Sunday, 29 September 2013

Spilt Diesel

The smell of Diesel in the cabin had not gone away in the weeks since we last used the engine and it became obvious why when I lifted the floorboards to see the bilges. There was a nasty film of diesel on top of the bilge water, and moping out the bilges was unpleasant. I did not know what to do with the contaminated water in the bucket (just tipping it out is not an option!) but the yard advised me to use container with a tap at the bottom to separate it out, then take the diesel bit to a proper disposal facility. I sacrificed our water carrier, and it worked well. The water settled out below the diesel within ten minutes, and could then be run off and tipped away normally. I'll wait to get rid of the diesel container until the leak has been traced and repaired and I know I won't need to do it again.

Meanwhile Julian had been taking off the boom and tying all the shrouds and halyards to the mast to make it easier to get it out.

Taking stuff home

All the sails, the bowsprit and the gaff are now safely at home. Looking around the hull, there are a few obvious places where the water is trickling out of the bilges. As expected it is all around the garboard strakes. Especially at the front where there was a huge gap between the keel and the garboard which Paul filled with bitumen. I think that needs a spline. On the starboard stern there is a lot of wood missing from the garboard and screws are showing. A tingle is also dripping. There is no real evidence of any problem caused by the incident at Rye. I took off the port cap rail above the bulwark in the cockpit. It is rotten at the back but the half ribs seem ok. One is stretched but I don't think anything needs to be done. I will see if the cap rail can be repaired. Apart from the last 6" it's fine. Maybe I can scarf a new end on. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Out of the water

Robinetta was lifted out today, so it seems like the right time to post the season's stats. It felt like we started the season nice and early, in April, and had a lot of sailing over the summer, but having her hauled out for a couple of weeks in May, and out for the winter in early September has given us a shorter time afloat than normal. It was a challenging year, with the trip round to Cowes, but an interesting one.

Robinetta sailed 595 miles, in 34 days, which once again gives us 17.5 miles a day on average. We spent more time on the boat than that, with days ashore, and regattas though! Our engine use was higher than normal, with 98 engine hours since the full service, and 9 hours before. That's a total of 107 engine hours for the year which reflects the motor sailing we did on passage.

It's been four weeks since I hurt my left hand and everything is healing at an impressive rate. I've just been given the go ahead to use it fully, but it will be a while before my index finger is back to normal, and it still needs physiotherapy to get full use back. Winter work will be slow! 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

End of the sailing season

Robinetta is now safely back in West Mersea which is a huge relief. I've been aboard for the last two trips, and I did helm for a fair amount of time coming across the Thames, but I can only do that under ideal conditions, when there is not much wind, and trying to handle the ropes is a bad idea. It gets frustrating! Rather than trying too hard and risk overusing my hand while sailing, we're going to get Robinetta out of the water earlier than planned.

The trip round to Cowes was quite hard on the boat, and she's letting in more water than we like. Also there was a strong smell of diesel in the cabin on the trip from Ramsgate that we want to investigate. The mast has sustained some damage and could do with sanding down and revarnishing, so we're going to get that out (which will make it easier to redo the masthead light and fit a new ariel). The cooker needs changing which means all my work on the galley will need redoing... In other words there's a lot of work waiting, so we might as well get on with it.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Ramsgate to West Mersea

I've been watching the wind forecast for Ramsgate and Brightlingsea for weeks now. Every few hours it looks different. Last weekend there was a clear window on Friday but we got stuck in Dover when the swing bridge broke, locking us in to the Wellington harbour. This week has looked Ok all week but Alison had hospital appointments and work and I had work. By Thursday, Friday was looking calm with light westerly and southwesterly winds, Saturday had strong southwesterly winds and Sunday was calm again. Calm was what I wanted as we would be using Alex as an extra hand and boats are not his thing. We drove to Ramsgate and fitted a new main sheet cleat and left at 11 when they opened the gate and bridge.

There was a strong smell of diesel when we got to the boat, most unusual, but the engine started without problems.

It started lovely. Just as predicted. By Fishermans Gat it was raining and the wind got up but the sea state was still only slight. By the time we got through the Spitway the sun was out again and we had a lovely evening.

We aimed straight from the Wallet Spitway buoy towards the Nass beacon. On the plotter at most zoom levels, this looks OK, but there is a little ridge just south of the Eagle and it caught me out. I was chatting with Alex and not keeping a good enough lookout. Suddenly the sea was breaking in front of me and before I could do anything we were bumping along the sand. We headed north and got off without too much trouble but it really is worth pointing at North West Knoll.

We got to West Mersea bang on low water so we picked up a buoy in the quarters and had dinner and then motored up to our buoy at 10:30. Home at last.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

And more Ramsgate

Had a lovely meal at Patogh last night. Winds no better this morning. We would probably get home.  The winds are light and may be westerly but also may be northerly. Little tide assist so we would be motoring upwind and unlikely to do more than 3 kts. We only managed 2 1/2 yesterday, with the tide but against wind and waves. None of us want to do that for 16 hours.

So we have moved onto the heritage pontoon and are preparing to leave. At the moment, Wednesday looks favourable. We will see.