29/06/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
The historic town hall here in La Rochelle was devastated by fire yesterday after electrical problems sparked a blaze in the 15th-century structure :-(
Read more here
28/06/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.558'N 01 10.111'W)
We're always looking for ways to economise.....but we think this is taking it a bit far - even in Drummer!
05/06/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.558'N 01 10.111'W)
The picture says it all... for the record, several of the aerials were already on Flirtie - we've only added a few more (Wi-Fi and SSB receiver taken from Drummer). The original aerials were in vulnerable positions so we've repositioned them out of harm's way - looks a little like mission control though!
03/06/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.558'N 01 10.111'W)
Well, apart from cleaning Flirtie, moving aboard and showing numerous prospective purchasers around Drummer, we've been busy familiarising ourselves with Flirtie's equipment and doing a few minor repairs and changes. Considering Flirtie has been to the Med and back we're surprised how the previous owners were happy to live without what we believe to be basic 'creature comforts' along with items that we consider to be in the wrong place.
So, to summarise:
- placement of hooks for t-towels and chopping boards
- re-plumbing the galley tap to free up some storage space on the shelf below
- additional insulation in the fridge (as it was running almost continuously)
- fresh silicone along the back edge of the worktop
- securing the microwave (the previous owners warned us that in boisterous conditions the microwave flies out of its fitted unit).
- the shower is fantastic, but unfortunately the bilge pump that empties the shower sump failed. Every time we showered it was necessary to pump manually at least 40 times which Bruce found entertaining as he happily watched me pump out our dirty water whilst chanting "I must, I must increase my bust!" Obviously I didn't let him get away with this for very long so having ordered new seals we now have a working bilge pump.
- having cleaned and checked the engines we noticed a small diesel leak which was cured with a new copper washer.
- with the exception of the radar, we've mounted all of the instruments in the back panel, freeing up the worktop
- chart plotter installed in front of both the internal and external steering positions
- before we purchased Flirtie we knew that the bimini/enclosure needed some attention as it was more or less held together with Duck tape. Don't get us wrong, Duck tape is really useful for emergency repairs however it's unsightly on canvas so with the loan of a sewing machine (thanks to Barry and Steph again) some new zips, new PVC window material, reinforcement and re-stitching has been done to the majority of panels. As soon as we are able to source some Fabsil it should even be waterproof! Now we can sleep at night knowing that if a gale arrives the enclosure won't be turned to shreds.
We've a few jobs remaining but we are hopeful that within the next couple of weeks we should be in a position to take her sailing to iron out any problems before venturing further.
12/05/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.558'N 01 10.111'W)
You may have noticed a lack of blogs recently, we have no excuses apart from we've been really busy sorting out and cleaning 'Flirtie'. How time has just flown by! Anyway, we can confirm that we have now relocated onto Flirtie and are settling in nicely.
We've received several requests for photos of 'Flirtie' so please find a few below.
Outside steering position
Cockpit/sun lounging area
Outside - looking back from the bow
Outside - port side
Outside - the mast
22/04/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
If you're looking for a small catamaran with a well known pedigree that is held in high regard by sailors as safe, strong and seaworthy then look no further than "Distant Drummer".
The Heavenly Twins 27 is ideally suited to coastal cruising and exploring shallow creeks but also capable of crossing oceans.
Distant Drummer was commissioned in 1994 for a discerning owner and factory fitted to a high standard. Constantly maintained and improved by the current owners, she is presented in excellent condition with a wealth of recent high quality equipment making her one of the most impressive Heavenly Twins 27 available today.
In 2007 the engine configuration was changed from a centrally mounted outboard engine to a single diesel with hydraulic drives making her fantastically manoeuvrable. This configuration provides the same manoeuvrability as twin diesels without compromising internal space or the stoopthrough's.
To find out more visit http://www.heavenlytwins.co.uk/distantdrummer.pdf
22/04/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
Walking past one of the chandlers last August here in La Rochelle they had an end-of-season sale on a passerelle - Aka. a gangplank or boarding ramp. Whilst the price was attractive it was of the folding variety and we weren't sure that it would stow nicely on the foredeck so we decided to give it a miss and instead take a look around the marina looking for an alternative design or at least ideas.
It wasn't long before we stumbled across a yacht with a non folding passerelle that appealed and believe would stow nicely on the foredeck of Drummer. As luck would have it the yacht was English and on its way back from the Med so we quickly learnt where we could buy one and roughly how much.
Now as most of you know from reading our and others cruisers blogs, it's a very social lifestyle so it's no surprise that we quickly became good friends with the owners Richard and Judy and it wasn't long before we were invited over to theirs for evening drinks and nibbles and vs. versa. During the many evenings we discovered that they had spent the last ten years cruising the Med and were now slowly making their way back to the UK before selling their yacht to retire on dry land.
Their yacht "Flirtie", a Voyager 40 (a pilothouse version of the well respected Warrior 40) has a rather unusual layout and in our opinion is ideally suited to liveaboard life in the Med or indeed colder climates because of its size, its displacement and its pilothouse with internal steering position ...a view shared by them having lived on her for so many years and having covered so many miles.
At the end of September we sailed to St Denis d'Oleron leaving Richard and Judy to lift "Flirtie" out of the water and return to the UK, with a view of returning sometime in February.
I think it's fair to say that from the first time we stepped aboard "Flirtie" we fell in love with her and from that day forward she has been constantly on our minds......so earlier this month we finally decided to bite the bullet and make an offer on her. To our stunned surprise our offer was accepted and here we are two weeks later after a test sail and having checked her out thoroughly, the proud owners of "Flirtie".
No doubt some of our readers will think that we're crazy and we probably are, but sometimes you just have to follow your heart. As for fellow catamaran sailors, some may call us traitors by moving to a "tippy leany" thing.....but others may think otherwise - only time will tell if we've made the right decision.
So what about our trip? Well it's fair to say we've introduced a slight delay whilst we relocate onto "Flirtie" and sell "Drummer" - we'll keep you all posted.
So for everyone out there, please heed this warning - don't go walking around the marina looking for good ideas because you never know the outcome!
01/04/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
Barry and Steph kindly invited us over for a few days break to see their recently decorated and furnished home in St Mard near Surgeres.
The bungalow is set in beautiful grounds surrounded by a 6ft wall. The garden has many bushes, trees and shrubs with hollyhocks and several varieties of daffodil. The windows have the usual French wooden shutters painted in a pastel blue/grey.
Having seen the original photographs of the property when they first took ownership, every room has now been totally transformed. Most notable is the kitchen which has been fitted out 'American style' with a fantastic '5' burner cooker and all mod cons and the bathroom with its new sink unit and waterfall type tap.
We found the double bed in the guest room 'our room' to be really comfortable and slept rather well during our stay with no rocking sensations felt at all!
St Mard village has a really old church with two bells that ring out on the hour daily. Interestingly at 8am instead of the normal '8' rings the bells continue to a count of 62! God only knows why this occurs, but I can only assume that its required in order to get you out of bed given that there is no traffic noise and with the wooden window shutters closed you really can't tell when it's morning.
Barry is the original 'gadget man' as he's got a tool for almost everything. You name it, and he's got it somewhere either on their boat or in the garage. Finding out that they had a heavy duty sewing machine and some spare PVC window material, they suggested that whilst staying with them we could replace the window material in our sprayhood which had gone opaque and brittle. It was a lovely spring day, so we did our sewing outside whilst listening to the birds. Steph provided a constant supply of liquid refreshments and culinary delights whilst Barry, Bruce and I replaced the old window with new. Several hours later our sprayhood looks like new with windows that we can actually see out of. Wonderful and excellent team work. Even 'Larry' the lizard kept an eye on what we were doing whilst soaking up the sunshine on the wall.
One window done!
We also visited their local town of Surgeres and walked around the perimeter of 'Notre Dame' church which was being restored back to its original glory. Some of the intricate detail on the church was incredible - you just wonder how long it took to build in the first place.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable few days eating, drinking and chatting and returned back to the boat certainly carrying a few more pounds around the midriff! Thank you so much both for your generosity and hospitality.