Well the good news is that Vanish was only in the Front Street Shipyard on the hard for two weeks. A boat yard is a bit like swimming in molasses. It seems like a sweet idea at the time but getting to the end is much harder than one can imagine. There are so many people working at one time. It’s quite stressful keeping an eye on all the various jobs to ensure we end up with what we want. We arrived back from our trip to Canada just in time to watch over the bigger jobs.
Our transom door needed resealing as the seals were becoming worn out after 5 years. We added another coat of Biocop antifoul to the bottom, the seacocks were serviced, the underwater lights were cleaned and the zincs were replaced and prop shafts cleaned and painted and a complete engine service was done. The trim tab sensors were not working although the trim tabs went up and down but we did not know what their position was. (Trim tabs lower the bow as power is applied. They keep the boat flatter allowing us to get on a plane easier.) This failure occurred during a nearby lightning strike a couple of years ago in Charleston and these sorts of failures are always hard to find. It turned out that it was an actuator sensor fault, a faulty switch pad and a faulty relay box and all three of these faults interacted in a confusing way. It took some pretty clever work by the Front Street head electrician Ben Feeney to sort it all out. Once all the parts were fixed and reattached in the right order the whole trim tab system works perfectly.
Another job which was high on our list was to make an improvement to our swim platform. The platform is quite large around 6 m x 1.5 m with 4 slatted teak sections covering around half the area. At anchor when we are full of fuel with Vanish sitting quite a bit lower in the water, whenever the wake from passing boats hits the platform, water shoots up between the slats and makes it hard to stay dry whenever we are working on the platform or boarding the dinghy. The first thought was to replace the slats with solid teak but in the end we decided to attach lexan under the slatted sections leaving room for water to drain around the lexan panels. This prevents water from wetting the platform and still allows us to see our underwater lights under the platform.
Out of the 61 days we were at anchor this season, our 180 lb CQR anchor has let go three times each time after Vanish had sat in the same spot for a day or two with the wind less than 30 knots. However, in the 40 to 50 knot blow in Rhode Island a couple of months ago, we sat perfectly with no dragging. No one likes “anchor unpredictability” so we decided to change to a modern Rocna 70 anchor. This required substantial modifications to the bow roller assembly which the Front Street boys handled very well. We will report back and let you know if this anchor is better. We also decided to put our Fortress anchor on the bow as our secondary anchor. These two anchors give us a lot of flexibility in all the bottom types we are likely to run into.
This work was done at the dock in Belfast allowing us to move back on board and act like tourists again in Belfast town. We were also given access to the yard’s very old Volvo for shopping trips and to see the World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials in Rockland which was a real hoot. Each competitor had to negotiate lobster traps on the dock, jump in and out of an unstable dinghy, fetch a frisby in the cold water and perform tricks with their owners. Some dogs refused to jump in once their paws felt the water temperature so their handlers had to jump in instead. Another dog shucked corn with his teeth. The dog winners were a pair of labradors who stood on a paddleboard until one of them walked to the end upending the board causing them to both fall in. It was great fun. Maine has so many events during the summer season.
Last night, the anchor was deployed at Castine, about 7 miles from Belfast, for the very first time. Hopefully we are not going anywhere and this anchor will prove itself. Maybe it was psychological, but it sure felt secure when we dug it in. We noticed that the paddlewheel for our speedo was not working on the trip over to Castine so once again, Maynard had to brave the cold water in his wetsuit to dive down to free it. The alternative is to pull the speedo sensor out to fix it but it is located in the bilge in the twin room and the thought of a seawater fountain in the interior before shoving it back in is quite unpalatable. We always used to remove the paddlewheel in Cruz Control whenever we left it in the marina for some time but we don’t normally do this on Vanish.
My nightly routine before sleep at anchor is to study the anchor patter on the Google app called Anchor Pro to ensure we’re not dragging. No one likes to wake up to the sound of an anchor alarm or to look out the window and see a completely different vista from the one that should be there. Interestingly, an extremely experienced couple on a Nordhaven 55 called Dirona who are currently in Newfoundland mentioned in their blog yesterday that they have never dragged anchor with their Rocna whilst on their three year navigation. That’s definitely music to my ears.