Oh dear, Flirtie is very very dirty! We've certainly got some serious work ahead of us!
We've travelled 55 miles south to Malta to be lifted at Manoel Island Yacht Yard (MIYY)
. MIYY is located on Manoel Island which is now linked by a causeway to the mainland and just a short bus ride away from the capital, Valletta.
MIYY has come highly recommended by several cruisers that we've met over the years and we have to agree that it's certainly a professional outfit. From initial contact we were given a lift date and time as well as a launch date and time and a comprehensive work requirement list that covered just about everything you can think of. MIYY also provided us with the contact details of a number of yacht surveyors operating on the island so we arranged for John Ross of Malta Yacht Surveys
to provide us with an 'out of water' survey to satisfy our Insurance Company next April as Flirtie will be 30!
Working on your own boat is allowed, the only requirement being that you have to purchase your antifouling paint from the onsite 'store' - not a problem because it's competitively priced anyway. Upon our arrival we sat with Andrew, the Commercial Manager to go through the work list which for us didn't comprise of a great deal apart from the required paint. However given the yards competitive pricing structure we decided to get Flirtie's bottom pressure washed and wet sanded leaving us the cleaner jobs of polishing the props, hull sides and applying the antifouling. Additionally we also employed the skills of the yard to replace both cutlass bearings given that one decided to rumble mid-way across the Malta Channel and was showing a great deal of movement when we were lifted. Following the meeting we were both given photo ID access cards allowing us access to the yard 24/7 and also allow us to purchase goods from the onsite 'stores' or any other service should we require it.
Flirtie was last lifted 4 years ago to more or less this very day. She was scheduled to be lifted in early 2018 but a lot has happened in the intervening period which prevented this from happening. 2018 was a tough year as our whole world was turned upside down after Bruce was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Fortunately guardian angels were looking upon us and his prostate was removed using the latest keyhole robotic surgery which enabled him a swift recovery. However for the next few years it is necessary to have a quarterly PSA test and a review in order to check for any changes to the results. As such for the time being our cruising lifestyle has had to change. This is mainly for financial reasons because our budget does not allow us to berth Flirtie for even short periods of time in a marina during the high season. Additionally there is the additional cost of travelling to/from the UK several times a year that is a factor. We therefore have decided to take an annual berth in Marina di Ragusa and use it as a base. Annual berths are significantly cheaper than those levied on a daily, weekly or monthly charge.
Back to working on Flirtie - what we didn't take into account is that we're now four years older than the last time we worked on Flirtie and we're obviously not quite as fit as we once were. It was soon apparent that we were falling behind with our work, so to ease the pressure on us we asked to move our launch date by a few days to allow us to indulge in our OCD - more polishing of those props but look how shiny they are.
Nice one Bruce - the yard staff were impressed but even more impressed to see a 'female' antifouling - Girl power!
Finally, the end result - Flirtie is all shiny and ready to go off and explore Malta, Gozo and Comino.
Total distance this season: 56 nautical miles
--- a note on Prostate cancer ---
For all our male readers, family and friends out there, if you have a history of prostate cancer in your family and you are over 45, PLEASE refer yourself to a doctor for what is a routine PSA test….otherwise if you are 50 or above PLEASE do the same – These actions could save your life!