Top Tips Tuesdays

  • 297. Top Tips Tuesday - We Plough The Fields And Scatter

    Having upset one of our readers the other week with my blog entitled David Rose, (I have personally emailed to apologise), in my defence I did run the subject matter past my good lady and a couple of female staff members as well as my boss before pressing the send button! So I hope the title of this week's blog doesn't offend! It is surprisingly hard to think up a subject never mind a title that might catch your attention week after week, especially since I have been trying to limit my alcohol consumption whilst pounding the keyboard. I can still remember as a ten year old being made to sit through the Sunday service with my big brother before we were allowed to cycle down to our local sailing club. I did enjoy the singing (not sure if the other members of our family did appreciate mine) but preferred dinghy sailing to the Sunday sermon. My favourite hymn is still, and not as per the title might suggest, 'Eternal Father Strong To Save' written in 1860 by William Whiting who was inspired by the dangers of the sea described in Psalm 107.

    As far as we small boat sailors are concerned, what are our fears? For Jenny & I who keep our Mystery in the Ionian, dragging the anchor was our number one worry as neither of us was used to anchoring. Having said that, our Vulcan, the stablemate to the Rocna, has inspired confidence from the very first time that we used it. A year later we survived the 'Medicane' in Sept 2018, our Vulcan did the business and kept us safe and sound whilst all around us folks were dragging their anchors. We followed the advice given in 'Happy Hooking' by Alex & Daria Blackwell and didn't budge an inch, loads of chain out, long snubber to negate the shock loading and whilst we didn't sleep, (stayed up on deck all that night cos we were forever shining our spotlight or blowing our fog horn at drifting boats) we did feel confident that we would not drag!

    For a stern anchor or kedge we use the excellent Fortress, not only has that superb holding power, it is light enough to put into the dinghy if say you want to deploy an anchor using your dinghy in a crowded anchorage or, heaven forbid, you end up on the putty and need to pull yourself off! In the anchor comparison report Fortress and Rocna performed best but the former is 1/2 the weight of the Rocna. To achieve this light weight its manufactured from aluminium magnesium alloy; as strong as steel but half the weight. Features include, it's easy to manage weight, rustproof, sharper points than heavy, dull edged anchors and will set faster and will penetrate deep into common sea bottoms for incredible holding power. My mate Pete proud owner of a 24 ton Oyster has used his in anger and thinks it's brilliant! Similar in design and construction to the Fortress is the ‘home grown’ Lewmar LFX anchor. Constructed from high grade anodised aluminium, the large flukes perform superbly under high loads, whilst being extremely lightweight it makes the anchor easy to handle and deploy either from a boat or tender and of course it can be disassembled for stowage in a locker. As yet we have had no feed back as to its performance but we are told it performs superbly in sand and mud. Price wise its approx. 1/3rd cheaper than the Fortress, pity it wasn’t available when kitting out Hindsight some four years ago I would have been tempted!

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  • 296. Top Tips Tuesday - Banana Peel Decks

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    Working the foredeck is a hazardous occupation even when berthing,  just ask Jenny! More so if it’s dark, windy and of course choppy. And don’t forget my boss Andy who has performed with great aplomb over a number of years at the pointy end of a raceboat, particularly so at the sadly now defunct St Peters marina winter series for keelboats, tight racing on a narrow river and if you lost your footing in the middle of a gybe with the mast head kite up... the river bank came up mighty fast. Racing in the series was in one design sports boats, participants included a triple Fly15 world champion helming a Sigma 8 and not always getting his own way. Mind you there were other highly rated helms who, in the past, had raced Int14's, Enterprises, National 12's with success! So slick foredeck work was essential.

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    Maintaining your footing on a foredeck in one of these tippy keelboats whilst wrestling with the kite and the spinny pole is not the easiest thing in the world, nor is setting or lifting the anchor when the boat is bucking like a mechanical bull at a rodeo! Your deck shoes/trainers or wellies must have a good non slip sole, think Dubarry, Musto or Orca Bay. Of course it goes without saying that the deck should have an excellent non slip surface. A teak deck on a cruiser or powerboat does give you excellent grip and there are a lot of production boats on the market that have a good moulded in non slip pattern, however if your craft is past its first flush of youth and the tread is poor and you are not happy with your foredeck, there are a number of DIY options available which are easy to apply and give good results. My favourite is a product manufactured on the other side of the world called Kiwi Grip. Water based, it's available in a limited range of colours and easy to apply. You can select your own 'grip' from aggressive to fine and once applied it will hide a multitude of sins, old purely executed repairs, poorly filled machine screws holes (where a fitting has been removed) etc. International’s Interdeck is very popular, a fine grit can be found in the paint, comes in a range of colours from white to grey as does  Hempel’s Non-Slip Deck Coating.

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    Some sailors, including me, like strips of non slip self adhesive tape on hatches (especially foredeck or cockpit ones). My favourite is the excellent TBS range;  it's kind on clothing and bare feet. For our companion way steps we have used the self adhesive 3M tape on our Mystery, not particularly kind on clothing but it does offer superb grip and is slightly easier to clean than the TBS product! If you want to really push the boat out Awlgrip non slip granules are excellent but you will need a deep pocket to afford them! Asked what's so special about them to justify the price, multihull trophy winner Ross Hobson replied, 'You don't slip and they are warm to the touch if sleeping in the cockpit!' The below image is of his sleeping 'quarters', not sure if that is when he is racing or at rest.

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  • 295. Top Tips Tuesday - Brush Off!

    How many times have you come down to your boat to give the mooring lines and fenders a quick five minute check out before or after the strong winds and found the deck covered in seagull droppings and you’re not in your 'washing your deck’ wellies and waterproofs! Well the DipDeck Brush just bought to the marine market from Scrubbis would certainly be the answer!

    As can be seen from the video, the DipDeck Brush from Scrubbis comprises a collapsible water tank atop a quality deck scrubbing brush. It can be filled by dipping into the sea or lake or from a tap and water continually seeps out through the brush head. The DipDeck Brush is supplied with or without the Scrubbis Telescopic Pole. If someone already has a Scrubbis Hull Cleaner Kit there is no need to buy the pole. However If you are one of those guys who wants to maintain a clean bottom as well as keep the decks clean take a look at the hull cleaner video below.

  • 294. Top Tips Tuesday - David Daniel Rose

    David Rose was an 'American' songwriter, composer, arranger, pianist and orchestra leader who was born in London 1910. His best known instrumental, which was composed in 1958, is a tune which, after 50 years, is still associated with a particular action! In these politically correct times we live in, I am surprised it hasn't been banned from being played on the airwaves, but hey ho you never know what's around the corner or under your many layers of antifouling.

    Whilst we do sell the Stripper, a superb rope cutter and more of that later, the Tercoo Rotary Blaster-Paint Stripper & Rust Removal Tool is the one boat yard tool that 'young' Rob, our boatyard boffin or technician, (antifouling and polishing maestro) constantly sings its praises! He no longer finds that removing antifouling/rust from an iron keel is a laborious back breaking chore and, most importantly, it leaves the perfect surface for the application of the appropriate primer be it a one or two part product!

    As for the Stripper, yes it saved my bacon in May 2019 as we were in the process of keeping Hindsight head to wind using the low revs on the engine in a good force five. Whilst lowering the main, a knocking on the hull followed by vibration then nothing, looking astern a large length of frayed polypropylene floating on the surface!

    The Mystery has a Yanmar sail drive installed and it doesn't need rocket science to fit the Stripper (yup even I managed that task) you do need a modified anode however, but they are, of course, kept in stock! Should your boat have a conventional propeller shaft, once again they can be fitted by a handy DIY person.

  • 293. Top Tips Tuesday - Silly Billy!

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    Practise what you (should) preach, which is never never use your limbs to fend off another boat and if you don't you might end up like my boss and spend your Sunday night in A & E! The other week Andy went South hoping to race in the Tees & Hartlepool's NECRA winter series with his regular ride. However, racing up the coast at the RNYC winter series where I sail had been cancelled the day before due to the impending forecast, so I was surprised to learn that there had actually been a race some 40 odd miles further down the coast. Discretion was called for on the yacht where he was going to work the foredeck, so in anticipation of some fun and games and that some guys were good to go he jumped ship and ended up on a J80. Apart from a wild spinnaker ride it was all going to plan until after the race when the J got caught by a vicious gust whilst motoring through the marina.

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    As they headed for a boat moored on the pontoon, Andy decided to fend off using his foot!  However, despite wearing his Dubarrys, his foot skidded off the other boat and ended up as the icing between the cake. Fortunately there was no damage to the either boat, the verdict in North Tyneside's A & E on the Sunday night was severe deep tissue damage, however on the bright side, no broken bones! Being the boss and well taught he insisted in coming in first thing next morning, refused point blank to listen to his old partner in crime (me) however admitted two hours later that perhaps he would be better off at home with my ice pack to keep himself company!

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    Come early Tuesday morning a flurry of text messages were exchanged between Andy and myself;  gist of the messages from yours truly was, 'Don't be a bloody martyr, stay at home, keep the leg elevated and ice the area, we can manage without you!' I was then reminded by my better half that I had done the same when I was 'in charge' many years ago ie. come into work the day after my first knee op! And probably would have done the same, tried to fend the other boat off using my foot or hands if we hadn't a wandering fender onboard! I was first introduced to the concept of this many years ago when Jenny and I helped our friends take their 20 odd ton ketch through the Caledonian canal. It came in very handy on our transit from the East Coast to the West on more than one occasion when a rather grumpy lock keeper decided to let more water into the lock than we had been used to and with the turbulence that was caused the bow of the yacht swung violently towards the granite lock side. We also carry a wandering fender onboard Hindsight, our Mystery 35, which we now cruise in Greece. It has come to our rescue on a number of occasions when a bare boat charter decides to berth along side and they are not in full control! Incidentally flotillas tend not to be an issue as the crews of the lead boat are superb in the way they handle the stern to mooring on a town quay by a relatively inexperienced skipper. We of course deploy one over the transome when we are moored stern to a town quay or pontoon and if alongside a much larger yacht it's excellent for helping to keep us apart!

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    As Andy is in a good mood today, can now walk 20 mtrs before the pain kicks in, if you purchase a Polyform ball fender from us in the next couple of weeks he will personally splice a suitable diameter 2m length of three strand polyester rope on to it, worth up to an extra £15-00 when buying the A4 size! You never know it may end up as the icing between the cake!

  • 292. Top Tips Tuesday - Who Ate The Lion's Share

    Sad to say that last week I had already started 'snacking' on Aldi's mince pies and now we are already scraping the barrel. Let's hope they hadn't run out when the Christmas shop was completed yesterday. Speaking of shopping, many thanks to all our local and online customers who have supported us through a difficult year's trading what with the uncertainty over Brexit. On behalf of the staff at our bricks and mortar chandlery Storrar Marine and guys at www.marinechandlery.com we wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year and if you do get that sinking feeling, we do of course have an excellent range of products to help keep your heads above water.

    Best wishes Andy Burgess

  • 291. Top Tips Tuesday - Yule Be Glad To Read This

    Christmas Gift Guide 2019 - Issue 3

  • 290. Top Tips Tuesday - It's Not To Late

    Christmas Gift Guide 2019 - Issue 2

  • 289. Top Tips Tuesday - Panic Over, Diary Found

    Christmas Gift Guide 2019 - Issue 1

  • 288. Top Tips Tuesday - Disaster!

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    Well the last time I 'think' I saw my diary it was sitting in the boot space of my old car, along with my just repaired stainless boarding ladder before this 10 year old estate was to be part exchanged  for a newer second hand set of wheels last Friday.

    Why is it such a disaster? Because it has all my thoughts or ideas for future Top Tips, along with all sorts of vital information including the date of my wife's birthday penciled in by Jenny! It could be at work. I have searched but will try again tomorrow, perhaps it's still in the old car but why is the stern ladder now in my workshop but no sign of the diary? Or, perish the thought, it could be in one of our upstairs rooms. Two spare bedrooms are, at the moment, full to the brim with the contents of our attic which as I write is being converted into a spare 'bedroom' for when the grandchildren come to stay. Old sails, old toys, school reports, pewter mugs won at Bass week during the sixties, suitcases, model yachts and boxes of other junk that's never been sorted through since we last moved house some 12 years ago. Is the diary in there? Yes I know we downsized cos the two girls had flown the nest and now guess what we are upsizing! Funny old world, at least it would be if I could find that ruddy diary!

    As regular readers of my words of wisdom or 'ramblings of a predictable boring old git' as one reader observed the other day, I have been known to repeat myself, however I make no apologies to mention Wet & Forget again. But, and it's a big but, it's now newly available in a container which has a built in Sniper nozzle which will automatically mix the contents with water. The Sniper nozzle makes it perfect for treating roller reefing headsails whilst they are still on the rig as it will spray up to 8m high. No need to take the sail off and find a suitable clean space to treat. Just lower your unfurled headsail part way down, spray the top half then hoist fully and spray the remainder. By doing so the chances of getting a green speed stripe down the leech should you furl your headsail whilst it's still damp after sailing is almost zilch! Wet and Forget is safe to use on Dacron, Mylar, Kevlar and Carbon Fibre sails. It's also perfect for spraying onto sail covers, stack packs, canopies etc as it will keep the fabric free from that green mould which tends to 'grow' on the side which never sees the sun in the winter. You can also use Wet & Forget on your teak deck, all bright work, glass fibre, pontoon walk ways be they manufactured from wood, concrete or whatever!

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