A month in the boatyard

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sun 22 Mar 2020 07:11

We’ve been in the yard just over a month now.  We were relaunched on Wednesday but the engine, which has been problematic most of this year, stopped running before they got us off the trailer and Phil and Kevin (yard launch man, fixer and all round good egg) failed to get it going.  The fact that it was coming up to going home time and the tide was going out meant that they had to lift us out again.  Phil has been up to his elbows in diesel since and the engine now sounds so sweet when it is running, but it still cuts out after 10-15 minutes.  We will be calling in the reinforcements on Monday.

We are not going to go into lots of detail over the work done for the month – but here are some pictures of our month:

For the first 2 weeks we took an Airbnb in Onerahi, just over the river.  It was a self-contained unit attached to the owner’s house with a nice patio – ideal for cold drinks after a long day’s work

We had already finished the revarnishing of the fore-cabin while we were still in the marina

So once we had moved out we moved everything from the Saloon into the fore- and after-cabins masked up and started rubbing down. 

Once this area was ready to varnish we took the floorboards and cupboard doors off and Phil worked on these  under the shelter of a neighbouring catamaran while Sarah started work below.  Two undercoats and two topcoats took 3 days – 7 days in total to do the Saloon.

With the saloon complete everything from the after-cabin was relocated there

And we started the process over again in the after-cabin.

The aftercabin was less work so once it was rubbed down, Sarah took her sewing machine back to the flat and worked out of the dust and muck.

While Phil did the varnishing and continued working on the installation of our new watermaker, which required a new water intake hole in the bottom of the boat (now filled by a seacock).

The varnishing was complete in time for us to move back onto the boat after 14 days.  Our little rental car had been great getting us back and forth, even if the navigation/radio unit was stuck in Japanese and continually cycled through different pages – distracting and amuzing in equal parts.  It also took us to the various DIY stores and Chandleries we needed, and to the chip shop for supper when we worked late.

The day we moved back on to Serenity, Wilderness, with Charles and Fung on board, was lifted out alongside us.  We first met them in Fiji, then again at Christmas on Great Mercury Island.  It was good to catch up.

Now the routine work of antifouling started.  New Zealand has strict bio-fouling laws and we had to hire a sander with attached vacuum cleaner to do the preparation work – Phils arm muscles got a good work out. 

While Sarah went back underneath the neighbouring Catamaran to do the last bits of varnish on the companionway steps and the saloon table.

In between various other jobs have been done such as installing a new Kicker (to hold the main boom down) and a new track for the main sheet (the rope that controls the main sail).  The old track is the mucky bit of silver metal and the new one is the shiny black piece – a vast improvement.

Installing the track involved taking down the head lining in the after-cabin to get at the bolts that held it.

Phil also emptied the diesel tank and cleaned it out in case it was the source of our engine problems.

We were ready for launch in plenty of time for Wednesday and were pleased that we would no longer have to climb the ladder...

...and walk across the yard every time we needed to shower or go to the toilet.  Hey ho.  At least our new spot in the yard has better views across the river and a friendly neighbour in the form of a Possum who has been onboard every night since we moved!

COVID19 is obviously affecting New Zealand as well as everywhere else (66 confirmed cases – no fatalities so far) and we are waiting to see how it will affect us.  Our home is on Serenity and we want to stay with her.  Most countries and ports we could have sailed to are now closed, so it seems likely we will be staying in New Zealand – with many other cruising yachties.  We will apply for extension visas next month and see what they offer.