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The Middle Sea Yacht Race

By Boat, important, Learning, Uncategorized, Yacht

The Rolex Middle Sea Race has run for 35 editions as of last year, and is considered a “must-do” race for competitive sailors from around the world. Competing boats head northeast towards Messina then head northwest to Stromboli before heading southwest to Favignana, Pantelleria, Lampedusa and back to Malta. High winds, strong currents and fierce competition typify this race.

Co-founded in 1968 by the Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Middle Sea Race is no less than 977 kilometres long, starting and finishing in Malta. The competing fleet travels in an anti-clockwise direction and races over a duration of two to three full days.

The race has attracts between 25 and 30 yachts annually, with the largest-ever fleet being recorded last year. Over 120 yachts took part. The Middle Sea Race is often mentioned in the same breath as the Rolex Sydney-Hobart, Newport-Bermuda and Fastnet races as a competition that must be entered into if one considers him or herself a true sailor.

Changeable Conditions

It is notorious for changeable conditions which really challenge skippers are crew, pushing man and machine to breaking point. They do get a small piece of respite from the stunning scenery, seeing as they pass by various islands. Some even go as far as calling it the most beautiful yacht race in the world.

Between 1984 and 1995, there was no racing, however luckily things kicked off again in 1996 and the race is arguably in as good health as it has ever been, down in no small part to the backing of international luxury watch manufacturer, Rolex.

Course Record

The course record is held by the USA’s George David, who skippered “Rambler” to victory back in 2007, with a time of 2007 – 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds. This year’s race will start on Saturday 17th October – earlier than usual. Entries from countries as far-flung as Australia and Canada have already been submitted. It promises to be another exciting race!

7 Car Care Essentials

By Cleaning, Exterior, Interior, Learning, Maintenance, Tips, Winter

This list may seem a little odd to you, but these things do really work! Here are 7 Car Care Essentials:

Nail polish remover

Dilute nail polish remover with a little water to remove any scuff marks from plastic trim pieces or rubbing strips. Wipe off immediately after using.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy will make any two broken bits of a car stick back together again. Use a two-part epoxy resin for the best results. Keep a small kit with you just in case you have a mishap while out on the road.

Penetrating Oil

A low-viscosity penetrating oil, of which WD-40 is a great example, can be used to free nuts and bolts that have rusted together. This is definitely a handy car care product to keep around, especially if you drive something older.

Duct Tape

Let’s say you run your bumper over a high pavement and it comes loose from its brackets. You’re obviously going to want to drive home with it, so a bit of duct tape to hold it in place temporarily will definitely come in handy. A very important car care essential, keep it in your glove compartment or boot/trunk of your car.

Tyre Cleaner

We all love shiny black tyres to complement our newly-cleaned car, so investing in a tyre cleaner allows you to give it the finishing touch it needs. This is the very last step of a thorough car clean.

Hand-held Vacuum Cleaner

Getting into all the nooks and crannies of our beloved rides can be a pain in the proverbials without a having a hand-held vacuum cleaner close by. These are great from removing annoyances from a car’s interior.

Microfibre Towels

The primary use for these on a car is for removing any residual water present on your car’s paintwork after a good wash, however they have a whole myriad of uses because they can be used anywhere and on any surface. Having one around might see you preventing a messy spill all over your car’s interior too. Probably the most essential car care essential of all!

10 Amazing Car Cleaning Tips

By Cleaning, Exterior, important, Interior, Learning, Maintenance, Tips

In this blog, we’re going to tell you how to clean your car like the pros do. So let’s dive right in with 10 amazing car cleaning tips!

Air Compressor to get into Nooks and Crannies

Number one on our list of car cleaning tips is to use an air compressor to get all of the dirt that’s tough to remove from the corners of the footwells in your car. Blow these fragments into the centre for easy vacuuming.

Clean Air Vents to Keep New Car Smell

Ever wondered what the best way of keeping your smelling like new is? Clean out air vent with a small air compressor to remove dust and dirt. This will get rid of musty smells.

Use a Non-Acid-Based Tyre Cleaner

A non-acid-based tyre cleaner will prevent alloy wheels from bubbling while still making your tyres black and beautiful. Use it to remove brake dust too.

Hand-Wash the Exterior

Notice all our car cleaning tips are all done by hand, that is because going that extra mile for your car is worth it in the end. Hand-washing is the best way to clean a car’s exterior, and that’s the end of it. Don’t use liquid detergent in your bucket of water, because that strips away protective wax layers. Use a dedicated car washing product instead.

Use Paint Cleaning Product to Remove Contaminants

Use a paint cleaning liquid to take off tough pieces of dirt, such as bird droppings, which do not come off with a wash. Use a fine cloth in order to apply this and rub gently.

Give Her a Good Polish

Use an oscillating polishing machine and a market-leading polishing product to get the best finish. Giving your car a good polish in this way can make it look years newer.

Wax for Protection

Either liquid or paste wax will do as they both do the job equally well. Waxing your car thoroughly will keep its paint protected for up to a year before reapplication. Use a damp car cleaning sponge to apply the wax in the event that it didn’t come with an applicator. Giving your car a good wax is one of our most important car cleaning tips, it doesn’t just make her look good but she will be protected.

Reapply Wax Every Season

Seeing as there’s no way to tell if wax has lasted or is still present over your car’s entire surface, we recommend setting a fixed date at the change of every season in order to reapply it.

Make your Glass Shine

Invest in an ammonia-free glass cleaner and buff all your windows both inside and out with a microfibre cloth to finish off car cleaning.

Pay Attention to Detail

Last but not least on our list of car cleaning tips is to go over your car inside and out to make sure you haven’t missed a spot. Repeat the steps above as needed for any problem areas.

 

That is our full list of car cleaning tips, should you not fancy doing it for yourself, check out are car cleaning services and let Briiz do the dirty work for you. Book now: briiz.com.mt/car-bookings

Foreign Vessels Visiting Malta

By Boat, important, Learning, Yacht

There are plenty of boats and yachts moored in the various bays and marinas around Malta and Gozo, but have you ever wondered about how many foreign vessels visit the Maltese Islands and ask for clearance by maritime authorities each year?

The last set of available statistics, issued at the end of last year, detail figures for the year 2013. Just over 11,000 vessels visited the Islands, with the vast majority of vessels entering classified by the National Statistics Office as “Other”. These numbered 7,106 vessels, with a total tonnage of 56.5 million tons.

Classifications

Dry cargo vessels were the next largest category, accounting for 2,645 vessels of the grand total. These types of vessel are used to carry solid dry goods that have a higher tolerance to heat and cold, such as metal ores, coal, steel products, forest products. Their combined tonnage was over 36.9 million tons.

Tankers ranked third in terms of numbers, with 478 coming to Malta in 2013, weighing in at over 3.9 million tons combined.

The Maltese Islands are also home to a booming cruise terminal in the Grand Harbour, where some of the world’s finest cruise ships can be seen berthed at the quayside almost on a daily basis. Of the 302 passenger vessels which requested clearance from Maltese maritime authorities in 2013, some 286 were cruise ships, bringing a total of over 430,000 cruise passengers to Maltese shores during that year.

Smaller Vessels

Interesting to note were the smaller categories, most notably yachts and motor fishing vessels. The figure for the former was remarkably small, with just 38 yachts requesting clearance from Maltese maritime authorities during 2013, representing just 18,908 tons of the total of over 56 million for the year.

Relatively few motor fishing vessels in comparison with other seafaring vessel types also visited, numbering 442. The likelihood for the skewed figures, taking into account that the most significant portion of vessels included in the statistics were classified as “Other”, is that many yachts or boats which are here for leisure purposes do not have the requirement to declare their presence due to being domiciled in Europe. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to know what’s moving in and out of the Maltese Islands on the high seas.

Maltese Nautical Licence

By Boat, Learning, Tips, Yacht

Many of us dream of owning our own boat or yacht, but we may not be aware of the certification we need to have in order to operate one in Malta.

Who Should Obtain a Maltese Nautical Licence?

The Maltese government requires that a boat or yacht operator with an engine or engines having a combined output of 30hp or more has a nautical licence, which is issued by the Transport Authority. The same holds true should the operator wish to operate a boat with the intention of towing people behind it for water skiing.

Training and Courses

Before you’re even allowed to begin the Nautical Licence syllabus in view of sitting the exam, the Transport Authority requires attendance to a First Aid course. Once a pass is obtained in this regard, the next step is to attend practical and theory courses to familiarise yourself with everything you need to know in order to be able to operate a boat or yacht successfully.

Exam and Documentation

The Malta Sailing Academy is the organisation which is responsible for processing and validating the successful completion of the components of the Nautical Licence course. In turn, certification is issued and is to be submitted at the MCAST main office in Paola, together with an examination entry form and front-and-back photocopies of your Maltese identity card.

Once processing is complete, the Transport Authority will contact you with an exam date. Nautical Licence exams are held between 5pm and 8pm at the Nautical Institute in Kalkara. You’ll be informed of your success, or lack thereof, upon completion of the exam.

If successful, it’s then just a matter of taking the document which the Transport Authority posts to you to the Small Crafts department. You’ll need two passport-sized photos, together with having to pay a fee of €23.18, in order to apply for your Nautical Licence.

RIB vs Boat

By Boat, Learning, Maintenance

When looking at purchasing a small watercraft, many people face the same dilemma – whether to go for a rigid inflatable boat, or RIB, or a solid-hulled boat, such as a boat with a fibreglass hull. At this stage, weighing up the pros and cons of the RIB vs. boat debate is highly important, as this will ultimately determine which is the right choice for you.

The primary difference between the two types of vessel is the weight. A RIB will always be much lighter than a solid-hulled boat of the same size, so if you’re intent on carrying either aboard a larger vessel, this is an important consideration to make.

Important Considerations

One problem which you’ll likely encounter with a RIB which doesn’t occur with a solid-hulled boat is leaking inflatable tubes, which make up the RIB’s structure. Usually tubes start to leak after five years or so, with re-tubing being performed at the seven-year mark. Although modern RIBs are much better than those being sold new just a few years ago, it’s still an important consideration to make. Naturally tubes aren’t an issue on a solid-hulled boat, but that doesn’t mean to say that they don’t need maintaining either.

People who have owned both RIBs and solid-hulled boats say that RIBs offer various advantages, such as stability when stepping on and off them, their equivalent performance to solid-hulled boat in rough seas, better seating arrangement for travelling with a number of people on board, and, as aforementioned, their lightness.

RIB Drawbacks and Conclusion

A drawback of a RIB over a similarly-sized solid-hulled boat is that they are designed for continuous movement – they’re not really vessels for laying anchor and doing a spot of fishing on. So while a RIB can be practical in a wide variety of scenarios, there are certain things which they’re not ideal for.

In addition, you’re also more exposed to the elements in a RIB than you are aboard a solid-hulled boat. To conclude, it’s probably best to consider a RIB as a craft you’ll go out on for a bit of fun in good weather, whereas a solid-hulled boat is for those seeking a craft that’s a bit more of an all-rounder.

Correct Rib Maintenance

By Boat, Cleaning, Exterior, important, Interior, Maintenance, servicing, Winter

As with any type of boat, maintenance of your Rigid Inflatable Boat, or rib, will help maintain both its value and its longevity for many a year to come if done properly.

The most important time to consider rib care and maintenance is at the end of the season, when the full scope of wear and tear incurred becomes apparent. Should you not have the required knowledge, skill or expertise in order to ensure that your Rib is being taken care of properly, then we recommend you bring in a dedicated boat mechanic how will know his way round your rib better than you do.

End of Season

When you take your rib out of the water at the end of the season, ensure that non-lubricated parts of your rib have not become stuck, establish whether any water has entered its tailfin and check that its engine starts without problems.

Apply antifouling if it applies to the kind of material your particular rib is made out of. Check all accessories to ensure they are in good working order. In addition, lubricate any moving parts and preserve petrol in its tank over the winter.

Engine Considerations

With specific reference to your engine, replace its oil and filter if you have a four-stroke engine. The petrol filter should also be replaced. Check your engine’s spark plugs and replace them if necessary. Clean it block if there is any leftover residue, together with applying an anti-corrosion later and lubricating any moving parts. Also change the tailfin oil, check your engine’s propeller and lubricate the propeller shaft. Conduct an engine diagnosis if possible too to check if there is anything wrong which may not be immediately apparent through observation.

Fabric

Also pay special attention to your Rib’s fabric at all times, because it is obviously made out of material which can wear down if not maintained properly.

The Right Way to do Rib Cleaning

By Uncategorized

A Rib, or Rigid Inflatable Boat, requires cleaning in a slightly different way than a regular boat or yacht, not least due to the material used for their construction. In this blog, we tell you the right way to do Rib cleaning.

Rib Materials

Most Ribs are made out of Hypalon, PVC or Polyurethane. Luckily, all these fabrics require similar cleaning techniques for the best results to be achieved. However, if the wrong boat cleaning products or tools are used for Rib cleaning, the consequences could be disastrous. The worst-case scenario is the accidental destruction of the rib itself.

Attention to Delicacy and Product Usage

The delicacy of this kind of boat must be taken into consideration at all times, and the same cleaning products be used for aluminium or fibreglass boats do not apply to Rib cleaning. For example, products such as solvents, toluene, acetone or bleach should never be used for Rib cleaning, nor should any highly alkaline cleaner.  Steel wool or any abrasive scrub pad should also be avoided at all costs.

Products, Products, Products

The first thing you should do is invest in a premium-quality Rib cleaning product, preferably one specifically for the kind of material your Rib is made out of.

Wash Down

Before any sort of cleaning work on a Rib can begin, the first thing to do is wash it down after each usage. Pay special attention to the collar seams, deck/collar joints and transom joints to ensure they are free from any contaminants.

Boat Wash

While your Rib is still wet, apply an inflatable boat wash, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Do so using non-scratch cleaning cloths and/or pads. Work the cleaner into the Rib’s fabric, and use a soft nylon brush to clean D-rings, strake mouldings and so on.

Taking Care of Oxidation

Oxidation can be an issue on Ribs, especially those made out of Hypalon. A good quality inflatable boat wash should take care of this, however if the issue has already become quite severe, then a dedicated Rib solvent should be applied, with plenty of respect given towards warnings and correct usage instructions.

Protect your Rib

Last but not least – this step is absolutely crucial, yet is often overlooked – it is a must to apply an inflatable boat fabric protector and conditioner to protect your Rib’s material. Fabric protectors for automotive use or otherwise will not suffice, because they are not formulated to cope with the stresses and strains of a marine environment.

So there you have it!

How to Care for your Boat

By Boat, Cleaning, Exterior, Interior, Learning, Maintenance, servicing, Uncategorized

Regardless of the kind of boat you own, it’s important to care for it properly in order to ensure your safety and maintain its longevity. Care for your boat with pride! In this entry, we tell you exactly how to do it.

Storage

If indoor storage is an option for you, then we highly encourage you to store your boat indoors. It provides the best protection and care for your boat against the elements bar none. Rain, cold, wind and UV rays in the sunnier months can all cause damage to your boat, so it is best they are avoided it when it isn’t in use. Cover it up to prevent moisture, dust and debris build-up.

Routine Maintenance

It’s important to check over key aspects of your boat routinely and see to them if and when needed. If you don’t have any technical know-how whatsoever, take a course in basic boat maintenance. The most important things to consider are your boat’s bilge pumps, engine, oil, electrical system, propeller and hull.

Regular Cleaning

Think about all the things that could affect your boat’s hull, namely aquatic pests such as barnacles attaching themselves to it, algae, plant growth and rust. Not only do all these things corrode your hull, they also can make you boat perform less efficiently, affecting its performance. Set up a cleaning schedule which is devised according to how much time your boat spends in the sea.

Get Insured

Boat insurance is always a good thing to have in order to care for your boat, because you never know what might go wrong both when it’s moored or when you’re at sea. Take a look at a previously blog entry to find who our recommended insurer is.

The Importance of Boat Insurance

By Boat, Exterior, important, Interior, Learning, Tips, Winter, Yacht

Have you ever thought of the consequences of something unexpected happening on your boat?

Whether you’ve just bought your boat or have something that has seen its fair share of life already, we know that, either way, you’re likely to have invested plenty of time and money in it.

As much as we’d like to believe that everything will be plain sailing (pun intended) when we’re on our boat, the reality is that anything can happen. Your boat could be damaged in rough sea, have equipment stolen out of it, or it could be even stolen itself.

Worse still, imagine if you or one of your passengers got injured or, and this is really something none of us would like to think about, you were liable for loss of life. What would you do?

Get Insured

That’s why having boat insurance is paramount – to cover yourself for such eventualities. It doesn’t matter how small or large your vessel is, it’s something that’s really worth having just in case.

Many an insurer now creates tailor-made boat insurance policies for boat owners, regardless of type, value, age and other characteristics. They can cover you from things such as theft, weather damage, fires or explosions.

GasanMamo Insurance – Recommended by Briiz

GasanMamo Insurance, one of Malta’s leading insurance companies, has a boat insurance package to suit you. In addition to covering you for the eventualities as listed above, you’ll also be covered for loss or damage to equipment, stranding or sinking, and malicious acts or vandalism, among many other scenarios which could leave you out of pocket.

Additional benefits include cover for sighting costs, replacement of fire safety equipment in the event of a fire, emergency and salvage charges, among others.

Should you wish to find out more about GasanMamo’s fantastic boat insurance offerings together with further details about what the company can offer you specifically, contact Ms. Anneliese Busuttil via email on abusuttil@gasanmamo.com or call 2349 0206.