Wednesday, January 29

An Ounce of Prevention - aka Have you seen your boat lately?

An Ounce of Prevention
By Michele Underwood

During the frigid winter months many of us hibernate in the warm comfort of our homes. Our boating thoughts are memories made and fun times to come.  We all take great care to put our boats away in the fall and its well worth the trouble to check up on our “ladies” in the winter months.  According to the Boat Owners Association of the United States, more commonly know to us as BoatUS, we should follow these five steps to ensure our spring launch goes off without a hitch.

1)      For those of you that store your boat in the water during the winter, make sure that the weight of snow and ice are not causing the above-waterline thru-hulls to become submerged under water. This includes the exhausts on inboard boats.  If you notice that your boat is sitting low in the water use plastic brooms and shovels to remove any ice or snow.  If you use a bubbler system make sure that it is operating properly.

2)      Check to make sure that your boat has not shifted in its jack stands or cradle.  A boat stored on jack stands or on a cradle should sit level.  Boats stored on trailers should rest with the bow slightly up.  Boats over 26 feet should have three jack stands per side and if the ground is dirt or gravel the jack stands should have plywood underneath them for stability.  If you see any type of hull deformities where the boat rests contact your marina staff to adjust the boat.

3)      Boats stored outside should always be covered.  If you opt for tarps over shrink wrap, never tie the tarp to the jack stands, as a strong wind could get up underneath the cover and yank the jack stand out from under the boat.  It is acceptable to tie the tarp to the trailer frame.  It is also important to make sure your cover is properly fitted.  The weight of snow and ice can cause improper covers to sag which allow water to pool and freeze, adding substantial weight stress.  Snow and rain should slide off the cover easily.

4)      Check for water or ice in the bilge.  If present this indicates that there is a leak somewhere.  Try to find the source of the leak and at the least incur a temporary fix.  Thaw the ice in the bilge with nontoxic antifreeze or rock salt and dry thoroughly.  If you cannot fix the leak or remove the water then add antifreeze to prevent damage.

5)      While many boat owners do not winterize their boats when they choose to store in a heated indoor space, it is still a wise consideration.  It is not unusual for blizzards and ice storms to knock out power to large areas over extended periods of time, which can cause storage temperatures to drop dramatically. In case of such an occurrence you can be sure that your boat will not suffer any damage if you took the extra precaution to winterize. 

Here at Crowley’s we monitor everything 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Come in and check on your boat or just stop in to say hello.  If you have concerns at any time but cannot make it over, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and have us double-check your vessel.  

Tuesday, January 21

Selden - The Goods, by Jon Paige

Selden Mast introduced the Furlex range of headsail furlers in 1983 and after several updates is still one of the most reliable and highly recommended furlers available.  Indeed, the Furlex 300 series has just been updated with the launch of the 304S which still includes all the features that make Furlex so reliable, but with an improved design which uses more composite materials to reduce weight, a shorter halyard swivel and lower tack attachment point.  Furlex has been awarded Practical Sailor Magazine’s Best Choice and is the Furler we recommend for any boat.

Spinaker furling is still a relatively new idea which has trickled down from Grand Prix raceboats but is gaining more popularity for the cruising sailor.  Many cruisers don’t even bother to have a spinnaker in their sail inventory because of the hassle of setting and dousing these large sails and the requirement of at least 3 or 4 people to do it.  Top-down spinnaker furlers are changing this perception and making sailing with a spinnaker pleasant and much easier, without needing a football team-sized crew to handle it!  Selden’s GX Top-down furler enables any asymmetric spinnaker or cruising chute to be furled easily, making spinnaker sailing attractive once again.

The idea is simple; the sail is stowed already furled onto the system and is hoisted on the spinnaker halyard at any time before you need to use it, even at the dock.  When you wish to set the spinnaker, un-cleat the furling line and pull on the sheet.  When you need to douse the sail, instead of dropping the sail (usually into the water), ease the sheet and pull the furling line.  The tensioned “torque line”, which runs between the drum and halyard swivel, transfers the furling action to the head of the sail first, hence the term “top-down”.  The sail furls safely without drama and the system can be lowered easily when convenient.  For a better demonstration, stop by the Selden Mast booth or click here to see the system in action.

Asymmetric spinnakers are normally tacked down forward of the headstay attachment.  On some boats a long anchor roller assembly can enable the sail to be tacked far enough away from the headstay to enable it to be flown without interference from the pulpit or headsail furler.  However, the sail becomes more effective the further forward the tack is.  Selden’s bowsprit kit is easily installed on most boats, is retractable and removable, and does not require any major modifications to be done to the foredeck in order for it to work.  When used with the GX furler, you get an efficient, easy-to-use spinnaker system.  Four different types of bow bracket are available and the inboard end secures to one of two folding padeyes.

Come and check out the entire Selden range at the show and get 25% off Furlex S, GX furlers and Bowsprit kits when you place an order at the show.

Strictly Sail, Booth 344

Wednesday, January 15

But Wait, There's More!

But Wait, There’s More!
By Michael Argyelan

If you’ve ever been to Strictly Sail Chicago and come by the Crowley’s booth, you’ve certainly seen that we carry tons of safety items, foul weather gear, shoes, etc. This year in conjunction with the service booth, we are excited to bring more maintenance items. The Crowley’s main booth will now feature Epifanes varnish, West Systems Epoxy solutions, and Kiwi grip along with a few key support items.

Epifanes is known around the world and certainly the preferred varnish of Jane Parker, the varnish expert around Crowley’s. Their Clear Varnish is a traditional marine varnish and based on tung oil, phenolic-modified alkyd resins and maximum U.V. absorbers. If you’ve ever seen a Hinkley with bright work that you could use as a mirror, it’s quite likely that the user applied Epifanes Clear Varnish.

Other Epifanes wood treatment products at the show include Rapidclear, Rapidcoat, Rubbed Effect, Wood Finish, Wood Finish Matte, thinners and specialty brushes.  “Rapidclear offers quick and easy wood protection without the hassle of sanding in between coats. It’s a one-component clear wood finish based on modified alkyd/urethane resin.” Rapidclear can be applied every 5-6 hours and maintenance is easy. Rapidcoat is similar to Rapidclear with the exception of a slight tint to the finish giving it a warm color. Both products bond well to oily woods like teak and help prevent discoloration.

Rubbed Effect Varnish is a one-component interior varnish based on urethane alkyd resins and gives a rich, clear amber satin finish. To get this kind of finish with traditional varnish, you’d have to literally rub the varnish with rags to get a custom satin rubbed effect. Rubbed Effect Varnish by Epifanes takes the elbow grease out of the process. To get the maximum effect, apply two coats of Rubbed Effect over several coats of Clear Varnish.

Wood Finish Gloss and Matte are the ultimate varnishes, without sanding. Both products are specifically formulated for oily woods like teak. The Gloss version has an ultra high gloss finish identical in appearance to the Clear Varnish. The Matte version looks its best when applied over multiple coats of Wood Finish Gloss or one of the Clear varnishes. It has a rich matte finish similar to being hand rubbed. Of course the real beauty of this product is no sanding between coats, as long as you re-coat within 72 hours. If you don’t put on another coat in the 72 hour window, only a light sanding is required. 

If you’ve ever thought about putting on new non-skid on your slippery, faded, and worn out deck but don’t want the expense of a professionally applied system, you need to discover the wonder that is Kiwi Grip. Kiwi Grip is 100% do-it-yourself friendly. I did it, so it must be easy!

The application process is easy. Clean the deck of any oils, dirt, or grime. Tape off and cover anything you don’t want the product to get on, get a can of Kiwi Grip, trowel it on, and use the special roller to the desired grip.
If you’ve ever seen a textured ceiling, you’ve essentially seen the effects of Kiwi Grip. The thick consistency of the product along with the special roller truly allows the user to get the consistency and grip they desire. You can be very aggressive with the grip in some areas and less in others. It’s a truly customizable product.

Some of the other attributes that I love about the product is that its water based, non-toxic, and so easy to clean up. I put Kiwi Grip on my boat last spring prior to launch and it’s been fantastic. I’ve sailed on super hot days in bare feet, in nasty storms with big waves, and have never heard a complaint from passenger or crew. We will bring a sample of the finished product to the show for you to check out.

West Systems epoxy is a, “versatile, 2-part, marine-grade epoxy that bonds and coats fiberglass, wood, metal, fabrics, and other composite materials to provide superior strength and moisture resistance.” West Systems is used for boat building including super yachts, household repairs, restoration, and even in high-end crafts and works of art. The superior bonding strength and reliability make it known around the world as the premium marine epoxy solution.

We will have epoxies, fillers, how-to books, and supplemental materials to get you on the right track for your project. There’s so much product and so many options that no one newsletter can cover all the material. You’ll just have to come to the booth and ask the experts!

A close up of Kiwi Grip application. It's so easy!