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Famous Captain

Once upon a time there was a famous sea captain. This captain was very successful at what he did; for years he guided merchant ships all over the world.

Never did stormy seas or pirates get the best of him. He was admired by his crew and fellow captains. However, there was one thing different about this captain. Every morning he went through a strange ritual. He would lock himself in his captain’s quarters and open a small safe. In the safe was an envelope with a piece of paper inside. He would stare at the paper for a minute and then lock it back up. After that, he would go about his daily duties.

For years this went on, and his crew became very curious. Was it a treasure map? Was it a letter from a long lost love? Everyone speculated about the contents of the strange envelope.

One day the captain died at sea. After laying the captain’s body to rest, the first mate led the entire crew into the captain’s quarters. He opened the safe, got the envelope, opened it and… The first mate turned pale and showed the paper to the others.

Four words were on the paper, two on two lines:

Port Left

Starboard Right

 

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Radio Conversation

…many of you have probably heard various versions of this story; still it is a good one, so here it is…

 

This is the actual transcript of a radio conversation between a British Navy ship and the Irish Coastguard, off the coast of Kerry:

Irish: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south, to avoid collision

British: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north, to avoid collision

Irish: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid collision

British. This is the Captain of a British Navy Ship. I say again, diver YOUR course

Irish. Negative. I say again, you will have to divert YOUR course

British. THIS IS THE LARGEST SHIP IN THE BRITISH FEEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY 3 DESTROYERS, 3 CRUISERS, AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT SHIPS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES TO THE NORTH, OR COUNTERMEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS FLOTILLA

Irish. THIS IS A LIGHTHOUSE…… YOUR CALL

 

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10 Tips for Winterizing your boat

Well unfortunately it is that time of year, again. The trees are just about bare and the water is getting well below the desired swimming temperature. Now it is time to winterize your boat.

Here are some basic tips to remember when you are putting your vessel away for the winter:

  1. Start by doing a basic cleaning out, call it Spring Cleaning in advance. Clean out the food lockers, refrigerator, and icebox. This will help to prevent any critters from crawling around possibly cause damage to the interior of your boat. Remember to keep the door’s open to help increase the airflow. This is also a good time to get rid of anything that you may not need; possibly consign usable items to Bacon’s.
  2. Take down your sails. This is more of an optional step depending on how you like the exterior of your boat to look year-round, however by removing your Headsail and Mainsail/Cover, you reduce the risk of damage from either freezing or heavy winds that may cause deterioration to your fabric. This is a good time to take them in for cleaning and/or repairs. Keep in mind that Bacon Sails offer’s both Sail Cleaning and evaluation/repairs for sails.
  3. Exterior electronics. This is also an optional step depending on how easy it is to remove the display units. However, if it is not difficult to do so, go ahead and store the GPS and electronic gauges/meters inside to prevent them from any damage that they could incur from harsh freezes.
  4. Drain the fresh water. While you are draining your fresh water tanks, go ahead and inspect them for any signs of weak spots/leaks. If you have an accessible hatch for the tanks, go ahead and clean them out, this will clear up any build up of residue that may of been residing in the tanks. Drain everything, this includes your hot water heater tank, sink, pumps, and anything else that flows from fresh water. Open the Sea cocks to be able to drain outside(Only if on the Hard).
  5. Add your anti-freeze, preferably pink 50-50 anti-freeze and water. Many forget to include bilge pumps; suck the pump until it is dry then suck the 50-50 mixture through it until it comes out the pink color. Once every possible water circulated line has been flushed with the 50-50 mixture, go ahead and do a run through from bow to stern to check for any possible sea cocks or drains that you may have forgotten.
  6. Flush your Raw water cooling system and replace with the 50-50 mixture.
  7. Add stabilizer to your fuel tanks and replace all fuel filters(Fuel filters may be replaced at this time or right before use of new season). Take the time to run the motor for about 10-15 minutes so the stabilizer mixes in with the fuel lines and injectors.
  8. To help prevent any mold/mildew build up, try Starbrite’s No Damp Moisture Absorber and Dehumidifier pouches. For a clean smelling cabin, use Tea Tree Gel cups in various places, such as one in the V-berth and one in the Salon.
  9. Spray down everything outside the boat with fresh water to remove any salt coated items. Be sure to spray down running rigging, lifelines, steering, winches and any metal surface to help prevent corrosion build up over the winter break.
  10. A good cover. If you are using a boat cover made up of Sunbrella, look over for any weak spots/holes that may cause leaks onto the boat. At the same time, spray a layer of 303 Fabric Guard to build up a water repelling layer over the Sunbrella. If you are shrink wrapping, be sure to have an easy access way so you don’t have to make any cuts into the wrapping if you need to get into the boat. Both Sunbrella and Shrink wrapped covers should be well ventilated, Solar Vents are a good way to help vent.

If you have any questions about Winterizing your boat, feel free to ask the folks over at Bacon Sails. You can contact them by email: info@baconsails.com, phone:410-263-4880, or by person at 116 Legion Ave, Annapolis MD.

 

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More On Sail Care…

In the last blog about taking care of your sails at the end of the season, I have pointed out some of the areas on sails that are particularly vulnerable to deterioration or damage. This time I would like to share with you a few pictures showing these problem areas:

Damaged webbing
severely deteriorated webbing

This first picture shows a severely deteriorated webbing loop at the head of this furling genoa.  This web is really ready to fail at any moment, and most likely it will happen in the worst possible time…

Hopefully webbing loops on your sails are nowhere near this level of deterioration, but keep an eye for drying fibers, that feel chalky and dry. Especially if you start to see individual fibers starting to separate, as in this picture, it’s time to replace such webbing, else inevitably this happens:

broken webbing
broken webbing

Often on sails with a second-hand sun cover installation, corners end up being left uncovered as in this example:

torn dacron at clew corner
damaged dacron at clew corner

If you zoom closer and look at the Dacron® surrounding this pressed ring you will see that top layer has ripped. As you might have guessed, sun exposure has weakened the fabric.  At least this sail has a webbing reinforcing the corner, but it itself is slowly weakening. Ideally you would want all Dacron and webbing surface to be covered with Sunbrella for best and longest lasting protection. If your sail has any areas exposed as in this picture, keep an eye on these.

In the last blog I have also mentioned about luff tape on furling sails. Here is the example of what I was writing about:

Head of roller furling genoa
head of roller furling genoa

This particular genoa has Sunbrella sun covers installed in a typical fashion. Again, ideally you would want to have the web loop also wrapped in Sunbrella for protection, but it would be nice to have a strip of Sunbrella to extend over the portion of luff tape. Take a look at a close up of the top of this luff tape:

damaged luff tape
damaged luff tape

About 2 inches of this tape has ripped and this will continue if left unattended.  It is much easier (and less expensive) to fix if you don’t let it go this far on your sail. It may be worth your while to occasionally drop your head sail and inspect what is going on at the head…

If you have any questions or comments on the subject, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Happy Sailing!

Arek