Ravensdale coming up the marina slipway on the MPM boat hoist on Monday morning
We’ve spent most of the past week cleaning and repainting Ravensdale’s bottom.
We'd been dreading having her lifted out for antifouling and other work after problems during previous lift-outs in the marina hoist at Maryport in Cumbria, UK.
Our Neptunus 133 has fibreglass exhaust covers running along the sides of her hull just above the waterline and these have been damaged by the slings on the marina’s hoist during previous lift-outs.
However, this time we had her lifted on the hoist belonging to MPM North West boatyard, which is right next to the marina.
The MPM boat hoist
This method of lifting our 43ft motor cruiser was much more successful and carrying out the work while she was in the hoist meant she was higher off the ground making her hull much more accessible.
We will definitely be using the MPM hoist again next time she needs to come out of the water.
Meanwhile, we managed to sneak in a quick fishing trip last Friday before our week of working on our boat.
Ravensdale returning from our latest fishing trip. Photo by Bryan Hewitt
First lift-out on the MPM boat hoist
Ravensdale hadn’t been out of the water for about 15 months so we needed to get her out to antifoul her hull and change her anodes.
We also wanted to get the stern glands on her prop shafts repacked as they hadn’t been done since we bought her nearly two years ago and we had no idea when the previous owner had carried out this task.
She was supposed to have been lifted out at around 3pm on Monday but a problem with one of the boats that the marina was lifting out on the same tide meant we were a couple of hours later than planned.
While we understand why our lift-out had to be delayed, it meant the wind had become much stronger than it was at the planned time and Ravensdale got blown around while we were trying to get her into the hoist.
Phil manoeuvering Ravensdale into the hoist
We had always thought Ravensdale’s beam measured 4.1m so that was the figure we gave the boatyard and the hoist was set up for that size.
When we pulled her into the hoist, we discovered she was 200mm less than shown on all her documentation.
John, the MPM engineer handling our lift-out, used a berthing block on her port side to take up the difference and they chocked up the port side of her hull.
Phil helping John fix the berthing block because Ravensdale was not as wide as we thought
John tying a strap between the uprights on either side of Ravensdale
The best news we had on Monday was when we discovered that we didn't need to sand Ravensdale's hull which would save us a lot of time and effort.
Last time she was out of the water, I spent several days getting covered in horrible blue dust while crawling around underneath her hull scraping and sanding away the old antifoul.
John told us they aren’t even allowed to sand antifoul for health and safety reasons. He said pressure washing her hull at 120C would be all the preparation needed before repainting her with antifoul and he was right.
Her hull came up really clean and was still very smooth, possibly because of all the hard work we put in preparing her for painting last time.
As our lift-out was later than we’d hoped, we didn’t get a chance to wash her the same day so that was Phil’s first job on Tuesday morning. We were surprised how good the antifoul still looked after 15 months in the water.
Phil using the pressure washer on Ravensdale's hull
While he was pressure washing, I scraped and sanded the prop shafts until they were nice and shiny again. I also scraped the trim tabs, the rudders and the propellers. Phil then used the grinder on the propellers to make sure they were totally clean.
Me scraping barnacles off Ravensdale's propellers
I also scraped off the odd bits of antifouling that had become loose and Phil painted these areas with primer.
I realised I was totally losing the plot when I found myself talking to our boat. The very one-sided conversation while I was sanding her prop shafts went something like this: "You'd be a lovely boat if only you could learn to keep your own bottom clean." 😊
John stripped out the stern gland packing on Tuesday morning to discover it was really crunchy. He reckoned it hadn't been changed for years and said it was a good job we’d decided to do it now.
John in Ravensdale's engine room removing the old stern gland packing
By first thing Wednesday morning, we were ready to start painting and opened the antifouling paint we bought this year to discover it was much darker blue than the one we used last year. In fact, it was practically the same colour as the boot top, so we got some red boot top paint from MPM, so the boot top line would be a different colour.
I used up last year's leftover antifouling paint on the transom, using a brush to paint around the trim tabs and rams.
I then started taping the boat for antifouling while Phil used a brush to paint the bits under the keel that would be impossible to reach with the roller.
Me applying masking tape to the top of the area to be antifouled
We discovered the International Trilux Prop-O-Drev antifouling paint we used on the props last time hadn't worked very well as they were covered in barnacles.
The props and prop shafts when we brought Ravensdale out of the water
As we'd already bought the same paint, we put it on this time, but we'll think twice about doing it again as some people have told us it's better to clean and polish them to a mirror-finish then leave them bare.
Phil used a roller to apply the antifouling paint while I followed behind with a brush to fill in any areas he'd missed.
Phil applying antifouling paint with a roller
I then taped the lines again for Phil to paint the boot top.
Phil removing the masking tape from the boot top
I still can't decide whether the red boot top looks as good as the blue one did but at least it doesn't merge with the antifoul.
Ravensdale with her new red boot top
Yesterday (Thursday) John repacked Ravensdale’s stern glands while Phil got the trim tabs working again after discovering they weren’t working when we got her out of the water. It was just a case of topping up the hydraulic fluid.
In the meantime, I taped the boot top line again for a second coat.
Phil fitted the new anodes on the prop shafts, trim tabs and rudders while I cleaned off the paint that had dropped onto the prop shafts during antifouling. He also replaced the broken cleats on the bathing platform.
Phil fitting a new anode on one of Ravensdale's trim tabs
New anodes on Ravensdale's newly painted rudders and shiny prop shafts
Phil replacing the broken cleats on the bathing platform in pouring rain
The original plan was to put Ravensdale back in the water on yesterday’s (Thursday) evening tide, but the forecast was for high winds, so we arranged to put her back in the water on today’s (Friday) morning tide.
Ravensdale heading down the slipway on her way back into the water
This morning, I touched up the area of hull we’d been unable to antifoul until the chocks were removed while Phil prepared Ravensdale to go back in the water.
John watches Ravensdale going down the slipway
He dropped the stern down lower into the water than she normally sits to put extra pressure on the props while he checked them, and they were fine.
Meanwhile, Phil refilled the salt water filters on the engines because they drained when she was lifted out. This primed the system to prevent air locks when the pumps started taking in salt water again.
All that remained to be done was to drive her back to the pontoon where the only difference to be seen for all our hard work is her new red boot top and the news cleats on the bathing platform.
Whether our work is visible or not, we’re very glad the antifouling, etc. has been done so we now have at least another year before we need to do it all over again.
Calm conditions as we left Maryport Marina last Friday
One day of calm weather after a week of strong winds tempted us into taking Ravensdale out fishing on the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK, last Friday.
Single figure winds always have me champing at the bit to take our Neptunus 133 cruiser out to play on the water and Phil was happy to get one last fishing trip in before she was lifted out for antifouling.
The water was very calm, even on the way out between the piers, where it’s usually much choppier than in Maryport Basin or out on the Solway Firth.
The channel out of the basin hugs the side of the pier and fishermen on the pier are supposed to pull their lines in when boats are going in and out. Most are really good about this but, on this outing, we discovered that this is not always the case.
One of the fishermen who pulled his line in for us to pass
One fisherman made no effort to reel his line in despite Phil slowing right down to give him time to do so. We ended up going over it and snapping his line.
I shouted to him that he was supposed to bring his line in but have no idea if it will make any difference the next time he’s in that situation – probably not ☹
We headed for our usual fishing spot and dropped anchor in near perfect conditions.
Ravensdale leaving Maryport
Phil fishing on Ravensdale's foredeck
Double trouble - Phil with his twin dogfish
They are edible, and we know people who keep them to eat but they’re a lot of trouble to skin, so we always throw them back.
I suppose we should keep one sometime just to try it.
The other thing that was a real problem was the amount of seaweed that was getting caught on Phil’s line. We presumed this was due to the previous week’s storms.
Ravensdale returning to Maryport Marina. Photo by Bryan Hewitt
We left Maryport Marina at 12.15pm and returned at 4pm taking the total number of hours we’ve been out of a marina on Ravensdale so far to more than 106 hours.
And we had a bit of a shock when we returned to the marina to find a large wind farm boat on the first hammerhead, but Phil had no problem getting around it.
Soon after we arrived back, the swan family turned up looking for food and another berth holder told us they had quite literally followed us into the marina.
Percy Kelly Trail
Me on the Percy Kelly Trail
An interesting event was held in Maryport on Saturday called “When Percy Met Norman”.
It celebrated the life and works of two local men – artist Percy Kelly and poet Norman Nicholson, both of whom took their inspiration from the industrial heritage, landscape and people of west Cumbria.
There was an exhibition of their work, together with a range of talks and workshops, including writing and art classes, and guided tours of the parts of the town that featured in Percy Kelly’s paintings.
I was very tempted by the art class but opted for the Percy Kelly Trail in the hope I would discover scenes I hadn’t previously photographed.
River Ellen, Maryport, from Mote Hill
Maryport Lighthouse and the Solway Firth from Mote Hill
Sadly, I messed up my camera settings when we went into Maryport’s Maritime Museum to see an original Percy Kelly painting. I whacked the ISO up really high in an attempt to get a photo without a flash then totally forget to put it back down again when we went back outside.
I didn’t discover what I’d done until I got back to the boat and put my photos on my laptop to find that they were horribly grainy, so I went back out and did the walk again to retake the photos.
The Zig-Zag Steps at Maryport
The view from the top of Market Steps at Maryport
I didn’t find anything new to photograph on the trail but found myself looking at the views slightly differently so hopefully my images are a bit different to my previous takes on them.
Another view from the top of Market Steps
Looking out over Maryport rooftops to the Solway Firth
I also converted some of them to black and white and looking at those photos has made me want to have a go at drawing some of the views so watch this space…😊
Shipping Brow, Maryport
Bridge over the River Ellen at Maryport
An attractive coastal cottage at Maryport
Most of the photos I’ve taken over the past week were taken while out on Ravensdale on the Solway Firth last Friday or during the Percy Kelly Trail on Saturday.
Maryport from the Solway Firth
Maryport Harbour from the basin
The northern fells from the Solway Firth
Robin Rigg Wind Farm in the Solway Firth
The biggest missed opportunity was not being able to go to the emergency services open day because it clashed with the Percy Kelly Trail for which I’d already booked a place.
The start of the emergency services open day when I passed on my way to the Percy Kelly Trail
It was so frustrating standing on the far side of the harbour catching tantalising glimpses of the lifeboats and Maryport Inshore Rescue boat zooming around in the basin and not being able to go and watch or take photos 😊
Shipping Brow at Maryport from South Quay
Christ Church at Maryport
View out to the Solway Firth from Shipping Brow at Maryport
I also took my camera with me when I popped up to town to see someone on Sunday and took a few more photos on my way back to the marina.
Another view of Maryport Harbour
A different view of Christ Church at Maryport
Colourful fishing boats in Maryport Harbour
An interesting doorway in Maryport
From the time we were lifted out on Monday, I had no time for taking photos of anything other than to record the work we were doing on Ravensdale.
Drinking from a normal mug when the boat is rolling around on a choppy sea can be very difficult.
After our last experience of this, we said we should try to get more suitable mugs.
Our new mugs from Lidl
And, while shopping in Lidl this week, we spotted some insulated travel mugs at two for £3.99, so we bought two to try.
We used them on our latest fishing trip and they were perfect, so we bought two more on our next visit to the store. We will now have enough to go around if we have guests on board.
Me with one of our new mugs while out fishing
The swan family continues to visit Ravensdale for food and I was delighted when they followed us into the marina after our fishing trip last Friday.
The swan family waiting for food when we got back from our fishing trip
I was on my way up to town, so I fed them before I went and, while walking across the harbour, I saw the missing members of the family eating weed along the side of the harbour wall.
I haven’t seen the swans in the marina since then as we were busy working on our boat on the hard standing so I’m hoping they'll come back to visit us again very soon.
By far the biggest boat to pass Ravensdale this week was the wind farm boat Dalby Trent of Scarborough.
It arrived just before we returned from our fishing trip and was moored on the first hammerhead as we entered the marina.
Dalby Trent arriving at Maryport Marina
Soon after we moored up, it moved up alongside us and tied up on the harbour wall virtually opposite our boat.
Large containers of water were lifted onboard using a crane on its aft deck. The first I saw of this happening was when I was returning to our boat from the marina facilities and it looked as though there was a crane sticking out of the top of Ravensdale.
Ravensdale appears to have sprouted a crane
Dalby Trent then moved further along the wall and tied up in the corner of the marina.
A considerably smaller passer-by was our friend Richie launching his new fishing boat.
Richie in his new fishing boat
He drove it down to the far end of the marina and back to try it out before mooring it up on a neighbouring pontoon.
We were very lucky with the weather this week as two out of the three full days Ravensdale was out of the water were dry and bright. The third day was less good, but, by then, we’d already done most of the painting.
Last Friday was bright, calm and sunny with a top temperature of 12.4C (54F) and a top average wind speed of 8mph.
Reflections in the calm water at Maryport Marina last Friday
Saturday was cloudy but bright and fairly windy, with the amount of cloud increasing during the afternoon. The highest temperature recorded locally was 12.4C (54F) and the average wind speed reached 16mph.
Sunshine trying to break through the heavy cloud at Maryport on Saturday afternoon
Sunday was very windy with varying amounts of cloud. The sun broke through on occasions, but we also had a few fairly heavy showers. The temperature only reached 10.9C (52F) and the top average wind speed was 29mph, gusting 40mph.
The temperature dipped overnight with a low of 7.9C (46F) at 9am.
Monday was dry and bright with lots of cloud, but thankfully fairly calm for our lift-out, or at least it would've been if things had gone to plan. The highest daytime temperature was 11.2C (52F) at 11am and the top average wind speed was 21mph at 6pm. It was around 17mph during our lift out.
Fairly calm conditions at Maryport Marina on Monday
Tuesday was dry, bright and windy with a cold wind. Sadly, I was so busy working on the boat that I forgot to check the weather data.
Wednesday was another dry, bright and windy day, and, thankfully, it was a little warmer than Tuesday. The top temperature was 14.5C (58F) and the top average wind speed was 19mph.
Sunny Maryport taken from Ravensdale's lofty position on the MPM boat hoist on Wednesday
Thursday was overcast, grey and windy with occasional drizzle and light rain, which became more persistent as the day went on. The temperature peaked at 13.3C (56F) and the top average wind speed was 23mph, gusting 32mph.
A grey but calm start to the day today (Friday)
And today (Friday) started very wet but it was also fairly calm. The top temperature was 10C (50F) and the highest average wind speed recorded locally was 17mph during the time Ravensdale was going back in the water, but it was definitely less than that here.