Saturday, May 14, 2016

Getting there?

As many of you know, our plan this summer has been to take the boat to southern Brittany, with a delivery crew doing the long passage, and then Sam and me, with friends, pootling gently from say Benodet to La Rochelle and back.

Making it happen has been a bit of an uphill struggle. I thought perhaps lots of people would want to sail with us but sadly that doesn't seem to be the case. We now have a professional crew member from Halcyon Yachts joining Guy and hopefully one other crew member (I haven't heard back from him) to take the boat from SYH in the general direction of southern Brittany, leaving on May 28. Sam and i will go out by ferry on 5 June, will sail with Guy for a couple of weeks and spend a long weekend with Sam's older sons Tim & Nick who will take the ferry from Guernsey to St Malo and drive to wherever we are. We'll be joined hopefully by a friend from Suffolk, Simon Evans, for a few days and then by Robin Swift, also from Guernsey. Somewhere around 10 July our plan was to get the car and go to see the couple known to us as the Zigmundo Van Dogs who have retired from sailing and live in Limoges. Sadly we heard from them a couple of days ago that Liz has inoperable cancer of the pancreas, so the visit may not happen.

In mid July we will come home to do the September issue of Cruising, get away from the French vacances annuelles and take a deep breath, and if all is well we will go out again in September with Ben for few weeks before going through the  process of getting a crew together for the return journey.

Getting Kalessin ready has also been quite busy, and expensive. Here's a list of what we've done or arranged to be done this winter - and when I say we, that means mostly me.
  • Hull and keel sandblasted and Coppercoated
  • Foresail, mainsail, hood, cockpit tent and sail stackpack removed, professionally cleaned and repaired, and re-rigged
  • Exhaust elbow replaced and calorifier reconnected to the now raw-water-cooled engine - we should get hot water in theory, although we haven't had any yet
  • Engine serviced (by Guy and me)
  • One of the seacocks under loo freed off (by Guy and WD40)
  • New handheld VHF - the old one kept losing charge
  • Checked fixed VHF and found a loose cable which may have accounted for the rather poor reception
  • New flares - one electronic LED flare, plus two handheld smokes, one white flare and one parachute flare, end we have got rid of a large number of old flares (and immediately found even more) 
  • Several new LED torches
  • New LED nav lights, and a foredeck floodlight finally re-fitted
  • New electronic charts of UK and Biscay
  • Various new pilot books - must remember to get paper charts to cover the areas where we borrowed charts last time!
  • Lifejackets serviced
  • Fire extinguishers replaced
  • New battery for EPIRB 
  • Made new flag for danbuoy
  • The fuel gauge isn't working - this means finding the sender which is unfortunately under the cockpit locker shelf
  • Cleaning, tidying, polishing, filling up tanks with water and diesel, etc.
I completed an inventory for Halcyon Yachts and was inspired to order a smoke alarm and CO alarm, and having not bought bolt croppers in the past because we thought if the rig ever fell down a hacksaw would be better, I have found some wire cutters on eBay which are on order and should do the job.

We've been out for a few hours on the Orwell with Andy Roe and found no major problems so far. Not a proper shakedown because we haven't managed to find a weekend where the weather was ok and Guy was available.

With the June issue of Cruising in its busiest few weeks it all feels like a massive challenge at the moment. Meanwhile my father, who has suffered numerous ailments for years, is getting very much weaker, with the real possibility that when we do go away we may have to come home again.

I hope it's all going to be worth it - very unsure at the moment. Next weekend we will have a small family gathering to celebrate my Important Birthday, which is actually a few days later, so hopefully that will be a chance to relax and enjoy for a while.

Meanwhile SYH, bless them, have finally installed a nice wide finger pontoon on their nice new jetty to make it really easy to get Sam on & off. It would be so much easier just to stay in Suffolk...
new anodes - this one required SYH to replace one of the captive bolts which was no longer captive

non-working fuel gauge

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