Winter ‘Close Down’
17 October 2016 | Marina St Elmo - Cagliari, Sardinia
The last week has been spent working on the list of jobs. We have two pages of A4, each divided into two columns and on each line is something that needs to be:
- done before we leave Splice for the winter
- ordered/bought whilst we are away, or
- done before we sail next year
We moved along the pontoon to berth next to ‘Flirtie’ and, as well as gaining better shelter, it’s nice to have neighbours to share coffee time and the occasional evening meal and wine. We have removed all of Splices three sails and they are packed inside for the winter. The missing gelcoat patch that was removed by some incompetent in Bonafacio has been filled, though it is yet to look very smooth or attractive, more sanding and polishing to come…
We have sourced and fitted rigid plastic disc’s (plant pot trays!) on our lines to protect against rats trying to board and are waiting for delivery of strong hole-punched aluminum sheets to fashion further guards for the ventilation gaps on the boat. The discs sit on small cheap plastic ‘thru-hulls’ (designed for small boats) to keep them upright and are backed up with plastic bottles which would rotate if a rodent tried to walk across them. We haven’t actually seen any evidence of rats ourselves but when your neighbour has had one on board it makes you focus on making sure it doesn’t happen to your boat. A rat on a boat will eat everything and I don’t just mean the food. They chew through fabric, plastics, wooden fittings, the electrical cables, the hoses - trying to get at water, literally everything gets damaged. If left for too long the boat can need a complete refit. It’s worth some effort to prevent that!
We have been trying to get three jobs done by local tradesmen – servicing the generator (and maybe the engines), fitting a new/revised davit for the outboard ( the third attempt at this) and getting a proper survey done of our ‘rig’ that is now 10 years old as the insurers want this before reinsuring us in November. After a week of asking, chasing etc our progress is:
- Mechanical engineer is considering giving us a second quote to service engines as we told him the first one was far too expensive... we think we will have to do this ourselves but had wanted an experienced eye to look at them this year
- The stainless steel man has measured everything and then disappeared, a week later he is still ‘checking for the items’
- We had an expensive quote from a rigger but decided that ‘time-wise’ we needed to go with this as we wanted it done whilst we are around. Here you have to pay 50% up front before the work gets booked so we have paid for half the work but they won’t commit to a time, just ‘when the other work is finished’. So we may or may-not see the activity.
There are certain frustrations in trying to get things done in another language and culture!!!!
We have also cleaned all the fenders and the boat her-self and started on the cleaning of the many stainless steel parts that get rusty over time. We dropped ‘Fid’ (the dinghy) off her davits and cleaned her down and transferred her to the foredeck under her winter cover. We have measured, spec’d or photographed the many items that we will need to source in the UK, everything from four new ‘house batteries’ to new ‘jackstay’ safety lines (these deteriorate with the UV from the sun and need replacing every three years or so) and the plastic caps that cover our stern shower head and switches as the sun has got these too. We have also invested in a couple of filters to cleanse any water we put into our tanks from the pontoon hoses, having seen some of the contamination in the filters Flirtie were using, we joined in!
We have baked bread twice as well, the first time we produced two small loaves which we quite nice and yesterday a larger loaf made it out of the oven looking OK and tasting good as well. We are not very good at the kneeding and rising parts of bread-making, more practice needed.
We took a trip out to a big shopping centre with Bruce and Caroline from ‘Flirtie’ to get the rat stuff and on the way stopped in the centre of Cagliari to see the PR session for a local sailor, Gaetan Mura and his 40 foot boat ‘Black Sam’ who was sailing off to try and set a new round the world record for the size of boat. We will keep an eye on his progress.
All season we have wanted a set of ‘dinghy chaps’ to cover Fid’s plastic sides from the sun when in use or stowed on the davit. Caroline on ‘Flirtie’ has an industrial sewing machine and was planning to work on a set for their dinghy this winter, now she has two winter projects to consider. Both dinghies will sit on our foredeck to make access to the work easier. Plastic ‘templating’ material has already been found. Fid is getting excited about maybe having new clothes!!
With a week left on board we are left mainly with the servicing of all the engines (including the outboard) and plenty of cleaning and small fixing jobs. It should be do-able if our Italian workmates manage to find the time!
Photo: Rat protection in place on Splices two ‘stern lines’ and two ‘spring lines’- discs and plastic bottles. The metal springs are to protect the boat from surges in the water during storms or the passing of other vessels. The yellow power cable will be removed for the winter.