Don’t Worry About The Half Metre Depth

Lessons learned? Rely on no one but yourself. Beware of Turks bearing gifts: they may say ‘yes, we can fix it’ to every problem posed but this is not always the case. We have now spent £££s on this transmission issue (I no longer call it a gear-box issue as there was nothing ever wrong with the gear box) and have wasted over a week at anchor waiting for various mechanics and boat yards to fix this problem. Still, you live and learn, innit?

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Watching Bodrum Go Up In Flames

Icmeler, Bodrum, Turkey A day after we get our boat lifted out of the water: In the space of a few seconds the azure skies of Bodrum suddenly turned a dirty brown this morning. Looking up at the mountains behind us we spotted a huge plume of smoke. Turns out it’s another forest fire, but this one is (and I … Read More

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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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A Welcome Return

Tucked away under an olive tree in a dark corner of the yard, looking forlorn and grubby was Esper. Just to cast eyes on her again after so long brought a warm glow to our stomachs, despite the howling cold northerlies. The wind in our first few weeks on the boat in the yard was horrendous! Despite having spent some time on a boat up on sticks I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the boat wobbling as the wind reaches gale-force speeds.

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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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Esper’s Maiden Voyage

Yes, here we are at last, my first entry in the log… a long time coming I know, but not as fast as the last year has been. My fastest year on record. Wow, what a journey it has been since I met Jamie in Antigua on Christmas Day 2003. From falling in love with those deep brown eyes and embracing smile on that fateful holiday to the launch of what we have fashioned into our own special dream…

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First Week Aboard Esper

Trust me to pick the end of Ramadan to fly to Bodrum. Of course half the population was trying to travel across the country to see relatives and after 30 days of fasting there were some frayed tempers at the airport, including mine.

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