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Life After Little Else......
Royal Highland Yacht Club Fitting-Out Supper
03/11/2012

Ju and I attended this very popular event in Oban last night, and managed to catch up with lots of people we know, and people whose paths we crossed for the first time last summer on our Orkney cruise.

The surprise of the evening was Ju winning the Royal Bank Cup for the worldwide class in the Cruising Log Competition in 2011, for her account of her trip sailing on Donata Polo from Plymouth to Panama! Ju's name is engraved on it in distinguished company, including that of the legendary Rev Bob Shepton, who sails to Greenland with ice-climbers!

Here's Ju with the cup, which will now sit on our sideboard in pride of place until next year!

Still on the hard!
03/08/2012

Little Else still sits patiently on the hard in the boatyard, waiting for a bit of work to be done aboard before she can be put back in the water. She doesn't like having her stern pointing into the prevailing wind/rain combination of the south west, but that's what she has to contend with for a while. We are monitoring a couple of leaks that have shown up in the coach roof as a result. Meantime we are doing as much as we can to get the boat's equipment prepared for the new season by taking the removable bits home to clean/polish/repair/update/replace. As you do! More when there's more to report.

New season approaches
02/21/2012

Since the last posting there hasn't been much to report on the boat front, as we have been doing a lot of other things, like a trip down to Caerlaverock bird reserve to see swans and geese, visits to friends and generally getting on with winter life in Ardfern. Two weeks ago, however, we spoke to the boatyard about the annual haulout, and brought Little Else over to the pontoons to await her turn in the big hoist. This year we also want to fix a problem first spotted by our marine surveyor when we bought the boat, namely the deck drainage system. That was what failed badly on our trip across the Bay of Biscay in 2008, flooding the bilge with seawater every time we were heeled heavily to port. Since then we have sailed with the port deck drains plugged with a couple of bathplugs secured with string (very Heath Robinson, but it stops the water getting into the bilge, and eventually it spills out over the toerail!)

Talking to the people who will be fixing this problem, we discover that our drains are nothing like other drains on Rival 32s, and have obviously been designed by whoever was responsible for the amateur fitting-out on our boat. Just our luck! Everything including the two bilge pumps are led to a small box at the stern. This box will have to go, as it too is leaking.

So, once this bit of work is completed we can get the sails back on - they have been being washed and repaired, for the first time in five years, by Owen Sails, and we can also restore our wind steering gear, the Aries, which we have now repaired after having to sail without its help last season. It failed because it lost a tiny stainless steel pin, absolutely crucial to its working!

Other little problems we need to try and fix await once we are afloat again.

Plans for sailing this season are deliberately fluid. Our plan, if we have one, is just to potter about, rather than decide to head for a particular destination. That we we reckon will be more relaxing and less stressful, which is what holidays are supposed to be, after all!

A photo of our newly antifouled boat should appear above! I'm testing the Aries windvane in this photograph.

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