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Sun Sail
Mayday Changes
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 00:00

StickyAprilSome of you will be aware that there are changes to the MAYDAY procedure which have been given a bit of publicity but which may not have reached you all.

In effect, you are now asked now to send a distress call and message as follows:

Distress call
MAYDAY (three times)
This is “name of vessel” (three times)
MMSI number
Call sign

Distress message
MAYDAY (once) – This is “name of vessel” (once)
MMSI number
Call sign
Nature of distress
Other useful information
Require immediate assistance – over

Is Your Anchor Secure?
Tuesday, 07 February 2012 09:40

FebStickyIt must be quite a few years since I needed to look at the galvanic table to show how metals which are ‘anodic’ or ‘less noble’ at the negative end of the series are more likely to be attacked
by corrosion.

For sailors the critical point is the difference in potential of the two materials being considered as a joined pair. A very small difference is likely to result in galvanic corrosion.

I am no physicist, and am open to correction by the sailor scientists, but I have been brought up to believe that stainless steel and aluminium and galvanised steel are too close
for comfort.  

A £20 investment in saving lives
Monday, 11 July 2011 14:27

stWHEN I wrote about the man overboard recovery gear which I have been taking with me every time I go sailing for well over 20 years people asked for details.

Fortunately I have never had to use it in anger but after my last incident I made up the tackle.

During the last 50 years or so I have witnessed a total of five fall overboard, the last time I had three in the water all at once.

Sounds a bit disastrous but it was a lovely hot day coming into the River Plym to take a up a berth in the Yacht Haven marina.

Our student skipper was helming. It was the last day of the course and he was not really concentrating so we went aground.

He was not sure of what to do, so I took the helm, put the three crew on the boom, swung the boom out to heel the boat, and as we shot off the sandbank, the topping lift broke!

Fortunately the boat was a 30-footer, so the toerail was not too high and I hauled the three out of the water pretty quickly.

The obvious course would have been to reinforce the topping lift by taking the halyard to the end of the boom but we were on a falling spring tide and I thought it better to get off quickly.

The device is a 6:1 tackle with a triple block, becket and cam at the top end and a triple block, becket and D ring at the lower end  with straps to go under the shoulders and knees.   The karabiners clip on to the D ring .

AIS is good for weather
(2 votes, average 3.50 out of 5)
Monday, 13 June 2011 14:46

AISBack home and catching up on ten weeks’ worth of emails, bank statements, credit card bills et al, I have reflected on some of the major lessons of the delivery to Turkey from Burnham-on-Crouch.

We should have allowed longer for our shake down passages, a fortnight was not enough. We were still making changes to the rigging, reefing set up and equipment three weeks into the passage. Luckily we were still in the UK and could easily make changes. The owners’ original plan had been to deliver the boat to Marseille by road and then make their way to Turkey from there; I suspect that they are now happy that their initial sailing legs were close to the UK.

I am a great fan of Navtex, (see photo), the ability to receive weather forecasts up to 600 miles offshore is a great bonus, particularly when out of range of VHF transmissions.

I had recommended the owners equip their boat with this, but they decided to install a plasma TV set in lieu. This had to be dismounted before setting sail and was wrapped in a duvet in the owners’ cabin whilst sailing.

When sailing through waters where the locals speak French, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Turkish it puts a bit of a strain on the translation game and although we had one crew member who could speak three of these languages we were still without a fluent Greek of Turkish speaker.

Niggles as we motor to Sicily
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Monday, 09 May 2011 14:25

stickys_tipsWe are now in Malta having passed through Gibraltar, Palma Majorca and Sciacca a port on the south coast of Sicily.

There has been too much motoring for my liking but we had to keep up to our schedule.

As with all new boats we are still having niggling problems.

The bow thruster, which in my view is an old man’s bit of kit, and which a good skipper should be able to dispense with in the case of breakdown, has done just that.

The batteries powering it have decided to divorce themselves from the boat’s electrical system and we have no indication that the auxiliary batteries exist.

We have managed to overcome temporarily the problem of chafe with the cruising chute on starboard tack by padding the forestay base below the furling drum. The owner will need some form of proboscis to overcome this.

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