Home Tech Tips


MISSING MESSENGER - I wanted to replace the second reefing line and carefully tied the existing reefing line to a thin messenger.  They came apart inside the boom, leaving me with no way to pull the new line through. The solution was to feed a 3 core electric cable through the boom, it had the flexibility and rigidity to make the task simple - if only I had thought of it earlier!

Tech Tips


Damp the Swing - We have had a stabilizer sail (anchor sail) for 15 years, recently Jinti suggested that she would have more room on the stern if it were raised - why not? It is now !!  The sail is attached to the back stay with metal hanks and hauled up with the topping lift.  To reduce noise the back stay has a plastic sheath.  The foot of the sail is attached the boom at the clew of the mainsail which allows the tension to be adjusted. Dead simple and the sail significantly reduces the swing that so challenges the anchor.  The default action when anchoring is to raise the stabilizer - takes 5 minutes.


More Room in the Cockpit - The cockpit is small by modern standards and made smaller by the “Wheel”. Removing the wheel to increase space is simple but there are occasions when you need to steer the boat at short notice.  So on the occasions when we need to increase the cockpit seating from 4 to 6 we replace the “wheel” with a steering “arm”. The “arm” is made of aluminium and bolted to a boss that fits the “keyed” wheel axle.  It takes 2 minutes to switch from wheel to arm and vice versa - and yes - it is simple to steer the boat with the “arm” alone. But do not stop there - why not add a table surface where the wheel once was? Rotate the “arm” through 180 and sit the “aft” table on top. Drinks for six - no problem!


Powder Fire Extinguishers, a necessary and expensive pain - is there an alternative?  - Selkie Dancer had the usual powder fire extinguishers (for fire types A,B,C) in the cabin and a halcyon extinguisher (for fires B,C) in the engine bay - having them serviced is a pain and, all too often, ignored.  Enter the “Fire Safety Stick”, suitable for all types of fire (A,B,C and D), runs for 50 seconds, leaves no mess and lasts for 10 years.  The only burden is training the boat’s complement to recognise and activate them (they can easily be mistaken for a flare!). For more information see :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9scWIQW5KY4 , or https://firesafetystick.com/about/

Have I been conned ?  

You can pay a lot of money for a “Y” section boom. Or pay less and have a metal smith bend aluminium plate and rivet it to the boom. Why bother?  If you, in the interests of safety and comfort, have raised the boom (we have) to make more headroom under the boom and bimini, you have also raised the sail pack and lazy jacks.  The “Y” configuration makes both more accessible and so it is easier to stow and cover the mainsail.

The Bimini - 4th Edition

The original UK Bimini was a blue canvas deck house with the sides rolled up.  In Malta we replaced the deck house with a simple blue canvas “roof” on the original folding frame.  This in turn gave way to a rigid (unable to fold) frame with a larger white(ish) roof - white is significantly cooler than blue. This had screens that zipped on and could be rolled up.  The zips perished in the sun, the roll ups were untidy and the sun crept in under the eves and the forward section did not cover the companion way hatch.  Time for the rethink that added a frame forward, canvas that come down over the “eves”, side screens that hooked into holes and are easily moved.  Early days but I am very happy with the extra protection and ease of operation.

The Brief

Fwd Frame

Roll up option - untidy

Hooked on but not pulled out