Cool and dry

Wednesday 11th July 2012

 

The days just seem to have flown by and it’s difficult to believe we’re nearly halfway through July already.  We have relaxed into non-sailing mode, although we keep a daily eye on the weather as we don’t want anything nasty sneaking up on us.  We have knocked quite a lot off our joblist, and are presently drawing up a new one for Trinidad.  The liferaft was due for service last year, but as we were mainly coastal sailing, we didn’t feel an urgent need to get it done.  Now, though, with another ocean crossing coming up within a year, we need to get it serviced.  This is not proving too easy though, because the company that made the liferaft was taken over and our particular model is no longer produced.  As a result, neither of the two companies in Trinidad that do liferaft servicing are able to source spares.  So at the moment we are looking into the possibility of getting them shipped in ourselves – of course the alternative will be to buy a new one, but we hope it won’t come to that.

 

It’s a real treat to have a 220v 50Hz electricity supply for a change, and we have been making the most of it by running the hoover (occasionally) and the sewing machine (lots).  We bought a few yards of sunbrella canvas when in the US (hence yards not metres!), and with this, together with a tent we had made for the aft deck which we never use, we made a variety of covers for the boat.  Protecting the boat and its equipment from the sun is important as the damaging UV rays are relentless.   And being able to keep the hatches open when it rains (frequently and hard – it is the rainy season!) is necessary to prevent us from expiring from the heat!

 

We had already made a rain cover for the aft hatch when we were in Cuba – so we made a rain cover for the forward hatch.  This also doubles as a raincatcher to which we can fix a hose and lead the water back to the deck filler for the water tanks.  The watermaker works well, but it is good to have a backup system.

 

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Aft hatch raincover- means we can still have air when it rains                       Fore hatch raincover, with drain hole so that it can double as a raincatcher.

 

We made an alteration to the boom tent which keeps the sun and rain off us in harbour.  The showers can be very heavy here, and big puddles were forming either side of the boom, making the tent sag and stretch.  So we attached some webbing eyes along the middle and can now pull it up on the spare halyard, and now the rain drains off nicely.

 

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The halyard pulls up the middle of the tent so that the rain drains off.

 

We carry jerry cans of fuel on the side decks when we set off on longer passages as the diesel tank in the boat only gives us a range of about 350-400 nautical miles.  Out on the decks they are exposed to the full force of the sun, which isn’t good for the plastic, nor for the diesel inside them.  They are empty at the moment, so an ideal time to make covers for them.

 

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Protecting the jerry cans from the sun.

 

We also wanted a cover for the chartplotter on the binnacle, which was a slightly more complicated shape than previously attempted.  We had some plastic sheeting used by the professional canvas workers which we had rescued from a recycling bin in Herrington Harbour, so we made a pattern out of that first.  We are quite pleased with the result.

 

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The template cut out of plastic sheeting.                                                                               The chartplotter cover, fixed below with a press stud to prevent it flying away!

 

The final sewing task was to refurbish the ensign which had flogged itself to almost half its original size.  We removed the Union Jack from the corner of the old one, and used some flag material kindly given to us by our friends Sandy & Brian on Moonshadow Star to build a new ensign around it. 

 

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Ta-da! A new ensign….                                                                                                                  ...in place at the back of the boat.

 

The sewing machine has more than paid for itself already.  We were hesitant about paying what we thought was a lot of money for an old machine – a Bernina 707 minimatic.  We could have bought a couple of brand new ones for the same price!  But we wanted something simple and sturdily built, and able to stitch several layers of canvas without comment, which this does.  The modern ones we tried were screaming at having to stitch two layers!  An excellent buy, and well-deserving of the locker space. 

 

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Small but powerful, the machine has paid for itself already.