Thursday, 5 January 2017

The New Year brings new challenges for our liveaboard lifestyle

The start of a New Year always makes me wonder where we will be and what we will be doing this time next year.

When I asked myself that question at the start of 2016, I certainly didn’t expect to have left work and be living on a boat in Cumbria before the end of the year.

And I have no idea what this year holds or where we will be next New Year.

My guess is that we will be back in Maryport Marina next winter, but nothing is set in stone...

We definitely didn’t make any New Year resolutions this year as neither of us believes in them.

However, since my last blog post, we have been catching up on a few jobs that needed doing and there are a number of things we are planning to do asap in 2017.

The day after Boxing Day, one of the Johns, who carried out the engine service, turned up with a screw he had made to replace the one that was broken during the service. This enabled us to use the engine while waiting for a Volvo replacement to arrive.

The new anchor sits comfortably on Ravensdale's bow

The old anchor, which will be used as a kedge

Phil fitted a new anchor as the survey carried out before we bought Ravensdale showed the existing one to be too light for the boat at just 10kg so we purchased and fitted a 20kg Delta, which looks as though she was made for the bow of our boat.

We have also installed new bathroom fittings in the ensuite head (note the nautical term J) in the master cabin in an attempt to update it a bit. Phil also moved the overhead light that was too low after the floor was raised to make the new toilet a more usable height.

When he removed the fitting from the ceiling, he discovered two dead wires that had been cut off and taped up and one of the live wires to the light was so badly charred that the plastic coating had burnt off in one place. On either side of this it had become rigid and had to be cut back to good wire before the light could be relocated.

The badly burnt cable attached to the bathroom light

It looks as though we were very lucky this one didn’t catch fire and it has made us realise that all the other light fittings need checking as a matter of urgency – they will probably be converted to LED at the same time.

We took down the Christmas decorations on January 3. Removing all the cable ties holding the lights around the outside of the boat was quite a task, but taking down the decorations inside took much less time than usual – mainly because we didn’t have room for many decorations on board.

Initially, Ravensdale looked a bit sad without them, but things quickly returned to normal (whatever that is J) and they have all been put into storage for next year.

Phil laying down on the job

On a visit to Whitehaven Marina at the end of last year, we happened to mention that although the Dry-Mat under the mattress had stopped the mattress getting wet, the boarding under the mattress, and therefore the underside of the Dry-Mat, was still getting wet.

Phil said he was considering putting slats on top of the boarding to see if that would help and a very kind man, we met in the chandlery there (also called Phil), said he had some going begging.

He gave them to us for our bed and Phil (my husband) has now fitted them.

They seem to have totally cured the damp problem caused by the cold water tank being sited directly under the bed so we are very grateful to the other Phil for his donation.

We are still trying to make sure we have got everything we need for setting off on our travels when the weather improves in the spring/summer and the next item on our shopping list was a life raft.

A chance conversation with someone in Maryport Marina revealed that they had a six-man life raft that had never been used sitting in storage. We agreed on a very reasonable price and it has now gone off to be serviced.

Refuelling Ravensdale in Maryport Marina

Earlier this week, we took Ravensdale around to the pump out facility to empty the holding tank and topped her up with diesel as we had been warned that allowing the tank to get too low during cold weather could cause condensation to form.

So we now have plenty of diesel for the Eberspacher heating system that keeps us lovely and warm on board, however the heater has started playing up again L

From time to time, it cuts out and refuses to go again until Phil goes down into the engine room and gives it a good slap, which seems to do the trick.

This has happened more than half a dozen times now, so we’ve decided that, rather than waiting until the spring to get it serviced as we had hoped, we’re going to have to do it asap (not what we had wanted in the middle of winter, but I’m sure we’ll survive).

Meanwhile, we’re both looking forward to starting our course with Keith Morgans at Whitehaven Marina next week.

And Dex has been making the most of any winter sunshine to top up his tan, which is coming along nicely J

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