Back on board
13 June 2019 | Belfast, Maine
I write from Kiviuq following our move back on board on Saturday after three nights at the Yankee Clipper. The travel back to Belfast went as planned and was quite straightforward, and we didn't even have to wait long in queues to get through immigration in Boston. Previously we have endured long line-ups. Without doubt the least pleasant part of the journey was the transit of Edinburgh airport, which during recent years has evolved into a shopping centre with a large population of itinerants. And part of the price of visiting this disaster area is the need for a small mortgage to pay the parking charges if there for more than five minutes. We sincerely hope our good neighbours, Geof and Anne, who so kindly drove us to the airport, managed to get through the exit barrier before their five minutes in the drop-off zone expired. If successful they will have got away with a modest, but still irksome, £2 charge. Somebody is on a gold mine there.
When we came down to the yard the morning after our arrival in Belfast it was to find Kiviuq back in the water, in her regular berth, with her newly painted decks. I am pleased to be able to say we are very happy with the job that was done by the Front Street Shipyard. It was not a minor task to sand off all the old deck paint down to the metal and then re-prime and paint. Much of the work had to be done under the winter shrinkwrap because of the poor weather here in May, and it must have been pretty unplevasant work, especially during the sanding process, requiring one-piece body suits and hoods and high specification masks. It certainly was a job for the professionals and not one that we wished to tackle. Yes, it will inflate the maintenance budget this season, but while it was being done we were enjoying pleasant weather at home and our beloved garden. Leaving home in early May as we did last year we missed most of the flowering shrubs, but this year we were able to appreciate them, and they really put on a show for us. We also heard a cuckoo or two this year, which we missed last year, and were entertained by all the bird nesting activities around us, together with the song contests that are part of the seasonal mating game. So all-in-all we seem to have made a good call when planning our return to Belfast.
Now we are living aboard again and the stowage and accommodation are pretty well squared away. So far all systems seem to be functioning normally after the harsh Maine winter, although one or two remain to be tried. The job we dread the most, flushing the antifreeze out of the fresh water system and reconnecting the calorifier in a leak-free manner, went as well as it could have. And in the past couple of days we have made a good start refitting deck gear and rig control lines.
Because the yard was requested to have Kiviuq back in her berth by our return (the first time we have not been present during a launch or lift-out) the task of greasing the propeller was also delegated. This was done, but partly because I didn't remind the project manager to check and replace the zinc prop anode, last season's anode is still fitted. I had left a new anode out on the chart table with the engine key last fall, but the 'driver' didn't come below for the key until the boat was back in the water, and so didn't see the new anode. As a consequence, at some point during the coming days we will drive round to the travel lift and Kiviuq will be lifted just high enough to make it possible to change the anode by working from a work boat. All being well we will have Kiviuq back on her berth in short order.
Over the coming weekend we are hoping the weather will allow us to refit the working sails, main, jib and staysail. Handling the two foresails is not too demanding, but the mainsail is a big one, and heavily built. By the time we have that fitted we will have had a serious workout, hopefully without injury.
But it is good to be back in Belfast for a while, and especially to reconnect with good friends. It is also just great each morning to be able to enjoy the superb coffee made with excellent beans, freshly ground on board, accompanied by gargantuan blueberry muffins purchased still warm from the oven of the Belfast Co-op. This is the USA!