Back on the Water
The start of a new cruising season! Suilven has been at Southampton Yacht Services over the winter, undergoing a ‘midlife refit’. Apart from general fettling up, cleaning and cosmetic repairs, we have made a few major changes.
She is now cutter rigged so we have a new staysail and yankee instead of our horribly stained genoa. She is much more manageable, despite the yards of extra rope in the cockpit. An unexpected plus is that we have much better visibility underneath the foresails, so do not have to constantly crane our heads over the side of the cockpit to see what dangers lie ahead.
We have also fitted a new propeller, a Brunton Autoprop. Suilven has always been underpowered, and as the propeller has deteriorated over the years so has her performance under motor. Our final trip from Plymouth to Southampton last autumn saw her brought practically to a standstill when faced with not particularly heavy headwinds and seas. The improvement in her performance is nothing short of miraculous. She can now do 7 knots in flat water at 1800 rpm – almost 2 knots improvement at the same revs. We are delighted.
Other improvements include a water filter for the drinking water - no more horrible cups of tea made from tainted tank water – and joy of joys, a zip up shelter for the cockpit which keeps us as snug as anything when sailing in wind and rain. John is also thrilled with the new deck wash pump. A powerful jet of seawater swills away all debris with marvellous efficiency. These latter improvements have arisen as a direct result of sailing with my brother Tim, down in the Falklands so big thanks there.
We are now looking forward to our cruise this summer around the West Coast of Ireland, hopefully up to Barra in the Outer Hebrides and then to Oban where we will join the Malts Cruise in July. No particular plans after that, but have booked her in for the winter at Fairlie Marine on the Clyde, ready for heading further North next year.