Summer 2022

I distinctly remember saying we wouldn’t pad this blog out with unnecessary content just to remain relative. I didn’t think the posts would be so sporadic though!!!

Ok, here we go….. We spent the winter in the Port of Poole marina & what a great bunch of people the staff are from the dock masters all the way to the marina manager Kerrie who is an absolute pleasure to deal with. Winter on the south coast of the UK isn’t great though and I recall saying we wouldn’t spend another winter in the UK when we left in 2018, oh well never say never I guess.

The replacement of the teak deck caulking became quite the chore as autumn arrived making it difficult to crack on meaning it took months. It is now done but there are patches which require attention as the caulking is lifting in some areas where the old small screws were. These screws are how Beneteau hold the deck in place at the construction stage. They then caulk over the screws which after years become exposed. Not their best idea in my opinion.

We have now finished the electronics upgrade including a Raymarine Axiom 7 repeater in the nav area and a new Quantum wireless radar in doing so we have now brought Silhouette up to 2022 ! Without doubt the biggest job I’ve undertaken is to swap out our Eberspacher airtronic heater for a Hydronic system. More on that shortly.

So where are we and how’s the plans coming along. We left Poole at the end of May and sailed west, first stop being the very lovely Dartmouth. The river is deep with quite a strong current running through it due to the big tides. We took a mid stream pontoon which means you either use your dinghy to go ashore or the harbour taxi service. Our cousins Lee & Julie sailed from the Solent to see us which was a great few days together. It was the longest sail they’d done in their yacht Thursdays Child including an overnight passage across Lyme Bay. We were very proud of them as we remember the first time we sailed overnight many years ago & the sense of achievement it brought. In the end we stayed for 2 weeks before moving on.

We’re in Salcombe Devon on a visitor mooring, we were going to stay for 3 days but it is stunning here with some great walks and a lovely town. The local pub has in my opinion the best Lager I’ve had called Offshore. I can’t quite believe how good it is so keep going back to make sure 🙂

So 6 weeks later and we’re still here.

This year is all about making sure Silhouette is back up to the level we feel she should be before heading off again next year. Our plans are starting to take shape, not so easy as back in 2018 we knew we needed to be in the Canaries at a certain time to prepare for the Atlantic crossing etc. This time with the UK no longer in the European union, timing is more difficult as we can only stay in the Schengen zone for 90 days then must leave for 90 days. The problem is France, Spain, Portugal, Italy & Greece are all part of the zone meaning leisurely sailing across the Mediterranean needs planning. Currently it look like we’ll winter 2023/24 in Cyprus but that’s a way away yet.

We’ve booked the marina in Poole again for this winter and will head off south in May/June next year.

When we came back to the UK in 2020 we fitted a new Eberspacher D5 airtronic heating system which is diesel powered hot air ducted throughout Silhouette. Historically when we’ve been at anchor the only way to create hot water is by either running the engine or turning on the Honda petrol generator to run the immersion heater. Both methods involve noise and a little inconvenience to neighbours nearby so the decision was taken to do what we should have in 2020 & put the Hydronic system in. This is much like domestic central heating with a small powerful diesel heater which very quickly heats water in hoses. These hoses run around the boat with matrix heaters (like car heaters) in each cabin along with running through the calorifier (hot water cylinder). The new system provides 40 litres of very hot water in about 30 minutes which is amazing & so quiet too. A big shout out goes to Stuart at www.melloronline.co.uk who not only supplied the Eberspacher system but their technical assistance was second to none👏

However the existing calorifier was only a single coil which the engine uses to heat the water & the system needed a 2 coil calorifier. This meant removing the old one behind the engine. I am sure Beneteau placed the calorifier in the hull then built the rest of the boat around it. After much swearing, bloody hands, removal of cabin floor frames & 6 HOURS, I managed to get the old one out with literally 3 mm gap! The new one of the same size but cylindrical instead of square took an hour to fit. The installation has taken me about 5 days with 1 more to wire in the heaters, the main dealer said it would take 2 engineers 4 days minimum…. & they are supposed to know what they’re doing! There is no doubt this system is far superior and making hot water in 30 minutes is a game changer at anchor, so everyone is very happy.

Big boxes containing the water heating system

We also installed a Victron Energy 3000w inverter charger kindly given to us by Steve & Helen on Allegrini as they’d fitted a 5000w version. Great piece of kit but after having had to remove it to get the old calorifier out I think I’ve blown something up on the board when refitting as it now doesn’t work. Entirely my fault and a repair will be carried out when we stop for the winter. Fortunately I hadn’t removed the old 1500w inverter so everything still works on board…. Phew the big TV still works 😂

We need to be in Falmouth Cornwall in a couple of weeks as my mother is staying there so an ideal chance to spend time together.

Final jobs for this winter will be increasing the solar panels on the arch and taking the mainsail back to the sail makers and getting them to recut it “again” as the 2nd batten still hits the backstay #nothappy !

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