I have ‘strayed’ from point no 4 out in Greece when sailing or motoring in predominately light winds around the Greek Isles. Instead of wearing our trusty Spinlock 5D Deckvest Lifejacket & Harness Jenny and your scribe have opted instead for a couple of Spinlock Deck Pro Harness. Lightweight and easy to wear when the going gets hot. The only complaint that Jen has? Her suntan is not that even!

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  • 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.

  • 9. Top Tips Tuesday - Furling: If It Doesn’t Roll, Don’t Force It!

    IMG_2048-1 You would be amazed at the number of skippers who, when discovering their roller reefing headsail is not running freely, resort to brute strength and sadly ignorance! One of the most frequent causes of dismasting is genoa halyard wrap. This can be caused by a number of factors, however, if you have trouble getting your reefing headsail in and out STOP and first of all look up. Maybe use your binoculars to get a clearer picture or use a digital camera (on zoom) to help ascertain what the issue is. Whatever you do, don’t put the line onto a winch and grind away cos the forestay wire will bird-cage, possibly fail and then the mast comes tumbling down! It may be difficult due to the sea and wind state but once you are safely clipped on try and get the sail down by easing halyard tension; this may well do the trick. The reason I mention digital camera on zoom is that you can often see what’s happening up aloft once safely back in your marina berth.


    Bird-caging caused by halyard wrap

    To prevent halyard wrap, you need to make sure that the foil is full length on the forestay as per the manufactures recommendation and the top swivel is almost to the top of the foil. If the sail is short in the hoist either use a strop at the tack or have us or another sailmaker remove the old luff tape and sew on a longer tape that moves the swivel to the top of the foil.  If no halyard diverter is fitted perhaps consider one, my personal choice is to go for a diverter fitted to the mast as against the disc type on the forestay. Make sure, of course, you have sufficient tension in the backstay, thus keeping the forestay/foil from sagging.

    If the problem isn't up aloft, check for an issue on the drum. Is there a riding turn on the control line, if not perhaps one of the lead blocks has seized and the line has worn a flat on the sheave? To prevent a riding turn  on the drum, our recommendation is, when pulling the sail out always maintain tension on the line, either by hand or if short handed the excellent Harken Stanchion ratchet block can be used. When furling or when you are finished for the day, once again keep tension, this time on the sheets.  For replacement lead blocks there are excellent bits of kit on the market, like the Schaefer ‘Clear Step’ Block which routes the furling line outboard of the stanchions or the Harken furling lead kit. Other good but lower tech blocks to consider are the Barton and Seasure ones. For relatively straight runs on  larger yachts the Spinlock  Stanchion blocks and eyes are a well made reasonably priced lead.


    For today and right up to midnight on Monday the 5th May 2014 we are offering at least 10% OFF all furling lead blocks.

  • MO's On The Tyne - St. Peters Winter Series supports Storrar Marine Chandlery in aid of Movember

    Mo's On The Tyne

    Where else would you see a bearded lady(s), correction attractive young fillies with MO's? Well, there they were, flashing their facial hair, the crew members on Buddy, Colin Davidson's sports boat and Athol’s MR Big. Not only was competition fierce but the competition to win the prizes on offer for the best Mo's was cut throat and that was before they shave them off!

    Anyway, almost two hundred pounds was raised to add to the Storrar MOrine Chandlery team coffers. Grateful thanks to all those who entered into the spirit of the day and those companies that helped by donating prizes, in no particular order: St Peters Marina, Seago, Orca Bay, Gill, Musto and Gul


    • Best MOteam, by a close shave, were the guys on Mr. Big
    • Best MOsportsboat, by a whisker, the team on Wild Reiver
    • Best MOfemale crew, by a hair's breadth, Anne Ainsworth
    • Best MOmale, by a mature mustache, Bob Baird
    • Best MOrib crew, by a natural look, Nick Thwaites
    • Best MOspectator, by a short hair, Lorraine Thwaites
    • Best MOrace Officer, by the real mccoy Tony Ainsworth

    Next weekend the MOSailing MOstorrar mustachioed mystros movement moves to (RMOYC) at Blyth, MOrthumberland where we hope beyond hope that we can raise even more MOsh,

    PS there will be MOre great prizes on offer from the likes of Spinlock, Dubarry, Marathon, Gul and Harken

    If you're interested in our progress heres a link to out Movember Team Page


  • 11.Top Tips Tuesdays - What should I use to climb the mast?


    Some mast work is easier to access with the mast down. If dropping the mast is not an option, make sure you always use a harness or bosons chair for safety, even when climbing a ladder or mast steps.

    A Jacobs ladder is used by the ship's crew to get the river or estuary pilot on or off the vessel, this particular ladder set up was used by the skipper of a 10mtr yacht to enable him to work on the mast just below the spreaders. Don't forget if you are going to use a ladder on your yacht you must make sure that you use in conjunction with a Bainbridge riggers harness or the Spinlock mast pro and never ever be tempted if your yacht is fitted with mast steps to climb without the security of a harness.

    If you want more comfort when working aloft a hard base bosun's chair is often the answer, our Lalizas chair is great value for money, however my preference would be the Solent with the wood base option, beauty of this harness is that like the riggers you can walk around the deck with it on. For reaching those hard to reach wind instruments, aerials etc 'pimp' your harness with the Topclimber.

  • Shining Light...

    Fresh out of the box is the new Seago Automatic Lifejacket light, it is of course SOLAS  approved and features an extremely bright LED illumination. Its easy on/off switching providing an SOS function as well as constant light. The very tough rubber casing which houses the unit has a ‘clip’ for holding your whistle, naturally attaching it to your lifejacket is simplicity itself. Other plus points include a 5 year service life, gold plated corrosion resistant contacts, automatic, water sensitive switching and a trailing wire  to ensure water contact.  Priced to sell at only £19-95, we have of course got them in stock.

    The Spinlock Pylon lifejacket light ‘beats the head shadow’ with its flexible L.E.D. antenna it has a continuous, 360 degree visibility for faster rescue it fits all makes of lifejacket however  it costs a bit more but, what price would you put on your life?


  • 1. Outwards and Upwards...


    Each time you come down to your boat it always pays to cast your eye upwards and outwards, you never know what you may find. If you have a yacht, a quick scan of the rig with your binoculars before you venture out may save you the embarrassment of the rig falling down thru halyard wrap, or failing to call the marina up because your VHF aerial has snapped (its more common than you may think) Last night I was working on a couple of boats and happened to look skywards and noticed that the spinnaker halyard had been trapped between the jib halyard and the headsail foil. It was only after I down loaded the image from the camera which I had set on zoom did I notice that the outer sheath of the halyard had chafed thru. Could have been embarrassing if he had hoisted his spinnaker or cruising chute with that tangle or when attempting to lower the sail if the sheath had run back and bunched! As for the other yacht, skipper asked if I would climb the mast and replace the Hawk on his V-Tronix aerial, had a look thru the binoculars before I climbed, second image shows the state of the aerial retrieved! Incidentally the Spinlock Mast Pro Harness gets my nod for climbing, add a  Solent Top Climber and you can easily reach mast head transducers!

  • In Date...?

    We sometimes read in the papers about a food shop or store that has been prosecuted for having past their 'expiry date' produce on their shelves. We never read about the guys who go boating with the firing mechanism on their auto lifejacket's with the same issue ie past their expiry date! This particular lifejacket was brought into the chandlery over the weekend by dare I say it a flag officer of one of our local clubs! Trouble with the business end of the lifejacket, it's out of site out of mind, you should as a matter of course check your lifejacket on a regular basis i.e. every six months, inflate by hand pump (to avoid moisture build up) and leave for 24 hours to check for leaks, check for wear and tear especially at folds, straps and fastenings. Check condition of bottle, that its screwed fully home and discard if showing signs of rust and of course check the expiry date on the auto firing mechanism! It doesn't matter whether it's a Spinlock, Baltic, Crewsaver, Secumar, Seago or ISP the procedure is the same, we carry rearming kits for all these makes and of course advice is free!

    For more information on lifejackets and their maintenance follow the links below:


    Caring for Lifejackets: 

    In Date?
  • All hands to the pumps...

    Another batch of life-rafts serviced ready for the start of the season.

    After the 'reorganisation' of the company that used to service Plastimo life-raft's and other makes in the North East we are pleased to announce we are 'taking up the slack'. Be it Seago, Plastimo, Ocean Safety or whatever, we can offer a fast turnaround at a competitive price. If you are in the market for a new raft or a service, please give us the opportunity to quote. If you are after flares, lifebuoys, slings, danbuoys or any other safety equipment we do carry comprehensive stocks, likewise lifejackets in stock as we speak are Spinlock, Secumar, Baltic, ISP and Typhoon! The choice is yours.

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