Good to go
01 August 2014 | Levington
We just had quite a productive and enjoyable week. Progress was made on several fronts.
- One thing we noticed over the last couple of weeks was a marked loss of speed – both under sail and under power. This could mean one of two things: either we had caught something around the keel or rudder or the hull was not as smooth as it should be. I had arranged a lift/wash/drop with the yard and it did turn out to be the latter. Bottom very heavily fouled. For the first time since we had Guapa coppercoated in 2009. The fact that we moved from a marina pontoon berth to a swinging mooring out in the river seems to be the most likely cause: brackish water + high temperatures + river polluted by fertiliser from the surrounding farmland. So, either we will have to move back to a pontoon berth or learn to live with the fact that just one annual lift/wash and drop may no longer be sufficient. Bottom once again baby-smooth, and hopefully it will remain that way for a while.
- Tamed the Monitor windvane. Through trial and error mostly, as the manual is not quite clear as to how you operate the vane (if it is in the manual, it’s well hidden).
Once I figured it out, I couldn’t stop watching it. Warm glow of satisfaction inside. Didn’t miss the ‘snoring’ noise of the electronic autopilot one bit.
There are some limitations: in restricted, shallow waters we will need to keep a close eye on ‘Carly’ as the slightest wind shift could leave us high and dry. So, to be safe, I think we will stick to the electronic AP (‘Snorky’) in local waters. Once in open sea – ‘Carly’ rules!
- We’ve really gotten the hang of launching/flying/recovering the gennaker. Launching and recovering takes under 10 minutes –just a crew of two (and that includes rigging all the lines and blocks). Quite pleased with that. Glad I got some practice in, should come in handy on the summer cruise as my other half is somewhat restricted in her movements since her shoulder operation.
- Fixed some minor electrical problems. The main one was the 12V charger which has become sort of essential since I use it to power the laptop. The laptop runs OpenCPN and displays the AIS contacts. Another novelty I installed this winter and one I am quite pleased with.
We also still have the Furuno radar/plotter but alas it’s a bit dated and does not display AIS contacts. But being a naval type person, I believe in redundancy – redundancy and lots of spares (and spares for the spares).
- Also topped up the diesel tank. Fuel consumption turned out to be a very reasonable 3.5Ltr/Hour. Given that Guapa is a large, heavy girl this is not bad – not bad at all. And certainly not the huge shock to the wallet bunkering used to be with the old engine.
It’s safe to say that we’re ready to go. Got one more week of shifts to go (starting tomorrow), but the WE after next we’re off. Ten or eleven days: UK South Coast and Normandy. Not much, but we intend to make the most of it.