Seasoned skippers and Yachting Monthly experts give their advice on a whole range of issues for the cruising sailor

Flushing the outboard

A fender filled with fresh water with an outboard sitting in it

The fender is slipped over the leg of the outboard and filled with fresh water

We are advised to flush our outboard engines with fresh water after every use in the sea. This will prevent accumulations of salt that can block coolant passages and may harm the engine.

But it’s not always convenient to flush your outboard motor after a long day on the water, and few marinas have a fresh water tank anyway.

This idea costs nothing, is extremely portable and can be used on board.

Headshot of Vyv Cox

Vyv Cox is a chartered engineer and has been sailing for more than 50 years

It’s simply an old boat fender with one end cut off. The weight of the water can be taken mainly by a line through the original eye 
at the bottom, tied off to the pushpit in the photograph above.

After some experimentation 
I also drilled two holes at the upper end using a 20mm hole-cutter to further support the weight without tearing the soft plastic.

The device will work with any outboard engine that has a gearbox but it cannot cope with a rotating propeller.

Some outboards have a larger propeller and cavitation plate and may need a bigger fender than mine: select one that fits.

Slide the fender over the leg, tie top and bottom, fill with water and run the engine for a few minutes.

If a hosepipe is available keep this running into the fender for additional flushing effect.

Then untie 
the upper line, allowing the fender to invert, tipping the water overboard.

The fender 
can then be rolled up and stowed in a small space ready for the next time.

Vyv Cox

Preventing seasickness

A man on a deck of a yacht feeling seasick

There are plenty of things you can do to alleviate the misery of seasickness

Seasickness develops when your senses get confused. The information processed from your vision is at odds with the information received from your ears (balance).

At sea, our ears tell us we are in motion (sailing along – balance is disrupted) but our eyes tell us we are stationary inside the boat. This leads to varying levels of seasickness.

Seasickness remedies work differently from one person to the next. Try them all 
and find the one that works best for you.

Medication such as Kwells contains hyoscine hydrobromide, which works by reducing stimulation to the inner ear (a children’s version of the drug is available for over 4s).

Antihistimanes such as Sturgeron contain cinnarizine, which also blocks messages sent from the the inner ear to the area of the brain known as the vomiting centre. This can be used for children over five.

Polly Philipson

Polly Philipson is the digital marketing manager for Grenada Bluewater Sailing and has experience in the sailing industry

Medication should be taken before sailing but be aware it can cause side effects such as a dry mouth and drowsiness. You don’t want to fall asleep on watch!

Some of the common home remedies 
for seasickness are ginger (fresh, biscuits or in tea or sweets), bananas, grapefruit juice, boiled sweets, acupuncture and pressure-point wristbands.

Don’t give up! Repeated short bursts of exposure help your senses get used to 
the experience of sailing.

Often, sailors experience seasickness a few times only and then their body adjusts.

Keep busy on board – helming, trimming the sails and working 
on deck.

Some find the opposite works best though, such as controlling your breathing, sitting still and staring at the horizon.

Don’t forget that the best treatment is an understanding skipper and crew!

Polly Philipson

Halyard headache

A skipper checking the lines on his mast

Check the masthead fairleads and sheaves aren’t fraying halyards

I recently replaced my old rope-to-wire genoa halyard with all-rope.


Norman Kean, FRIN, edits the Irish Cruising Club’s Sailing Directions. He and wife Geraldine sail a Warrior 40

I stitched the two end to end and used the old one to pull the new one through.

Three months later the genoa fell on the deck, with six inches of frayed halyard attached.

I hadn’t realised the halyard passed through a bronze bullseye fairlead.

Over 27 years the wire halyard had worn 
the bullseye, creating sharp edges.

When applying a force to a rope, be sure you know what’s happening at the other end!

Norman Kean