We’re underway heading south as I write this, and here are a few neat new things I’m using and liking this trip.
Recently I spent several hours with my butt in the air and my head and shoulders down a hole underneath the bed in the master stateroom. In case you’re thinking something kinky, no such luck. I was offloading around 75 pounds of spare hoses from my boat, keeping only a few special pieces. That hole was where I’d stored them for years. I felt pretty safe in the assurance that no matter what hose failed, I’d have a spare, or at least a temporary make-do replacement. But with all those miles of hose, I still came up short sometimes. And digging through the tangle looking for what I needed was becoming really old. It was especially old in that usually a hose replacement was an emergency situation and that’s when I was sure to pull out every hose except the right hose. If you don’t believe it, just try to lug several hundred hoses in a box up a hill.
No I’m not crazy. (Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but at least there was method to my madness.) In lieu of those hoses, for temporary repairs, I had laid on an ample supply of silicone “Rescue Tape” marketed by Harbor Products, Inc (702 953 0968, www.rescuetape.com). I’d never heard of it until last spring when Frank Monachello, owner of Marine Pro in Cocoa Florida (321 636 8950, www.marinepro.us ) told me about it. He’s an excellent mechanic and somebody I listen to. He’d been told by one of his customers and he was a believer. I thought I’d try it.
The company says that this tape is self-fusing, has a 950 PSI tensile strength, insulates 8,000 volts per layer, withstands 500° F heat (260° C), and remains flexible to -85° F (-60° C)! It can be applied to a wet surface, including pipes. It resists fuels, oil, acids, solvents, salt water, road salt and UV rays. I obviously can’t personally verify the data, but I’ve been very impressed with the product. I’ve used it for many projects including repair of a burst water hose with around 60 pounds of pressure, sealing a shore power cable, and whipping rope ends.
I even manufactured a part of a watch band that broke when I had my hand down a hole it shouldn’t have been in under the engine. A piece of the engine had snagged the band and torn the little strap into which you feed the bitter end of the band through after you buckle it. Doesn’t sound like much, but finding another band and getting it on without ruining the watch, in the parts of the world where I hang out, is very much; especially when you’re at sea. So I cut a piece of rescue tape, guessing about the length. I doubled it over on itself lengthwise to make it thicker and of an acceptable width, looped it in the right place around my watch band, pressed one end over the other and held it really tight for around a minute. That was over a week ago and my watch has been through all the hell it usually goes through when I’m underway, and the band is still working. If my new loop breaks, I can just make another one. I’ve got plenty of Rescue Tape.
This tape takes a little learning and practice to get the most use from it. It doesn’t stick to itself. It “fuses” to itself, essentially melding into itself. We’re all accustomed to sticky tape, and this is another animal altogether. If you’re repairing a hose, for example, you stretch and overlap it as you wrap it. Wrapping more tape over itself increases its ability to withstand pressure. But it takes two hands because you have to hold the tape in place at the beginning point (I usually use a thumb), then stretch it over itself while still holding the beginning point down. And you don’t “cut it to length.” You do, but not the way you’re accustomed to. It stretches, so, for example, a 2 inch piece of Rescue Tape may make 6 inches of wrap, depending on how thick you want it to be and how much you want to stretch it. It takes some practice, but it’s worth the effort.
Rescue tape comes in various colors, and transparent. Follow the instructions to use it and practice a bit, but taking a moment to do this is more than worth it for the results. MSRP varies with packages, for example: $24.95 for a 2 pack, $44.95 for a 6 pack, $49.95 for 36’ long, 2 inch wide, 30 mil thick Industrial Roll (which I prefer). It’s also available at many retailers: West Marine, Bass Pro Shops, Trident Diving as well as many local hardware stores, Ace Hardware, Do It Best Hardware, True Value Hardware and more.
See the full article at Boat US here: www.boatus.com/cruising/TomNeale/pastarticle_full.asp?bid=2652