Friday, 18 August 2017

Looking after Ravensdale seems to be rather like painting the Forth Bridge...

Photo of me at the helm of a Bavaria 38 yacht

Me at the helm of a Bavaria 38 yacht

This week could have been a bit of an anticlimax after the excitement of making our first trip out to sea on Ravensdale last week.

But we’ve still had plenty to do – both on our own boat and other people’s.

In fact, maintaining Ravensdale seems to be a never-ending task - as fast as we sort one problem, we discover another one waiting in the wings.

After months of trying to fix the old winches on the davits that will support our dinghy when we set of on our travels, Phil finally gave in and declared them to be beyond repair. Then followed hours of searching for winches of the correct size that would fit the existing davits.

Photo of the rusty old winches that came off the davits

The rusty old winches that came off the davits

We also had problems finding winches which could be set up with the handle on either side, mainly for ease of use from a central position, but also to fit the slots in the covers on the davits.

We eventually found some that were just a little bit too big, but Phil was able to make them fit by making one of the bolt holes a bit bigger.

He was also able to swap the handle of one of them onto the opposite side.

Photo of Phil after he finished fitting the second winch

Phil after he finished fitting the second winch

We haven’t tried the dinghy on them yet so that's another job that we're planning to do soon.

Photo of me admiring one of the shiny new winches

Me admiring one of the shiny new winches

Good weather meant we could also get on with several tasks on the flybridge.

Phil fitted the rocker switch for the trim tab system that he installed while Ravensdale was out on the hard standing earlier this year.

He also checked the charger for the boat’s remote VHF radio handset, but found the 12V charger had been fitted to a 24V system, which has probably blown something somewhere along the line.

He plans to connect it to a 12V system at some stage to see if it will work.

However, as the remote radio is discontinued and spares are no longer available, this may mean that the remote radio is useless. Thankfully we have other radio handsets to fall back on.

Photo of Phil checking the power to the radio's charging unit on the flybridge

Phil checking the power to the radio's charging unit on the flybridge

Phil also went down into the engine room to check the water filters after our trip out and discovered that the cover on the port engine filter had been stuck down with silicone sealant.

When he cut the sealant to get it off, he found out why – the gasket was perished and breaking up so, rather than replacing it, some bright spark had decided to seal it in another way. Not a great idea when they're supposed to be checked daily when at sea.

He also discovered a small crack in the water filter cover so we've ordered a new cover and two sets of gaskets – one to replace the damaged one and the other as a spare.

So we're now unable to take Ravensdale out again until they arrive and are fitted.

On a happier note, last Saturday, we jumped at a spur of the moment opportunity to go sailing on Solway Adventurer.

Photo of Solway Adventurer

Solway Adventurer

I was on my way down the ramp to the pontoons on my way back to Ravensdale from the marina office when I got chatting to the folk on Solway Adventurer.

They asked if we'd like to join them for about three hours at sea that afternoon – as long as we could be ready to go in about half an hour.

We had a quick bite to eat as we were going to be out over lunchtime, grabbed our life jackets and waterproof jackets and headed down to the Bavaria 38 in plenty of time.

I knew the yacht belonged to a charity, but didn’t know much about the organisation and learnt a lot more from speaking to Mick, Glenda, Raymond and Val, who are all club members, while we were out in the firth.

Solway Adventure Sailing Club is a charity that provides a sailing experience for anyone suffering from a condition which affects their day-to-day life, whether physical, mental or emotional, and to youth groups and senior citizens.

Photos of Phil and Mike on Solway Adventurer

Phil and Mike on Solway Adventurer

And on Sunday, we were surprised to hear live music coming from the area alongside the marina gate, next to Maryport’s old lighthouse, and lots of people walking along the side of the marina in that direction.

It was a beautiful day and I didn’t have anything pressing to do so I grabbed my camera and went to see what was happening.

I discovered there was a fun day being held to celebrate the refurbishment of the lighthouse that was completed earlier this year.

Photo of Maryport Fun Day from the marina

The music from Maryport Fun Day filled the marina

There were people dressed up as pirates, a climbing wall and a number of activities for children, live music throughout the afternoon and free fish and chips, until they ran out when visitors were given fish and chip flavoured crisps.
The local Sea Cadets were also practicing their sailing skills in the outer harbour.

Photo of Maryport pirates

Maryport pirates

Photo of one of the musicians providing the live music for the event

One of the musicians providing the live music for the event

Photo of Maryport Rescue boat with the climbing wall in the background

Maryport Rescue boat with the climbing wall in the background

Photo of the Sea Cadets practicing their sailing skills

The Sea Cadets practicing their sailing skills 

Photo of people on Maryport Beach

There were also a number of people out enjoying the sunshine on the beach on Sunday

The weather couldn’t have been better and the kids seemed to be having a great time, but local people were later complaining on social media that it hadn’t been well enough advertised, with many saying they would’ve gone along if they’d known it was on.

And yesterday (Thursday) we were asked if we could help the marina staff move a large concrete boat that has been stuck on the refuelling pontoon for the past couple of weeks.

Lodestone’s owners removed her rudder for repair while she was on the slipway and she was pulled back to the nearby refuelling pontoon, which also accommodates the pump out, as a temporary measure until she could be towed back to her usual berth.

However, high winds and the lack of available staff during calmer periods meant the marina had been unable to move her.

Yesterday, Reg, the foreman, came and asked for our assistance as he wanted to move her before the high winds forecast for last night and the next few days and we helped him and marina manager, Pauline, to move the vessel.

Photo of Phil on Lodestone with Pauline and Reg in the background

Phil on Lodestone with Pauline in the dory and Reg pulling on a rope

Lodestone was initially pulled over onto the harbour wall, then dragged along to the hammerhead where they were planning to put her while Phil and I used our boat hooks to keep her away from the wall.

Reg and Phil then took her mooring ropes across onto the hammerhead on the marina’s dory, which is a flat-bottomed work boat, and they pulled Lodestone across into her new mooring, leaving me on board with my boat hook just in case...

Photo of mooring Lodestone on the hammerhead

Reg pulls on the bow mooring rope while Phil goes to take the stern rope

Meanwhile, the marina swans are still gracing us with their presence and can frequently be seen drinking from a dripping hosepipe set up especially for them by one of the other berth holders.

Photo of swans drinking at Maryport Marina

Swans drinking at Maryport Marina

And I have been busy baking courgette cakes in our tiny oven on Ravensdale.

Photo of courgette cakes fresh from the oven

Courgette cakes fresh from the oven

At long last I seem to have managed to work out which gas mark number relates to which temperature and we're getting far fewer burnt offerings.
My courgette cakes definitely taste better than they look, or at least I think they do. And I reckon they should count towards our five a day, given that each one contains a large courgette :-)

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