Showing posts with label Boat equipment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boat equipment. Show all posts

Wednesday 7 August 2013

SKYWATCH Xplorer is a weather station in your hand

The SKYWATCH® Xplorer range of high quality palm-sized weather stations are from the Swiss company JDC Electronic, located at the south end of Lake Neuchatel, who have been making weather instruments for over 25 years.
Thoughtfully, the range of four models runs starts from an anemometer and each following model adds more functionality giving you a choice to suit your particular needs at an appropriate price. The basic functions are:
- SKYWATCH® Xplorer 1 - Wind speed
- SKYWATCH® Xplorer 2 - Wind speed, Temperature
- SKYWATCH® Xplorer 3 - Wind speed, Temperature, Compass
- SKYWATCH® Xplorer 4 - Wind speed, Temperature, Compass, Pressure, Altitude plus wind chill factor

For a dinghy sailor the Xplorer 1 would be a good choice; a key measurement at the minimum price. At the other end the Xplorer 4 is ideal for large yacht sailing and racing. However with such a range of features available, at affordable prices, these high quality devices can be used during your other outdoor pursuits such as canoeing, mountain biking, skiing and more.

They are rugged devices and can be carried in an equipment pouch in your sailing jacket without even noticing their presence due to their light weight of 50 grams. To make them useable at all times the displays are backlit with large easy to read characters.

The SKYWATCH® Xplorer range gives Instant Wind-speed Measurement plus up to 9 possible display modes:
- Maximum speed: Xplorer 1, 2, 3, 4;
- Current temperature: Xplorer 2, 3, 4
- Wind chill factor: Xplorer 2, 3, 4;
- Compass in degrees: Xplorer 3, 4;
- Altitude: Xplorer 4;
- Relative pressure (QNH)/absolute pressure: Xplorer 4;
- History of pressure (tendencies): Xplorer 4;
- History of relative pressure (QNH): Xplorer 4;
- History of absolute pressure (QFE): Xplorer 4;

The core common features for the SKYWATCH® Xplorer range are:
- Wind speed units: km/h, m/s, knots, mph, fps;
- Maximum reading: 150 km/h, 42 m/s, 81 knots, 97 mph, 138 fps;
- Back-lit display;
- Stainless steel back;
- Replaceable lithium battery;
- Waterproof;
- Operating temperature: -20 to +70 degrees C / -4 to +158 degrees F;
- Accuracy according to Swiss standards.

Happy "Xplorer"ing!

Saturday 7 July 2012

Boat and ship wheels - symbol, style, innvovation

A ships wheel is probably the most recognisable symbol of boats or ships around the world

It is therefore understandable as to why the European Union chose to use the symbol of a ships wheel to indicate the compliance of boat equipment with the Marine Equipment Directive (also known as M.E.D. 96/98/EC and often called M.E.D/MED)

While aircraft now use joysticks and "fly by wire" technologies to "steer" them, pleasure boats generally still use the a wheel for primary directional control. With boats from over a hundred years old still in operation and new models appearing every year, the boat wheel manufacturers, between them, have worked to supply boat wheels for all generations of boats.

There are three general styles available: traditional spoke wooden wheels, contemporary round-rimmed wheels and a blend of the traditional and contemporary.
Vetus Traditional Style 6 Spoke Boat or Ships Wheel in Mahogany
Vetus Traditional Style 6 Spoke Boat or Ships Wheel in Mahogany
The traditional wooden (usually mahogany) six-spoke boat wheel is still very much sought after. Where the new versions excel in in their underlying strength provided by a steel frame to which the wooden parts are attached. The steel frame of the traditional style boat wheel also provides a strong mount hub to ensure that the wheel and the steering input shaft remain intact even under the worst conditions.

The contemporary style boat wheels, often made of polished stainless steel, are both affordable and very durable - virtually indestructible one could say. A variation of the contemporary style are the powerboat steering wheels made of modern reinforced plastics.

The blended style, combining stainless steel of contemporary boat wheels with the smooth polished spokes borrowed from traditional boat wheels and mahogany rims, really look sophisticated and would grace many a boat - whether a sailboat, yacht, motorboat or powerboat.

One special version of the contemporary boat wheels is the Goiot Steer'n Go™ range for sailboats/yachts. These are a really great idea, as they are designed to be removed and mounted on the safety railing when the boat is moored, giving freedom of access from the cabin to the stern. This is of course really useful for Mediterranean sailing when mooring stern-in is close to the norm.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Inflatable boats are the modern boat tender

We don't know how lucky we are!

Navimo Plastimo Light Inflatable Boat In Use
 There are old-timers who used to climb (literally) mountains to ski down - twice on a good day; in summer (we observe that many skiers are also boaties) they lugged the near-indestructible clinker dinghy down the the beach (marina was a female name only back then) and then row it out to the yacht moored in the bay or river. Then it would be lugged yet again on board by many and various blocks and tackles and lashed, upside-down to the topsides. Maybe we'll just tow by it's painter instead... Whew; what will we do tomorrow?

Of course, sunny winter or spring days would have been enjoyably passed (we weren't so time-obsessed then) rubbing, priming, undercoating and applying endless finish coats of varnish or a nice glossy topcoat.

We may exaggerate to some degree here, yet the ability to buy a tender for little relative cost, in a box, unpack, pump up, launch, jump in and row - or motor away, in minutes was beyond thinking.

Well the past we speak of is largely well past for the majority of water enthusiasts and inflatable boats are available to suit yachties, boaties, fishing people and for those who simply want to play around in boats. While a few of the inflatable tenders available are made just to row, most have an outboard-ready transom installed.

From here on it's all a matter of your defining your needs from construction, type of use, size and colour - from good old grey to bright yellow - even environmental green for fishing or as a work boat.

However, we still sometimes get a bit nostalgic for the clinker dinghy that we learnt to sail in - it was a trusty friend.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Outboard Shear Pins are essential spares

For those of us who use outboards for or around our boats, the reliability of modern models is so good that it's almost feels natural that they will run successfully forever. As engines they may seem to do so but the external world sometimes reaches out and makes itself known quite unexpectedly - like the outboard engine propeller hitting an unknown or unseen solid object underwater.

Or, with things mechanical, the loading of the propeller, through the shear pin, may gradually find a weakness in the pin material, leading to an unexpected fracture. Result in both cases - lots of sound and no motion; "disaster"!
Holt Outboard Motor Shear Pin-Blister-Pack
Now it really doesn't have to be like that; there is a list of essential spares for your boat and it's equipment and a shear pins are one them. Paradoxically they are cheap to buy yet have really high use value and may be reasonably considered an item of safety equipment when weighed against a bad sea and no propulsion.

When replacing a shear pin, there are a few simple actions you can take to ensure the best result. Firstly, as part of your pre-season maintenance programme, prevent a future stress fracture by ensuring the shear pin hole in the propeller shaft has no sharp edges at the hole edge; the simplest way to remove any burrs is to use a round needle file and patiently work around the hole at both ends to create a small radius on the hole edge circumference; with tools to hand this should only take 15 minutes to complete; and secondly, replace the propeller retaining nut lock split pin (if one is used); every time a split pin is bent over, it's metal is subjected to loads that can lead to a stress fracture failure over time.

So don't delay if this blog reminds you to stock up; Holt Marine Pre-Pack / MPP aftermarket shear pins are available for a number of popular outboards that includes these brands and models (2 per pack): Suzuki, 2 HP, 4 HP; Tohatsu, M4, M4A, M5, M5A; Tohatsu, M8, M8A, M9.8, M9.8A, M12, M12A; Yamaha Mariner, 2 HP, 6 HP, 20 HP, 25 HP; Johnson/Evinrude/OMC, 2 HP, 4 HP, 20 HP, 25 HP, 40 HP.

May your days out be sheer joy.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Antifouling task and material list

It's that time again; sun through the window earlier, lighter clothing for outside and the need to go down to the boat, the lonely boat in the boatyard (apologies to John Masefield's wonderful poem "I Must Go Down to the Seas Again" - contained in "Poems of the Sea")

Every year (or two) the planning for renewing the antifouling starts and a typical list of tasks may well look like that below (you may well be very practised at this and probably know what's needed and how to do all by heart now).

To help you make your material list or bill of materials, create your own; here is a typical shopping list for these items .
  Materials research:
- Antifouling type: one season, two season, two-pack, racing, hard, soft, copper;
- Removers: paint and varnish removers;
- Treatments: corrosion/rust;
- Fillers: GRP and keel/metal types;
- Surface coatings: degreasers, primers, antifoulings, and thinners;
- Finishing: decorative/coveline tape.
Most products are accompanied by their companion products with a clickable link to them e.g. a paint and it's thinner plus related tools, equipment or how-to books.

- Season launch date;
- Days required (according to helpers);
- Dates available.

- Willing helpers;
- Personal: work clothes, wet/cold weather outerwear, warm hats and gloves;
- Stores: (on the way?);
- Refreshments;
- Transport: to and from boat;
- Accommodation?

- Access to yard;
- Position the boat: lift out/boat on hard, extra props;
- Preclean: water blast/mechanical clean, hand scrub, cleaning pads.

- Access equipment: trestles, stands, ladders (with safety straps);
- Personal protection equipment: protective clothing including overalls, work hats, disposable gloves, PVC gloves, leather gloves, filter face masks, "paper" dust masks, goggles; hand cleaners;
- Preparatory tools: buckets, scrub brushes, hand brushes  scrapers, wire brushes, putty knives, electric sanders, sanding blocks, sponges, hose with connectors/nozzles;
- Protection materials: masking tapes, plastic sheeting, paper, rubbish bags;
- Preparatory materials: abrasives, abrasive papers, abrasive pads, sanding discs;
- Safety devices: isolating transformer or similar protection for power tools?;
- Application tools: brushes, rollers, sleeves and trays;
- First aid kit.

Assemble/buy materials:
- Equipment;
- Tools;
- Personal protection gear;
- Protective materials;
- Preparatory materials;
- Surface coatings.

This is a basic task list that can be shaped many ways and experience will alter, add and refine it to suit. We hope this helps you in some way.