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post #1 of 79 Old 04-26-2008 Thread Starter
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Hints and tips

Fellow Sailnetters:

I've got an idea for what could be a useful thread - given the vast experience of the members of this forum. It could be fun to each add our favorite tips and hints to make life easier, more efficient, more comfortable, less backbreaking, safer...whatever.

If we each labeled the hint or tip with a suitable title, we could even compile the list and alphabetize or categorize it. Or not.

I'll start with a couple:

Varnish tip:

Next time the prettier member of your crew empties a fingernail polish jar, grab it and clean it out with acetone. Then fill it with your favorite varnish. When you happen to see a nick, ding or abrasion in your varnish, (refill your rum glass), get out your varnish bottle with the handy built in brush and dab away. This will keep water intrusion from ruining your varnish until the next time you apply a maintenance coat.

Chart book tip:

Saltwater Suzi came up with this one and got it published in Cruising World a few years back. We keep our chart book on deck under the dodger. She puts one of those metal plates you get from the sewing store for counted cross stitch patterns behind the page we are on. The kit comes with a little strip magnet about 2" by 1/2". It can be easily cut with scissors.She cuts a point at one end of the magnet and places it on the chart to indicate our position and direction when we are on the ICW or coming into a confusing inlet. That way if we have to leave the helmsman to go below - he can quickly glance at the chart and see exactly where we are. We tried post-it notes but they kept blowing away.

Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry


"A sailboat is a fickle mistress. You’ve got to buy her things. You’ve got to understand everything about her. What you don’t know she’ll use against you." -Captain Larry


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Last edited by LarryandSusanMacDonald; 04-26-2008 at 12:02 PM.
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post #2 of 79 Old 04-26-2008
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Oh man, this will be fun..... I have a million of these. Some even work.

To keep the clear plastic dome on the compass from crazing and clouding, apply a liberal coating of mineral oil very month or so (whenever it looks dry). New compasses will stay new nearly forever. Minor crazing on older compasses will disappear. For winter storage, apply an extra heavy dose and wrap the compass with a plastic bag. In the spring, the oil will still be there and the compass will look great. Better than spending $700 on an offshore compass. Been doing this for 30 years.... time proven.

Sabre 38 "Victoria"
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post #3 of 79 Old 04-26-2008
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Grease Fittings
If you have grease cups on the upper and lower rudder bushings like I did, replace them with grease fittings and buy a grease gun. Better than contorting yourself to get in a hatch an load the cups over and over.

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post #4 of 79 Old 04-26-2008
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anchor chain: paint a link every 10 or 20 feet, or put a colored plastic tie around it, so you can tell at a glance how much you have out. We have a red at 20 feet, a yellow at 40 ft, etc.
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post #5 of 79 Old 04-26-2008
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For boats with Reefs. Put a whipping on the halyard at each point when you have lower the sail for that reefing point. Thus you can feel it on a dark night as you take in a reef. Two reefs on the sail, two whippings on the halyard.
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post #6 of 79 Old 04-27-2008 Thread Starter
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Come on, Guys and Gals, Sailors and Sailorettes (Sailoreens?), let's keep this one going - I want to hear from each and every one of you - NO rules about posting more than once.

Here's two more - both from Saltwater Suzi, who has a much better memory than I do. (Mine is so bad, I only need one DVD - watch it over and over. Trouble is, I can't remember where I put it.)

Suzi Sez:

Isenglass:

Keep a pair of soft cotton or soft jersey gloves handy in your cockpit to wear when you're rolling up your Isenglass (clear vinyl) zippered inserts in your dodger or enclosure - to keep those greasy fingerprints and hand prints off of the isenglass.

If you must roll up the isensglass when it is wet or even just damp - unroll it at your first opportunity - when the sun hits that moisture it 'cooks' the glass and fogs the glass - sometimes permanently.

Boat Cards

When cruising, most people make 2" x 3.5" boat cards - usually on their computer - (because the information for cruisers changes too frequently to make it worth having them printed). These cards can be exchanged with other boaters you meet along the way. And here's the tip: when you receive one - write on the back where and when you met them - you think you'll remember but you don't. It's amazing how often you run into the same people. We keep a business card notebook (office supply stores have them). When we see a boat that looks familiar - we leaf through it, find their card and call them on the VHF. Wine and cheese often results. Sometimes a fish dinner with the catch of the day, if we're lucky.

Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry


"A sailboat is a fickle mistress. You’ve got to buy her things. You’ve got to understand everything about her. What you don’t know she’ll use against you." -Captain Larry


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post #7 of 79 Old 04-27-2008
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Hank-on sails

For those of us who actually still use hank-on sails:

I attached a 2' tether to a bow padeye with a simple bowline. The other end has a snap shackle. Before attaching/disattaching the halyard to the head of the sail I snap on this tether to the halyard. My halyard is never disattached from the boat on either end. Ever. This eliminates one way of losing a halyard to the masthead.


who is staring at the sea is already sailing a little
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post #8 of 79 Old 04-27-2008
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Get a Weems & Plath Chart Protractor and end the struggle with walking your compass rose over to your course line and plot any course in 10 seconds. Great invention and best $15 bucks I ever spent!
Weems & Plath Protractor

No longer posting. Reach me by PM!
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post #9 of 79 Old 04-27-2008
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Work up a "Pre-Departure Check Off List" and one for "Pre-Arrival." Thus you can be sure if all that needs to be done is completed before to doing either one.
That is if you use the lists.


Check your engine both ahead and astern, before you get underway and before you make your approach to the pier. Have had engines stuck in forward and astern when I had to get underway and when making a landing. It does make for interesting times when that happens.
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post #10 of 79 Old 04-27-2008
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Quick and convenient way to pre-cut packing gland material: Do it on the prop shaft outside the boat, where it's very easy to get to. (Assuming she's on the hard.)

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