The story of Topaz Rival

25 March 2020 | Bristol
24 March 2020 | Bristol
04 March 2020 | Totnes
07 February 2020 | Totnes
05 February 2020 | Bristol
26 January 2020 | Totnes
09 January 2020 | Totnes
01 December 2019 | Totnes
18 November 2019 | Totnes
08 November 2019 | Totnes
09 October 2019 | Totnes
03 October 2019 | Totnes
30 August 2019 | Bristol
28 August 2019 | Noss Marina
27 August 2019 | Salcombe
25 August 2019 | Plymouth
24 August 2019 | Fowey
23 August 2019 | River Yealm
28 July 2019 | Dartmouth
27 July 2019 | Dartmouth

Upgrade review

25 March 2020 | Bristol
Martin Whitfield
As we are not allowed to go sailing and are stuck at home, I thought it might be an idea to give a breakdown for anyone interested in the work that has been carried out on Topaz Rival during the refit and in preparation for adventures abroad.

1. Hull. Full osmosis treatment for hull and rudder. This is the "HotVac" system and all done under temperature and humidity control. Finished with Coppercoat antifoul.
2. Engine. Old Bukh 36 replaced with a new Beta 35. We have had two Beta engines before on Lazy Bones (20hp) and Alice in Red (38hp) and they were fantastic. Lots of other bits and pieces replaced as part of the engine upgrade, including a new Brunton's SigmaDrive coupling to go with a service for the Autoprop feathering propeller.
3. Electrics. All shorepower (AC) system overhauled with new battery charger. Four new Rolls AGMs as the new domestic battery bank together with a new engine starting battery. Solar panels, and a Rutland 1200 wind generator installed on a stern gantry which also has room for AIS and GPS aerials. New Furuno radar (viewed on iPads and iPhones), new LED lights on mast complete with rewiring. New USB charging points in cabins and in cockpit (waterproof). New Sony stereo radio with Bluetooth.
4. Electronics. New Raymarine wind and depth transducers and i70 instruments. AIS and wireless NMEA 2000 hub. Standard Horizon 1850 VHF with additional microphone in cockpit. Raymarine EV200 Autopilot installed in addition to old Autohelm (left as a backup).
5. Water and waste. New holding tank fitted with external deck fitting for pump out. New Jabsco toilet and smelly pipes replaced. New pump for salt water in galley.
6. Rigging and sails. Full rig replacement by Allspars as well as new guardwires. Furling gear serviced on main and genoa. Running rigging being upgraded (some done by Allspars, more to come). Existing sails cleaned and repaired with new UV strips and new downwind genoa and new sprayhood ordered from Sanders Sails (delivery when we can get to Lymington)!
7. Deck fittings etc. New Knox 18kg anchor (2019) now matched with 60 m of 8mm chain and 30 m of anchorplait to run with new electric Lofrans 1000W windlass which has up/down switches On deck forward and in the cockpit.
8. Cabins and accommodation. All portlights and hatches reglazed and revealed. New curtains throughout. Lee cloths on saloon and quarterberth added.

As you can see, this is a major upgrade and although most of the work has been done there are a few other things such as a new liferaft which are yet to come.

The only problem is that we can't sail anywhere at the moment! But guarantee as soon as we are able, we will be back in the water. Just have to be content with sowing seeds in the greenhouse.

Stranded ashore

24 March 2020 | Bristol
Martin Whitfield
Covid-19 has brought everything to a shuddering halt. A week away from relaunch and Baltic Wharf is in lockdown with no work possible and no real idea of when things might be back. The good news is that the solar arch is in place and Nick (electrician) says he would have finished by the end of the week and Allspars say adding the final guardwires will be top of their list when everything re-opens. So we are close and should be ready to hit the water whenever restrictions are lifted. When that will be is anybody's guess. Stay well

Looks like a boat now!

04 March 2020 | Totnes
Martin Whitfield
"Looks like a boat now", so said the crane driver at Baltic Wharf after lifting the mast back on Topaz Rival. New rigging all around the old mast, as well as a service for the furling mechanisms of both the mainsail and the genoa. Plus some new furling lines and a topping lift (more running rigging to follow). The new engine is now ready to be started after the exhaust was set up and a new Racor fuel filter (easy and simple maintenance) installed. Feels like real progress with the end in sight. Other minor things have been finished such as a salt water pump in the galley and a new engine water strainer. The single biggest item left on the list is the solar panel arch, half of which was in the shed and hopefully this will be set up next week after which the electrics and lifelines can be finished. The target is for a relaunch on 31 March as the tide times and depths, plus the Easter holidays, mean this is the last day available until 14 April. Keeping fingers crossed.

The new rigging is ready

Beta engine control panel. The box to the right is a waterproof USB point

These will be the new depth and wind instruments

For engine buffs, easy service Racor filter

Shiny mast

07 February 2020 | Totnes
Martin Whitfield
Got down to Totnes early to give the mast a clean with boat shampoo and the updated version of Blakes' Mast Care. This Hempel product (Blakes were taken over by Hempel some time ago) is now called Alu Protect and works wonders on 30-year-old masts. The mast was out of the rack and on accessible trestle tables so that Nick the electrician could install the new LED anchor/tricolour light, the VHF and Windex (wind direction instrument), radar and LED white steaming and deck light. The Furuno radar is unique in that it sends its signal direct to iPads and iPhones rather than to a multi-function chartplotter. At the same time, agreed the position of the solar panel arch to take a couple of solar panels and the aerials for the GPS and AIS. Hopefully, this will be finished by the end of the month.

The new radar randome on the mast

Out with the old, in with the new

05 February 2020 | Bristol
Martin Whitfield
The new engine is now in place, but not connected, and all the old electronics are being stripped out, ready for the latest technology. You can see from the pictures how much smaller the new engine is (Beta 35) against the old one (Bukh 36). The four new domestic batteries are also visible (Rolls AGMS), plus other bits of kit lying around ready for Nick (electrician) to fit. The boat looks a bit of a wreck as everything is pulled apart to lay the new wires. Nick (engineer) will be back shortly to finish off the engine installation. Hopefully, I will be back down in Totnes tomorrow to clean the mast as Electrician Nick is planning to rewire this week.

Nick with the chaos he has caused through rewiring!

More progress

26 January 2020 | Totnes
Martin Whitfield
Although I haven’t seen it yet, I’m told the new engine is now in place. Nick (electrician) reported on seeing a big new shiny red piece of metal in place on Friday. Confirmation from Nick (engineer) that this was indeed the case and the fitting of the new Beta 35 should be finished next week ready for sea trials when launch comes at the end of March/beginning of April. The serviced Bruntons Autoprop will be delivered early next week. Nick (electrician) has started stripping out the old electrics and will be working on Topaz Rival over the next couple of weeks. We are waiting for the final design of the solar panel arch which will also host the antennae for things like GPS, AIS and satellite telephone. Looking forward to our next visit to Totnes to see progress. Topaz Rival is now out of the shed and standing on the hard at Baltic Wharf and Dawn and I popped down last weekend before all the excitement began.
Vessel Name: Topaz Rival
Vessel Make/Model: Rival 36
Hailing Port: Dartmouth
Crew: Martin Whitfield and Dawn Kelly
Topaz Rival's Photos - Topaz Rival as purchased (Main)
Photos 1 to 11 of 11
Topaz on her original berth: She has been here for 20 years or more
The quarter berth: No to sure whether to believe this, but was told this was the original plastic cover!
Instrument panel: The depth and autopilot work, not so sure about the GPS!
Bukh 36: I’m told that Bukh paint is first class. Well this engine is 29-years-old...
Survey lift shows keel shape: Topaz is the scheel keel version 1.5m draft
Rudder and skeg: As Tom Cunliffe says “a wholesome compromise between precise steering at sea, comfort, and athletic steering in harbour”. We’ll see about the latter...
Dirt and mould: An image of neglect
Deck: Nothing that a good clean can’t solve
Crazy portlights: There are 10 of these...
Winter refit at Baltic Wharf
38 Photos
Created 2 November 2019
A selection of pictures from sailing in 2019
31 Photos
Created 1 August 2019
Topaz Rival at or about the time of survey in December 2018
14 Photos
Created 8 May 2019
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