Sunday 19 May 2024

Sailing to see the engineer

 Robinetta's engine has not had a proper service since it was installed, just an oil change in 2022. This is pretty unforgivable since Julian constantly smells burning oil when the engine is run at anything near top revs and we want the engine to last.

There is a Yanmar approved engineer based at Holyloch Marina, so I tried booking a preseason service, only to discover that they are so busy that I needed to wait until Tuesday 21st May for a time slot. I kept an eye on the weather, and the days leading up to the service looked virtually windless, (2-5knots) but Sunday would be bright and warm, so Julian and I decided to take Robinetta over to Holyloch that day.

High water (which is when it is easiest to launch Worm off the beach) was around 10:30 so we launched her at ten and rowed over to Robinetta. The wind was light, but stronger than forecast, certainly enough to be worth getting the sails up and we were not in a hurry. The number 1 jib, full main, and staysail gave us 2 knots, and with the tide under us there was no need for the engine.

We had a pleasant and gentle beat out of the Gairloch, and Julian put our mackerel line out, although we were going a little too fast to expect to catch anything. When we turned onto a very broad reach down the Clyde at 3-4 knots we were definitely too fast and he pulled the line in.

It seemed a shame to stop sailing in such perfect conditions, to we headed into Loch Long. Unfortunately that put the wind almost behind us, and after half an hour I began to wish we had turned down the Clyde instead. With the flat sea, and no obvious movement I was beginning to doze off. We tacked round and headed down Clyde instead.

We passed the entrance to Holyloch, and the car ferries coming to and from Hunter's Key made sure to avoid us, but the wind dropped away to almost nothing as we got closer to the foot ferry terminal at Dunoon proper. That was when a pod of porpoises came past us, only about 50m away which is much closer than I am used to. We also saw guillemots as well as the usual gulls. 

With so little wind we decided to head back towards Holyloch, and we had enough steerage way to turn, but then we started going backward with the tide, so it was time for the engine again. It started fine, but it took a while for the revs to increase, which felt as though the engine was being starved of deisel. Looks as though the fuel filter overdue for a change (not at all surprising!). Luckily it corrected itself within a minute, and the wind came back within 15, so the engine went off again and we sailed towards Holyloch making about 3 knots.

There was a small gaffer beating out of the loch, which turned to come and see us. While it was on its way a motor launch called Late Edition slowed down as it passed us and circled around taking pictures, which they will try to sent us later. The gaffer turned out to be a Capecutter19 and it was fun to chat as we passed each other at 6 knots closing speed! He recognised Robinetta as being moored at Clynder so had obviously seen her there.

We sailed into Holyloch on a run, then got the engine on and sails down just before entering the Marina, where we were moored up on a finger berth at 16:00 after a lovely and varied day on the water. We will be in the Marina until the service is completed on Tuesday before heading back to our mooring.

Sunday 21 April 2024

A Sunday excursion

 Julian went out to check on Robinetta on Saturday, which was the first calm day since she went in the water. There he discovered that we had not plugged in the solar panel, and had accidentally left the radio on. A week of rain meant that the automatic pump had run quite often, so now the battery was flat.

Robinetta has two batteries, so he switched to the second one, and started the engine to charge the flat battery as well as hooking up the Solar panel. Running a marine diesel engine designed for propulsion solely to charge a battery is not good for it, and we had guests coming for lunch, so the battery only got a short charge. He manually pumped the bilges before coming ashore, as the electric pump did not seem to be working.

After our guests left we rowed out together as Julian wanted to check the electric pump connections. He immediately discovered that he had been trying to use it from the flat battery and it did work! However it was nice to get on board.

Sunday was another windless day, although rather damp. I had thought it might be good to motor round to Kilcreggan and anchor to go to the pub, but the rain put me off. None the less we headed out to Robinetta, with the idea of motoring up the Gairloch to charge the flat battery. The engine started without problem on the spare battery, and we dropped the mooring buoy at noon to head up towards Faslane.

By the time we were half way up the loch the drizzle had stopped and we were able to enjoy the surroundings. We were nearly past Faslane when I saw a plastic drink bottle floating on the water. This was a great excuse to have a play at maneuvering. Not exactly man overboard, but plastic flotsom retrieval is always a good idea...

It took fifteen minutes before Julian managed to get the boat hook on it (I had failed three times to catch it in a bucket) and I have no idea what any watchers at the base thought we were doing, but success and the better weather made us decide to go all the way to the head of the loch and pick up one of the 3 moorings supposedly belonging to the Anchor Pub.

There are several moorings near the pub, all of them different, and none labelled as belonging to the Anchor Pub. Given there was no wind, and very little tide we were happy to pick up any of the vacant moorings in deep enough water and row over in Worm to the pub for lunch. 

The Anchor is a pleasant pub, with good beer and food. Well worth the visit. They were surprised to hear we had arrived by boat, and none of the staff knew which were their moorings, or when they were last serviced, although the lady working in the kitchen could remember that they used to be serviced... We will go again, but probably only on a calm day like today.

We arrived back on our home mooring at 15:50, with a fully charged battery, having had a pleasant trip exploring our local surroundings.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Back in the water

Robinetta was launched for the season in pouring rain, but thankfully light winds.

The launch procedure has changed slightly from last year. Last time we boarded Robinetta just before the launch vehicle headed down the slipway, but this time we were told we would have to wait until she was floating in the slings. This meant getting into Worm and rowing round the launch trailer before scrambling aboard, trying not to hit our heads on bits of the launch trailer, or get Worm tangled in the sling. The engine started without problems (always a concern after a winter ashore) and I backed Robinetta out of the slings, with Julian keeping a careful watch to make sure Worm did not get caught on anything.

Julian and I took Robinetta straight to her mooring as the weather was too miserable to want to do anything else, but we will need to take her over to Rhu Marina soon to clean and fill the water tanks.  

Worm had filled with rain water up to the level of the duck board by the time we transhipped to her again for the row back to Mark's Landing. It was high tide, so we could row all the way to the top of the beach, where we tipped out the rain water before carrying Worm back to our garden. 

It was lovely to see Robinetta back on her mooring

Saturday 6 April 2024

Working on the bow

Last year at the OGA rally in Oban Robinetta 's bulwarks were damaged. We did a jury rig to hold them in place for the trip home which worked so well we forgot all about the need to repair them. Once Robinetta was out of the water I cleared the foredeck of the extra ropes, with only a vague memory of why they were there, and once I put the tarpaulin on the foredeck I forgot all about it again.

The need for repair suddenly became urgent when I got a launch date of Sunday 7th April. I was checking  the state of the rope on the bobstay when I put my hand on the bulwalk and felt it move slightly. As soon as I actually looked at the bulwalk area adjoining the stem post I could see that it had pulled away from the stem post. It needed to be pulled back into place and refastened.

The first step was to get the bowsprit out of the gammon iron (the metal hoop that the bowsprit goes through, which is bolted through the stem post). Then I removed the metal plate that reinforced the area of the bulwalks that the bowsprit goes through. The wood underneath it had not been painted in a while, and needed repairing or replacing before it could be re-screwed into the stem post. Once Julian had a look he decided on replacement, so he suddenly had woodwork to do, and not much time to do it.

Luckily (or not) the wind got up, and our launch date got pushed back to Wednesday 10th, giving us a little more time!

Friday 8 March 2024

Starting prep for the new season

Robinetta has been outside on the hard all winter, covered with her cockpit tent and a tarpaulin on her foredeck. The fine weather on Tuesday made me decide to get the covers off, and see what needed doing before launch. The deck and cockpit just need a bit of a wash, although I will probably sand down the tiller and main hatch to get some varnish on them if the weather allows. 

The hull needs a good wash before getting a fresh coat of antifoul. Unfortunately the yard does not have running water at the moment, and having to use a bucket rather than a hose will add to the time needed for this.

In need of a good wash
That's the ceiling clean at least!

As normal the interior looks horribly grimy. The black mold is a regular feature of boats left without heating or a dehumidifier, and is reasonably easy to wash off. However it does take time! I made a start on both hull and interior on Thursday and it was a tiring but rewarding experience. I am really looking forward to the sailing season.

I talked to Craig at the yard, and booked Robinetta's launch for the first week of April. This is when Craig begins to get the boats into the water, as long as the yard's boat lift passes its safety inspection...

We have been getting a spike in readers to the blog in the last couple of weeks, which often happens when the spring comes around. It is always interesting to see where the readers are. When I see hundreds of page hits from places like Singapore and America I would love to know what they enjoy in particular.

It would be great to get more comments. We have been maintaining this blog since 2007, and have had 174,430 page reads, but only 91 comments.

Thursday 26 October 2023

End of the season

We have had a very short season on Robinetta this year. We have other sailing commitments, and our personal logs are more than double Robinetta's! She came out of the water on Sunday 22nd , and is being laid up at Craig's yard again. Not in the shed this time though! 

With such a short season there will be no book this year. We have bigger plans for next year, with visiting Shetland on the wish list, but we will have to see what the winter work reveals.

Our totals for the year are 350 nautical miles covered, in 112 hours, with the engine on for 74 hours.

Friday 20 October 2023

Through the storm

We watched anxiously as Storm Babette made its way towards us. Luckily the winds on the West coast were much lower than on the East, and while we had gusts of 40 knots the wind direction meant there was not much fetch to raise the waves and Robinetta came through unscathed. We had put her cockpit cover on after our trip to Holy Loch, and one of the ties did get chaffed through, but the rest of them held the cover safely in place.