Let the blog begin!

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Tue 3 Jun 2014 22:56

Let the blog begin!

Slightly premature, but if only for the crew who will be joining us for the ‘Great Northern Adventure’, we thought they might like to know that ‘Suilven’ has emerged from the big shed at Fairlie Marine, and today splashed in successfully. We are currently sitting in the Largs Yacht Haven, listening to the gentle patter of rain on the spray hood.






The process has not been without the usual frustrations that attend any dealings with the marine industry. John came up to Fairlie a month ago to supervise the insertion of the mast, and to familiarize himself with all the new equipment that had been installed over the winter. Constant gale force winds, however, meant that the mast operation could not go ahead, so he had to return home, mission unaccomplished, reluctantly accepting that the mast would have to be inserted in his absence.


On our return on Monday, we found the mast was in and wired up, but had been put in the wrong position, and needed moving forward in the mast slot. Strong easterly winds again meant that it was too windy to move the mast, so the launch has had to be delayed by two days.


We have not been wasting our time. We’ve been able to play with the new Raymarine chart plotter – bliss compared to the old one,  and remind ourselves how to use the SSB radio. The new sonar, radar and hydro-generator will have to be tested later this week.


We have also made significant progress provisioning the boat. We placed a vast order with Tesco on-line, and brought virtually all the dry stores up with us. We were intending to trolley everything along a pontoon in the marina to the boat. Instead, with the boat still on her stilts, we have been craning supplies up 20 feet or so, like stevedores of old. The supplies filled the main saloon and we wondered how we were going to find space for both supplies and crew. Crew will be pleased to hear that we have found all kinds of hitherto unused hidey holes, and the supplies are all stored away and carefully catalogued so we don’t forget where we’ve put everything.










A major achievement has been sorting out the sat phone/email link. The ‘plug and play’ Redbox provided the usual challenge that accompanies anything to do with computers. Two days in and I’m glad to report that we have finally managed to send and receive an email and a grib file through the satellite phone. This blog I hope will also be posted via satellite phone.  I held out as long as I could, but finally had to send an email to Ed asking for help. I know it’s me Ed, if you ever read any of these blogs. Your answer provided the final link in the chain and voila – result.


Two days later

We have been working tirelessly since Wednesday. The sails are on, 373 litres of diesel put into the new tanks in the main saloon and a further 227 litres in cans on deck.



The Whispergen has provided us with the usual entertainment, teasing us by seeming to start up perfectly and then cutting out at the last minute, this time seemingly terminally. John identified two separate issues and it is now purring away generating electricity very satisfactorily. We have inflated the new rib, which is a little darling. We are still mulling over the best place to store it when on passage, but uninflated, it is very compact and we are hoping to be able to strap it down in the coach roof but will leave final decision to when we’re all on board.





Two more big supermarket shops have been absorbed into the boat, and we are now pretty much fully provisioned with dry goods.


Sea trials have now been completed, a sail round the Cumbraes, and has yielded the usual raft of niggles and learnings. The Watt & Sea hydro-generator has worked really well and kept our batteries completely topped up over the 3 hour passage in moderate wind.  Other niggles can hopefully be sorted out by the boatyard while we are away, although I think becoming completely comfortable with how the new chart plotter and integrated radar and AIS system work is going to be an on-going process