The adventures of Yacht Flirtie

14 August 2017 | Cala Inferno, Ponza (position: 41 27.107'N 12 38.853'E)
09 August 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
08 August 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
27 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
27 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
26 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
26 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
22 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
20 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
16 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
09 July 2017 | Civitavecchia (position: 42 03.892’N 11 48.684’E)
07 July 2017 | Cala Canelle (position: 42 21.159'N 10 55.348'E)
05 July 2017 | Porto Azzurro (position: 42 45.646'N 10 23.553'E)
04 July 2017 | Portoferraio, Elba (position: 42 48.339'N 10 19.334'E)
03 July 2017 | Portoferraio, Elba (position: 42 48.339'N 10 19.334'E)
02 July 2017 | Port Toga marina (position: 42 42.480'N 09 27.299'E)
29 June 2017 | Port Toga marina (position: 42 42.480'N 09 27.299'E)
27 June 2017 | Port Toga marina (position: 42 42.480'N 09 27.299'E)
26 June 2017 | Macinaggio marina (position: 42 57.506'N 09 27.294'E)
25 June 2017 | Calvi (position: 42 33.755'N 08 45.702'E)

helmsman's chair makeover

27 April 2017 | Marina di Sant'Elmo, Cagliari
Bruce & Caroline
We have to admit our helmsman's chair was in a right state!

When we returned home back in 2015 (yes we do mean 2015!) we purchased a couple of meters of grey vinyl to replace the cracked and very sorry looking material that covered the seat and back of the chair. For one reason or another we never got around to it (we could blame my Uncle for keeping us entertained I suppose... lol... just kidding) so the material remained in the locker.

During last season the seat was literally falling apart and becoming increasingly uncomfortable to sit on particularly when in shorts with our legs in close contact with the dried out and cracked vinyl - ouch!

We really didn't want to go through another season with it like this so a few months ago we spent a day ripping off the old covering and replacing it with new.


trimming and stapling next


suitably tensioned


new backing and lots of staples


black trim added


Not a bad job we think for a pair of amateurs ;-)

producing our own water

26 April 2017 | Marina di Sant'Elmo, Cagliari
Bruce
As alluded to in a previous blog, we've decided to purchase and fit a watermaker.

Whilst it's certainly not a necessity doing what we're doing, we're hopeful that it will make our life afloat even more enjoyable by taking away the stresses associated with sourcing, lugging and filling our water tanks.

If we were just marina hopping we probably wouldn't have made this decision but instead would be happy to fill our tanks by hose from the local mains supply. Ok, there may have been the odd exception when the water supply was suspect, but in the main we've not found this to be the case.

Even so the decision has not been taken lightly because these units don't come cheap, they need to be maintained, take up room and require a reasonable amount of power to run them.

After a great deal of research we eventually decided on a unit that could run from our 12 volt domestic supply without drawing too many amps, produce between 25 and 35 litres of water an hour and also relatively compact so that it could fit into two unused voids that we have onboard.

Initially we considered the Spanish eco-sistens "Splash" unit http://eco-sistems.com/watermaker-for-boats-sailboat-splash/?lang=en, but in the end decided on an Italian Schenker unit, the "Modular35" http://www.schenkerwatermakers.com/watermaker-modular35-analogic.php principally because we felt it was better engineered and produced more water per watt. Additionally both the pump unit and membrane unit come prep-mounted on aluminium frames which allows them to be easily secured to horizontal surfaces.

We purchased our unit from Mactra marine http://www.mactramarine.co.uk in the UK and without hesitation we can highly recommend them for their level of knowledge and support. Jim who runs the company is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his line of business and even provided us with on-site training before the unit was shipped to us here in Cagliari. Just take a look at the feedback from some of his clients and you'll see what we mean.

Whilst our installation was relatively straightforward, it still meant we had to construct a shelf for the pump unit and involved a fair amount of plumbing and some electrical work. Due to the location of our inline seawater tap, the sea water filter, the carbon filter and the pump unit we needed to source a number of plastic elbows of the appropriate thread and diameter. We matched those provided with the unit and ordered a number of Tefen fittings http://tefentech.com/cat/_catalog/categories/index/Fittings/Threaded%20Connectors from Ebay UK. For all the joints we used loctite 5331 http://www.loctite.co.uk/loctite-4087.htm?nodeid=8802626764801 which is specifically designed for nylon pipe fittings instead of PTFE tape or cord which potentially can stress the joints.


new plywood supports for the pump & filter


pump unit


bloody plumbing!


inlet valve, raw water filter, carbon filter etc

Unfortunately even with the installation complete we've yet to test the unit properly because of the state of the water in the harbour... it's pretty mucky!!

What we have been able to do though is a "manual flush" of the unit which has proven both the electrical side of the installation and that the pipe connections are watertight.

All we now have to do is be patient and wait for our first trip of the season when finger's crossed we can try it in anger... watch this space :-).

Next year (when hopefully time and materials will permit) we will look to add a teak vanity panel to the front of the watermaker and a shelf above which will finish the job nicely and provide us with some valuable extra storage space for all those bulky pilot books we are accumulating.

stinky holding tank

05 December 2016 | Marina di Sant'Elmo, Cagliari (position: 39 12.082'N 09 07.622'E)
Bruce
holding tank re-installed & insulated...almost complete!

This season we've used our holding tank extensively whilst at anchor in all those beautiful bays and calas but unfortunately we have been plagued by the odd whiff or two.

After a little bit of research it transpires that in our case there could be a simple solution - proper ventilation!

Apparently two kinds of bacteria inhabit holding tanks: aerobic and anaerobic. I'm going to call the aerobic bacteria "good" and the anaerobic bacteria "bad". Good bacteria require oxygen to exist and reproduce and without it they die. Good bacteria break down organic matter, creating as a by-product carbon dioxide, which is odourless.

Conversely, bad bacteria thrive in a low or no-oxygen environment. The by-product they create is a variety of gases, including sulphur monoxide and sulphur dioxide which impart a pungent odour.

It is the bad bacteria that are responsible for any odours inside yachts and exiting external vents. In the case of the latter, foul odours accumulate within the tank and are expelled each time a toilet is flushed or the tank is agitated in a seaway. Because the odour-producing gas is extremely concentrated, the smell within the tank is so powerful that even a small leak can result in a very smelly cabin. Fortunately we don't have any leaks so odours inside the cabin only occur when everything is open and the wind sends it below from the vent above ;-(

Some cruisers treat the odour with a chemical - a bleach or similar cleaner or with a perfume that simply overpowers the smell. We don't like to use bleach because it isn't environmentally friendly, destroys the rubber seals in our toilet pumps and after all is only a short term solution. The bleach may succeed in cleansing the inside of the tank but because the environment is perfect for the bad bacteria they will quickly multiply and the problem starts again.

In order to provide adequate airflow, it is advised that vents should be larger than 16mm internal hose, ideally, 25mm on larger systems and if possible 38mm. Flirtie's vent is just 12.5mm (1/2") so well short of the minimum, in fact we would suggest pretty inadequate (*).

In an ideal world it is also suggested that there should be two vents plumbed to opposite sides of the boat which enables cross flow, in a direct line with as few bends and dips as possible. The theory here is great and makes good sense but unfortunately almost impossible to achieve on Flirtie given the placement of her holding tank.

...so our plan:

- Remove the holding tank
- Remove the old vent hose
- Remove the old 12.5mm through hull fitting
- Cut off the 12.5mm holding tank hosetail

- Weld a 25mm hosetail to the holding tank
- Install a 25mm through hull fitting
- Reinstall the holding tank
- Source & fit new 25mm hose connecting the two

Ok...it sounds pretty simple but like all things it proved more challenging than we anticipated.
Removing the tank was relatively straightforward, the biggest challenge being trying to keep everything clean. It will come as no surprise that we flushed the tank out first numerous times with copious amounts of water but still s*** was evident on all the pipes and hosetails. Suffice is to say it wasn't a pleasant job.

Once on the jetty the hose was put to good use once again and the tank flushed until water was running clean. It was only at this point that a closer inspection of the tank could be made. Despite being made of stainless steel part of the tank (the base and the outlet hosetail) which are permanently submerged in a caustic concoction of sea water, urine & s*** were showing some signs of corrosion. Oh dear, what have we started? Fortunately the local stainless fabricator was less phased and within a few weeks we had the tank returned suitably patched where needed and complete with two new hosetails - a replacement 38mm outlet and a new 25mm vent.


patched (top left) and two new hosetails

Removing the old vent hose and through hull skin fitting was straight forward as was installing the new larger skin fitting after we'd increased the size of the hole appropriately. We're always shocked (but very reassured) every time we work on Flirtie's hull seeing just how thickly she's laminated. I suppose it's just because she's so different to how our previous catamarans were built.

Sourcing new 25mm sanitary hose certainly proved to be a challenge with all the local chandler's failing to carry any in stock and when asked not forthcoming about ordering some either. It was starting to look like we would need to call Phil, our trusted chandler at Darthaven Marina http://www.darthaven.co.uk when we came across a Vetus agent "Riman" http://www.nauticariman.it here in Cagliari just a short bus ride away. Unfortunately Riman didn't have it in stock either but unlike the other chandler's suggested he could order it as part of his next weekly order. Having identified what we wanted from Osculati http://www.osculati.com/en/cat/MainCat.aspx (a major marine supplier here in Italy), we walked away with it the following week.

With everything now to hand it was time to put it all back together. We reinstalled the tank, connected all the hoses and gave everything a thorough test with fresh water just to make sure everything was water/vapour tight - the last thing we want is any seepages!!

Unfortunately though the real test will have to wait until next season when it will be used in earnest - fingers crossed!


* Flirtie was built in 1990 when holding tanks were virtually unheard of and at a time when the science wasn't really considered. Her holding tank was made just like her fuel and water tanks....i.e. with just a small vent/breather which allowed the tank to be filled or emptied without creating a vacuum.
Vessel Name: Yacht Flirtie
Vessel Make/Model: Trident Voyager 40
Hailing Port: Dartmouth, UK
Crew: Bruce and Caroline Trott
About:
Welcome to Sailing Yacht Flirtie's blog.

Our blog serves as a personal record of our adventures and experiences since leaving the UK in 2012 whilst allowing family and friends to keep up-to-date with our whereabouts. [...]
Extra: email us: bandc.trott@gmail.com
skype us: distant.drummer797
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Yacht Flirtie

Who: Bruce and Caroline Trott
Port: Dartmouth, UK

Where are we now?