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Sailing Guides

We regularly write articles on projects we do and products we sell. As the UKs largest chandlery we have a wealth of experts working in both our stores and head office. Many of us are active boaters and are keen to share our knowledge and experience with you. 

Our Latest Guides...

See our latest guides below - all written and created by our in-house experts.

How to update your Electronic Charts

Updating electronic charts is often left to the last minute. Now we all have more time to prepare for our trips here are a few pointers on how to get your Navionics, C-Map & Garmin Charts up to date.

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Top 5 Paddleboard Accessories

Anyone who has tried stand-up paddleboarding knows that it provides a great escape from the day-to-day grind. It allows you to escape the crowds and access parts of the coast that you wouldn’t normally be able to. Here at Force 4, we have been sold on paddleboarding for some time, as an accessory or toy to carry aboard your boat they provide hours of fun and the ability to explore even further afield. They also work off the boat, from a beach or pier, simply inflate and use - what could be easier? We thought we’d put together a list of our top 5 paddleboarding accessories to make your time on the water even more enjoyable...

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Getting out on the water in an Inflatable Kayak

Kayaking is one of the oldest forms of watersports, and while the technology involved has moved on considerably, this can still be one of the purest forms of watersport around. It enables you to access waters that boats couldn’t, it provides exercise and 

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Casting Off techniques – That may save your life!

From Duncan Wells, author of the Stress-Free Series of Boating Books.

Having guaranteed, robust techniques for getting off the dock and back on again will boost your boating confidence no end. All my techniques can be managed by one person from the cockpit of their boat.

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Maintaining & Servicing Deck Hardware

Deck hardware on a boat such as winches, travellers, tracks and cars are hard wearing and durable - the environment in which they live and the loads they must withstand make this essential. They do need regular maintenance however, so here’s our basic guide on servicing deck hardware…

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Painting A Fibreglass Boat

Many of us paint our boats above the waterline to give them a new lease of life. It could be that colour trends have changed and you wish to modernise the look of your boat, or just that the existing paint is either at the end of its life or just looking a bit tired. Either way, painting your boat's topsides can be a simple and rewarding task, and with a bit of prep the results you get can look quite professional...

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How To Install a Windlass

If you’ve had enough of pulling an anchor up by hand, and decided that a windlass is the way forward, then read our handy guide on how to install a windlass. We’ve broken it down in to relatively straight-forward steps, starting with what type of windlass to choose in the first place...

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Replacing Powerboat Steering Systems

When you are dusting off your boat in preparation for the new season, you may find that your steering is stiff or seized. Salt deposits from last season and corrosion over the winter break clog up the gears and cable, making it difficult to turn the wheel. If it's time to upgrade, we've put together a basic guide on what's available...

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Perfect Pilot Books

If you’re sat at home dreaming of your next cruise, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 books to help you with your planning, preparation, or maybe just to give you some inspiration. Pilot books give us a huge amount of inspiration, and as many of us have a bit of time on our hands at present, here’s a few that may set your imagination going…

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Fuel Storage During Lockdown

If you've had to leave fuel in your boats fuel tank for longer than planned, or just over the winter, it may be worth treating it to make sure all runs smoothly when you do get back on the water. Here's our handy guide to long term fuel storage...

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NMEA2000 Basic Starter Guide

For newcomers to NMEA 2000 connections systems, it seems a logical assumption that if you have two devices with NMEA 2000 connections ports, then all you need is a correct length NMEA 2000 cable to join them. You will find out below that this is not the case...

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Marine Stereo Systems for Sportsboats & RIBs

If you have a RIB or sportsboat and are considering upgrading or fitting a marine stereo system, but have limited space, then here some recommendations that have a small footprint and are relatively straightforward to fit...

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Simple Boat Varnishing

Varnishing is something we often have to do, both on the boat and around the home. But why do we varnish wood? And how do we get a great finish? Our guide to basic varnishing projects tells you all you need to know…

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The Perfect Tool Kit

Whether you are sailing across the bay or across an ocean, it’s important to carry some basic tools for your trip. Things break and wear out - it’s a fact of life, but having the right tools onboard will enable you to solve many simple problems yourself without having to resort to calling for help. Here’s our handy guide to a Boatowners perfect toolkit…

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Caring for your Folding Bike

Many of us have folding bikes either on our boats or at home. All bikes need maintenance to provide trouble free service, and folding bikes are no different. In fact due to many of them spending time in a marine environment there are even a few extra steps we might need to consider when giving them a routine service…

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Boat Cover Maintenance

If you have a winter cover on your boat, it’s worth taking a few steps each year to make it look good and last longer. These covers are expensive, particularly fitted versions, and if we can make them last a few extra years some basic maintenance can be time and money well spent…

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Sportsboat & RIB Cleaning

If you’ve got a boat sat on your driveway, then now’s a great opportunity to give it some love. Maybe the gelcoat is a bit faded? Or it just needs a really good clean after a winter of neglect? Here’s our guide to making your Sportsboat or RIB look like new again…

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Prepare your Engine for Long Term Storage...

Engines are the unsung heroes of our boating enjoyment. We rarely want to even go near them unless absolutely necessary, but we do want them to provide faultless service time and again. And we certainly start to get to know them when they begin to go wrong! Our time boating is extremely precious (not to mention costly!), and in my experience it's well worth spending a bit of time preparing your engine if it’s going to stand idle for a while...

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Keeping your Boat Fresh

Whether you are laying up your boat for the winter, or just not anticipating using it for a while, it’s important to try and prevent the growth of mould and mildew that can damage and stain your upholstery and headlinings. Here’s our guide to keeping your boat fresh when it’s not being used...

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Top Tips for Cooking Aboard

Our boats kitchen, or galley in nautical speak, can leave us wanting for space, certainly when compared to our kitchens at home. We thought we’d put our heads together and come up with some hints and tips for how to feed a hungry crew from a compact galley…

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Safety Knife Buyers Guide

Whether you are dinghy sailing, racing or cruising, a good safety knife is an essential piece of kit to have either on board or on your person. Here we look at the different types available, as well as giving some advice on features and our favourite models...

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Boat Security Guide

If you are faced with the prospect of leaving your boat for a while, here’s a few tips on basic security. We also look at how to secure trailers and other valuables possibly stored off the boat…

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Top 5 Books for Self Isolating

Looking for some reading inspiration while self isolating? Here’s our top 5 books to take your mind off things…

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Fitting & Stowing a Liferaft

If you’ve either recently bought, or are considering buying a liferaft for your boat, it’s worthwhile thinking about stowage options at the same time. In fact the type of stowage you have available may even dictate the type of raft you buy. So here’s our handy guide to....                                     

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Folding Electric Bikes Buyers Guide

Folding electric bikes (e-bikes) have been a revelation within the sailing community in the last year or so. It’s now becoming almost a common sight around marinas to see people silently wizzing around with rucksacks full of provisions. But what should we be looking at when choosing an electric bike, and in particular a folding style…

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VHF Buyers Guide

Radio is an important safety tool for all mariners who venture out on the water, whether offshore or on inland waterways. VHF marine radios are used for a variety of purposes including; contacting harbours and marinas, summoning rescue services or ship-to-shore and ship-to ship communication. Knowing what radio to choose can be quite confusing because of the range of models and features available. Here we go through some important considerations when choosing a VHF marine portable or fixed radio...

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Tips for Keeping Teak Looking Great

If you’re lucky enough to have teak decks or woodwork aboard your boat you will understand the satisfaction that can be gained from keeping it looking great. Here’s a few tips on how to keep it looking good, and what to do if it starts to show its age…

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Fresh Water System Maintenance

If your boat has a fresh water system then it’s worth taking a few steps each year to ensure that it stays clean and free from any nasties. It’s also worth checking and servicing your freshwater pump from time to time - this should make it run more efficiently and last longer. Here’s our quick guide to keeping your water system in tip top condition…

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Boat projects you may be able to do at home…

As many of us have restricted access to our boats at the moment, what projects can we already have waiting for us at home? Here’s a short list of ideas based on things that you may not need to actually go and fetch from your boat...

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