VARNISH! BEAUTIFUL STUFF OR THE DEVIL’S BREW?

… I have called it both. Our 1932 cutter shone with varnish. Twenty two coats on the mast, most applied in situ, and similar amounts on the cabin sides. Several times we stripped everything back to bare wood and started again. And yes, we glowed when people remarked how lucky we were to own such […]

PREPARE FOR NAMED STORMS

Hold fast Hurricane season is here. Having ridden out several hurricanes, and having had a boat smashed by one, I feel qualified to offer a few suggestions on storm readiness.  In times past yachtsmen would be gone from the hurricane belt before the start of the hurricane season and this is still the only way […]

LOSING A SEACOCK WILL SPOIL YOUR DAY

Seacocks! Nothing controversial there, one would think, but judging some of the installations I have seen, you couldn’t be more wrong. In these ‘Budget Blogs’, I like to include personal experiences, so I’ll begin with the day a seacock sheared off in my hand. In the late 90s, my wife and I were slaves to […]

The “Simple Bare Necessities” during Lock Down

Seagoing folk are often forced to find innovative solutions to their problems when they find themselves far from shore, or in a remote place with limited supplies. So making do with what one’s got, while living in a confined space, is not too strange for boaters.  We’ve all heard of the cruiser who glues his […]

THERE’S NO FUEL LIKE AN OLD FUEL

Diesel engines, keep ’em running  A diesel engine in a sailboat is a wonderful thing and I speak as someone who sailed thousands of miles without one. But a boat with an unreliable engine is almost worse than a boat with no engine at all. A sailboat can overcome loss of power in open water, […]

HE’S GOT A KNIFE!

Well, of course he’s got a knife, he’s a sailor. Do you remember the scene in Crocodile Dundee (I’m sure you’ve seen the film), where the thief pulls a knife, which is a piddling little thing, and Mick Dundee pulls one the size of a sabre and says “now that’s a knife?” Well, it got […]

Gelcoat – Dare to roll!

(A complete product list is at the end of the article) Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Or, more to the point, are you a brave do-it-yourselfer? If you answer yes to part two of the question, and you have looked at your fading hull and thought I would like to respray that but can’t really afford it then perhaps […]

Knots vs Splices

Knots A knot will reduce the strength of the rope, sometimes very significantly. This loss is caused by the tight bends and compression found in any knot. The amount a rope will be weakened will depend on the knot, type of rope and the material from which it is made, but can be up to […]

Leaky Hatches

All hatches leak eventually. To fix a leak, you first have to find the source of the leak. You might immediately assume that the gasket around the lid is the source of the problem and very often it is. It might also be a failing o­ring or gasket on the handle, or aging caulk around […]

Hatch & Port-light Installation Check List

General Hatches and port-lights should be fitted to a flat surface with maximum tolerance of +/-­ 1 mm. For decks of composite construction (e.g. GRP) it is recommended that the exposed laminate be sealed with the appropriate material prior to fitting the hatch. Openings in metal decks should have all burs and sharp edges removed. […]