We introduced ourselves via email to Steve & Helen who own another 473 based in Swanwick recently and have agreed to meet up this summer. They have their own blog running which as it turns out shows their departure date as pretty much the same time as us. They’ve even started a countdown clock which makes it all the more real. Having seen the clock we thought we’d actually compile a list of the jobs that need/should be done prior to our own departure. To be honest I hate lists as there’s always something else to add. That said we both feel if you wait until the boat is 100% finished you’ll never actually leave the berth!!! Someone said (so I’m told) that blue water sailing is boat maintenance in warm weather ( or something like that), so in reality there will always be something to do. Obviously it’s important to get all the big known jobs done before leaving along with all safety issues, we have however been extremely lucky to have found a boat having just returned from an Atlantic circuit and owned by a very fastidious family who prepared Silhouette so well.

However I started a list this week …….. did I mention I hate lists! Some items should be considered normal annual practice but here it is…. GULP

Replace standing rigging and check operating limits of the inner forestay with riggers

Repair or replace Lazyjack system

Check/reinforce mainsail stitching

Install watermaker  (not on original plan but being talked into it)

Service maxprop

Service all winches

Service windlass

Service liferaft and resite to pushpit cradle

Service fridge and freezer systems

Service and check all hoses fitted to skin fittings

Service hydraulic autopilot pump

Change rudder bearing

Change Cutless bearing

Check gas supply system

Generator.. (hmmm still thinking a petrol backup only)

Check wind and solar outputs working efficiently

Check battery banks holding charge

Fit SSB radio and pactor modem

Laptop with software for email and navigation

Check emergency tiller and possible alternative autopilot attachment for it

Check wind instrument (intermittent reading)

New Epirb

E120 back light repair

Towable water generator (maybe)

Replace scuba gear

Fishing equipment inc speargun

Update engine spares

Buy FRiB and 10/15hp outboard (maybe)

Most of these can be done with Silhouette still in the water and won’t take very long at all, some of the big jobs will be done at the same time whilst ashore this winter.

With that compiled we thought a weekend sail was in order and arranged to meet up with our cousins Lee & Julie in Lymington where they live. We had a cracking sail up in a NE5-6 with 1 slab in the main and 2/3rds of the genoa rolled out reaching 9.6kts over the ground (about 8kts through the water) and Silhouette sailed like a dream. As we approached the Needles fairway buoy we started to roll in the genoa as we were heading straight into the NE wind when the genoa sheet whipped just like a tea towel flick and caught Caroline on the side of her finger. Initially it looked dislocated as it certainly wasn’t pointing in the right direction! She bent it back and strapped it up but a visit to Lymington Hospital showed a double break with an unstable fracture. The doctors were surprised Caroline popped the finger straight….. she’s made of strong stuff is my wife !!!

A huge thank you to Julie for being taxi driver and to Lee for remaining with me onboard drinking beer 🙂

The return trip to Poole promised NW-5-6 meaning a cracking sail back so we asked Lee & Julie if they wanted to come with us, we didn’t need to ask twice.

Leaving the overnight berth we’d been allocated at Lymington Yacht Haven wasn’t as difficult as we’d first thought even though we did have to reverse all the way out to the river before relaxing.

 Then once in the Solent it was time for Silhouette to show our guests what she could do. Lee is certainly a sailor as he’d sailed for many years with his dad Colin who introduced us to sailing in 1990, and we just couldn’t keep him off the helm! With smiles all round we passed Hurst Castle close to starboard and once past North head buoy tacked straight to Poole at 7-9 kts.

 When I was finally allowed to switch the autopilot on, we settled down for lunch and I informed Lee that if he could get the necessary time off work, I wanted him to be part of the Atlantic crew.  Lee is a natural and so at home on the water, he would be a huge asset and we hope he can make it. I think the only problem we would have with him is he keeps wanting to put the spinnaker up…. boy racers !!!

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Sailing La Vagabonde

The Moors family adventure on our Beneteau 473 - Sailing Around the world on our Beneteau Oceanis 473

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ... it's about learning to dance in the rain!

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