24 December, 2015

Christmas gifts

This year's Christmas were rich in marine gifts for our boat so I would like to share some interesting ones with you.

Special anchor for rocky shores with a railing holder. This kind of anchor is very handy on rocky shores like on Adriatic sea in Croatia. Simply throw the anchor to the shore and it will grab immediately without need to leave the boat. I think it's not very secure for strong winds, but the local people use it to ease the anchoring during a day when single handed. You can always put a piece of chain over the rocks afterwards for the overnight stay.

The boat name on the stainless steel anchor

Anchoring / mooring reel with 50m of the line and the Ronstan 60 series continuous-line roller furler and the anti-twist rope for an additional sails.
Anchoring/mooring reel, anchor, roller furled & anti-twist rope

We are planning the additional Gennaker, Blister or Code-0 for the next season, because there is no other
worse experience than staying boat when others are moving :-)

However, this Ronstan 60 series is not a top-down system so we have to buy a sail with straight luff and let the anti-twist rope sew in. More on this on the next post.

SOG FF23-CP Nautical knife

A nautical knife like this SOG FF23-CP is a no-nonsense lock back design with a rescue-style blade, marlin spike for rope work. Ordered directly from China. Every mariner should have some handy knife on board in case of emergency. The question is not if you will ever need it but when!

The last gift was the head flashlight and some accessories. This is however a subject of the next post.

Marry Christmas and Happy New Year ! 

01 December, 2015

Skipper Tomas' guide to winterizing

The winterizing process is commonly discussed among the sailors so I would like to put together all important steps I do on our boat. Over the years I own the boats I came to a resolution that all systems on the boats has to be extremely simple, reliable and of course very easy to maintain, because we want to sail more than doing an unnecessary maintenance.

  • I think it is important to keep the boat dry over the winter season so parking it in a garage is the best but putting over some heavier tarp is a minimum. Personally, I have a tarp made from a material used for truck trailers, which is around 500g/m2. Yes, it's heavy, but will last more than 1 year and protects the boat perfectly
  • To avoid wear through by various sharp hardware or stanchions always puts over some piece of protective material like carpet leftovers. On the picture below, you can see that I've used plastic plumbing tees on the top of the stanchions.
  • I always build some kind of netting from side to side to prevent the build up of water pools on the tarp.
  • Support the mast properly in case of heavy snow.
  • Additional mast support in the cockpit and the rope netting
  • To prevent the water condensation I always keep the front hatch open a little to provide some ventilation, but it's necessary to put over some bug screens.

  • Remove battery from the boat, store in a dry basement and charge it once after two months or so. 
  • Take home all portable electronics or remove all batteries from it.

Cabin's junk
  • It's always a good idea to clean the boat, because you will always find some nice pieces of forgotten food or any other bio materials which just attracts the mold or ants.
  • Remove all chemicals which could be damaged by freezing temperatures.
  • Take home all the clothing and sleeping bags. Everything that can absorb moisture can produce stinky odors.
  • Take home cushions or store on their sides.

Water systems
  • Put a cup of bleach into the water tank and let it sit. 
  • Empty the water tank completely, including the water pipes. You can use a non-toxic antifreeze based on propylene glycol, but it you don't have complex plumbing, it's just expensive and won't save you much time.
  • Clean the water tank from inside. This is a substantial difference over the flexible water bags!
  • Empty and clean the chemical toilet.

  • Sails are the main engine of the boat so they need care so clean them if necessary
  • Put them off the furler, fold them properly into the sail bag and bring them home.

  • It's better to take off the outboard from the bracket to avoid unnecessary stress on the stern.
  • Change the motor and lower unit gear oil - according to the manufacturer manual.
  • Spray some fogging like oil into the cylinders.
  • Empty the fuel tanks in the car or pour in some fuel stabilize.
  • Desalinate the engine cooling using a mild vinegar solution.

  • Check for corrosion and touch up if necessary
  • Jack it up on some stands to ease the load on the axles and tires.

  • You can also check that all the lights are working and the wheels are spinning without any noise or other issues which you can address during the winter time.
  • Check the hand-brake if it works properly.

As you can see this is not a rocket science, so having only a simple system on the boat helps you to spare some time to other aspects of life.