Category Archives: Kit and Kaboodle

Is there a hamster onboard?

hamsterWith a top opening fridge, the biggest challenge is always preventing everything getting squished at the bottom and turning into a prime evil swamp. Also it is impossible to get anything out quickly. We had some hamster baskets (without the hamster) made to fit our fridge. These are wire baskets that sit on each other – it also means we can fit much more in the fridge and still get to it all quickly.

Baltic Bits

The lack of tides mean that the Baltic opens up many new types of mooring which are made easier with having the right set up. Whilst it will take a while before we pass as natives – having the right kit at least makes it easier. We bought our is Sweden as the kit is readily available and possible the one thing that is actually cheaper than the UK.

WP_20150404_14_23_50_Pro_editedBow Ladders – given that most moorings either in marinas or tying up to a rock mean that you come in bows to – the only way to get off safely is by using bow ladders. This prevents sprained ankles and makes it a very easy process. But it doesn’t stop the heart failure as you bring your boat within a meter of solid granite. Ours are made by Batsystem.

Mooring Hook – in many locations your stern is tied to a buoy. There are 2 types of hook. One which is just an open hook – which works as long as the hook is under tension – which is more difficult to handle if you are short handed. The other has a safety catch to lock it onto the buoy.

WP_20150621_14_00_38_Pro_editedStone Hooks and Hammer – If you are tying up to a rock then these get hammered into the cracks to give you a point to tie up to, as trees aren’t always in the right place.

Self Locking Safety Hook – this is used around trees and allows you quickly tie up to a tree. The hook is on the end of the rope and you hook it back on the rope. The hook doesn’t open when under pressure and needs to be bent 120 degrees to open it up.

Stern Anchor – All the locals use a bruce anchor, but the next question is what size should you get? We have a 20kg anchor with 2 m of 10mm chain for 42ft boat. The size is also determined by what you can handle without giving yourself a hernia.

WP_20150404_20_07_58_ProAnchoring Davit – whilst this isn’t essential – it certainly saves our backs and the gel coat. Ours is made by NOA. It folds down when in harbour.

Anchor chain holder – a convenience tube to store the chain

Ankarolina – very useful for stern anchoring or when mooring to a buoy when short handed. When it is running out Mags hands it to me and I don’t have to worry about it tangling up. Likewise when bringing it up the reel makes it easy to store. Ours is 56m and 35mm width.

WP_20150518_09_38_24_ProRubbing strake ropes – Box moorings are very common in Denmark and Germany and boats designed for the Baltic have rubbing strakes. An alternative is to use wide rope suspended along the length of the boat. You can either buy them ready made or make them yourself.

Useful chandleries:

Sweden: SeaSea, Watski,

Denmark:

The Cattle Prodder

Mags gets sea sick in anything above sea state smooth. Being tied up in a marina is no guarantee that she will escape the dreaded mal de mer. On one occasion after a bouncy lunch stop in Cowes, Mags showed her colours as we past Royal Yacht Squadron. ( I like to say it was more because at the time they wouldn’t allow woman to join)

CaptureThen we discovered the cattle prodder…. Worn on the wrist it produces a small electrical current – which does leave a small mark when being worn (hence our name for it) – but it works and actually works – so much so that Mags can cook down below. It has transformed her enjoyment of sailing.

The comfort quest version is no longer available but I understand the Relief Band works the same way

Staying Put

When setting up the boat, I wanted an electronic anchor alarm. The chart plotter has an  alarm but it is too  quiet plus it is at other end of the boat – so it would never wake you up. Also it’s current draw is too high. The other option was a hand held GPS with anchor alarm but the alarm is very basic – set by a distance that you judge and enter.

WP_20150606_07_07_37_Pro_editedWith Anchor –  you mark the anchor by hitting a symbol on the app at the point that you drop the anchor (shown as an anchor on the photo). This ensures that any swing is always measured from the anchor. If you forget to mark it when you set the anchor you can shift the little anchor symbol to where you believe the anchor is. It then tracks where the boat wanders and shows it graphically on the screen. It colours different time periods as different coloured tracks. You then set a guard alarm by dragging the circle to the desired distance (red circle on the photo).

WP_20150712_14_52_54_Pro_editedThe advantage of this is that you can watch the boat for a while and see the maximum swing and then set the guard zone slightly beyond that. You can also set the guard alarm as a sector not a circle. The other big advantage is that the alarm is a very very loud siren…. and it does wake you up. See how it earned its keep. If you connect your iPad to the Internet it will send you an email or dial a iPhone if it drags – though I haven’t tested either of these features. We run it without charts but you can get it to superimpose onto a map or satellite view – though you have to be on the internet to do this. Which is not so practical – it would be great if it could off line charts. We run it on an iPad with a Bad Elf attached as a GPS – as it more accurate than the internal GPS of the iPad.