We like Mariadz to look good as well as being in good working order. So she gets a regular clean from us but sometimes you feel it needs a little more. We’re not OCD (well mostly), but we think, since Mariadz looks after us, we should look after her and make sure she always looks pretty.
This blog is about some of the products which we have found really help us. Firstly, windows. Back when we had a house, it had a gym and we had mirrors fitted along one wall. The conpany that fitted them did a great job but the mirrors were filthy when they were first put up. We looked on and thought “that’s our first job”. However, the team from Kent Blaxill had different ideas and produced a cleaner in a white aerosol. A spray and a quick wipe and the mirrors were perfect. No elbow grease and no smudges or streaks. It was amazing and we have used their glass and mirror cleaner ever since. We use this on the windscreen and all hatches and we do think it comes up great. Well at least until the next spots of dirty rain!
Next up, the antislip. This was getting black dots all over it and looked filthy. I generally clean the boat down with car shampoo, with added wax, and a soft brush. However, this wasn’t touching it and the black spots remained. Last year, I had addressed this problem with a nail brush in the direction of the grooves. This was back breaking stuff but came up well. There had to be a better way though. Going onto the forums and speaking to our neighbours came up with a mild bleach that would help and so we used the same as we had on the cockpit tent, Mould and Mildew Remover. I did use the nail brush too but it didn’t take as much elbow grease. I was also very careful to wash it off very quickly from the teak using a lot of water to dilute it as much as possible. We don’t want discoloured teak! This process is a lot easier to do but time will tell whether this the product has cleaned it or just changed the colour of the marks from black to white! Still the anti slip has come up gleaming and looks like new which I guess is the point of doing it!
Although, we refresh the teak using Wessex Teak Cleaner & Renovator every year or two, this is not something you do every week. We hose down the teak after a good trip out, especially if there has been sea water over the decks, and I will generally try to make sure the teak gets thoroughly cleaned using the hose. It is amazing how much dirt is just lying on top, although that may be because of where we are adjacent to docks. I use a soft brush across the grain so hopefully I am preserving my teak. She is a 16 year old boat though so I imagine at some stage in the future the teak will need to be replaced. Hopefully, we will be able to do that where teak is especially cheap as we tour the world.
Readers of the blog will be familiar with the stainless steel work we have had done. We have mast pulpits, solar panel frame, life raft holder, davits, pushpit, pulpit, main anchor, stanchions, dorades (or funnels), protection for dorades and a bbq holder! Now it’s payback time for all of these features – cleaning…. The stainless gets dull over time and water spots make this look even worse. We have tried a number of stainless cleaners and have generally found the clear liquid ones to be rubbish but the cream ones to be very good. So this weekend, Maria set about polishing the stainless and it looks excellent. We have yet to find the perfect product for this yet so any suggestions more than welcome.
Another trick which we discovered early in our boating career was how to remove black scuff marks from the hull. We discovered this when the day skipper candidate on the school boat we were on hammered the yacht into halfpenny pier at Harwich. We stopped and the skipper got out another cleaner, Cif Professional Cream Cleaner, this removes all those little pontoon scuffs to a reasonable state, at least until you can haul out and do the job properly! Of course the skipper didn’t let anyone else have a go, he decided that one accident was enough for that trip. This lack of opportunity pushed us to buy our own boat so it ended well.
We have also noticed from time to time blue marks on our top sides. These may have been from the hose, the electricity cable or a blue sheet for our sails. Either way, these marks were incredibly difficult to get off. Much scrubbing ensued with no real progress. That was until we found Magic Sponges. These little white blocks remove the marks really well although they do waste away quite quickly – I guess we might use them a lot! They are also substantially cheaper than exactly the same product available in the chandlery!
So the only thing left to add to this blog in the future is how to clean up the exposed corner of main sail that pokes out when you have in-mast furling. This gets dirty over time. Neat car shampoo did a reasonable job but I have a cunning plan for how to fix this. I will update the blog with progress….. but for now that is how we keep Mariadz so clean!
We like having redundancy and spares on board Mariadz. One of our fallback navigation and anchor watch options is the iPad but these are power hungry apps which will run down the batteries quite fast. So, in true Mariadz style, this has led us to get a charge capability in the cockpit which will work for phones and tablets.
After some investigation I was able to find a water proof charger that ran off 12v or 24v. This fitted in perfectly with the 24v power supply we had available in our steering console.
Fitting was really easy, especially when your next door neighbour has a selection of fifteen hole cutters – you know you will find the right size! The charger is fitted next to the 24v socket and is paralleled off the power supply.
I have to be honest here. I didn’t check the back of the unit properly and made an assumption on which was positive and which was negative. As always that assumption was wrong and the device didn’t work. On checking with my multimeter we definitely had power at the socket and at the base of the unit. Therefore the new part must be faulty, I start looking for a number for the supplier to make a complaint. That is until Maria pipes up to check whether I have the positive and negative the right way round. Just check it….. Oh really, Maria, don’t be ridiculous, of course I have checked… oops. Swapped over and it charges fine, who would have guessed? 🙂
So, hole cut, I have to unscrew the top of the steering column so that the locking nut can be fitted. One last test and we now have a Twin USB Charger and with two three metre cables we are able to charge our devices even with the cover on. I rechecked the anchor, swim platform and ignition! I never trust anything to stay working when I “haven’t done anything that should affect that”. I’m pleased that everything is still working.
For the August bank holiday last year, we visited Osea Island, location of the retreat that Amy Winehouse visited for rehab. This has since closed down but the island is very nice and in good weather feels like it could be in the Mediterranean or Caribbean. So with a sunny bank holiday expected, we decided it was time to return to the anchorage adjacent to the island where we had a fantastic time.
The plan was to leave very early on Friday morning with a view to arriving at the island early in the morning so that we could both do a full days work. One advantage of living on board is that when working from home, your home can be anywhere 🙂
To try and reduce the travel time on Friday, we decided to get away on Thursday evening with a view to picking up a mooring ball at Levington and saving over an hour on our journey time. Unfortunately by the time we get home and get the boat ready, it’s already nearly 7pm when we leave Ipswich to head down river. It is incredibly quiet on the river with the tide pushing us down the river and it feels like the holiday has started even though we have a full work day on Friday. Both cats are relaxed and Maria is keeping an eye out as we motor downriver.
We get down to Suffolk Yacht Harbour at Levington and find all six of the mooring buoys opposite the marina are free. We pick up a buoy at the first attempt, admittedly having spun round it a little to start with as we initially approached it with the tide but Maria is able to turn Mariadz around on a six pence using the tide and I can grab the buoy. It is going to be an early night since we plan to be up at 5am the next morning, exactly as if we were travelling to London for work. Even going against the tide, we expect to arrive at Osea Island shortly after 10am.
So we get to watch the sunset, eat sensibly and catch up on a few TV programmes, and settle down for a good nights sleep. In fact that was the last time the TV was switched on all weekend which has to be a good barometer of a good time! Sunrise the next day over Levington is glorious as we get up at 5:15 and we are feeling good and happy. Those that know Maria in the morning will know that this is unusual!
A night at anchor gives us a view of our power consumption overnight and monitoring is showing the batteries at 82% of usable capacity (which is 50% of rated capacity) so less than 10% of their total capacity has been used. We would expect that to be replenished by the solar but with the wind we have we will be motoring for hours anyway so the batteries will be fully charged when we stop. This weekend should be a good test of whether our solar capacity can keep up with our usage.
There is very little wind as we exit Felixstowe and head through the Medusa channel towards the wallet but what little there is will be on the nose the whole away, and against the tide! This is the price you pay when you are guided by your watch rather than the tides but we need to be settled down and anchored to do a full day’s work and the weather will not be dangerous. Normally of course, we would optimise our passages for the tides so instead of being held back by two knots, you gain two knots. At our average cruising speed this makes a huge difference from 9.5 knots down to 5.5 knots. Imagine how quickly we’d have made it if the tides were favourable! It’s going to be over thirty miles of motoring so not much fun.
Even at this time of the morning, Felixstowe is very busy and as usual the Lobster pots in the medusa channel need to be avoided. I have mixed emotions about these since they are a hazard best avoided but if they weren’t there where would the Alma in Harwich get it’s delicious lobster from? The lobster pots are one of the reasons we normally wait til daylight for this part of the trip, they are everywhere and you need to keep a sharp lookout to avoid one getting wrapped around the keel or prop. Although we have a rope cutter around the prop which should cut the line holding the pot, that isn’t ideal and I wouldn’t want to bank on it working.
By 6:30am, we have made the top of the wallet and are against wind and tide but the lack of wind means it is flat and a grey/brown colour. So the only thing to do is take photos of all the other people mad enough to venture out on a Friday morning. There aren’t many!
So we are travelling slowly, by our standards, down the wallet flanked by the coast on one side and the wind farm which seems to go on forever at this pace. When we go to Burnham, we have to cross the spitway but for Osea, we need to continue past Bradwell and into the Blackwater. Both of these routes require a little care because of the shallows, especially on a falling tide like today. So we tiptoe through the shallows to avoid having to take a bigger detour and subsequent delay. Looking at the track on our chart plotter, it looks like we have zigzagged in some kind of submarine avoidance manoeuvre. But as we emerge into the Blackwater, the clouds are breaking up and the sun is trying to break through. Now Maria can be a bit of a bad influence in these situations, asking whether we should just take the day off and have fun! She is a very naughty girl and I point out if work phone or email will she answer, of course the answer is yes, and so we won’t be taking the day off then!
The weather is improving by the minute and in the Blackwater we have blue sky, sun and glassy water. There is still very little out on the water but with the prediction for the weather that will change over the weekend and I’m sure we will see a lot of the boats moored in Mersey coming down the river. This time I have tried to avoid the cliched Radio Caroline picture! It’s just after 10am as we arrive in the anchorage and there is not a soul around. The weather is glorious and Maria selects her usual spot to anchor. This will be the first test of the new remote for the windlass….. of course it works, was there really any reason to doubt it. Within minutes the anchor is set, snubbers and anchor buoy deployed with the anchor ball flying. We can settle down to get on with our work until mid afternoon when we can switch off, well we did start answering emails at 5:30am!
Maria decides that flushed from her recent success, she is going to set up the fishing rods. Unfortunately due to our late departure on Thursday, we missed the tackle shop and so she is baiting with squid only rather than combining with the rag worm she has used previously. I strongly suspect that she is getting her excuses in early! We settle down knowing full well she is not going to catch anything. This is shame since Maria is hoping to prepare a paella for dinner, we’ll have to wait and see.
There are a couple of false alarms from weed getting caught on the line but then Boom, the rod goes wild. Maria runs up to see what she has… the strain on the rod is immense and Maria is struggling as I retrieve the net from the bow and fill a bucket with water – see I didn’t have much confidence that we would see fish this time. As her catch nears the surface it is huge and looks to be a skate, or thorn backed ray. What do you do with those…clearly we have no idea. We don’t even know how to kill it never mind prepare it. I fall back to an approach we were given to kill fish – gin in the gills. But it seems the skate is quite liking this. We search the internet but are no closer to a decision on how to kill it. All of this combined with Maria’s opinion that it looked “too cute” means we retrieve the hooks and release it back into the water. It swims off but not in a straight line since it is probably drunk. I’m sure it will be back later with some mates asking for more gin and squid. That Mariadz, they know how to throw a fish party!
However it is only a handful of minutes later that Maria strikes again catching another, smaller ray, this time we decide quickly to return it. If only we had caught a couple of bass…. although I do spend some time complaining that I quite fancied trying skate!
So it is Paela for dinner, but not caught by Maria. Although quite how she would have sourced the pork and chicken on the water, I have no idea… maybe a swimming cow giving a pig a ride that got caught on her line.
After dinner, we are sitting in the cockpit watching the sun go down over the island, where some other yachts have anchored and it is bliss. Unlike last night, we are out there beyond 9pm, dirty stop-outs!
The cats are very comfortable on the boat, wherever we are. They spend most of the day chilling either down below or in the cockpit which is now incredibly comfortable for them with new cushions and cat mats. However, at night, Bonnie in particular, comes alive and wants to go exploring her surroundings. She will walk the deck and sit on the bow peering out for hours before coming in for the night to chill. At some stage we will have to put up nets on the guide wires around the deck to give us additional security and hopefully stop them falling in. At the moment we rig fenders with covers on each side of the boat so that they can claw themselves back on if necessary.
Another glorious morning with blue skies and not a cloud to be seen and we are awake quite early. This time the culprit is Clyde demanding attention, jumping on the bed, our bodies and our heads. He really wants a fuss. So did I, but my demands for attention fall on deaf ears. Proof that cats are worse than kids!
It may be early but it is certainly not a lazy morning. One of the problems with this part of the river is also one of its charms. The river is used by all types of watercraft and there seems to be little adherence to the speed limit of 8 knots by the speed boats and jet skis. Now that’s something I don’t get. I watch the jet skis going up and down, mostly in straight lines at great speed, at least thevisnt much of a wake to disturb us so it is just the engine noise. They then turn around and do the same again. I used to enjoy driving sports cars but the thrill was the handling and acceleration rather than the outright speed in a straight line. I am now reminiscing about two seater soft tops and I won’t be allowed another one of those! Still each to their own and the jet skiers seem to be enjoying themselves even if they are spoiling our tranquility. To my mind though it’s a waste of fuel! Water skiing, on the other hand, I can get especially if the person is very good, today though we mostly have people going up and down firmly hanging on rather than the acrobatics we have seen before.
We are pottering around the boat playing music and the day is heating up as the weekend builds to the hottest May bank holiday in years.
The solar array is doing wonders. When we woke up in the morning the batteries had provided all of our power for the night, a boiled kettle for breakfast, hot water from the tank and Maria’s very powerful hair dryer for ages as she dried her very long hair. All of this and we have used 120Ah of battery which at 24V is about 2.5KWh. Over the admittedly sunny weekend, we averaged 4-5KWh per day for our 720W of solar. With our daily use this means that the batteries are pretty much staying topped up purely on solar and definitely would be if we showed a little more restraint in our power usage.
Since we will be anchored for a while I decide to break out our hammock and rig it between the mast and the staysail. Using the chords that came with it, I tie it to a secure spot on the mast and to the clearing on the stay sail. This makes it nice and high and I don’t think should be causing any damage. I am also able to persuade Maria that with our new svelt bodies , the rig should be able to take our combined weight, dubiously she gives it a go! It’s a lovely relaxing day and I break it up by taking pictures of the passing watercraft like some kind of demented yacht equivalent of a train spotter. Still it keeps me occupied 🙂 .
While I have been pottering, Maria has been in touch with her cousin who is going to come and visit us for 24 hours. They will be driving to Maldon where they can leave the car and I can pick them up in the rib before bringing them the four miles back up river. We’re quite a bit off high tide when we decide to leave and we notice it is quite muddy around the river. Arrival at Maldon is an interesting affair as we can see that the landing pontoon is high and dry with some water around the end. We can just about approach the pontoon but it is three foot to the pontoon. We’re both able to scramble off the rib which I’m sure we would have struggled with pre-diet. There are a few bars in this part of Maldon and we decide to sit in the Queens Head, right on the waterfront, well mud-front to be precise, while we wait for Denise and Kirk to arrive.
They arrive and we find them somewhere to park, not easy in this part of Maldon! A quick drink before donning life jackets for the trip back. Connie the rib (named after Clyde and Bonnie incidentally) is quite lightweight with a 20hp Suzuki injection outboard. However, we are now four up in her with an overnight bag and some essential supplies that they have brought – looks like alcohol and snacks to me! Even flat out we are only making six knots so it is going to be a leisurely trip back to Mariadz. At least we can see all the sights! As we return to the anchorage to Mariadz in all her glory, the area Ian noticeably busier than it was when we left.
Maria has also been speaking to some sailing friends Russ and Sarah, who are getting their boat out of Maldon when there is enough tide and coming to the anchorage. This was the couple we met last August when we were last at Osea and we had a great time. When they arrive a little later in the afternoon, they come on board for a few drinks and of course they are no empty handed… oh dear this could get messy…. again!
Russ is apparently a very accomplished fisherman and so Maria takes advantage to get a fishing lesson despite her success with skate the day before. After several hours the catch is a little underwhelming – skate, 0 sea bass, 0 whiting, 0 mackerel. But i am sure Maria has learnt some useful techniques.
Evening falls on a great day as we are happily chatting, enjoying a healthy barbecue and salads while we listen to music.
It is low tide and very dark when Russ and Sarah decide it is time to go back to their boat. Of course at low tide, Mariadz will turn around and face the incoming tide, having been facing the outgoing tide when they arrived. Since it is low water, Mariadz is actually pointing towards the shore, and their boat, one hundred maters away. However, Russ is on autopilot as he starts the outboard, having just fallen into the rib and banged his head! They gather up their stuff and head off on the same vector, with respect to Mariadz, as he had arrived…..which of course is now heading down river towards Bradwell! This is despite me shining a torch at their boat lighting up the hull, and then waving the light at them. We have our very bright spreader lights on so when they realise they are lost, they will at least know their start point. They keep going for about ten minutes before I can hear the engine note change and they turn around to come back to us. They must have gone at least half a mile before realising their error but we didn’t make any comments about their navigation, well maybe a couple…
They are safely back on the boat and the four remaining revellers chat a little more before deciding it is time for bed. We even tidy up before we go so that everything is tidy for when we get up. This is sharp contrast to what used to happen when we had the house in West Bergholt. It was not uncommon for us to be awake until after Dawn playing music in the bar but Denise has assured us that she is always up very early and is looking forward to seeing dawn. I think the forepeak bed will have something to say about that since it is so comfortable that we have had a number of light sleepers who claim they won’t sleep or who are up early find themselves knocking out the zzzzz until quite late in the morning. So it is no surprise to us when Denise emerges bleary-eyed three hours after dawn, another victory for the comfy Mariadz bed!
We clearly didn’t have that much to drink the night before since we are all up early and Maria already has the fishing rods out on another still, sunny and gorgeous day. We start to think about breakfast which of course will not be fish!
The batteries are in reasonable shape but with a huge requirement for hot water if we all shower, we decide to fire up the generator to provide hot water from its cooling system while the charger hammers power back into the batteries. After checking that the cooling system is working as expected I then switch on the electrical element too which will speed up the process. I like to check the load while we are running the generator, I am convinced that the old generator was destroyed after 700 hours because it was constantly run at relatively little loads (I.e. 10%). We generally have it as a minimum of 50% which is hopefully much better for it.
Denise and Kirk are looking to head back around lunchtime so that they can be back in time for the return of their sons who have been attempting the three peak challenge – the three tallest peaks in the UK in the space of 24 hours. A really hard task. They have also to return his new car that they borrowed 🙂
It’s gone mid day and the tide has turned again as the water rushes back into the river. Everyone is chilled and their have been no bites on the fishing lines, unless you count a small crab which decided to steal the bait. We are rally’s relaxed, fed and washed. In fact Denise, is dozing in the hammock so another triumph for Mariadz’s ability to get people to rest.
It is soon time to gather the belongings and return Denise and Kirk to Maldon. It’s probably half an hour earlier than when we went in yesterday so it will be tight but should be fine, or so we thought. In the interests of saving time and reducing the weight, Maria decides to remain on Mariadz which should make us faster. Now just to clarify, this in no way means Maria is heavy, I am not that brave and would quite reasonably fully expect to wake up next week if I suggested such a thing! I have emptied our las trip spare fuel can into the tank and we have about ten litres of fuel so I should top that up while in Maldon.
We make good speed on the way back to Maldon, but it is quite shallow….and now it is very shallow…. I hear a slight change in the outboard note, that will be mud then. The electric tilt on the outboard comes into its own as a raise the prop as high as I can but we will still have half a mile to go. We have a portable Gardiner navigation device which is fitted to the rib and it claims that I should have two feet of water at this point but this clearly isn’t true as we stop dead on the mud in the middle of the channel. Maybe we should have left I think a little later. A trip least we are on a rising tide so we are not going to be left high and dry or stuck for too long. We break out the one oar that comes with the walker bay rib, that wouldn’t be any use in an emergency. Kirk checks the depth and a fewminutes later we are free of the mud but we will go into Maldon very tentatively. Comically Kirk is still paddling with the oar but he is assisted by a 20hp engine so it isn’t too difficult. As we round the last bend into Maldon we are greeted by a small band of water and a lot of mud. There is no way we can get close to the pontoon. There is another pontoon slightly downstream but even that is 20-30 minutes away from having enough wate for us to land. Kirk dips his toe into the mud to see if it is walkable but even with a little weight on it, he isn’t getting enough resistance to give him confidence that he won’t sink up to his waist. So we are stuck in the boat and waiting for the tide. Now we have two anchors on the rib and I decide that to save fuel we will deploy an anchor while we wait. That works fine, once it gets a grip, but obviously looked quite strange from the banks of the river. Still it gave us a nice view of the Thames barges with Maldon behind, clearly that is why we did it! There is even a strip of mud around each of the Thames barges. Some very friendly gentlemen on these ask us if we are waiting to disembark and want to offer some help but we can’t work out a way we could get off and have to wait. It gives us ample time to consider that with the tide being an hour-ish later, we have effectively arrived in Maldon an hour and a half earlier in tides terms. One to remember for another time. The water is rising slowly and eventually we decide that we will do the whole marines beach approach and run Connie up the mud to the pontoon. On the first attempt I get deflected away from the pontoon and have to approach straighter. The second time we are bang on and nestle into the pontoon. We attach some lines and head up the pontoon to …. a locked gate. Oh! It looks climbable! So three fifty something’s climb the gate to get out, I’ll have to consider how I do that for the return. We get some fuel and Kirk returns me to the gate I am able to clamber over and he can then pass me the fuel, my grab bag and some beautiful roses that’s they got for Maria, forgot and left in the car.
I am starting to get messages from Maria who is worried that my quick trip into Maldon seems to have taken an age, have I run out of fuel? It’s all good as I start the return leg and of course now I have nothing to worry about as the tide is coming in quickly.
One of Maria’s favourite films is Pretty Woman and one of the female characters dreams is to have a prince on a white horse come and save her which Richard Gere does in his limo holding a bunch of flowers. You can see where I am going here. I have worked out that I can do this in the rib.
With only one passenger, Connie gets us back really quickly and Maria is there sitting on the bathing platform with a drink ready for me. I do the whole Richard Gere thing before mildly panicking as I see two fishing lines in the water…. that could have been embarrassing.
In my absence even more boats have anchored including Amarelle, a beautiful motor boat from Ipswich which we have nicknamed rhubarb and custard because of its colour scheme. There are also three boats rafted together on a single anchor. Now I know it isn’t windy and I’m sure it is perfectly safe but I just don’t get it. The one deployed anchor will not be sized for three boats so I am grateful that should they drag, they will slip by us nicely since we are not on their line. I guess you shouldn’t judge people by your own standards and they settle down for their own fun evening.
We have invited John and Linda from Amarelle over for a cheeky sundowner and they are about to row over despite my offer to come and pick them up. Russ and Sarah also join us and we have an entertaining early evening bathed in sunshine. John and Linda return to Amarelle, but the party continues on the bow of Mariadz. Music is playing and there is the obligatory Amy Winehouse songs sung at the island 🙂
A few years ago, Maria and I recorded our little party piece of Islands in the Stream, as a form of motorhome karaoke. Unfortunately, Warner music decided that Maria sounded too much like Dolly Parton and had the soundtrack removed as a breach of copyright. I did ask them to reinstate it or sign us up but never got a reply. On this particular evening there has clearly been too much alcohol…..It is time! Dolly and Kenny aka Mariadz are in full voice – a Capella – ban that, Warner Music! 🙂 I believe it goes some way to demonstrating that we are not deserving of the record deal quite yet…..However, we do rather better a little later when we play our friend from Barbados, Buggy Nhakante, a fantastic reggae star.
So despite running the tranquility of the anchorage (apologies for that!), it has been a fun day and our last before the journey home to Ipswich on what promises to be the best day of the weekend weather-wise.
We’re up early in the morning but there is quite a bit of packing away to do before we can head off. There is a little wind so we may be able to sail too which is another level of tidying up and one we generally do anyway before venturing out to sea, well you never know when the perfect sailing conditions are going to arrive! A rib comes round and asks us if we have jump leads, apparently one of the motor boats has lost all batteries overnight and can’t start their engine. I do have some somewhere…but after much searching I decide I have taken them off the boat and they are probably I one of the vehicles back in Ipswich. I am a little intrigued as to how this has happened but we don’t find out. It does make me think about our own setup. We effectively have three distinct areas of batteries: our domestic and service bank (880Ah which covers all use, winches, windlass, navigation etc), a dedicated engine start battery and a dedicated generator start battery. We also have the ability to cross these last two over which means we should be able to start the engine, or generator, even if it’s dedicated battery is flat. I am satisfied that what has happened to the motorboaters shouldn’t happen to us, once again loads of redundancy, especially if I bring the jump leads back! Russ offers to take off his own engine battery and lend it so that the engine can be started, it must be a much simpler task then extricating ours!
At the same time, Maria is chatting up two gentlemen who drift by fishing. She offers them a cup of tea or a beer, (at this time darling!) but they decline as they try to get their rig sorted. Just one of those random events on the water but it tickles Maria.
We have been playing with the rib this weekend and it’s time to get it back up into its place under the davits. We now have our new cover which goes under the rib and over the davits….and there lies the problem. We have to get the cover under the far side of the rib witch we can’t reach except when we are in the rib and then we need to make sure that the cover doesn’t get trapped between the davits and the rib as it is lifted. Maria and I set about our task, sometimes with me climbing onto the davits and also using our boat hook. We have the rib up and I have even got the cover over the engine so we are looking good, as Russ and Sarah gaze on from their inflatable perplexed! Now where are the straps that go under the rib when it is up….of course they are in the rib. Before starting all over again, we decide to see if we can slip them out of the boat and down the outside using the boat hook. I fully expect them to gather nicely in a fold of the cover on the far side but we’ll give it a go. Today we are lucky and I can just see them peaking out of the other side and Maria is able to adeptly grab them with the boat hook. After thirty minutes of messing about we have the cover on and it looks perfect so Paul from Dolphin was absolutely right in that it can be done whilst at anchor. Let’s just say there may have been a couple of doubters over the previous thirty minutes.
We say our goodbyes before heading off and then Mariadz catches someone else out. Sailing boats use seawater to cool the engine down and this comes out from an exhaust pipe above the water line, hence why there is always a splashing of water from the exhaust when the engine is running. If there isn’t then the engine is not being cooled which is a big problem. The Moody 54 has a water separator in the exhaust and the water goes out under the hull. This has led a number of kind and frantic people to wildly gesticulate to us that there is no water coming out. Russ can now add himself to that list, while Mariadz sniggers behind her hand 🙂
We depart late morning recognising that we will be against the tide the whole way but to some extent hoping we can arrive at Ipswich around about high tide and not have to be delayed in the lock at all since it will be open. It is very still as we proceed down the Blackwater and we see more people out early on a bank holiday enjoying the day, including a group of speed boats who have stopped on a beach which is a sand bank exposed by the low tide. They’ll only get a few hours but it looks pretty cool on a scorching day.
It’s still although the wind is due to pick up a little later. So I guess another opportunity to be the camera out and take photos of everyone! I do have more so if anyone recognises themselves give me a shout, I may have more pictures of you i can send.
We head out of the Blackwater and see a very strange sight, it looks like a flying boat on the horizon but seems to be a fin keeled boat that has been caught on the tide. It seems to be standing proud but looks very strange, I’d love to know what the story was here. It could be an optical illusion and be a bulge keel sitting comfortably on its twin keels but we couldn’t tell from where we were and it would have been far too shallow for Mariadz to get close safely. The wind has picked up a bit and having had a sail jam last time out, we are keen to make sure that the mainsail is back to its normal trouble free self. So we have full main and staysail out as we turn up the wallet and of course the wind is pretty much on the nose. However my wind instruments are showing this a little differently. In fact they are showing the wind to one side and the sail is showing it on the other side. Well that will not do. The great thing about our self tacking staysail is that it gets pushed to an end of the track depending on where the wind is, when it is in the middle the apparent wind is dead centre. I use this to help with the adjustment although the apparent wind shown on my instruments is based on speed through the water rather than speed over ground, the difference should be negligible. I have adjusted it and we can now see just how close to the wind we are as we travel up the wallet.
Amarelle left the anchorage after us but has caught us up and goes past, they will definitely catch the lock on free flow. I think Maria normally lets motor boats go when she is racing but she would still like me to sort these sails out and get a little more speed to catch them up….no surprises there then. Or in the result as they disappear over the horizon. We eventually hear them call into the lock, an hour ahead of us.
We are nearing the end of the wallet when the AIS goes mad. A boat off our bow has turned toward us and the technology is telling us that he is on a collision course. We adjust our course to avoid any problems despite clearly having sail up and the other boat is under motor only. The other yacht changes course again and is again going to hit us. Can he not see us trying to get out of the way. I check the AIS which gives me all of the details of the boat in question. Hmmm, Motion. We know a boat called motion and as we get closer we see that it is our friend Mark from B pontoon at Ipswich Haven. We have had a glorious weekend and so now he decides to go out, planning to be down to pyefleet for a few days. You can tell we were concerned, no photos. Oh and he didn’t have any sail up so no point.
At the top of the wallet we turn into medusa and it is like someone has hit the turbo. The wind is now hitting us from the starboard side and Mariadz picks up her skirts and flies. This is good because we haven’t made good time so far and it is looking like we may miss the lock gates, not a major problem but a little annoying.
We are making great progress but still need to keep an eye out as there are a number of lobster pots and these are harder to see when you have all sail out. Still, mmmm, Lobster, maybe we should go to the Alma again soon….
We make our way into the Orwell and shortly after the wind dies. It’s time to take the sails in since they are doing nothing and we don’t want them damaged by flogging. Maria is disappointed that she hasn’t seen any seals or porpoises today and so focuses on seeing cormorant, which is a little easier!
As we arrive at the Orwell bridge we are close to high tide and another sailing vessel is having engine trouble. Before we can offer assistance another boat has come out of Ipswich to help them. We’ve done this before and it was interesting going through the lock rafted to someone else and then dropping them off on a hammerhead. But someone else will take the honour today.
We pass through the lock on the last of freeflow and as we arrive at our berth our friend and next door neighbour Linda comes out to take a line and help us come in.
It’s the end of another magnificent weekend as we settle down to a still, sunny evening in our home berth.
And so it began. The hunt for a portable ice maker that could make ice quickly and didn’t use much power. Our cruising friends have always said that ice is very unusual on cruising boats and potentially a commodity. I can see the ice maker being on permanently! Very reasonable rates, or you bring the alcohol and we will supply the ice.
When we had the house we had a top loading ice maker that worked a treat but the location we wanted the ice maker was tucked in next to the washing machine in the centre of Mariadz. A top loader would have been awkward so we needed a front loader.
The one we selected was the Hostess Ice Maker which makes ice within fifteen minutes and can produce half a kilo of ice an hour. A little faster than Maria normally uses it for her drinks:)
The best thing is that with the inverter running, it doesn’t use much power at all so perfectly reasonable to run it off batteries, as you would a fridge, and let the solar pump the power back in.