The good, the bad, the ugly!

Yes we’re still here, so here’s a long overdue update with good stuff and bad stuff!

COVID-19 has left and continues to leave its mark throughout the world, just as we think its getting better another variant rears its UGLY head. On the positive side the UK has now vaccinated nearly 90% of the adult population with the first jab and 75% with both. We all owe a huge debt to the scientists who developed the vaccine and our wonderful NHS for getting it out to the population. The world as a whole has so much more to do and this pandemic will be with us for a long time to come we fear. With this in mind we’ve decided to wait until 2023 before setting off again. Discussions are taking place about where though, the Mediterranean or……… ???

Once the 2021 UK lockdown ended it was a bit of a rush to get Silhouette ready to go out to her summer mooring. This involved the usual lift out with antifoul and polish made extremely difficult due to the yard placing boat trailers under the hull. There just wasn’t enough room to work, I think we were a bit big really & if we go there again a conversation will take place in advance on location.

Unfortunately Kemp sails (sadly) let us down quite badly with the mainsail packaway system and when we raised the new mainsail even that was wrong! We are now on version 4 of the packaway which still isn’t right but I will restitch myself as I can’t be bothered to call them in again. The biggest issue was with the material chafing through within days of fitting, the blame being placed on faulty canvas. When the mainsail was fully raised we noticed immediately that the batten boxes at the leech (outer edge) were hitting the backstays. This was so BAD, when we headed downwind in light airs the only way we could gybe was by lowering the mainsail as the sail was stuck to the backstays. On calling Kemps we were told it was perfectly normal for this to happen…. I don’t think so as the old one didn’t and the sail specs from Beneteau certainly show clearance. Kemps ended up recutting the sail and have assured us all is well. I still maintain they are a good company but they’ve had serious tape measure issues 🤷🏻‍♂️

The only way to know if all is well is to go sailing, what can possibly go wrong? We first noticed something wasn’t right when after running the engine there was no hot water being created for the domestic system. Initially we thought the problem might be a split in the calorifier (hot water tank) coil as water was also overfilling the expansion bottle on the cooling system. To cut a very long story short, after lots of conversations with friends and removing bits for checking it was looking serious. Marine engineers are extremely busy and actually getting them to turn up proved to be quite the battle. A couple of friends suggested we call Mike Wills marine in Poole which we did. He was totally transparent and said he couldn’t get to look for 3 weeks but would definitely be onboard. True to his word an engineer arrived, tested the coolant system and immediately said it looked like head gasket failure to him. So after checking the turbo & exhaust manifold which were both fine, the head came off which showed the gasket had blown. With few parts available including the head gasket set which had to be ordered from Japan, we knew we were in for a wait. Luckily for us Kerry and her team at the Port of Poole marina have been brilliant and found us a berth for the duration.

So not being able to move we decided to start the upgrades…. it’s only money you know!!! We now have the latest Raymarine evolution 400 autopilot and an Axiom plus MFD at the helm. Axiom plotters are quite amazing and allow you to control the boat from an ipad, very cool indeed. Our teak decks are now 16 years old and looking quite tired with some screws starting to be visible. To remedy this is a very very big job involving removing the black caulking & all the screws which are put in at the build to hold the deck down to allow the glue to set, sand and re-caulk followed by another light sand. The starboard side is now done which has taken me 3 weeks of a few hours a day weather permitting. It look great although my knee has rebelled meaning all stop for now. It’ll be all done before the winter begins and will last for years again.

The GOOD news is 7 weeks later and our engine is working again…. cheers all round! We were going to have a 10 week cruise to the south west of the UK but this will now be about 2 weeks. I wonder what the mainsail looks like???

Now what’s happened to summer? I blinked and think I missed it!

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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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