No - won't use the obvious strapline here!

631Here is the cunning scheme

1. Fit the bit with balls to either the door or frame

2. Using a screwdriver, slacken the grub screws which tension the springs which push the balls in until the other piece - the bit without the balls - is held very lightly.

3. Stick a piece of double sided tape to the bit without the balls and fit it to the bit with balls - does anyone know the right terminology, by the way?

More purchase, less tangle.

623A feature of problems this year has been the number of people with foresail halyards giving them grief. This is usually because the parts of the halyard twist around each other so preventing the sail being fully hoisted, or worse, preventing it coming down. To my surprise, this can happen not only with 3-strand rope, but also with braided. The usual culprit is the use of a single and becket block on the mast, with a single block on the of the sail, which is often fitted with a swivel for furling. In this situation the ropes run very close to each other, and, because of the furling swivel, can also rotate freely. So they get all snarled up. Solution?

638Just in case you get confused, it is probably worth rehearsing the two generic approaches open to you for reducing headsail area. The first, and currently more common on modern rigs, is to use reefing gear, which allows you to vary the amount of sail set from the full sail to nothing depending on conditions. Almost all systems use an aluminium extrusion through which the forestay passes and into which the headsail boltrope is fed. The sail is reefed by turning the extrusion by means of a drum at its lower end. This arrangement means that whatever disaster befalls the reefing mechanism itself - and sometimes they jam or snarl up, there is still a stay supporting the mast.

A triumph of hope over experience

624Funny how, like buses, queries come in groups. Over the last week I seem to have gone through the standard rigmarole on bronze finishing about ten times, so on the basis that others may wish to hear it, here goes.

Question : How do I keep my shiny bronze bits shiny?