A Messy New Year!

Why haven’t you heard from us recently? Indeed we could ask why we haven’t heard from you too! Well, here’s our excuse:

Having made the decision to get off our asses and go for a sail, which will be our first in TWO YEARS (!), we are having to work our way through a stupid amount of jobs that should have been done before now. What with our land-based travels poor old Esper has been neglected somewhat, so now it’s time to attend to her needs and get cracking with those all important boat maintenance jobs.

I’m not going to bore you with a list of these jobs but I will entertain you with a quick guided tour of Esper and what she looks like after her guts have been ripped open. For those with no idea about living on a boat this is a little insight into what we get up to when preparing a boat for a sail.

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Fan Belts And Braces

Rested and eager to move on, Liz and I fell into the trap of believing that the next bit of the journey would be fairly straightforward, despite the headwinds. How wrong could we have been? I’ll give you a clue: very.

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Mr Bond, I Presume?

My troubles started when I attempted to turn the engine off. I pressed the ‘off’ button and nothing happened, the engine continued to trundle away. “Relay switch”, I thought. I picked up instructions manuals, reference books, and anything else that might offer a solution. In the end I bottled it and called John on the VHF.

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A Day In The Life: On The Hard

Anyway…this “Day in the Life” is based upon our time on the hard in the sweltering 30°+ heat of June at Marti Marina. For you non-yotties being on the hard means propping ones boat up on big sticks and climbing up and down a 10ft ladder in order to get on and off the boat.

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Tinker Traveller Cover

For posterity and insurance purposes, and also to help over Tinker Traveller owners, we publish here a load of images of our new cover, made of Sunbrella.

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Sun Awning Design For A Boat

This article explains briefly how our Sunbrella sun awning works for our ketch rigged boat. Whilst it may not provide a complete solution for other boats we are publishing this article in the hope that it assists other boat owners in designing their own awning.

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Scraping The Propeller Of Barnacles: Man’s Work!

When I was thirteen, I held my breath for two minutes and fifty five seconds, sitting, very still, in my bedroom. Flapping around under a boat in cold water, stabbing a chisel at 4 months worth of crustaceans tends to tire you out a little and I think the best I managed was about 40 seconds.

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Thunderbirds Are Go!

Panic because I really didn’t know what I was doing in the engine room. The engine won’t start. Right, where do I begin? Haven’t a clue. Get a book out on diesel engines. Can’t find any of the problems identified in the troubleshooting section. Must be the carburettor. No wait, it doesn’t have a carburetor.

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Partying In Marmaris Yacht Marina

Now I wouldn’t want you to think that we’ve been up to nothing but do-gooding these past weeks… Those of you that know us will be relieved to hear that there has been the usual amount of getting-up-to-mischief and having fun too! Now, where to start?

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Installing Navtex

As he turned the tubing on the lathe to cut the thread of the mounting base I sat and watched and was reminded of my old metal work classes at school. The difference was this guy knew what he was doing. After three hours he’d completed the job, charged me fifty yentils (£15) and we rounded off the afternoon with a çay and a three-worded conversation about boats.

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Boat Maintenance

The first job we had to attend to was the leaking deck fittings. This meant ripping down the headboards, unbolting the deck fittings and caking ourselves in Sikaflex (this is a marine rubber sealant that takes three weeks to remove from your fingernails). John’s tips and encouragement meant we could tick that job off the list in no time.

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Boat Stereo Entertainment System

We had more fun and games sourcing a solution for our entertainment system than any other issue with the boat! Whilst there are expert marine electricians, carpenters, rigging experts and so on there appears to be a lack of information on marine stereo solutions.

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Boat Plumbing

There were two major plumbing jobs that we left to Yat Lift: the replacement of the holding tank and converting the electric toilet pump back to a manual one.

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Boat Electrics and Electronics

With the addition of stereo, new VHF and various switches and monitors the left and lower dashs in the nav table area had to be redesigned. We decided to take out some of the old electronic equipment, either because they weren’t working or because they were dated and would one day be replaced with new kit.

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Boat Power Sources

After reading the yacht-owner’s bible (Nigel Calder’s ‘Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual’, published by Adlard Coles Nautical) we had a serious rethink about our power sources. Eventually we will be looking to install solar panels but in the short term we had to make an educated guess at what our daily power consumption would be and put that within the context of buying new batteries and battery charger.

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Running & Standing Rigging

A common problem on Oyster 435s (apparently) is leaking chain plates. We left Yat Lift to look at this and upon our return they had recaulked the fittings.

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The Deck

The initial survey report had indicated that a few of the deck planks required replacing and recaulking, whilst we were aware that some of the stanchion bases had come loose. Indeed two of the stanchion bases were leaking slightly, so we got eleven of the twelve bases replaced, and replaced two of the planks.

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Hull, Epoxy, Gel Coat & Other Things

One of the biggest jobs we left Yat Lift to complete was applying a new gelcoat. These additional few layers of epoxy (300 microns, to be precise) help strengthen the integrity of the hull. If you can afford it, it’s money well spent.

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Introduction to launch

Heart atack at Heathrow Airport! I loaded my cases onto the check-in scales and it turned out I was carrying over eighty kilos, fifty over the allotted amount! Credit card in hand I took the excess baggage hit, which came to over two hundred quid, and that was with 20kg taken off because the check-in girl fancied me or something.

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Multicoloured Skyscapes

Our first 24 hours of running a dead ship took us into our third week at sea. Only one person had been to the toilet over the back of the boat, the rest of us suddenly becoming constipated. Washing up in salt water became a real pain in the arse and the boat was damp due to a very wet night watch that included some Scooby Doo style lightning storms.

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