Monday 27 August 2012

Hoo to Amsterdam July/August 2012

Sharon drove me, brother Andy and my two boys Stephen and Vincent down to Hoo on Saturday p.m. 28/8/12.
High tide was about 2000, so plan A was to drop down the river as soon as afloat and overnight at Queenborough for a morning start.

Said goodbye to Sharon and cast off around 1830. Fair winds from the SW and good weather were forecast so decided to press on up the coast. Departed Garrison Point about 2130 into a beautiful sunset. 

After an hour or so of a very light breeze the wind freshened to force 3-4 from the SW and under a beautiful clear night sky made good progress across the Thames under main and boomed out Genoa.

Quiet crossing the Thames but the new Standard Horizon VHF/AIS radio indicated its future value.
Careless navigation meant we scraped over Shroeburyness. Had to put a tack in to cross the Spitway 1 hour before low water. Soundings down to 1.2 under the keel which seemed low for neaps.

The flood slowed us up after the Spitway and we crossed the Harwich Approach at about 0400 on Sunday. Everyone was happy to press on for Lowestoft so with the wind continuing fair we did.

Saw a couple of great shooting stars. The boys were knackerd (funny how they can party all night with no trouble at all) so Andy and I spent most of the night on watch. Called the boys up at about 0700 and Andy and I took a bit of a break. Crossed some very low soundings (1.5 meters under keel) inside the banks despite charted depths of 3 meters LAT) but did not touch.

Seemed to take an age to pass Sizewell but we did eventually. Encountered pod of jumping porpoises in the approach to Lowestoft - a great welcome - and entered Lowestoft RN&S at about 1330. A cracking passage.

Tidied up and then went for a farewell fish and chips lunch with Andy.

On return decided to turn the boat round so that it would be easier to get out. Conditions were fairly benign at the start but very quickly freshened and soon were bloody horrid even in the marina. I didn't have enough lines out and ended up making a complete pratt of myself in front of a visiting Dutch contingent, hanging off a bow line and swinging too close to other boats. Eventually with the help of a friendly motor boat neighbour order was restored.

The mayhem was followed by an afternoon kip while the boy's went shopping then a late night Indian.

On waking discovered new neighbour Mike alongside in his Nic 32 and 2 guys in a 23 footer. Both had been caught in the approaches to Lowestoft in the squall which hit when turning the boat round. This created the worst conditions either had seen. Mike on his own somehow managed to avoid grounding on the banks in very poor visibility despite not being able to leave the helm to check his charts etc. The other guys had to run back north under bare pole until the conditions moderated.

Tuesday 31st August 1430 departed for Ijmuiden. Hit by violent rain squall with strong westerly as we left the banks behind (thankfully). AS soon racing along at 8 k and over canvassed. Put in 3 reefs and we were still at 6k plus. Within half an hour it was all over and all plain sail set. Thankfully we were hit at slack water and were out of the banks so no heavy seas were encountered unlike the experience the guys had yesterday. Also we were being blown away from the banks so no real concern on my part.

So commenced what for the most part was a rather tame if uncomfortable crossing. A confused swell from the west and the south persisted for the entire crossing causing AS to roll a fair bit. The wind stayed in the west the entire time with frequent showers. The wind was often too light to keep up the speed required to make the tidal gates and therefore had to deploy the engine for about 60% of the time in fits and starts.

Tried to use George -  AS's old auto helm but no electrical connection so manual helming required all the way.
Crossing the deep water shipping channels was relatively quiet but we got swept a bit too far south and as we entered Dutch waters it was like Piccadilly circus because we were right on top of the traffic separation zone to the north of the Rhein delta. The AIS really earned its keep making it much easier to work out what ships we needed to be wary of. The alarm was a bit trigger happy (I later worked out that it was going off even if the ships were not within the display range set but would come within the CPA (Closest Point of Approach) range set ) which made me grumpy in the early hours when very tired.  But a small price to pay.

As we got closer to the Dutch coast we closed on two platforms and picked up the first fresh breeze of the crossing since the squall off Lowestoft. AS was soon romping along at 6-7k with the wind on the quarter. The boys missed it - fast asleep! This, the best sailing of the crossing lasted for about an hour and then the wind began to die down and veer further to the west. In an effort to keep sailing and a reasonable speed I was tempted to steer south of east for a couple of hours and it was this that brought us to the end of the TSZ north of the delta.

It was the heavy shipping that we had now encountered that forced me to check our position and discover the error.

A very grey dawn allowed glimpses of the Dutch coast as we corrected our heading and made directly for Ijmuiden about 25 miles off. Visibility was such that it was not until 5 miles out that the steel works emerged from the grey gloom. Spouting their own grey effluent, the chimneys formed a Dickensian scene reminding me of the recent Olympics opening ceremony in London. It looked pretty grim and for a while I wondered what we had let ourselves in for.

The entrance was moderately uncomfortable but the only hazards were the cross tide and shipping. I could well imagine it being awful in a strong blow with the wind north of west. We moored up in the massive marina at about 1400 without a chimney to be seen.

Our next door neighbour was Bobo, a wonderfully chirpy German in a Hanse 31 who had got in the previous day after a 31 hour passage from Ramsgate returning from a single handed circumnavigation of the UK. After a lifetime at sea as a professional seaman his wife couldn't cope with him under her feet and suggested he should buy a boat and go sailing! His immediate requirement was to obtain some euros and before we had finished mooring up was offering to buy 20 for £20! The boys took him up on the offer.

I took a quick run ashore to sort out the wonderfully quick formalities and to have a shower. No passports or crew list required, simply pay the €25 mooring fee! Next on the agenda was sleep for me while the boys went off to explore what turned out to be a remarkably pleasant seaside resort complex on the southern edge of the marina.

I got up to cook a meal and was back to bed at midnight. Tomorrow, Wednesday, would be the short (13 miles) easy leg up the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam, what could possibly go wrong?

In the morning the boys went assure to get their Internet fix at one of the local bars while I did odd jobs on the boat. I joined them for a quick beer and then we dropped our lines and headed for the locks. We had to take avoiding action to get out of the way of a large commercial barge that was overtaking but the rest of the approach to the lock was straightforward. We radioed ahead as recommended by the Pilot but were told to simply wait for the green light before entering. After making a bit of a mess of mooring on the waiting pontoon and in the lock we followed half a dozen other boats up the canal.

Vincent posing
Stephen's teeth
It was a beautiful sunny relaxing day with very little traffic. 
Skipper at the Helm on the North Sea Canal
Prior to the lock Vincent remarked on how easy it would be to smuggle drugs by boat into Holland. Half way up the Canal we were boarded by Customs who spent half an hour checking us over and yes they wanted to know whether we were carrying any drugs (we weren't). Passports, bill of sale and registration documents all had to be produced. They asked the boat's age and when I said she was built in 1972 they looked at each other and shrugged. I took that to mean they did not require proof of VAT paid which was just as well because I had none. However, I was soon in trouble over red diesel - to my surprise they told me it was illegal in Holland. Could I produce a receipt from the UK? If so they would let me off. Stupidly though I had not left them on the boat. However they seemed reluctant to pursue the matter and asked me how much we had. A genuine slip of the tongue produced the response 20 litres (it should have been gallons). They shrugged and dropped the matter. After a more than cursory but less than exhaustive search of the boat they left and recommend we went to see the Gay Parade on Saturday! I said I'd take the boys - that raised a laugh all round.

Drilling Platform under way heading for the North Sea

Meanwhile storm clouds were moving up the canal from the west.

Ten minutes after the Customs boat left us the rain arrived. Nothing out of the ordinary to start with but within half an hour it was an absolute deluge and followed us up the canal to Amsterdam. Another half an hour and we were approaching Amsterdam harbour with the viability varying between bad and atrocious. Thankfully the wind rose to no more than a force 4. By now traffic on the canal was heavy. Numerous barges thundering up and down and soon they were joined by the ferries crisscrossing the canal. Through the murk I could see central station on the starboard bank and the canal looked very busy over there. I vaguely recalled the pilot mentioning small boat lanes on the north and south side of the canal and with our destination - Six Haven Marina - being on the south bank I took advantage of a break in the weather and a diminution of traffic and I steered for the south lane (wrongly as I subsequently discovered I should have stayed on the starboard side). Then the rain closed in again and without realising it I was going the wrong way up a one way street. Soon avoiding action was needed to miss a ferry. I dashed down below for a quick look at the pilot - goodness it was hot down there but I had no time to digest the importance of that.

Then the weather lifted more permanently and Six Haven was alongside. At last it was possible to communicate with the boys and I got Stephen to ring the marina (no VHF channel) who said we could come in. The first challenge was finding the entrance it had what appeared to be a no entry sign outside which was confusing to say the least.

However, there didn't seem to be any any other option so 5 minutes after being unable see anything in the middle of Amsterdam Harbour we edged cautiously into Six Haven Marina. It soon became clear that the marina was overflowing with yachts squeezed into every conceivable space. 

There wasn't a pontoon to be seen and I decided we'd have to look for a berth elsewhere.  [Subsequently it became apparent that this was business as usual at Six Haven. There's a mass exodus every morning that requires all those who are temporarily rafted up to move to allow those in the boxes who want to, to  leave. Then there's a mad scramble for the berths vacated.] With AS's stern up against the bank and her bow inches from the last boat to have rafted up I was just about to attempt to turn her around when the engine stopped. Then I remembered the heat in the cabin earlier and belatedly concluded the engine must have over heated. I decided not to attempt to re-start it and hoped against hope that no damage had been done.

We therefore rafted up alongside the nearest boat and in so doing blocked the exit for half the marina. 

Then to my astonishment another boat came and moored alongside us.

I clambered over boats rafted up around six deep before eventually finding a pontoon and made my way to the marina office to explain our predicament. The Harbour master was very relaxed and simply asked me to prepare warps in the event of not being able to get the engine going in the morning - no one he assured me would be leaving this afternoon.
I returned to the boat, sent the boys off to explore Amsterdam and tackled the engine. First I remove water intake filter -perhaps it was blocked? It wasn't but it was covered in a sort of plaque and I thought that perhaps that was restricting the water flow. Then I inspected the water pump - the impeller looked fine so I re-assembled it. Then a long phone call to Mick - what did he think - should I try and re-start it? We decided yes. The engine fired up and sounded normal and warm water was coming out the exhaust. Then I noticed water spurting from a hole in the pump. The seals on the shaft had failed, Mick concluded - perhaps the thermostat too - best replace both.

The next day - Thursday - we temporarily relocated the boat to facilitate the morning exodus and then re-entered just in time to bag the last proper berth. The engine seemed OK but I didn't push it hard. We then watched the marina gradually fill to over-flow levels again. Went sight - seeing with the boys in the afternoon.

The boys flew back the next morning and I spend the day fighting to remove the water pump..

...and the thermostat.

Unsurprisingly various bolts were seized and I had to remove the flywheel ....

to deal with one. Eventually, I managed to remove both the water pump and thermostat and then ordered replacement parts to fit on my return.

The next day Saturday, I caught the plane home and left AS in the care of Six Haven marina. I had a week back at work before flying back out with Sharon for what was planned as a week's gentle pottering before the return leg back to the UK (without Sharon). Quite how much time would now have to be spent fighting with the engine remained to be seen. Indeed, I wasn't that confident that I would be able to resolve the problems myself.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

First solo cruise - The Pyfleet and back via Black Eyed Spit

Black Eye

For those familiar with the Thames Estuary, that's not a typo in the title but a reference to what I looked like when I turned up at Medway Hospital on Sunday afternoon to visit the latest members of the family who'd arrived earlier in the week .....

Black Eye

Charles, my eldest and the girls proud father greeted me with,  "Hi Dad, why've you got a black eye?" "I haven't", I replied slightly puzzled my this strange greeting. I know he hasn't had much sleep recently but... "Oh yes you have - here take a look" he replied as he produced the latest smart phone widget - an electronic mirror - what next?

Having only just (and much too late to do anything about it) re-connected with shore norms, I was now even more concerned at my appearance. Straight from a weekend's sailing, I now sported a black eye to complement my scruffy sailing garb, and would not exactly be setting a good example to the new arrivals. Good job the always elegant, Mrs Fisher wasn't with me - I would probably have had to wait outside!


This is them - and very cute too!

Tiana and Angel!

To the Pyfleet

That's enough of that - back to the sailing.

It was Saturday 19th May and I thought it was about time I tried my first solo cruise on Arctic Smoke. The forecast was for light South Westerlies becoming North Easterlies on Sunday, so despite the threatened rain and fog patches it seemed like an opportunity too good to miss. HW was about 1230 which is when I wanted to at Garrison Point to catch the ebb up the coast. Had a cuppa with Tony at the Hoo Diner and he then gave me a lift out to the boat (I must get a hard dinghy to ferry myself out). Got sorted and dropped the buoy at 1050; exactly when the nice breeze that had been blowing  from the East or thereabouts up to then decided to die. So motored down the river hoping that the breeze would return. It never did beyond fits and starts so the engine stayed on.

Approaching Sheerness Harbour passed the gorgeous sight of the now fully restored Cambria under full sail.


My Dad was a sailing barge enthusiast and owned two barge yachts in his time, both converted ships life boats - 'Tessie' a full spritsail ketch complete with leeboards added by Dad. She was lovely but her hull was soft as putty and her Lister engine was a museum piece that would decide to work every now again and would even more frequently decide to stop working. I learnt the lost arts of kedging and warping on Tessie. The furthest we ever got from Portchester on the south coast, was Bembridge! A few years later in the mid 70s, Dad found 'Chlamys' at Hoo and bought her. Having since rediscovered the Medway, I'm not sure why he decided to relocate her to Portchetser but he did. Chlamys had been converted by a local Woodwork teacher with the help of his pupils and was built like a tank - double skinned clinker and rigged as a standing gaff cutter. She was beautiful and went to windward a little and could be persuaded to tack if you were patient! We got as far as the Channel Islands in her - but Dad consumed a large part of the UK Gin stock getting there. He was far happier creek crawling which is why I don't know why he didn't stay on the Medway! Anyway back to the present.

As we crossed the Thames the mist lifted and the sun came out and I was down to my T-shirt. The wind returned for a few of hours just before Maplin and we enjoyed a pleasant sail to the entrance to the Colne. We crossed the Spitway an hour before low water and recorded a minimum of 2.2 meters under the keel (I think - but I must check the echo sounder).  The wind then gradually died again and soon the engine was on for the last mile or so up to the Pyfleet. Just as we arrived it then freshened considerably. I didn't see anyone else the whole trip but there were a few other visitors in the Pyfleet. There was plenty of space for another though and I let go the anchor around 1800.

The trip had gone without a hitch and I was feeling confident about my ability to handle Arctic Smoke on my own. Little did I know that tomorrow would prove a little more challenging.

The Pyfleet is a delightful spot, so I soaked up the atmosphere for a while and then prepared dinner. I had provisioned for two hoping that Howard would join me but he was under the weather - so I gorged myself on steak with tomatoes and mushrooms, new potatoes, and broccoli, washed down with lashings of red wine. Lovely!

Next I had to plan the return trip. Up to then, I'd forgotten to factor in the time needed to get back out to the Whittaker before the flood commenced, so the 0630 start I'd assumed became 0500 which meant getting up at 0400! The hight of tide would be a little lower, but I calculated we should still have enough water to get back over the Spitway at low tide.

The wind had got up quite a bit from the North by 2200 so I let out some extra chain and set the anchor alarm before turning in. The alarm went off once when the tide turned as I half expected it would but we were still where we should be and I quickly went off to sleep again.

Return to Hoo

I was up at 0400 on Sunday and whilst there was a breeze building from the NE and the sky was overcast, the dire weather threatened by the forecasters had not arrived. Weighed anchor an 0500 - my first experience of using the winch. Discovered that the lead of the chain forward to the chain locker rather than straight down made for extra work but it was manageable and I got the anchor up  without too much difficulty and amazingly enough for the Pyfleet it was as clean as a whistle!

We motor sailed out to the Whittaker in order to ensure getting there before the flood headed us. Recorded 1.7 meters over the Spitway - this time the shallowest water was nearer the Swin Spitway rather than the Wallet Spitway as on the way out.

Turning south west we had a mostly fresh breeze behind us heralding a rather busy run down the coast as I tried to keep the boat on course and the sails working effectively. I was disappointed that despite her long keel AS would not hold a course for long despite lots of attempts to balance the set of the sails. After a while I enlisted the help of George AS's ancient self steering system. I gave up after an hour and a number of uncontrolled gybes. George stubbornly refused to co-operate.

The following weekend whilst attacking the long list of jobs with Mick, he tactfully pointed out that I had installed George's motor back to front! It was also only having returned that I realised that not being able to lock the wheel/rudder was probably a major cause of the hassle being metered out. The following weekend therefore I spent the majority of the time dismantling the locking mechanism. This included 4 hours on Saturday afternoon in the blazing sun trying to retrieve a spanner I dropped to the bottom of the steering pedestal. I had one of those clever tools for retrieving small objects - a push plunger at one end operated a claw at the other. It was like playing one of those fun fair games with the grappling hook that looks like it should be able to pick anything up but actually fails to do so. I'm sure my shrieks of frustration must have been heard on both sides of the river. Eventually after the sun had gone down and I could see what I was doing I managed to retrieve the blasted thing. The next day I finished getting all the bits off only to have my suspicions confirmed - the shaft itself that is supposed to turn a screw thread that then drives a 'car' that squeezes clamps against the steering column - was completely an utterly seized up. I'd even rowed ashore to buy a blow torch that turned out to be completely useless given the need to hold it upside down.

Still, despite the constant and from the helm to the sails (including a failed attempt to rig the spinnaker pole to goose-wing the Genoa) and to the chart table we enjoyed a cracking sail down the coast. A minor hic-up crossing the Thames - I thought we needed to take avoiding action to get across the approach channel quickly so stuck the engine on and tried to furl in the Genoa, but all the flogging had tangled the furling line and it took much faffing and cursing to set things back to rights. Whilst all this was going on the strange looking vessel that I was seeking to avoid had hardly moved and as we drew closer going up the Medway approach channel, it turned out to be nowhere near as big as I feared. And then back up the Medway. The down-poor never arrived - just a couple of light showers and the wind, may very briefly, have gusted to F5. By the time I picked up the buoy at about midday the sun was out.

Monday 14 May 2012

Monty Zoomer

Are the men of Kent bonkers or what? At the mouth of the River Medway lies the 2nd world war wreck of the Richard Montgomery an American munitions ship. The wreck is so dangerous that the authorities decided the only option was to leave it where it was and keep their fingers crossed. The Isle of Sheppy and Southend have lived on borrowed time ever since!

Mick at the Helm

But the men (and women too) of Kent are made of stern stuff; so Hooness Yacht Club organise an annual yacht race/game of chicken - a race that if you want a chance of winning - means sailing as close to the wreck as possible before scarpering back up the Medway for a well-earned beer at the club to calm those nerves.

Approaching Queenborough Spit

AS joined the fun this year and wonders of wonders was second over the start line at 1000 with 2 hours of the ebb left to run. Once again however Charles in his Nic 32 'Aurai' stole a march and within a few minutes was leading the fleet down the river towards the USS Richard Montgomery.

The breeze freshens...

It was a gorgeous day - the first summer day of the year (not counting the March heat wave) and layers of oilskins and winter clothes were gradually shed as things warmed up. Mick, who joined me as crew, navigator and race tactician, was soon regretting donning his thermals. The wind was NW varying force 2-4.

Aurai stayed ahead (possibly behind ANO Hooness boat) and extended her lead over the rest of the fleet. However, she got caught out by a wind shift rounding South Kent and had to put in an extra tack and so we gained on her for a while. She stayed in front though and then extended her lead (swapping places with the other boat that was possibly in our fleet), she passed Garrison Point and headed for the wreck.

As AS got to the first wreck mark the wind died to almost nothing for a while - thankfully the last remnants of the ebb took us safely past and in so doing saved the Isle of Sheppy from what could have been a very big bang indeed.

Once past the wreck the wind picked up and we sailed back up the river on a slightly freer tack than the one we had come down on. We started gaining on Aurai again at this point and for 10 minutes or so thought we might catch her. It was not to be however - the combination of wind shifts and the bends of the river brought a return to more close hauled work and Aurai once again lifted up her skirts and was off.

...and Chica closes for the kill

Worse was to come. We had left Will Pretty (who managed to combine racing with Race Officer) in the Trimaran CHICA, trailing in our wake on the way down the river, but inexplicably Chica started to overhaul us on the way back. From Darnet Ness onwards, Arctic Smoke and Chica were engaged in a close quarters duel through the moorings. The occasional wind shift required us both to harden up for brief periods and during these, Chica's relentless progress was briefly halted. Soon however, we were prow to prow. In a last desperate bid to hold her off, we dodged through the moorings into the channel in an attempt to get more tide under the boat. Then we aimed directly for Buoy 30 and the finish line, hoping to force Chica to round our stern. No doubt a veteran of numerous such duels, Will held his nerve and smiling pleasantly also held his course directly for the buoy! With yards to go there was no longer any doubt that Chica had her nose in front, so - not wishing to sink our race officer - we gave way, and Chica got the nod in 4:20:54 against AS's 4:21:00.

Must be one of the closest finishes on the Medway!

Monday 7 May 2012

May Bank Holiday 2012

A bit blowy. Crew - Ian. Saturday; Hoo - outside Isle of Sheppy in a fresh NE, 2 reefs. AS went well to windward in choppy conditions. Thought about Ramsgate; went to Harty Ferry instead. Lots of seals in the outer Swale. Forgot my charts of the Medway and Swale, but remembered enough. Picked up buoy and dined on board. Very bouncy night with gale from the NE. Little sleep. Sunday up the Swale to Queenborough. Cold. Good ale and food at the 'House and Home' - very friendly. Monday sailed out to Richard Montgomery, back to club mooring at Hoo. Great sailing.
Ian at the Helm

Traffic in the Medway

Action man!

Going well up the Medway, but ...

...couldn't catch Charles in his Nic' 32 ..wait 'till I get full sized genoa!

Very smart

Monday 23 April 2012

Lowestoft to Hoo

Having spent the previous weekend doing a succession of small jobs to get ready for departure, the Easter weekend arrived and Sharon accompanied by No 2 son Stephen, drove me and the crew (Mick and Alan) up to Lowestoft on Good Friday with the expectation we would leave the following day. There were just a couple of little jobs left to do; patch the mainsail, fit split pins to the throttle linkages and fix the nav lights.

Things started ok. The mast was indeed up and all the bits and pieces connected. It took most of the afternoon to stow provisions and say goodbye to Sharon and Stephen so precious little got done.

The next morning we set too in earnest. Alan and I got on with the sail and a general tidy up above decks and left Mick to sort out the Nav lights. By late afternoon it was clear . Multiple problems with the Nav lights fittings and wiring finally let to the diagnosis that new lights and wiring were required. After much heated debate about whether we needed the lights (that continued during the rest of the week) I decided we did and it was therefore clearwe were going nowhere that day. Only undersized lights and domestic wire could be tracked down quickly so we had to make do with a temporary solution. Somehow or another it was late Monday afternoon before the lights and a succession of other unanticipated more minor jobs were done.

The northerlies had been and gone and with freshish south westerlies forecast we dropped down the river to the outer harbour having played chicken with the local dredger on the way.

The Dredger Orca
We weren't going far only to the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk YC/Marina. As we manoeuvred into our chosen berth I gave the engine a touch of half throttle forward to ensure AS carried her way and at that point the throttle jammed open. AS started to surge ahead towards the marina wall. Fortunately Mick had just got on the pontoon with a line and had got it round a cleat. I had time to catch the look of alarm on his face as he looked back to the boat before I dived for the stop button. We escaped serious mishap - just. Investigation revealed a missing circlip in the Morse control. An hour or so later a temporary repair was affected and the water tank had been filled - with non drinking water - the only water available on the pontoons but we failed to notice the signs!

We consoled ourselves with a very good meal at the Yacht Club and got a reasonably early night ready for an early start in the morning.

A fresh south westerly was blowing but we got through the banks without undue difficulty and made sail. We we were able to lay a reasonable course for Harwich and were enjoying a cracking sail. The boat was going well under full genoa and a single reef in the main. Then the 0810 Lowestoft Coastguard transmission wiped the smiles off our faces. A SW severe gale force 9 was forecast. In our alarm we forgot that "soon" gave us 6 hours and we diverted to Southwold after only 2 hours sailing.

Proud owner at Brightlingsea
Alan and Mick had to leave for other duties. Mick returned on Wednesday evening and Tony joined us too. The stiff breezes of Wednesday and Thursday (the F9 never materialised in Southwold) were replaced by two days of flat calms So we motored to Brightlinsea and then onto Hoo without further incident other than being boarded by the Police off Blacktail Spit. I think they were getting in some Olympics prep as I've never been boarded before. Suffice to say they fpund no reason to detain us!

Roll on the sumer!
George at work before we discovered his proper home, 
Tony and AS at Brightlingsea

The Crew

Saturday 24 March 2012

Haul out

Friday/Saturday 16-17/3. Took AS over to the Yacht Haven for Haul out/survey on Monday. Took the guys a few attempts to get her into the slings but all ok.
First time seen her out of water.

No obvious signs of osmosis but will have to wait on survey.
Oiled/greased sea cocks. Except after getting home realised had forgotten outlet for the loo! Tidied up cockpit lockers. Found emergency tiller.

Removed port aft chain plate u-bolt. Some corrosion on alminium toe rail under chain plate but not excessive. Backing plates not up to much though. Discussed with Tim from the yard and agreed that he would remove all four u-bolts for the lower shrouds and replace the backing plates with more substantial ones.

Tried but failed to get the diesel central heating to work. Probably something amiss with the fuel pump.

Found a box of winch spares which is very handy given that Tim warned me that the mast winches felt like they needed stripping down and servicing.

Also found inspection lamp and anchor lamp both fully operational.

Better luck with the ancient Navtex console. Just needed the antenna connection improving.

Stripped out the lining under the the side deck in the galley area. Absolutely sodden. The toe rail fastenings and or those for the genoa tracks probable culprits. There's standing water on the deck after rain and it leaks through. Similar situation on the starboard side above the chart table. Probably a job that will have to wait until get to the Medway.

Spoke to the Surveyor on the Wednesday following. Thankfully doesn't seem to be any major problems. The rudder apparently is covered with blisters which I completely failed to notice but the hull only a couple of small ones which he said were of no concern. The seam along the bottom of the keel had apparently opened but had probably been like it for years. Not a difficult job and not urgent. One of the rudder fixing bolts was loose so Tim sorted that before AS was relaunched on the Friday. I go up again over the weekend of the 24th/25th and by then the mast should be back in. Will have lots to do to prepare for the trip down over Easter.