Friday, 18 January 2019

Ravensdale is seaworthy again - all we need now is good weather 😊


Photo of Phil refitting the exhaust elbow on Ravensdale's port engine

Phil refitting the exhaust elbow on Ravensdale's port engine


We’re absolutely delighted that Ravensdale is operational again and looking forward to being able to take her out on the water.

The exhaust problem that put our 43ft Neptunus 133 out of commission before Christmas has been fixed.

All we need now is calm weather to coincide with the times when the sea gate is open here at Maryport in Cumbria, UK, so we can leave the marina and take her out onto the Solway Firth.

Meanwhile, Ruby, our staffie puppy, is settling in well and seems very happy with her new liveaboard lifestyle.


Photo of Ruby sleeping on a cushion cuddled up to Phil's arm

Ruby sleeping on a cushion cuddled up to Phil's arm



Ravensdale’s exhaust is fixed


Photo of the exhaust elbow for Ravensdale's port engine after it had been welded

The exhaust elbow for Ravensdale's port engine after it had been welded


We got a message on Sunday to say that the exhaust elbow for Ravensdale’s port engine had been fixed and dropped off at the marina office.

Phil removed it and we took it to a local engineer for welding after it became detached from the flange with which it was bolted to the turbocharger when he started the 300hp Volvo Penta engine last month.

The festive period meant the job took longer than it would otherwise have done so we were delighted to hear it was ready.

We went to the marina office to collect it and were really impressed with the quality of the repair job.


Photo of the flange that attaches to the turbocharger which had to be rebuilt

The flange that attaches to the turbocharger had to be rebuilt


We thought the exhaust elbow was made of cast iron, but the engineer who mended it for us said it was all stainless steel, except for the flange that was cast iron and a short piece of 3-inch tube that was steel.

He said he had to remake the steel and cast iron parts from stainless steel in order to weld it successfully.

He added that it looked as though it been welded a few times previously.

We could tell, just by looking at it, that he’d done a really good job and it fitted perfectly when Phil put it back on the engine.


Photo of the end of the exhaust elbow after it had been rebuilt

The end of the exhaust elbow after it had been rebuilt


He slid it into the rubber pipe which takes the exhaust and water from the elbow into the exhaust cover that runs along the outside of the hull.


Photo of Phil refitting the exhaust elbow

Phil refitting the exhaust elbow


It was a very snug fit, but he managed to get it into the tube without too much trouble then lined the flange up with bolt holes on the turbocharger and bolted it back on.


Photo of Phil tightening the bolts attaching the exhaust pipe to the turbocharger

Phil tightening the bolts attaching the exhaust pipe to the turbocharger


He also reattached the pipe carrying the sea water that cools the engine and the temperature sensor cables to the elbow.


Photo of Phil reconnecting the water pipe to the exhaust elbow

Phil reconnecting the water pipe to the exhaust elbow


Phil then started the engine to check the exhaust was working properly and was very pleased to see water pouring out of the exhaust cover as it should – unlike when the elbow came away and filled the engine room with exhaust fumes.


Photo of Ravensdale's port engine with the exhaust elbow back in place

Ravensdale's port engine with the exhaust elbow back in place


All we need now is some nice, calm weather so we can take Ravensdale out on the water.

It’s more than six weeks since we last left the marina so we’re really hoping for an opportunity to do so again very soon.

The exhaust elbow on the other engine appears to be fine but we’re planning to take it off and get that one welded asap, just to be on the safe side…


Ruby is growing fast


Photo of Ruby having a cuddle with Phil

Ruby having a cuddle with Phil

Ruby our staffie puppy will be 12 weeks old on Sunday and she’s growing rapidly.

She weighed 4.5kg (10lb) when we got her aged eight weeks and now weighs 6.7kg (almost 15lb).

And I really notice the difference in her weight while carrying her on and off the boat.

We took her for her second vaccination yesterday (Thursday) so she’ll be able to go out for proper walks from next Thursday.

Meanwhile, she’s still enjoying her walks on the pontoons in the marina and meeting the various people we come across while off the boat.

We’re finding that we need to spend more time playing high energy games on the boat to keep her entertained.

Ruby still enjoys doggy football and likes playing fetch and tug of war.

She also likes lots of cuddles and rears up like a meerkat so she can sit upright like a human. I really don't think she's sussed that she's a dog and not one of us 😊


Photo of Ruby playing tug of war with Phil

Ruby playing tug of war with Phil

Photo of Ruby getting a firm grip on her rope toy

Ruby gets a firm grip on her rope toy


Photo of Ruby jumping to reach her toy

Ruby jumping to reach her toy

She’s very persistent when she wants to do something and pretty stubborn when she doesn’t want to do something.

I think she thinks she's in charge here, but she’s going to have to learn who’s boss 😊

Surprisingly, she was no trouble at all when Phil was refitting the exhaust elbow, which involved rolling back the saloon carpet and lifting half the floor.

We moved her cage onto the side of the saloon that didn't need to be lifted and put her in it before doing the work.

She sat and watched quite happily from her cage and didn't seem at all concerned that her home was being turned upside down.

After a while, she lost interest in what was happening and laid down and went to sleep, which is great.

We really need her to be adaptable and to accept whatever's happening on the boat as there will obviously be times when she has to be kept out of the way for her own safety.

Photo of Ruby watching from her cage as Phil works in the engine room

Ruby watching from her cage as Phil works in the engine room


Photo of Ruby fast asleep in her cage while the floor was up

Ruby fast asleep in her cage while the floor was up


Ruby now puts herself to bed at night. She seems to know when she’s been out for the last time and goes straight into her bed in her cage as soon as she gets back on the boat.

She then sleeps all night every night and doesn’t make a sound until Phil goes to her cage to let her out in the morning.

Photo of Ruby sitting to get a treat

Ruby sits to get a treat

Her toilet training is going well too. We’re still taking her out regularly, but she sometimes lets us know when she wants to go out by going and sitting at the bottom of the steps to the door out onto the aft deck.

And she will always sit on command before getting a treat.

We are both really enjoying having her around as she is such a character.

The only downside at the moment is that if we don’t watch her all the time, she will try to eat the boat – especially carpets and rugs.

She’s only done any real damage to one rug that I’d wanted to change anyway (not that I’ve told her that 😊)

So, I think we’ll keep the old one until she’s older and stops chewing everything or until she totally destroys it – whichever is the sooner 😊


Learning to use my sewing machine


Photo of me using my sewing machine to make a new windlass cover on Ravensdale last summer

Me using my sewing machine to make a new windlass cover on Ravensdale last summer


Phil bought me a new sewing machine for Christmas 2017 as we thought it would be very useful on the boat.

I haven’t needed it for any major projects yet, but I have put it good use for repairs, such as mending the flybridge and bimini covers, making a new windlass cover and repairs to clothing, such as putting a new zip in a pair of Phil’s work trousers.

However, a while back, I had a problem with adjusting the tension and had to ask someone who is a professional machinist to sort it for me.

She has since moved away so I had no idea what I was going to do if the tension needed altering again.

So, when I saw a "get to know your sewing machine" class advertised in Maryport, I thought it would be well worth going along in the hope that I would be able to deal with any problems myself in the future.

The class, held in a local fabric, wool and craft shop, was from 9.30am to 2pm on Tuesday so plenty of time to learn more about my machine – or so I thought.


Photo of me at the sewing machine class

Me at the sewing machine class


There were seven people on the course, including me, and we all brought our own machines along.

Tutor Gaye Townley started by teaching us about the anatomy of a sewing machine, but it quickly became evident that, although there are some similarities, they are all different.

This meant the tutor had to spend time with each person to show them how to use their own machine.

We learnt about different size needles and which size to use for which fabric, the various feet and accessories that are available for sewing machines and we tried out some of the fancy stitching patterns that our machines would do.

Next, we had a go at sewing a buttonhole, which was pretty unsuccessful.


Photo of the view through my sewing machine

Watching some of the other members of the class through my sewing machine


Unfortunately, most of us couldn’t get our machines to sew one – with or without the buttonhole foot – and the tutor was unable to help us to do so, probably due to lack of time. She eventually decided we’d have to give up on that one and move on.

Gaye ran through the importance of maintaining our machine and gave us some guidance on basic maintenance.

Photo of tutor Gaye Townley helping one of my classmates with her machine

Tutor Gaye Townley helping one of my classmates with her machine


By this time, I was getting a bit frustrated. The class was due to finish in half an hour and she still hadn’t even mentioned adjusting the tension, so I explained that this was the one thing I wanted to learn – the main reason I was attending the class.

Gaye quickly ran through how to tell when the tension was wrong and when it needed to be turned up or down, then told me to have a play with my tension settings.

I explained that I was reluctant to change it as it seemed to be OK, but agreed that I’d never be able to do it myself if I didn’t have a go at it and she reassured me that, if I couldn’t get it right, she would make sure it was right before I left.

I tried turning the tension up and down. I had no problem getting the tension wrong, but, despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t seem to get it right again.

Meanwhile, the other members of the class were either trying to sew a zip or practicing other things we had learnt.


Photo of Gaye explaining how another class member's machine worked

Gaye explaining how another class member's machine worked


Eventually, shortly before the class was due to finish, I had to ask for help.

She reluctantly came to my assistance telling me that, if I didn’t do it myself, I’d never be able to get it right.

Gaye then discovered that she couldn’t get the tension right again either.

I ended up bringing my machine home with the tension wrong and feeling very frustrated that I hadn’t learned the one thing I really wanted to learn.

To say I wasn’t happy would be an understatement

I couldn’t face getting my machine out again that day but set it up again the following day and, after a couple of hours of playing with it, managed to get a tension that seems to be as close as I could get to correct.

Basically, I didn’t learn anything that I couldn’t have learnt at home by working through the instruction booklet and experimenting with my machine 


Photography


I’ve taken my camera out for walks around the local area on four days this week - Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

There were some impressive waves breaking on the shore here at Maryport on Sunday thanks to the strong winds and a big swell.


Photo of powerful waves breaking against Maryport pier

Powerful waves breaking against Maryport pier


Photo of Phil chatting to two fishermen on the pier

Phil chatting to two fishermen on the pier


Photo of another view of the waves breaking against the pier

Another view of the waves breaking against the pier



I only took a few shots while out walking on Monday.

I tried to capture the lovely leaf-like patterns in the mud at the harbour when the tide went out but couldn’t get them from a decent angle.

Whichever way I tried to shoot, I ended up with a dead space between the mud and Ellenfoot Bridge and the buildings on the harbourside.


Photo of a leaf-like patterns in the mud in Maryport harbour at low tide

Leaf-like patterns in the mud in Maryport harbour at low tide


Photo of Maryport from across the basin as the tide comes in

Maryport from across the basin as the tide comes in


Dramatic storm clouds tempted me out for a walk with my camera on Wednesday afternoon and I was not disappointed.

Ever changing cloud formations made for lots of photo opportunities and I was delighted when the sun started breaking through the clouds over the Solway Firth creating some impressive light ladders. There was also a lovely golden light on the town later in the afternoon.


Photo of sun breaking through dark clouds over the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK

Sun breaking through dark clouds over the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK


Photo of another view of sun breaking through the clouds over the Solway Firth

Another view of sun breaking through the clouds over the Solway Firth


Photo of the old groyne on the shore at Maryport

The old groyne on the shore at Maryport


Photo of light reflecting on the wet sand at Maryport

Light reflecting on the wet sand at Maryport


Photo of Maryport bathed in the golden afternoon light

Maryport bathed in the golden afternoon light


It started raining briefly and I really thought I was going to get a soaking but, thankfully, it didn’t last very long.

And, during the brief downpour, another local photographer, Ronnie Bell, snapped a photo of me taking photos in the rain. I had no idea he'd taken it until I saw it on Facebook. Thanks Ronnie! 😊

Photo of me getting wet while taking photos of Maryport across the basin. Photo by Ronnie Bell

Me getting wet while taking photos of Maryport across the basin. Photo by Ronnie Bell


Yesterday, I took my camera when I went for a walk along the shore, but there were no clouds and the light wasn’t anything special, so I only took a few snaps of the marina from above and of dog walkers on the shore.


Photo looking across Maryport Marina from the sea wall

Looking across Maryport Marina from the sea wall



Photo looking across the hard-standing at Maryport Marina from the sea wall

Looking across the hard-standing at Maryport Marina from the sea wall


Photo of dog walkers on the beach at Maryport at low tide

Dog walkers on the beach at Maryport at low tide



Weather watch


We’ve had a real mixed bag of weather at Maryport in Cumbria, UK, this week – sunny, cloudy, windy and fairly calm - but thankfully we’ve had very little rain.

Overnight Friday into Saturday was a fairly windy night, with a top average wind speed of 29mph, gusting 40mph.


Photo of grey weather on Saturday at Maryport Marina

Grey weather on Saturday at Maryport Marina


This was followed by grey cloud all day on Saturday. It started to spit and then rain from around lunchtime. The temperature reached 7.6C (46F) and the top average wind speed was 29mph, gusting 39mph.

Saturday night into Sunday was a very windy night causing lots of rocking and creaky mooring ropes. The top average wind speed overnight was 37mph, gusting 44mph.

Sunday was cloudy with sunny intervals. The high winds continued, with a top average wind speed of 39mph and gusts of up to 54mph, so the marina’s sea gate remained closed over the high tide.

It was relatively mild for the time of year with the temperature reaching 8.9C (48F).


Photo of sunny intervals on Sunday at Maryport Marina

Sunny intervals on Sunday at Maryport Marina


Monday was dry and reasonably bright with cloud at times. It was calm first thing with the wind speed increasing as the day went on. The top average wind speed was 19mph and the temperature reached 7.2C (45F).

Tuesday was dull and windy, with a top average wind speed of 22mph, gusting 30mph, and the top temperature was 8.5C (47F).


Photo of mixed weather at Maryport on Wednesday

Mixed weather at Maryport on Wednesday


Wednesday was windy and cloudy with an increasing amount of sunshine as the day went on and, as the cloud cleared, it became a lot colder. The highest daytime temperature was 6.5C (44F) at 9am and the top average wind speed was 24mph, gusting 33mph.

Yesterday (Thursday) was a bright, sunny day with a cold wind.


Photo of clear blue sky at Maryport Marina on Thursday

Clear blue sky at Maryport Marina on Thursday


The temperature only reached 3.5C (38F) and the top average wind speed was 22mph, gusting 39mph, with the wind speed dropping during the course of the day.

Last night was pretty chilly with the temperature dropping to 0.1C (32F) and the temperature so far today (Friday) has only reached 2.3C (36F).

The weather was relatively calm and bright during this morning with increasing cloud, wind and light rain this afternoon. The top wind speed, so far, was 26mph, gusting 36mph.