Monday 27 October 2014

Ocean Swell Forecast Upgrade from PredictWind for Sailors

Since our recent PredictWind blog (31 August 2014), PredictWind have updated their Swell forecast module on their site.

When you are on passage and in seas as shown in these images, you want to know all you can about wave size, direction, wind strength, location and how long these conditions are going to last in your area of the ocean that you are sailing.

Classic yacht Owl sailing in big swell
PredictWind have now combined their forecast data with ocean current data and by accounting for the effect of wind on swells, can give more accurate swell forecasts. 

Large swell sailing
Included is the effect islands and land masses can have on dampening down of the swells and directional changes. Also, more territories have been added.

This update from PredictWind gives the sailor more accurate data of the swell conditions over what area and with the comfort then, of how long he is going to be in them and/or sail out of them.

Images and video courtesy YouTube

You can read much more about sailing in heavy weather conditions in my book 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' downloadable from my website

Thursday 9 October 2014

Sailboat Seacock Replacement Whilst Afloat, with Seabung

Did you know that half of boat sinkings at moorings or in marinas are a result of underwater through hull fitting failures? This comes about from neglect and the thought of the cost of having to haul the boat to replace these fittings. This is madness of course, but the statistics prove that it happens many more times than it should. On average, once a vessel has sunk or partially submerged, even for a short time, the cost of fixing the damage is around 40% of the value of the boat - considerably more than the haul out cost!

Along comes 'Seabung' with their flexible tool which enables you to remove your seacocks for checking and replacing if necessary, without having to get your boat out of the water and onto the hard.

This is how it works:

Here is the result from a test carried out by Sailing Today's Toby Heppell: 

'The product, which is designed in the UK and made in Rutland, is essentially a pair of flexible rubber pads on the end of bendy sticks, suited for plugging holes of 19mm to 63mm. The idea is that you can plunge it through almost any shaped hole, including through a seacock, where it will deploy under the hydrostatic pressure of the surrounding water.

I was wary of taking Seabung at its word by removing a hose from a seacock and testing it on my own boat. Instead, I plunged it through the through-hull fitting for the log, knowing I could easily remove it and plug the hole if necessary. The flexible dome passed easily through the hole, but on the moderately steep-V of the forefoot, it couldn’t easily form a seal, and water continued to enter, albeit at a reduced rate. So far, wooden bung 1, Seabung 0.

To give it a fairer workout, I cut a 2in (5cm) hole in the base of a plastic storage crate, which I then pressed into the water. Here, on a flat surface, the bung performed better, even when the crate was moved back and forth through the water.'

Whilst it looks fine for replacing the seacock itself, the replacement of a corroded or damaged stem would be an entirely different story and could only be achieved when the boat is in the yard. 

So don't be disposing of your wooden or rubber bungs yet, and as always, make sure you have the correct sized bung affixed with a durable cable tie to the through hull fitting.

Seabung pack with 60mm and 90mm tools
On balance therefore, for the modest cost of the Seabung, carrying a two pack set could be a worthwhile addition to your onboard maintenance inventory.  

Report courtesy and video courtesy YouTube  

You can read much more about sailboat maintenance and the cruising lifestyle in my book 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' downloadable from my website