Coinciding with our annual holiday to Italy, we decided to take Mariadz out of the water to have some essential work done. There were a number of things on our list. Firstly, earlier in the year we had a valve for a throughhull fail and we were concerned about certain others. With our long term plans in mind, we decided to replace all throughhulls although we thought we may salvage some of them. With air conditioning, deck drains, engine, generator, water maker and toilets, there are twenty through hulls below the water line on Mariadz. One of these had already been done! In addition, the keel coolers for the fridge and freezer, built in to two of the through hulls had also failed and were depressurizing our system. So these needed to be replaced too. While we were out it was also time to rekey the coppercoat, refresh the antifoul on key spots, check anodes, service the prop and polish the topsides. In addition we wanted the teak to be cleaned and some internal work. A fair amount of work to get done in three weeks. For most of our boat owning life we have used Watercraft UK, Steve Pike, to do these jobs and we had spoken to him about doing this earlier in the year because we know how busy he gets and wanted to be sure it would get done. Having ordered the through hulls, I spoke to Stevie to discuss the work that needed doing a few weeks before the lift out. He was even busier than we expected and he mentioned that the through hulls would get done but that the other work would need to be “prioritised” and some of it done when the boat was back in the water and we were back from holiday. Maria and I discussed our options and decided, on this occasion, we couldn’t afford there to be delays and issues with the work. We spoke to Terry Clarke (Terryclarkegrp@gmail.com), a very experienced “boatie” who does a lot of work in Ipswich and has an excellent reputation. Terry went through the list with us and agreed to pick up the work. I just had to break the news to Stevie! That done we were ready to take Mariadz out of the water. Maria was going to be busy working so I asked Phil and the team to take Mariadz out of her berth which was done professionally and carefully. As she came out, there were quite a few barnacles and weed on her. We also checked the prop since we had quite a bit of vibration from the prop which you could hear in the aft stateroom when under power. There were a number of barnacles on the prop which could have caused the blades to not fully deploy and hence result in vibration, so the servicing of the prop is very important and something we need to check after its service. As part of the lift out service, Mariadz is pressure washed which cleans nearly everything off the hull and then she is put in her place for the next three weeks, as we move onto the motorhome.
The biggest and hardest job is the through hull replacement and Terry and Ben get started on this first. We quickly find that the hope that we would be able to keep some through hulls or even salvage some of the existing ones. Very quickly this became a pipe dream, as the through hulls started to come out. Some of them were wobbling in place, some were becoming pink inside (a definite sign that they need changing) and some of the valves would not close properly which of course is a big issue if you needed to close these in an emergency. The replacement goes really well despite some access issues and all of the through hulls are now changed. The two in the galley which also acted as keel coolers for the refrigeration are replaced with standard large through hulls and the keel coolers are moved slightly. These are changed from the vented coils to two porous blocks, with their own anodes, that soak up the water and cool the fridges. Apparently this is a new design which cannot be blocked by weeds etc. so we are hopeful that our fridge and freezer issues are finally solved for the last time. Also with the removal of the temporary fan solution, the noise in the galley has also reduced. The rekeying of the coppercoat is done with a light sandpaper after I have gone round and removed the last remnants of any barnacles on the hull. The hull anode which was replaced earlier in the year was also reasonably worn, but with some life left in it, but we decided to change this at the same time. The hull had been well polished and is looking fantastic.
Mariadz has three air conditioning units and for the last year we have had several issues with the unit in the forepeak. In the end this was traced to a new control board unit and I had to order this from HFL in Germany, in German! Thankfully, google translate was my friend and it was all achieved via email. While Mariadz was out, we replaced the PCB so one of the jobs when we get back into the water is find out whether this has finally solved our aircon issue in the forepeak.
One of the final jobs was to refresh the antifoul on the keel, P bracket that holds the shaft, a part of the rudder mechanism and finally the bow thruster tunnel. This was all done in the last few days prior to the lift back into the water.
With all of this done, we were ready to go back into the water and this was scheduled, a little later than hoped on the Wednesday following our return from holiday. I guess it gave me an opportunity to do some of the jobs myself which will be useful in future years.
The lift back in is uneventful but before we can get back on our berth we need to check for leaks and that the through hulls are seated correctly. Terry is on board and checks all of the through hulls. As he comes back on deck, he is pleased that out of nineteen through hulls, none of them leak. I’m not sure I’m 100% happy with the hint of surprise in his voice….only joking, they have done a fantastic, meticulous job and it is not surprising at all. We have some minor problems with the old pipes connecting to the new through hulls but these are all addressed and there is no water coming into the boat. Interestingly, we were told that when the one through hull was done earlier in the year, the boat had to be relifted because the new one leaked which makes us even happier with our decision to use Terry!
Mariadz is returned to her berth and I can start to get the boat ready for Maria’s return. The first job is to check that the air conditioning unit is working. We bleed the pumps and switch them all on, after we have double checked that the though hulls are open of course! I also have a similar issue with the electric toilet where there is an air pocket in the pump and this needs to be bled. Cleaning, putting the carpet back down and making beds before Mariadz is ship shape.