The first weekend of June was all work and the last on the boat before a period of (self) enforced abstinence. Despite our efforts you can see how much remains to be done - and this list is only of this year's essentials. Next Saturday my daughter moves into her new flat and on Sunday a trip to Norfolk beckons to collect a second hand Aries from Rod in Norwich plus an onward leg to visit my mum in Edingthorpe. Then on the 11th I'm off warm water sailing with the "boys" for the annual pensioners cruise in the Aegean. Then it's the twins' 1st birthday celebration on Saturday 22nd June. So Sunday 23rd June is the earliest I can return. At this rate it's going to be nip and tuck to be ready for the planned summer cruise westwards commencing 17th July.
Anyway, I picked up Mick from East Croydon at 0800 so that we had time to visit the chandlery to pick an essential piece of loo plumbing before the tide departed the marina (which would make launching the dinghy a very muddy operation). On arrival at the chandlery we were told that the vent bend ordered by us last weekend had only been placed with the supplier the previous day!
So we'll have to fix the loo on another occasion and take extra care with the plumbing this weekend! Got to the marina about 0945. Despite a prommising forecast before departure to Hoo, the day was grey with a chilly west wind blowing down the river.
Mick volunteered to clean out the fridge compartment that had been festering over the winter (he's sensitive to such things) while I removed the cover from the companion way hatch with a view to exploring wiring route options for the solar panel that will sit on top of it. We eventually decided to site the deck fitting further back and therefore a couple of precious hours were wasted.
The day then consisted of feeding the cable router from the newly drilled hole through the two skins of the coachroof to the rear bulkhead behind the existing insruments where the regulator was to be sited. Thanks to Mick's perseverance success eventually resulted. Then more holes drilled in the internal skin for the cables. By now it was gone 1900. Mick decided with only modest pressure from me to forgo his planned Sunday walk on the South Downs and stay for the whole weekend. Having "pressed" him I thought he deserved a little down time so we downed tools for the day.
Earlier I'd got the Genoa down in preperation for the job of replacing the rubber blocks in the mast partners (the sleeve through the hole in the deck through which the mast passes). The old ones had not been installed properly when the boat was re-rigged during the spring of 2012 and had worked loose and fallen out. There was therefore no cushioning between the mast and the sleeve - resulting in excessive movement and in time probably damage.
I cooked dinner - roast chicken breast, new potatoes, spinach and beans. We washed it down with wine and beer for Mick and got to bed. Thankfully Mick's snoring was sealed in with him in the focastle and I slept soundly except for the usual pee stops brought on by the combination of increasing age and lapping water sounds!
Next morning I was up at 8 and cooked breakfast for the pressed man and myself. Then Mick started back on the installing the regulator. After a while he remembered that we had a display unit for the wind instrument to install and that it was going to be on the outside of the bulkhead in the same area as the regulator. Lots of pondering, measuring and more hole drilling followed as the two batteries on the cordless drill were gradually exhausted.
In between helping Mick hold and prod things and generally offering him useless advice I tackled the job I had been dreading - replacing the rubber blocks in the mast partners. I wasn't looking forward to partially dismantling the new furling gear and slackening off the rigging in order to move the mast enough to insert new blocks. The river was buzzing with various yacht and dinghy races (one of the buggers ran into us) and sailing barges and I rather resented the need to continue with chores rather than be out sailing. However at least the comings and goings emphasised we were afloat which was a significant improvement on sitting on the hard standing where Arctic Smoke had been for the Winter and 'Spring'. To my surprise I managed the job without messing up or dropping any crucial bits overboard and by the end of the day the new blocks had been shaped and fitted, covered with the new mast boat and the rigging had been re-tightened.
Back at the other end of the boat Mick had almost finished the horrible and fiddly job of cutting holes in the outside and inside skins for the wind instrument display but the drill batteries gave up before he did. The job (and others) will therefore have to be finished on our next visit.
The previously clean and tidy boat looked like a building site once again and so we set too to tidy up before the row ashore against the tide and wind! We made some inroads into the mess but we're obviously going to have to plug into to shore power and bring the vacume cleaner back at some point.
The row back, two up against a stiff breeze and a knot of tide was hard work and it was 2000 before we were back ashore.