Afloat once more

Saturday 22nd October 2011

 

We were finally re-launched earlier this week after one or two problems kept us on the hard longer than expected.  The keel was sandblasted back to bright metal and given several coats of vinyl ester, faired and sanded and given a coat of hard bottom paint.  All went well and we are pleased with the work on the keel.  We were not pleased with the ‘collateral damage’ of the sandblasting however.  First we noticed that two of the blades on the propeller, which we had just refitted after major refurbishment, were pitted.  Then it became apparent that the area of the hull near where the keel is attached to the boat had also suffered damage.  There was pitting right through some of the epoxy layers beneath the antifouling, meaning that this protective layer had been compromised.  The yard manager was very apologetic and arranged to have the damage repaired at their expense, but this of course meant that the boat was in their yard for a further week.

 

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The keel, sandblasted back to bright metal.

 

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The prop covered in dust – it was shiny and ‘new’ before the sandblasting.

 

We had planned just to antifoul the keel and the waterline, but in view of the extra work done to the hull, in the end we decided to do it all.  Steve spent two days preparing and painting (I did the clean jobs like masking up the waterline!) and eventually she looked really good and was ready to go back in the water.

 

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Steve sitting down on the job!                                                                                                   Nearly finished and looking very good.

 

The delay with the keel work meant that we were unable to sail to Annapolis for the boat show, but that didn’t mean we missed it.  The owner of Osprey Marine (who were working on the boat) drove us, together with David & Lynn from Moonbeam, to Annapolis, which is about 20 miles north of the boatyard.  We had a very enjoyable day at the show, which is outdoor and very similar to the Southampton Boat show, with large marquees, boats afloat and a gin tent where Steve enjoyed sampling a variety of gin cocktails after several hours of walking around the exhibits.  We had a long list of people to see and items to buy, and were very pleased to be able to tick off everything before heading off with friends to a local pub for drinks and supper. 

 

Now we are back in the water and working our way towards the end of our job list for this refit.  We did eventually get the heater working after fitting a new fuel pump and flushing out the fuel line.  We have fitted the last two of our replacement hatches.  The propeller has been completely refurbished and is as new.  The broken whisker pole has been put in the skip and a new one now sits in its place on the foredeck.  The sprayhood and bimini have been adapted and reinforced.  The old battery charger (circa 1992) has been disposed of and replaced with a new model – another one of those less-than-straighforward jobs.  The first new one was dead out of the box and had to be returned to Victron in Maine and a new one sent.  Then when the second new one was fitted the separate control panel unit was completely dead too.  We have our suspicions that the faulty first new one probably took it out, but in any case that also had to be replaced.   It took over a week to complete a job that should have taken just a few hours.  The sails have been laundered and repaired and are back in place and the genoa has lovely soft new red and white sheets (ropes).

 

When Steve changed the engine impeller we discovered that two of the blades had broken off and were lurking somewhere in the cooling system of the engine.  We weren’t keen to leave them there as they could block the system at any time causing the engine to overheat.  With our luck this would happen somewhere very inconvenient, so after seeking advice we set about backflushing the system and were very pleased with ourselves when we managed to flush the offending pieces of rubber back out.

 

So, our stay here has been longer than planned, and from the above it sounds like it has all been work, but we have had some enjoyable times too.  David & Lynn from Moonbeam were here for a couple of weeks and we enjoyed their company over several drinks and suppers.  I also entertained them on one trip to the local supermarket by falling off my bicycle into a flower bed!  Well the silly bicycles that the marina kindly lends its customers have no brakes on the handlebars, you have to back-peddle to stop.  This was beyond my powers of coordination and it was easier just to fall off.  Unfortunately there were rose bushes in the flower bed, but fortunately they only had little thorns!

 

Our plan is to stay a day or two more, until we get to the end of the job list and tidy and clean the boat up a bit.  Then we’ll be off, heading in a southerly direction.