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The Voyages of s/v Silverheels III
...a virtual ship's logbook, and some thoughtful (unabashed?) reflections on our sea-going experiences.
The New Cruisers' Duct Tape?
01/28/2012, Mt Hartman Bay, Grenada

What I am going to say may be heresy to some. I admit it, and I am ready for the responses and the hoots of derision. However, I am no longer a complete believer. I no longer think that duct tape is the greatest thing since sliced bread on a cruising boat. There, I said it.

So what has drawn me away from the teachings of Red Green and many other wise people? What has made me open to ridicule and being pointed at in the street by passer-bys? "Rescue Tape" has made me a convert to its' powers.

"Rescue Tape" is a silicone-based self-almagamating tape. It's nice to have something that doesn't rely on an adhesive for its' holding power. After a tour of duty hanging out in the foc's'l of our boat, duct tape's adhesive can get a little uncooperative, often splitting its' attention between both sides of the tape. NOT helpful when you need it to to be somewhere of your choosing. The self-adhesive qualities of Rescue Tape means that the "stick factor" is impervious to temperature and the vagarities of humidity. Yes, it does require the tape to be wrapped around something, but that is often the purpose given to duct tape, too.

Okay, adhesiveness alone isn't enough for me to allow myself to be publicly ridiculed. How about the fact that this stuff is rated to temperatures up to 500 deg F? Holy Hades, Batman! You can actually put this stuff on a leak on an exhaust hose and have confidence that it won't be a melted puddle of gunk in the engine compartment in a matter of minutes.

This stuff is also rated to 8,000 volts.... what does this mean to a cruiser? It means that this tape can be used to insulate any connection on the boat. We don't use it alone, most of the time, but it has its' uses. For those with an SSB antenna, it can be used as insulation for the GTO cable to antenna connection. We've also used it as added insulation and strain relief on microphone cables, since ICOM doesn't seem capable of making microphones with good strain relief on their own. We cheated yesterday and used it to insulate a splice in one of our lamps (we took the dimmer out of the picture as it was not working). If you don't trust the connectors alone, a bit of this stuff will do the trick. Try that with duct tape; actually, please don't. It also doesn't create a mess if you need to remove it to get at something... that's the no adhesive thing again. We now use it in conjunction with coax-seal to waterproof our outdoor electrical and radio connections... it isn't anywhere near as messy as coax-seal to work with.

The next selling point for me is that it is also rated to 950 psi. Ah, so it can be used for engine leaks in other places, too! And because it is impervious to most chemicals, it won't degrade. Oh yeah, it is also UV resistant, too. Try leaving duct tape in the sun for a while. It's also waterproof, not that this is much of a surprise.

We were first introduced to this stuff when our buddy David had an emergency on his boat. The seal on his dripless shaft (good lord, that sounds rude) split, and he was taking on water at an alarming rate... literally; his alarm on the bilge pump went off. Someone else rushed over with this Rescue Tape and bound things together well enough for them to motor the boat around to the next bay and get hauled out.

We are going to try a couple of test strips on our anchor rode to see if it will work as an indicator of how much chain we have out. It will be easier to work with than paint, and it may not come off as easily. We bought a number of rolls at the Toronto Boat Show (cheap!) in different colours, so we will be able to use our familiar colour pattern on the chain as we have since the start.

I don't see people making quotes about this tape, like the many comments about duct tape. I don't see Red Green (who in real life IS a boater) changing his show for this stuff, but I do see how it is one more thing that can prove very useful on a sailing boat. Too bad it can't make coffee...

Limin' in the Caribbean
01/28/2012 | Genia
We also discovered Rescue Tape at the Toronto Boat Show a few of years ago. Best money ever spent. I've used it to seal a leak on my vacuum cleaner hose at home, and to close up the gap between the mast and mast boot, to keep rainwater from running down the mast. Last year we used some to repair an inconvenient electrical problem on a charter boat in St. Martin. Don't leave home without it!
01/28/2012 | Bill Hudson/Zephyr
I used it on a leak I had on an oil hose on my engine and the oil blew right past it. Oil seaped out where the tape ended even thought I extended the tape 5+ inches on either side of the small hole. I finally replaced the hose when I got to port.
Not a big favorite of mine. I've still got several rolls but hesitate to use them.
02/01/2012 | Marc D.
While the merits of Rescue Tape or any self-adhering silicon tape are many, I find it's too expensive for marking anchor chain or rode.

You might wish to consider Liquid Whipping for that job. It's a tip I read some time ago that I will be trying in the spring on my new rode. Word is it lasts a lot longer than paint, because it's really a rubbery plastic skin.
Don't Mess With Shade Man's Cruisers!
01/26/2012, Mt Hartman Bay, Grenada

The other day I bit the bullet and joined the cruiser shopping bus. It can be a great thing when everyone knows the stores and the drill, but it can be painfully slow at other times. Since I had to drop dirty laundry off, I went with Patrick "Shade Man" James' bus. Pat's also a friend of ours, so that was okay, too. Unfortunately, Ruth and I got soaked on the long dinghy ride over. The laundry had a pre-rinse.

Ruth and I walked from the bank stop up to the IGA mall. The rest of the group did ACE Hardware, the beer distributor and Budget Marine. With a couple of first timers, it was painfully slow. Lucky for us, we were relaxed in the mall, and had already picked up our doubles from Latta. When Pat finally showed up, we took a "joy ride" to Island Water World. I waited outside and ate a double.

We arrived back at the mall parking lot and waited for the some more of the grocery shoppers to arrive so we could do the first run back to the marina. As we waited, a Grenadian approached us saying "I spoke with your driver and he said it was okay to approach you".... okay. He proceeded to tell us about the fundraising for a roof for a school, and he had the paperwork with him to back him up. A few of us gave him a little money... and then Pat arrived back to the bus from herding cruisers. "Hey man, watch you doin' botherin' dese people?" Oh, so he didn't get permission, interesting. Some of the contributors asked for their money back, but Shatta Ricky (he is known in the area) took off for the mall and got away. A couple of us looked for him, and I alerted mall security as to his appearance and activity so they could keep an eye out for him. Apparently this guy is a con artist and has used excuses like fundraising for churches and schools as a way to, um, earn money.

Patrick was angry about this guy conning us. He took a swing around to the local police station to let them know that "Shatta is at it again". They weren't impressed that he bilked visitors to the island, and were going to keep an eye out for him. Patrick says they are used to arresting him.

We headed back to the marina. All of a sudden, Pat swerved to the other side of the road. I was riding shotgun, and saw what he saw... Shatta walking on the sidewalk. Pat yelled at him, Shatta started running, and Pat clipped him hard with the bus door. Pat then jumped out of the bus, grabbed his wooden stick he keeps for protection, and took off after the con man. Kirani James may not have been the fastest man in Grenada at that moment. I jumped out of the bus to follow, not to pound on Shatta, but to keep Patrick from doing too much damage. Fortunately for Shatta, Patrick didn't catch him.

It certainly made for some excitement for the shopping trip. And it proved that one does not mess with Patrick's cruisers.

Limin' in the Caribbean
01/27/2012 | Mike

So, if the cops are used to arresting this guy, why is he on the street? Do they just arrest him for a couple of hours and then let him go or what? I'm not necessarily suggesting that they should do anything different, I'm just curious.
01/27/2012 | Lynn
My guess is that he doesn't get much jail time when they get him. However, crimes against "tourists" are not well tolerated down here, and he may get a little "lesson" from the police. He's more of a nuisance than a menace in the grand scheme of things.

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