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Snow on board
02/03/2008, Ardfern

Here's a photo of the boat yesterday morning, covered in a rare layer of snow. I was on board checking out the possibility of fitting refrigeration in our insulated locker in the galley. Turns out it is not only feasible, but fairly simple to install (for the refigeration engineer, that is), so we're going ahead with it.

Ju and I spent the rest of the day fitting new stainless steel louvres to the locker doors in the galley - and very good they look too. Next job is creating a small wooden box to house the new Odyssey engine-start battery, which happily fits into the existing battery locker, because it is so titchy!

Noticed a quantity of diesel lying in the locker under the sink, and traced the source to the stop valves in the feed pipes from and to the tank. At least one of these has leaked before, so we're not happy about this. We'll ask the yard to fix them on Monday.

The new breaker panel is still on hold until the replacement breakers arrive from Merlin. And the solar panel is still in its wrappings, awaiting a batch of clement weather - we can dream!


Mast matters
12/22/2007, Ardfern, Argyll

Since the last entry in this blog I have spent very few days working on the boat, as other things like family commitments and friends' celebrations have taken up a lot of my time. I did manage to sort the joinerwork in the forecabin, to clear the top of the largest locker so it will be easier to get sails in and out of it, and also to secure the locker tops, so that the cushions will be supported. All our horizontal-topped lockers on the boat now have Ikea slats on them rather than the original solid plywood panels. This reduces condensation when we sleep on the bunks, and also has the happy side-effect of making the contents of the locker easier to access. I'll devise a way of securing the slats in place before we set off on the long trip.

The house is full of boat parts freshly varnished, and ready to reinstall in the New Year. Yesterday the brand new water tanks arrived, brilliant white in colour, unlike the old dark blue ones. So now that we are both finally freed from employment and all our time is our own, we can tackle the rest of the refit once we get home from our week on Islay, with friends.

Meantime the boatyard have been busy working on our mast. We asked them to do a detailed report on the mast and standing rigging, and following their recommendations we have had the forestay replaced, the furling gear serviced, and the burgee pole replaced. The other things we wanted them to do were to put on mast steps (without which I couldn't see myself ever going up the mast, and one day it might be crucial that I should); to put on a combination downlighter and steaming light, a radar blipper, and replace the masthead lights with Lopolights. They have now completed this work, and the mast looks great. We can now get on with removing, mousing, washing and replacing the running rigging.

More in JAnuary.

Bilge painting for beginners
11/04/2007, Ardfern Yacht Centre

Soldiering on with the paintbrush and soon the roller on a pole, to get at those inaccessible spaces aft of the engine. Oh joy.

Meantime carrying out a long and painful feasibility study on how to shoehorn a holding tank of either rigid or flexible construction into scarce locker space we haven't got. Nobody makes them small enough for our boat, and even the smallest ones need a huge footprint. Work in progress there.

Also deciding that the water tanks have been with us for ten years and probably some time beofre that, so should be ready to split seams any time now. So we're getting new ones, made to measure.

So just to cheer ourselves up and remember the good sailing last summer, here is a photograph David Stone on Nova took of us as we had just raised the new Rocna anchor and were motoring out of Canna harbour, in late June or early July. Note the small black creature in the dashing red lifejacket, rushing up the deck to keep in touch with all developments.

May 2008 can't come soon enough chaps!

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