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Ten top tips to make you a better sailor

Ten top tips to make you a better sailor

What top ten sailing tips will help you enjoy sailing in the most fun and safe way? You might be surprised to know that it all starts long before you step aboard your sailboat. Use these little known secrets for day sailing, weekend cruising, or for coastal and offshore sailing.

Sailing clothes

1. Pack the Right Clothes.

There’s a saying that goes something like this “There is no such thing as bad weather-only bad clothing”. Makes a lot of sense-in particular in a dynamic environment like sailing. So the first of our ten top tips to make you a better sailor, is put together a small duffel bag with the “must have” sailing gear. Include a foul weather jacket, complete change of clothes, wide-brimmed hat and a wooly hat. That way, if you get spray or rain or stay out longer than expected, you will stay dry and warm (or cool) in most any sailing weather.

2. Bring Your Own “Grab Bag”.

The second of our ten top tips to make you a better sailor is to make up a personal “must have” bag. Match the contents to the type of sailing you do. Your grab-bag will be the one thing you grab in an emergency. If you need to leave the boat for any reason, you need common items like extra keys, wallet, cell phone, change, and identification in order to get home safe and sound. Pack your personal grab bag now to give you peace-of-mind for safer sailing. And don’t forget your action camera to capture those photos or video footage!

3. Carry a Sailing Knife.

It’s a known fact that sailors, both young and old have drowned because they’ve either gone overboard or capsized and become tied up in ropes and rigging. Having a sharp knife to hand can help prevent this scenario. More people get cut by blunt knives because they don’t give the blade the respect it deserves, and they become sloppy with it!

It’s understandable that folks tend to shun knives and similar equipment on their belts. It’s a bit weighty, adds bulk on a hot day, and many like to sail unencumbered. The third of our ten top tips to make you a better sailor is to find a small compact knife that will fit into a sheath or has a clip that will fasten to your sailing shorts. Carry it when you go sailing. Not below packed in a bag–but on your shorts or trousers. If you need to use it for cutting rope or in an emergency, it will be with you, ready in the blink-of-an-eye.

4. Build Up Wrist Strength.

Did you realize that wrist injuries and soreness plague sailors? You use your wrists to steer the boat, crank on winches, hoist or lower sails, lower or raise the anchor, move forward or aft on the boat, or brace yourself below in the cabin when heeled over. The fourth of our ten top tips to make you a better sailor is to use a soft ball like a tennis ball and squeeze; hold for ten seconds; release. Repeat this while you walk or sit several times a day. This simple exercise will help build up this often-forgotten vital muscle fast and easy and lessen the chance of injury aboard any sailboat you sail aboard.


Weather reports

5. Listen to the 24-hour Weather Forecast.

The fifth  of our ten top tips to make you a better sailor is to check the weather. Expect to be out longer than you plan. Turn on the Weather Radio and listen to the forecast for the next 24 hours. How will the wind shift? Will this create a long hard slog to windward back to the marina slip or pier? If you go out for a day-sail, consider sailing to windward early on so the sail back will be an easy reach or run. Look for anchorages along your sailing route in case the weather turns foul. Become weather wise to keep your sailing fun and safe for you and your sailing crew.

6. Know Your Anchoring Techniques.

No piece of vital sailing gear gets ignored more than the boat anchor. The sixth of our ten top tips is to make sure that the anchor aboard any boat you sail on will be ready to lower within 10 seconds. Check the parts of the anchor from the bitter end of the anchor rode where it ties to your boat, all the way down the rope rode, anchor chain, anchor shackles, and all parts of the anchor itself (ring, shank, flukes). Keep this number one life-insurance/boat insurance gear in tip-top shape for worry-free sailing worldwide.

7. Inspect Your Sailboat from Bow to Stern.

The seventh of our ten top tips is to start at the bow and check the anchor, lifelines, turnbuckle fittings, cotter pin integrity, standing rigging like boom vangs, traveler lines, mainsheet and Genoa sheets. Look for chafed line, missing cotter pins, bent anchor shank or distorted turnbuckle barrels. Take five minutes to check your boat before you get underway to save you the headache of an unexpected fitting failure underway.


Nautical charts

8. Use Nautical Charts Along with Electronics.

The eighth of our ten top tips is to read the opening screen of any electronic GPS or chart plotter and the disclaimer warns about total reliance on that gear. Purchase the paper charts you need for your sailing area. If you day sail, carry aboard a large-scale (magnified) chart of your sailing grounds. If you coastal cruise, you need navigational charts of the coastline, approaches to harbors, and inner harbor areas. Offshore sailors need the same and more. Paper charts back up the electronics. Electronics can never replace paper charts. Stay safe and sound when you carry the paper charts you need for sailing safety. And if you are one of those sailors who only use electronic charts, make sure you always zoom in when plotting a course as some danger features such as rocks only show up when zoomed in quite a bit!

9. Practice Boat Maneuvers and Control.

The ninth of our ten top tips is to spend part of each sailing day and practice one specific maneuver. Toss a fender overboard and tack or jibe to see if you can sail your boat up to the fender, stop alongside the object with the sails luffing, and retrieve the object. When we practice this we tie a bucket and coiled rope to the fender to create more drag. You want to be able to get it back and it not drift off into the sunset! The more your practice intricate maneuvers the better you will be at sailing in tight quarters, turning your boat around in an emergency, or coming alongside a float, pier, or mooring buoy under sail alone.


Read plenty of books

10. Read and Learn About Sailing Each Day.

Legendary sailor and author Hal Roth once said “A good sailor is always studying and learning and asking questions”. Whether you are stuck in a place far from the coast, waiting for winter to end, or find that you just don’t have time for sailing right now–never, ever stop learning. Finally the tenth of our ten top tips is to each day, set yourself a goal to learn something new about sailing. Learn a new sailing term, read up on the latest sailing equipment, or visit a sailing forum like Sailnet or Sailing Anarchy to see what experienced sailors have to say. Discover something new each day to become more comfortable and confident in sailing.

Follow these ten top sailing tips for smoother, safer, more fun sailing. This will give you the confidence and skills you need to enjoy one of the life’s greatest pleasures–wherever in the world you choose to go sailing!

Carl and Jenny SV Dream

If you enjoyed this blog post please check out our Freebies page where you can download other guides, and if you’re feeling really good consider having a look at our Support us page. You can find over 100 videos giving more tips over on our Patron Page.

An update on this years sailing season

Well firstly we must apologise for the gap in updating our blog page. To be honest and frank, we didn’t think it appropriate to be posting about us while the world has been put on hold. We have paused our regular videos on YouTube (although our Patron only videos have still being going out), but now we think it’s about time we can start posting them again, now that the world is getting back to a bit of normality, albeit, still a different one to that which we had become accustomed to.

So what’s happening aboard Dream, I hear you say!

Well throughout the lockdown period we had been fostering a beautiful dog, Sam, who was waiting for the lockdown to lift so that he could be flown to his forever home in the UK. We became quite attached to him, and in all honesty, if we weren’t planning on sailing we would have kept him. The lockdown lifted for sailing in Greece came at the beginning of June, however Sam’s flight was booked for the 15th, assuming they were going to fly then. We decided that rather than him have to go into another foster home we would stay and look after him until then.
Two days before he was due to leave the couple who were going to have him pulled out. Now there is a waiting list for the dogs that are rescued here so rehoming him was never going to be a problem, however the 15th came and went. It wasn’t until the 27th June that we finally had to say goodbye to this lovely companion who turned out to be one of the most loyal, faithful and loving dogs we have had. After a lump in throat farewell we could get back to our sailing plans.

Sailing Plans

We needed a few days to get the boat transferred from its ‘winter living in the marina’ mode to “I’m a sailboat lets go” mode. Most of the jobs were done, just an engine oil change, a bit more fuel and some supplies and we could be off. Oh, not forgetting paying the dreaded TEPAI cruising tax and fetching our ship papers from the Port Police.
29th June and the TEPAI tax was paid online, the marina office printed off a hard copy of our receipt which we could present to the Police in order to get our papers back. 1st July, trip to the port Police, 10 minutes later we had our papers and were legally set to go.

I needed to complete the oil, filter and fuel filter service prior to leaving. Oil and oil filter done, engine started to run it through the engine and that is where the problem started. The revs started hunting up and down, there was a cloud of white smoke and then the engine stopped and refused to restart!
Now from my limited mechanic skills, I was adamant it was nothing I had done, or related to the oil change. I hadn’t started on the fuel system but I thought that it was a fuel starvation problem or contaminated fuel. The fact the smoke was white and not black indicated fuel issues. I removed the primary fuel filter, and there in the bottom of the collection chamber was what every sailor dreads, the signs of diesel bug. It’s actually a living organism that grows in the water content in the diesel, has a snot like consistency and doesn’t do your fuel system any favours. So all indications were that our fuel was contaminated.

Off to the chandlers where we purchased a 12v pump and a fuel polishing filter and some hose. Next we had to find enough jerry cans to empty our fuel tank. Two days later, the fuel had been emptied, cleaned and polished and was looking good. A check of the interior of the tank was pleasing, NO BUG! It looks like that the only bit of bug we had was in the bottom of the primary fuel filter casing. The fuel was returned to the tank. With new fuel filters fitted and the system bled we should be good to go. Ignition on, starter engaged……………Not starting. Try again…….nothing. Fuel was getting to the high pressure pump but no further!

The following day I spoke with a local mechanic who said it could be the high pressure fuel pump that was blocked. Specialist tools required, testing etc = big bill. And if it needed replacing €2776.00!!! What?

As luck would have it the following morning a boat near to us which had been vacant all winter had someone moving around. A neighbour mentioned they’d heard the owner was a mechanic. The sun was shining that day, yes he was a diesel mechanic with 30yrs experience under his belt. An hour later he was up to his armpits sucking diesel, blowing here, fiddling with that etc.
The diagnosis was hat the fuel lift pump was not delivering enough fuel and that a replacement would be required. I went online and found a place, not far from where we lived in the UK that had the part. A quick phonecall, a credit card and it was on its way. Only problem was it would take up to two weeks to arrive. No problem, we could get everything else ready to go.

That night we received a family phone call, without going into details here, we had to make a decision. Jen was booking a flight to return to the UK for almost 4 weeks, the longest time we would have to spend apart since we met when we were 16 and 18yrs old. Not something we were looking forward to but needs must.
The earliest flight was booked and we decided I would stay with the boat so when the new part arrives I can do the repair so when Jen returns in August we can more or less set off sailing straight away.

So, that’s where we are to date. I’m sat here on the boat doing a few little jobs and Jen is back in the UK with family. It feels really strange being apart but it’s only for a short time and sometimes you have to put other people’s needs before your own. I can’t wait for her to get back though.

If you enjoyed this blog post please check out our Freebies page where you can download other guides, and if you’re feeling really good consider having a look at our Support us page.

Episode 3 of our podcast out now!

We are really enjoying making these podcasts. As has been said to us, this is the real us. We come across in podcasts as we tend to be in real life. Discover our personalities and how we are with each other on a day to day basis.

In this episode we go to celebrate Burns night in the marina, roll into Carl’s birthday celebration and get down and dirty spillin’ the beans on each other.

Comment below if you’d like to see a video version of future podcasts. Or just topics you want us to talk about!

We’ve got a new Podcast channel

We are always looking to give our followers more content and enjoyment so we have put together something we have been talking about for some time… yes, we now have in addition to all of our other social media stuff, a Podcast!

Now this is something we have been thinking of doing for quite a while now to add a different aspect to our day to day lives, and to record something that might not always come across in videos.
So after much deliberation we have now posted our first podcast.

What’s different from our podcast in comparison to our video productions, is that our podcasts are going to be a bit more diversified in content, They are not going to be just about our sailing experiences, but more about our view and outlook on life in general.
We hope to keep it humorous and fun and hope you will get some joy and laughter from it, and may also pick up a tip or two on how to keep your marriage/relationship on the right lines. We have been married now for almost 28 years and have been together as a couple for almost 36 years, so we think we know a bit about living together as a couple!!

We hope you will enjoy this alternative content. We will still continue to post our videos but hope this is something you can listen to in different environments and still get enjoyment from (car, gym, walking etc).

Anyhow check out our Podcasting hosting channel. You can also find us on iTunes, Spotify and other Podcast outlets.

Let us know what you think, and feel free to send us questions or topics you would like us to cover.

The first episode is just a quick intro to the channel. We are aiming to publish one podcast a week so please subscribe on whatever podcasting platform you use.

Thanks again and we hope you enjoy the show.

How to service a Lewmar winch

How to service a Lewmar Ocean ST50 winch

Lewmar Ocean ST50 winch

All sailboats are fitted with winches, some are self tailing and others are just standard winches. Some boats, generally larger yachts, even have electric winches to make life a bit easier. These are useful if single handing or when handling big sails. Read below on how to service a Lewmar winch.

On our boat we have a total of 5 cockpit winches. We have two Lewmar 42’s for controlling the mainsheet, topping lift, halyards, kicker and main sail furler. We have 2 Lewmar 50’s for the Genoa sheets and lastly a Lewmar 40 electric winch for the headsail fuller.

About winches

Winches are probably one of the most used pieces of equipment on a boat. They are built to sustain quite heavy work and will keep going and going without hardly, if any, maintenance. However, they really should be serviced once a year.

Many sailors don’t bother thinking “If it aint broke, don’t fix it!”

You might get away with it for some time but if it does fail due to lack of care and maintenance then the cost of replacement is massive.


So for us, we service our winches once a year, normally at the end of the season. To do it thoroughly probably takes a couple of hours per winch, but the benefits are well worth it.

If ever you have taken the roller off of a winch “just to have a look” you may feel a bit intimidated seeing all the cogs and gearing, yes it does look complicated but in actual fact they are quite simple and servicing is a job anyone can do.

Below is a list of things to go through when servicing your winch. Take a look, then watch our video where Carl services one of our Lewmar ST50 manual winches and what he found when examining it. Although this refers to a Lewmar ST50 winch, most winches are similar so you should still find this helpful.

Lewmar Winch Service

1. Prepare to service the Lewmar winch. You’ll need a large tray, a plastic sheet to cover your table (we use a bin liner), an old toothbrush, gear or winch grease, and gear oil. Some kitchen roll, a bin liner, protective gloves, flathead screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a solvent, we use petrol but you can use white spirit.

2. First job is to dismantle the winch. It’s quite simple, firstly unscrew the plastic top cap (some winches may have a stainless steel one). Then remove the chrome feeder arm, this just pulls up. Once done you can pull up and remove the drum. Be careful as there are two big sealed  bearings inside. Sometimes they will stay on the shaft and other times they will lift out inside the drum. Place the items in the tray. If this is the first time you are doing this it might be beneficial to get someone to film you so if you forget where things go you can watch the video as a reminder. Next remove the pins that hold the gears, insert a screwdriver in the top and carefully prise it upwards, then you can pull them out. Slide out the gearing cogs. There will be a small plastic washer underneath the cogs, be sure to retain it.

Stripping down the Lewmar ST50 winch

3. We soak all the parts in petrol to remove the old grease.. Using a toothbrush and rag get all the old grease and grime off every part – cogs, bearings, rods, washers, winch base, winch cover – everything.

De-greasing the gearing

4. Lightly grease everything except the Pawl and Pawl Spring. You’ll want to use gear oil on that instead. Make sure to lightly grease every part – inside, outside, in the corners and grooves. You don’t want blobs of grease anywhere as theses can harden over time. Lightly goes is the key.

Greasing the bearings on the Lewmar ST50 winch

5. Put everything back together in the opposite manner than when you took everything off. Double check there’s no bits left in the tray…. If there is re-assemble 😉
Once it’s all back together give the winch a few turns with the winch handle which will ensure all the moving parts will have got grease on.

Re-assembling the gearing

Thats it, you’re good to go.

Now you’ve read how to do it, click on the video below and watch Carl service one of our winches. how to do it.

If you enjoyed this blog post please check out our Freebies page where you can download other guides, and if you’re feeling really good consider having a look at our Support us page.

Repair and Improve Your Boat’s Essential Systems

Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual:

Boat owners mechanical and electrical manual

THE guide to fixing everything on your boat!

Well as you know, one of the things with boats is that because they are constantly moving there is always something going wrong, wearing out or just breaking. As a result a quick and good repair/replacement part is required. This is the guide to fixing everything on your boat.

Now when you’ve been doing it for a long time I suppose it’s like anything else, you get to expect and know what’s what! That’s how we gain experience isn’t it?

Well we have a book onboard that takes away most of the mystery, makes it easy to understand and offers advice etc on what and how to do things, explaining it so that even the first timer can understand. Yes, you do need to be a bit practically minded, but, the way it describes things makes it quite easy to understand.

To quote Amazon’s review : “This manual takes both novice and experienced boatowner through minor to major repairs of electrical systems, engines, electronics, steering systems, generators, pumps, cookers, spars and rigging.

When it was first published in 1990, the Boatowner’s Mechanical & Electrical Manual broke new ground. It was hailed as the first truly DIY manual for boatowners and has sold in its thousands ever since. There have been significant changes in boat systems since then, particularly electrical systems. This fourth edition has been fully updated to reflect these developments and expand its predecessor’s worldwide popularity.

‘Probably the best technical reference and troubleshooting book in the world’ Yachting Monthly
‘It deserves to come standard with every boat’ Yachting World”

This isn’t one of the cheapest books to buy if you are a boat owner, but I think it will be one of the best books you buy. It is available as a hardback or for download to Kindle. In my opinion the hardback book is better as its more practical to use in book format when carrying out repairs, however if you want to read it for reference then the Kindle format would suffice. We have the hardback book.

Should you buy it? Well if you are a boat owner now, or are going to be in the future then YES, without a doubt. You will turn to this book regularly, more than you know.

If you do decide to get a copy, we’d really appreciate it if you could click on the link below, that way we get a small referral commission from Amazon on any sales, which helps to go towards the maintenance of our boat.

Good reading 🙂

Fair winds
Carl & Jenny

If you enjoyed this blog post please check out our Freebies page where you can download other guides.  If you’re feeling really good consider having a look at our Support us page.

Psst!! It’s Valentines Day today

Valentines Day

Did you miss the calendar this morning?

How many of you are reading this whilst you’re at work and thinking, “Oh no, she’ll kill me!” Or for you ladies, “Oh no, he’ll be disappointed!”

Well just a reminder IT”S VALENTINES DAY!  Lol!

We’ll be celebrating this evening with an intimate meal, a bottle of champagne and then maybe a movie.
The weather has been quite stormy here today so we’ll be tucked up on the boat.

So if you are one of the people listed above who has forgotten, or just need an excuse to treat yourself or your loved one a bit more then why not have a look at our Amazon page?

We have listed loads of items that we have on board or similar, and also items we think would make ideal gifts.

Click on this link to have a look:

So what are your plans for tonight? Comment below and let us know how you are celebrating Valentines day.


We have recently  uploaded our latest video to Youtube. Episode 45.
If you haven’t watched it yet you can view it on YouTube or via the page on this site

As always our Patrons got early access to view. It is now available to everyone else  If you would like early access and a host of other rewards and Patron only videos then why not become a Patron. You can sign up for as little as $2.00 per month, and end it at any time.

Well thats it for now. Have a great Valentines Day
Love & Peace,
Carl & Jenny

Settling in

So we have now been in Agios Nikolaos for 2 weeks. So far we have been on the hard.  Tomorrow we will be launching Dream back into the water. At last!


It’s not been as bad as we thought for settling into this new way of life,although I suppose you could say it’s not really started yet, not till we start cruising anyway.



We have made friends with quite a few people here from all nationalities and have been made really welcome. A few people we met earlier in the year when we first came down to get the boat surveyed.  We now have our scooter for local trips around town, rather than keep using the van which I have now nicknamed my land yacht! 

Jen has joined the marina walking club which goes out on a Thursday walking through the gorges, and then a couple of mornings a week she goes for a shorter walk with a few of the ladies from the other boats. The walk up to a local beach,a few exercises on the beach then a walk back, sets her up for the day.

There’s quite an active social calendar here, Sunday afternoons is BBQ time. You take a dish to share and whatever else you want to eat and drink. A few people bring down there guitars and everyone joins in with a bit of a song. It starts at 2pm and goeson until the last drunken sailor staggers back to their boat!

Friday evenings is what is called Happy Hour. The local taverna next to the marina puts on food for everyone who goes, all at no charge. While ever you are buying drinks the food keeps coming. At the end of the night you tell George how many drinks you have had and he tells you what the final cost is. Can you imagine a British pub operating like that, they’d be out of business in a night!!

The weather at the moment is beautiful. I am sat here in the cockpit in just shorts and t-shirt, not a cloud in the sky with just a very gentle breeze Jen has just gone for a short walk.

We have completed the jobs that we had to do before Dream gets splashed tomorrow. We’ve changed the two main seacocks along with the pipework, sorted through all the lockers and spent a couple of days putting a new anti-fouling coating on the hull. She looks as good as new. 

Once we are on our berth and have direct connection to the water we will give the boat a good clean down using the pressure washer. At the moment we have mains electricity but no direct connectin to water so have been reliant on what was in the tanks. Our aft tank is now empty and we have about 40% left in the forward tank, so we can survive a few more days.

Well it’s time for another cuppa so time to sign off for now. We have another episode of our van conversion video ready for uploading to YouTube so keep an eye out for that. There will be one more episode of the conversion then the next episode will be our trip here. After that it will be boat life!

Have a great day everyone we are thinking of everyone back home but can say we are not missing the weather there!

Best wishes
Carl and Jenny 

Another quick update to the blog section of our site

Some of you may have already noticed but if you haven’t no worries. It’s only a minor adjustment that we are going to trial for a couple of weeks or so to see how it goes. That is…… we have re-enabled the comments section on our blog entries.

We were getting a ridiculous amount of spam comments, no I don’t want to speak to some semi clad foreign speaking young lady, well not on here anyway 😉 I dont need Viablue tablets to make my day last longer, not that i’m publicly admitting to, and I don’t need to know someone has left me a million quid now they’ve died and I just need to send you my bank details so you can very kindly send me my money 🙂  We were getting so much that recently it blocked the website! So we’ve added some more spam filters so hopefully we may have stopped it for a bit! One of the things though is that when you make a comment, we will have to authorise it before it will be published. We try to look everyday but if it doesn’t get published straight away bear with us.

So who’s going to be the first to leave a comment then? I bet it will be Trudi from Slovenia lol! And before anyone comments…we love Slovenia and have been a few times 🙂

Welcome to our new site

Well if you’ve got to this page then your either one of our old clients from our photography and film business or you have an interest in sailing!

We have kept the domain name from our old business web site as it was associated with us, however we have now officially retired from our wedding photography and film business.

Over the course of the next 18 months we hope to be putting together video clips of what we are getting up to during our preps for our life onboard.

So for now, have a look through the site, please visit our You Tube page, Facebook Page etc and we’d appreciate it if you’d give us a “Like” on Facebook and subscribe to our You tube page. If you are feeling really generous we have set up a Patreon page as well. All the links are on our contact page.

We would love to be able to interact with our followers so please feel free to leave comments.

See you all later.

Carl & Jenny.