This week we are living in an empty house, well almost empty, we do have two chairs and a TV set.
This state of affairs can have its advantages. Choosing what to wear is simple, clothes may not match but they work for everyday decency, just got to figure out what I have left for the hen night and wedding being attended before we leave.
Colin has found an unexpected advantage as well, he usually has a problem finding things in the rather full kitchen cupboards. Frying an egg Saturday morning he was pleased with the result of our clear out when looking for the fish slice. "This time", he said, "No problem, I opened the cupboard door and it was the only thing in there"
All those little jobs around the house have also been completed, it looks so good I could live here myself. But that would be missing the point.
The Isle of Wight ferry asks the crew of Taransay Mhor for their tickets
A light wind trip to Lymington checked that everything works on board after our winter layup. The weather was cooler than Easter last year when we spent 4 sunny days anchored in Poole Harbour. However meeting up with the Ashdown Sailing Club rally for a convivial evening in Lymington Town Sailing Club more than compensated. A few more jobs were ticked off the list before even lighter winds meant motoring all the way home. Spring tides gave us 9 knots SOG at times and three hours for a passage that usually takes five.
Cramming yet more gear from home in to the already overflowing lockers we realised that you just can not get the contents of one house in to one boat.
Penguin starts his research
Penguin has volunteered as researcher for our round UK trip we left him aboard after the weekend with suitable reading material and a box of tea bags.
Moored on the 'Oyster River' at Auray
The 'will they, won't they' discussion that you all may, or may not, have been having has at long last reached its conclusion. On the 5th May we sail for Scotland, Jobs resigned and voluntarily homeless our eyes on the northern horizon.
And yes I did say North.
So..... Colin has talked me in exploring some of the most beautiful places in the world, and they turn out to be right on our doorstep. We are heading west about to Scotland with a plan to circumnavigate the UK. There should be a chance to take Taransay Mhor to visit the island of Taransay in the Outer Hebrides and even to reach the Orkney Islands. By the time we get back to Gosport this winter we will know for sure that this is the life for us.
On a different note Colin and I sent an entry to the Cruising Associations Log competition this year and were pleased to be awarded the PBO Prize for the best photographic log submitted. As inspiration I used the book I was reading 'Oyster River' by George Millar, based on a voyage to the Gulf of Morbihan where our photos were taken.
Although Colin says there is nothing left to sell take a look at my Facebook page where I have posted photos of what we are selling off.
Colin refitting the refurbished steering pedestaal
Using epoxy primer and paint left over from treating Taransay's hull for osmosis saved precious pennies and it looks good too. The old paint came off with a little help from some paint stripper. The epoxy 'rules' were soon remembered and we serviced the steering gubbins at the same time.
Our 'job to do' wish list has had to be pared back to a 'must do' before we launch list. The same process was applied to the 'to buy' list, and now there is nothing on it.
25/01/2012, 50 47.05'N:01 07.0'W
Soda Cystals, they don't look flash but they are versatile and inexpensive.
The uses are many mix with hot water for a solution that degreases anything, shines up the galley sink and even takes the blood stains out of your work gear.
There will be at least one bag on board Taransay Mhor this year.
Somehow whenever we start to work on Taransay we get too involved, dig too deep, then end up desperately trying to get everything back together again just in time for launch day.
In 2010 the heads were stripped back, down to the last seacock, yet we only wanted to install a holding tank. Not this year we swore, reciting a vow of restraint with one hand on the log book the other, fingers crossed, behind our backs.
Although the job list is long three major works have fought their way to the top.
1. Replace the seal under the rocker cover on the engine.
2. Repaint the steering pedestal, a job 8 years on 'the list'
3. Make the anchor locker door watertight.
Those of you that read of our adventures in the Alderney Race this summer will understand why No. 3.
We can't help worrying about the engine, 33 years old and still running fine. But why did the filler cap on the heat exchanger corrode to the point where it fell apart after just a years use. There should be a connection to all the work we did in 2010, but what?
Each new task is a challenge, like the vertiginous slopes of Everest starting from the ignorance of base camp we crawl painfully through layers of knowledge to achieve the summit of understanding. Led lights are a perfect example. "Don't forget they need to be regulated" advised a friend when we looked at switching from normal bulbs. What? Why? Really, how are they different to, say, a motorhome?
A reply from some ever wise forumite on Google, imparts the wisdom of a budha. Boat electric systems are subject to multiple charging sources at varying voltages, engine, shorepower, wind, solar, and the bulbs must be regulated to cope, apparently they have a tendency to burst in to flames if not.
A Merry Christmas to you all from the boatyard, where ever may find yourselves.
Misty morning on Folly Reach
Last week Colin and I gave a presentation on cruising North Brittany as part of the Cruising Associations North France Section Launch Day. Despite initial nerves we agreed afterwards that the day had been most rewarding and would not hesitate to do it again.
We have also organised a Navigators Challenge for the Ashdown Sailing Club and it was a success, thank goodness, after all the preparation and several forays in to the Solent to define a course and set the exercise. Held on the 15th October the day dawned with a perfect SE F3-4 and sunshine, we enjoyed a gentle sail over to the start and anchored to watch our friends pass in a flurry of compass' and binoculars. The last leg simulated fog in the River Medina.
At The Folly Inn it was room in the upper circle only as 20 people came aboard for pre-dinner sundowners.
Next morning even we wondered if we had a special relationship with the weather gods as fog shrouded the river and yesterday's exercise was for real.
Now Taransay is back in the boatyard, was it really only 14 months ago she launched. Winter ashore for her, and a winter sorting out our lives for us.
A 'Misainier' sails past the Old Semaphore, Benodet, South Brittany
Looking back on our sailing season finds a pair of rose tinted specs firmly in place. We had a fantastic time at Easter exploring Poole Harbour and enjoying the fine weather, summer in Brittany was equally enjoyable but the weather was more unsettled. A theme that has continued in to an early autumn for the UK.
In a year when it took a week to cross The Channel to Cherbourg due to strong winds we explored further than ever before, reaching the Gulfe de Morbihan in South Brittany. Taransay transformed into a submarine entering the Alderney Race, a flashback of a mesmerising jade sea sweeping from bow to sprayhood still haunts our memory. On a quieter day flying the cruising chute from Guernsey to L Aberwrach with the Dolphins and their young calves at the bow was inspiring. The 4am start before an exhilarating passage down the Chenel du Four and Raz de Sein was followed by an enforced delay when the boat accidently dried out on the quayside at Ste Evette. What did she think she was doing.
Now I've started the memories keep coming, a rainy night sheltering up the Odet River moored in the shadow of a fairytale chateax. An idyllic anchorage at Treach er Goured on Île de Houat that turned in to an uncomfortable lee shore at 2am. The muddy scramble to launch our dinghy after lunch in Saint-Goustan on the Auray River and anchoring under the cliffs on the Crozon Peninsular, to finish a foggy passage up the Chenel du Four, what a year.
Finally, after enjoying our fair share of sunshine and showers on our return to England her Majesty's Border Agency welcomed us with a personal visit five miles offshore at Portland Bill.
On the 30th October Colin and I will be giving a short presentation on North Brittany at the Cruising Association's HQ in Limehouse, London as part of the Northern France and Channel Islands launch day.
Returning from South Brittany after an unsettled early summer cruise we are pleased that August is not over yet. There may still time to recapture the benevolent weather of spring when at Easter four nights at anchor in Poole Harbour was exceptional, as was the beach BBQ in Worbarrow Bay. We are looking forward to sailing in our home waters during August and September whatever the weather.
More photos from South Brittany will be added to the gallery soon, to receive a prompt when we post just click the 'Like' link on the page 'Taransay Mhor' in facebook.
Remember Practical Boat Owner in September, our feature on last years cruise to North France is appearing as 'An autumn cruise to Brittany'.
The American magazine Cruising World will be printing another of our articles based on the galley refurb, in the 'Makeover and Refits' section, also in September 2011. In Cruising World's July issue we managed to get Newtown Creek included as one of 12 Top Spots for a Summer Sail.