Sunday, 8 November 2015

Collected blog books

With no more visits to Robinetta scheduled for the moment, it feels time to collect this year's posts into book form. It is shorter than last years, but then we were only aboard for six weeks rather than getting on for twelve. The book is in blog form with daily posts but we have edited them into a single voice (Julian's for a change).

I have also updated Light Airs and Yachtsman's Gales to remove some typo's and add captions to the pictures. If you own this eBook you can update your copy at no cost.

You will see a new element in the side bar. With the eBooks coming onto more platforms I wanted an easy way for people to find the ones they want.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

In the Shed

Half term means heading north to Largs and getting started on the winter work. Robinetta is under cover for the first time since we've owned her, and it's nice to know that when I mop out the bilges they are not going to fill again until she comes out of the shed!

I had a good look at the bulwarks where I found some rot at the start of the season. Luckily it is not as bad as it could have been, and I've scraped out the really soft bits and hopefully the rest will dry out before February when Julian will rout out the rot and insert a new bit of Siberian larch.

Alex spent all week painting the hull. It took that long because there were places that were down to bare wood, which needed two coats of grey metallic primer then two coats of undercoat before the toplac went on, then a final coat of Toplac on all over. In the pauses waiting for the paint to dry he sanded down the gaff, boom, and bowsprit, plus most of the varnished wood on the hull and rudder, and gave them three coats of varnish. Robinetta's paint work is still not finished though, since the bulwarks will need painting in the spring.

The portholes in the forward bulkhead have started to leak when it rains, so we've taken them out to let the wood around them dry out thoroughly, then we'll put them back with new mastic.There are also a couple of persistent leaks just under this bulkhead that needs tracking down.

We need the hatch surrounds rebuilt since they've been leaking for the last couple of years, but I don't feel confident in my woodworking skills and Julian does not have time, so we will be getting those done professionally. One bit of woodwork I do feel competent with is remaking the galley again, to accommodate the Orego stove. We've used it successfully for two seasons now, but I would like to get it on gimbals if I can.

I spent a fair amount of time grubbing around in the engine area, cleaning it up and giving regular doses of WD40 to the thru-hulls for the cockpit self drainers. These have been open ever since we bought Robinetta, and we never even thought about them since we were told they did not work. The surveyor who looked at Robinetta last winter reported that they were open, and the pipes that led upwards from the hull fitting were brittle and needed replacing. We replaced the pipes before launch, but could not get the thru-hulls to close, so we blocked them off at the top instead. I asked one of the boat builders about sealing the openings in the hull, and he said it would be much better to make them movable! He advised the WD40, and after three days of twice daily applications I finally got some movement. By the end of the week, when Julian could finally join Alex and me at the boat shed, the WD40 had worked through enough that he could get the cones out of the holes. He brought them home to clean them, and will replace them and repair the linkages to the remote opening handles in February.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Season Totals

We had two distinct cruises this year. The first took us up to Stornoway, in three weeks, while the second brought us back south to cruise inside the Clyde. These were bookmarked by delivery trips, one from last winter's storage at Cairnbaan, and one to this winter storage at Fairlie Quay. In view of this I thought I should compare the different cruises as well as compile the totals.

Cairnbaan to Tobermory, plus daysail towards Coll. 15-18 April
Engine hours      17.75
passage hours    20.5 
distance              79
days under way    3
nights on boards  4

Tobermory to Stornoway 23rd May to 13th June

Engine hours      32.5 hrs
passage hour s   91.5 hrs
distance            282.5nm
days under way  13
nights on boards 21

Stornoway to Holy Loch 13-27 July 
Engine hours       70
passage hours     96
distance             302nm
days under way   11
nights on boards 15

Holy Loch to Fairlie Quay 25-27 September 
Engine hours      7.5
passage hours     8
distance             30
days under way   1
nights on boards 2

Year totals 
Engine hours    127.75
passage hours   216
distance            693.5
days under way   28
nights on boards 42

This year, like last, we got a lot of sailing compared to maintenance time. Robinetta is showing the lack now, with some rot in the bulwarks and shabby paint and varnish. She is in a shed this winter, so there is no excuse for not painting her properly and repairing the various leaks round the hatches!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Largs to Fairlie

It would be difficult for Fairlie Quay Marine to be closer to Largs Yacht Haven! A mere ten minutes motoring would see Robinetta at her final destination of the year, so we walked to Fairlie last night and collected our car. This morning I packed up the cabin and began to transport its contents to the car while Julian took off the main sail in bright sunshine.

We used the lovely clean and dry pontoons at Largs to properly flake the main and jibs before bagging them up, and two trolley loads later there was very little left aboard. It was much easier to do this than pass everything down while Robinetta is up on a cradle!

Approaches to the pontoon at Fairlie are tide dependant; Julian helmed and reported that there were only 2 metres under the keel across the bay but that is plenty! I phoned the office to say we were on our way and there were two people waiting to take our lines then check Robinetta's hull shape and lift points. We hauled Worm onto the pontoon, and I put the kettle on for a cup of tea.

After a short wait while they set up the hoist we motored under it and the lift began.
I've never been aboard during a lift out before. It is a strange experience to see the sides of the dock coming down to meet us! When Robinetta's bow was level with the dock Julian and I were told to step over the bow and disembark, so did so.

Robinetta did not get power washed last Autumn. Paul had told us to avoid it for a couple of seasons while the putty hardened up, so Alex and I scrubbed her down by hand which had taken a while despite her being quite clean to begin with. Julian thought we should do the same this year and we discussed it with the yard men while the lift out finished. Once she was out we just looked at her. The only obviously fouling was a little weed on the water line, and a few barnacles right at the bottom of the keel (which was impossible to anti-foul at Cairnbaan) and by the propeller.

One man scraped off the barnacles, then the water line was power washed to remove the weed. The rest of the hull only needed a rinse! We got asked what anti-foul we used, and congratulated on our choice. Blakes tiger extra seems to work well in the clear Scottish water, although mid-season scrubs are vital in the muddy Essex creeks.

Once Robinetta was clean the hoist carried her over to the cradle, while Julian and I went back to the pontoon to collect Worm. This was when I remembered that I had left the kettle heating on the stove on aboard Robinetta....

The yard staff quickly dug out a ladder, and I climbed aboard as soon as Robinetta was in the cradle. The water was boiling gently, and no harm was done!

Robinetta will be going into the shed next week, which means the mast needs to come out. Julian really does not want to have to dress the mast in the Spring again, so tied all the halyards, electric cables, etc up on the mast, leaving only the shrouds and forestay for the yard to deal with. Worm will stay with her for a change, taking advantage of the shed storage too.

We moved the last few things out of the cabin and into the car, then headed home. Our 2015 sailing season was over.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Holy Loch to Largs via Loch Long

Invited Robert Hill to join us for breakfast as he has his boat Sagen at Holy Loch, and drove up yesterday to get her ready to come out of the water. A lovely start to the day!

Weather was grey, and very still. There were wreaths of cloud hanging on the hills, going nowhere. We had hoped to go for a sail, but there was too little wind to use, so after we launched Worm we just set off under motor to explore a little way up Loch Long.

We skirted the exclusion zone around the submarine base, and passed the entrance to Loch Goil, then carried on as far as Portincaple before turning back down towards the Clyde and Fairlie where Robinetta is booked to be hauled out on Sunday morning.

The wind got up a little as we passed Dunoon, so we got the sail up and turned the engine off near the Gantock Cardinal. Unfortunately we were sailing at less than 2 knots even with the tide in our favour,  so after a quiet cup of tea the engine went back on again.

The sun burnt through the overcast around 1600, and the wind increased a little so the sails went back up again and we turned the engine off. The wind direction had us sailing towards the wrong side of Creat Cumbrae, so after a pleasant half hour of gentle sailing the engine went back on as we headed to Large Yacht Haven to tie up just before 1900.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Back on board

Back on Robinetta after nearly 9 weeks away!

Julian and I got up early to drive up to Scotland, and left Stortford at 0515. Being so early meant we avoided all the traffic hold-ups, and we reached Fairlie Quay at 1245 after a very pleasant drive. We left the car there, and took to the buses, which got us to the ferry terminal at Gourock. Then it was onto the ferry to Hunters Quay, and a walk along Holy Loch to Sandbanks, and we were on board Robinetta by 1515.

We had been wondering about having an afternoon sail, but getting Robinetta's covers off, and the mould washed off the eating and cooking utensils left us with no energy after our early start. The mould was not nearly as bad as when we got on her at Stornoway; putting things into rubbish bags and sealing them up was a very useful exercise.

We went to the local shop and bought the makings of a cooked breakfast, plus milk for tea, then headed the Holy Loch Inn for an early dinner

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Voyage Update

I've updated the voyages map with our trip from Stornoway to Holy Loch.