YM readers air their views

The YM postbag was full to overflowing again – here are some of the letters that couldn’t be squeezed into the April issue

Amateur survey
The response in Any Questions regarding paying a deposit on a private purchase could be seen as fair for the reasons Edmund Whelan outlines. However, I would have potentially fallen foul of a situation when I sold a previous yacht where the purchaser had a survey carried out by a ‘friend’ who checked for osmosis in about 25 places using an angle grinder to remove antifouling, epoxy treatment and some of the gelcoat. The moisture readings were low and the purchaser went ahead with the deal. Whether the readings are still low following the patch repairs I have no idea. Had the deal not gone through I would have needed to use some of the deposit to repair the damage done by this amateur surveyor.
John C Heath

First-class service
The galley freshwater pump fitted on my boat recently failed. After dismantling, the bronze lever arm was found to have corroded and broken. The defective part was returned to the manufacturers of Whale Pumps, Munster Simms Engineering of Bangor, Northern Ireland. Although out of guarantee, the firm replaced the complete pump with a new unit and sent a letter of apology, without quibbling.
It is good to be able to report this example of excellent public relations and first-class service from a British company.
Martin Losh, Lymington (by email)

‘Go for it’ approach
Thank you for the Question of Seamanship column. It provides an excellent
opportunity to discuss pertinent scenarios. The February question created much debate amongst our crew. When we eventually read Bill Anderson?s answer, the debate became increasingly heated. To me there are 3 golden rules a sailor should observe when faced with a scenario such as this:
1. Reef as soon as the thought enters your mind.
2. Never leave a weather shore in deteriorating weather conditions.
3. Remember, the desire to ?get home? can blind one?s judgement.
Bill Anderson’s ‘go for it’ approach relies on the assumption that the boat has stayed in good working order after an increasingly challenging passage. What if the sails had torn, or the engine wouldn’t start (think of that bilge water swirling around). Their yacht would not only have been buffeted by the two converging tidal streams from the IOW, but also would have been liable to grounding on the sand banks either side of the Chichester entrance or the lee shore at Bracklesham. A far more sensible course of action, in my view, would have been to stay in the lee of the Isle of Wight and enter Bembridge harbour on the flood tide, tie up and relax. If the gale force winds did not materialise for another 12 hours then all they would have lost is a night’s berthing fee and/or the cost of their journey home by public transport. If the winds had come sooner, as they occasionally do, they may not have made it home at all. I can see the point that Bill is making in his answer and it is clearly designed to promote discussion (as is my reply). However, the ‘go for it’ approach we are all tempted to adopt when nearing home after a long passage keeps lifeboat crews very busy indeed.
Ian McCrae, Lewes (by email)

Wrong courtesy flag
There have been several comments in your magazine recently about the incorrect use of courtesy flags by UK yachts visiting other parts of the UK. While accepting that this is strictly speaking incorrect, I see little harm in this friendly acknowledgement of the diversity within our kingdom. For foreign yachts, of course, the national or regional flag should be worn inferior to the red ensign from the starboard cross-tree.
However, yachts visiting Scotland need to take care that they use the correct national flag (the St Andrew’s Cross or ‘Saltire’) is a white cross on a light blue background). This is very different from the navy blue background of the Union Jack, and indeed the international code flag M.
Visitors might be forgiven for the confusion, for many so-called nationalists don’t seem to know the correct colour either. And the Scottish football /rugby strip is, confusingly navy blue but that is another very long story!
However, lazy chandlers seem to be the route cause. A quick scan of a range of mail-order brochures showed all of them offering the wrong flag as the St Andrew’s Cross. Come on, flag makers, get it right!
Tom Watson, Edinburgh (by email)

Windscreen for Sovereign 32
I recently purchased one of the above boats with a tatty spray hood. It had the usual problem – the clear vinyl “window” was discoloured and the distortion was so great that you could only see blurred visions through it. I decided rather than replace it, I would try to fix a solid curved perspex screen.
Eventually, after weeks of effort, I finally managed to create a “mould” from which a local manufacturer produced the screen. Amazingly, it’s quite a reasonable fit! Rather than dismantle the mould the thought struck me that another reader might like such a screen, which could be made by the same manufacturer, who retains the mould for the time being. If anyone is interested they can contact me on 01923 855860.
Robert Tompkins (by email)