It’s been quite a month. Both the news and personal conversations have been dominated by the way our usually steady political apple cart has been thoroughly upset by one of the most divisive events in UK political history.

This profound split in opinion, penetrating right down to cause significant dissent in some families, has shaken our often apathetic electorate to the core. It’s good to see younger voters suddenly taking an interest in the future of the country, but whether the cost is worthwhile is hotly debated and certainly down to how well-governed or otherwise we are over the coming months and years.

How Brexit will affect sailors in the long term is equally open to question, although the RYA are swift to point out that in the short term nothing will change. As Britain has never been a signatory to the Schengen agreement it’s unlikely that border policies will alter much, while most other laws governing navigation tend to be enacted at a national rather than EU level, so even the long view may see little real change.

How a potential reduction of goodwill might alter things, for example on contentious issues such as the presence of red diesel in boat tanks, remains to be seen.

The referendum was certainly a topic of conversation on board Liberty, my uncle’s Freedom 33 aboard which I completed this year’s Round the Island race. However, as the race progressed the sheer thrill of taking part in one of the windiest races of recent years pushed politics into the background as the exhilarating reality of handling a boat in those conditions consumed our whole attention.

For me, it’s one of the joys of sailing: that complete escapism where the boat becomes your world and nothing else matters. For the crew of Alchemist, that world came to an abrupt end when
she struck the Varvassi wreck and sadly foundered, while several others suffered dismasting or other breakages.

The vast majority, however, enjoyed the ride of their lives – we certainly did, gazing nervously upwards at Liberty’s unstayed mast as it described fantastic curves with each new gust.

Here at PBO, the big news is the arrival of our new project boat. The ship carrying our as-yet-unnamed Secret 20 kit unloaded her on Friday 24 June, and Ben and I hared off to collect her from the freight forwarders the following Tuesday – they don’t give you long before storage
charges come into play.

My thanks to the good-humoured forklift driver at Formation Freight Services for helping us load our four oddly-shaped packages onto our trailer, a task which took far longer than his usual job loading pallets onto articulated lorries, and to the lorry driver we were delaying who opted to help us out.

The kit is now resting in our garage, waiting for us to use the space for a mooring snubber test (we’ll also be checking out Harken’s new top-down furler) before undertaking the somewhat daunting task of getting the 250kg keel package off the trailer and set up for us to start construction.

I hope you enjoy this issue. There’s something for everyone: seasickness sufferers may find Dr Ed Reeves’ expert advice helps make cruising more pleasant, while if you struggle turning your boat in tight spaces, Daria and Alex Blackwell have some top tips from their wayward 57ft ketch.

Mark Ryan’s hard-won experience of sailing with under-fives could give new parents a head start, while our gear test this month puts personal AIS beacons through their paces, with some interesting results.

All this and more inside, so happy reading!

Fair winds,
David Pugh

David Pugh, PBO editor

David Pugh, PBO editor

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Here’s a full list of the August 2016 issue’s contents:

Anchoring short-handed: How to safely drop and retrieve the hook with minimum crew

Seasickness: Why it happens and how to stop it

PBO Tested – MOB beacons: Personal AIS devices to save your life

Swift passage-making: Top tweaks for efficient sailing

Tips to manoeuvre in tight spaces: Close-quarters techniques picked up at the helm of a heavy-displacement ketch

Building a 4.5m dayboat from scratch: Constructing a Navigator from plans

Replacing bearings in a masthead unit: Changing the bearings in the wind speed spinner saves £100

New cockpit seats in synthetic teak: Replacing the tatty slatted seats in a Contessa 26

Reader tips for simple fishing at sea: Securing something to eat on board other than the time-honoured ‘stews’

Moulding a rigid sprayhood in GRP: Replacing a canvas sprayhood with a home-made GRP one

PBO Tested – Fast, French, fun, functional: The RM890: an easy-to-handle performance cruiser

Stranded 25 yards from shore: How a reader’s late-summer sail ended in a cold, wet and dangerous ordeal

Novice Day Skipper sets sail: PBO’s Laura Hodgetts charters a yacht around the Sporades and Gulf of Volos

Sailing with the under-fives: How to make sailing with young children as safe, simple and enjoyable as possible

Rebuilding a mast step: Refurbishing a compressed, water-damaged mast step

Wind turbine replacement: and manufacturing a new rudder, PLUS more reader projects and tips

Deal with cabin condensation: Hints and tips from the PBO Sketchbook


Waiting for the tide: The editor’s welcome to this month’s PBO – sign up for PBO’s free monthly e-newsletter at:

‘Mad about the Boat’ columnist Dave Selby: Ohm improvements

Columnist Sam Llewellyn: Knowing when to give up

Monthly musings from Andrew Simpson: Keeping an aye on the job

PBO products and services: Books and plans from the PBO Shop

News: A dramatic Round the Island race, floating containers, countdown to Rio… and more

Regional news: Suspected people smugglers arrested, yacht mast hits power lines… and more

Readers’ letters: Your views

Ask the experts: Stripping a Colnebrook furling gear, and more reader queries answered

New gear: PBO looks at the latest marine products

Westerly Fulmar. Credit:

Designs of Ed Dubois

Ed Dubois was a good friend of PBO contributor Peter K Poland and this was probably the last and most…