New rams are fitted to Ravensdale's trim tabs
At long last Ravensdale is ready to go back in the water – nine weeks after she was lifted out for two to three weeks.
Phil finished fitting the new trim tabs system on Friday evening so we have completed all the work that needed to be done while the boat was on the hard standing.
All we are waiting for now is for the marina to be able to re-launch her, which we are hoping will be on Thursday unless they are able to slot us in sooner.
The scaffolding steps have proved a godsend
But we also need to get the scaffolding steps removed before the boat can be lifted in the boat hoist.
We initially planned to antifoul the underwater area of Ravensdale’s hull and to give her a clean and polish.
We had also asked MPM engineering firm at the marina to fit an outlet for the holding tank that is connected to the toilet in our en suite bathroom so we will be able to empty it at sea.
The antifouling, cleaning and polishing took a little longer than anticipated and a few more weeks passed before MPM fitted the new skin fitting.
Meanwhile, we found plenty of other work to do both inside and on the outside of the boat.
And the final delay was when we discovered that the existing trim tab system was beyond repair as the parts were no longer available.
As the wires in the old system were not in conventional UK colours, Phil’s first job was to identify the cables, such as the earth and power leads.
Phil working on the electrics for our new trim tab system
Having discovered that it was virtually impossible to get the new electrical harness – the bundle of wires for the power and controls – through from the transom to the fuse box at the forward end of the saloon, he decided to connect into the old harness, which was still in good condition.
He was then faced with the daunting task of installing the new system.
Fitting the new rams to Ravensdale's trim tabs
He fitted the rams, a little higher than the old ones to ensure he could get to them on the inside of the hull to connect them to the hydraulic pipes.
Much of the work had to be done behind the drawers in the bedside units
The new trim tabs motor can be seen below the fresh water pipe under our bed
He then mounted the motor on a board under our bed and cut the hydraulic tubing to length and connected it up.
Tightening the connectors on the new hydraulic pipes
The moment of truth came when, after connecting up the hydraulic pipes and filling them with hydraulic fluid, Phil went down to watch the trim tabs while I operated the rocker switches on the console.
And the bad news was that – just as before – the starboard trim tab worked and the other didn’t, but thankfully this time it was easily rectified.
Phil discovered that the starboard trim tab, had taken all the fluid and he had to top it up three times before the port trim tab started working as well.
It was a huge relief to discover that we now had a fully operational trim tab system.
This is used to set the trim of the boat by helping to lift the bow up or drop it down, making the boat travel through the water more smoothly and helping to reduce fuel consumption.
He has since primed the new gelcoat around the rams and reapplied the antifouling paint.
Fitting the new window trim
Meanwhile, I finished off fitting the new window trims to create unbroken black lines around the windows as the old trims had shrunk and there were lots of gaps where the screws holding the windows in place were on show.
The windows look much neater with their new window trim
I also had an interesting lesson in splicing with Reg, the marina foreman. He showed me how to splice braid on braid ropes to create loops or eyes as knots reduce the strength of the rope more than a spliced join.
I haven’t had a go at it myself yet as we don’t have any ropes that need splicing at the moment and we don’t own any fids – the needles needed for this process - but Reg has said I can borrow his to give it a try so planning to do that very soon.
In preparation for our re-launch, I took our fenders over to the marina office and Reg blew them up for us.
Sadly three of them immediately went down again so it was looking as though we would have to buy three new ones, but we discovered we could buy new valves for them instead.
The new valves have now been fitted, but we need to get them blown up again before we know whether they are going to stay up now.
Life at the marina has been a lot less quiet than usual over the past week.
We had beautiful sunshine on Thursday and Friday of last week, which attracted more people to come down to their boats – either to work on them or to take them out for a spin.
In fact, it was so hot that the thermometer on our boat was reading 47C at one stage – admittedly it was sitting in the sun at the time. But it was still reading 32.5C after I moved it to a more shaded spot and opened every window and hatch.
The fair arrives at the marina
A travelling fair set up on a grassed area next to the marina, alongside the new caravan site, and on Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoon and evening we could hear the music and the screams of excitement from those on the rides.
The colourful fairground rides before the crowds arrived
Another view of the fair
And Saturday was Maryport’s annual Trawler Race and the marina’s Spring Muster.
Many of the trawlers were decked out with flags on Friday ready for the race.
Some of the trawlers decorated ready for the race
More trawlers displaying their colourful flags
Flags also decorated the boats in the marina that were planning to head out into the Solway Firth to watch the spectacle from the water.
We assumed we would be watching from the shore. However, shortly before the start or the race, we were offered an opportunity to go out on someone else’s yacht.
Chris, who used to works at the marina, invited us to join him on Montana and we jumped at the opportunity.
It was good to actually head out of the marina gate into the outer harbour for the first time, even if it wasn’t on our own boat. And we got to use our new lifejackets at long last.
Leaving Maryport Marina heading for the Solway Firth
The weather was perfect for our first trip out since we arrived in Maryport almost seven months ago. It was dry and bright with a light wind.
Chris was great at explaining the basics of sailing and he allowed Phil to take the tiller for much of the time.
Phil takes the tiller under the watchful eye of our skipper
Enjoying the sunshine on board the Montana
I took loads of photos, but sadly we were too far away from the trawlers to get any decent images with the lenses I had with me. That said, it was impressive seeing all the trawlers line up and start heading towards us at speed as they raced around a buoy in the firth.
Some of the trawlers rounding the buoy
Montana returning to Maryport
A panoramic view of Maryport Harbour
Sunset over Maryport Marina