Emerald Tales

Currently in Portugal after 7 years in the Mediterranean

01 March 2024 | Porto Santo
23 February 2024 | Porto Santo
22 January 2024 | Madeira
15 December 2023 | Porto Santo
13 October 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2023 | Porto Santo
09 August 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
28 July 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
23 June 2023 | Porto Santo
15 January 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2022 | Porto Santo
19 August 2022 | Porto Santo
29 July 2022 | Porto Santo, Madeira
02 October 2021 | Faro, Portugal

Introducing Pearl

22 February 2013 | Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex
Nichola / Snow - brrrrr!
Pearl's a Singer..... Singer sewing machine that is! She's a 1956 201K electric model, bought from Ebay and still going strong despite her years - how many products made today will still be running strong over 50 years from now? Not many I reckon!

There was a bit of excitement when I first switched her on. I had it plugged in with the foot pedal sitting on the table next to the machine. I just stepped away to the galley and heard this strange noise.... turned around to see the machine running by itself! Spoooooooooky!!!!

Even worse, there was smoke coming from the foot pedal box. I dived under the table to unplug it, let the foot pedal cool a while and opened it up. Luckily no damage inside there, but what I did see was some sewing machine oil that had somehow found it's way in there. We reckon it shorted out the foot pedal so switching the machine on. The oil then started heating up and making smoke. A thorough clean out and all was well again. We tentatively plugged it in with Colin standing next to the power supply switch, but all was good and problem solved.

She is a bit of a heffer weighing in at 18kg and will double up as an anchor in case of emergency! But she will be put to good use replacing the window sections of our cockpit canopy which have gone cloudy, making repairs to the canopy where the stitching has perished and maybe sail repairs if it ever comes to it. I have been using my mum's old domestic Brother machine which is a great machine but just doesn't have the ooomph to get through several layers of canvas material.

She is a 240V electric but can be used as a handcrank if we don't have the power and need to make repairs.

Petrol can bag
Petrol Can Bag

Here is Colin modeling a petrol can bag I've just made. I've made canvas bags for all our diesel and petrol cans that sit on the deck so that they are protected from the worst of the sun and don't perish. The bags all have mesh bottoms so that they dry quickly as they often sit in water. Webbing straps feed through the bottom and top of the bag and around the can to fasten them onto the wooden boards that run between our guardrail stantions.

We're still waiting on the plastic water tank that we ordered so haven't been able to get that job finished. Colin has been working on repairing the rudder although it's got so cold the epoxy isn't going off properly. He has also been making a new teak floor in the former back head where the toilet used to sit. We've both been planning out the watermaker installation so that we can buy any plumbing bits that we need for that.

Chilly out, just started to snow lightly. Brrrr and roll on summer!

Inside our liferaft

18 February 2013 | Ocean Safety, Southampton
Pic: Trying out our liferaft for size

At the weekend we took a trip with our liferaft down to Ocean Safety in Southampton who were running an open day. Here we could leave our raft for servicing but before that we would be able to open, inflate it and familiarise ourselves with it so that in the unfortunate event we have to abandon ship we have an idea of what to expect from it.

In normal use the raft remains inside it's plastic canister in a cradle on the back deck and would never be opened apart from during servicing or in an emergency.

The day started with us cursing ourselves for forgetting to take the raft off the boat before we'd come out of the water and trying to lower the very heavy thing off the boat.

At Southampton we were met by friendly staff and shown around the facility before being directed to a service technician. We watched as the liferaft was unpacked and each part was described for us. First the painter and hydrostatic valve were removed (we would be inflating in a controlled manner using an electric pump rather than by the gas cylinder that would be fired in an emergency) and the tape removed from the liferaft box to reveal the raft itself.

The raft is supposed to be within a vacuum sealed plastic bag but we were very disappointed to see what looked like moisture inside ours. On closer inspection we found squares of gaffer tape covering up small holes in the bag! The gaffer tape had peeled off and let water in. ADEC Marine who had carried out our last service had put these pieces of gaffer tape on rather than using a new bag as they should have done. Suffice to say, given that we'd paid over 400 for our last service, we weren't very happy with them.

Gaffer tape over holes
Pic: Gaffer tape covering holes in a supposedly vacuum sealed bag

Luckily there didn't seem to be any damage caused by the moisture, just a bit of mould that would be dried and cleaned off as part of our current service. More of an annoyance than anything but glad it had been found before any damage had been caused to a potentially life saving bit of kit.

Then onto the inflation and a chance to get inside. We have a Plastimo Offshore Plus 6 man raft so it was very spacious for just 2 of us. Within the raft are several survival packs that we were taken through; there are items such as flares, a bailer, paddle, fishing line, emergency food rations, first aid kit and water. Oh, and a pair of my prescription glasses that I had packed in last time. The liferaft has a flashing light, ladders to aid climbing into it, a covered canopy so that we can seal ourselves inside, has a built in water catcher for catching rain and drogues that we can trail to stabilise the raft in heavy seas. We took a look at the underside of the raft where there are weighted sea anchors and discussed how we might try and right it if the raft did end up the wrong way round.

So, a very useful trip to have the opportunity to get to know our liferaft - although we're hoping we never have to put it into practice!

The Last Steel Tank is Out

08 February 2013 | Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex
Nichola / Just started raining
Pic: One more floor beam to cut...

Colin had to do quite a lot of floor surgery to get the second of the tanks out from under the galley floor. Plus moving all the existing water pipes and wiring that runs under there, as well as cutting out part of the wall that backs onto the engine room, some of this in preparation for the new tank to go in.

The floor had to be cut to get the new tank in, so the hope was that with some luck, the old tank would come out through the enlarged hole without the need to cut it into pieces.

And this afternoon the plan actually came to reality for once! With a bit of shimmying and jiggling, it lifted out of the hole without any more metal dust polluting our home.

The tank is out!
Pic: The tank is out!

Now we just have to hope the new tank fits in the space. Colin has measured and thinks it might fit..... just!

Meanwhile, I'm still scraping away at the antifoul and Emerald looks like she has an unpleasant skin disease now. Also doing lots of research on what we need to buy or sort out before we head off and some sewing bits and pieces.


Teabag Tank Removal

01 February 2013 | Brandy Hole, River Crouch, Essex
Nichola / Spring like afternoon
Pic: Seacock removed and ready to start on the tank

So far we have replaced 5 out of the 7 stainless steel tanks that Emerald had on her when we bought her. The 2 diesel tanks have been replaced with Tek-Tanks custom made, the bow water tank with 2 Vetus rigid plastic tanks and the 2 saloon water tanks with Vetus flexible tanks (flubbers as we call them).

All of the stainless tanks had developed leaks and as we took each one out we saw why - they were made with cheap 304 stainless steel rather than a better marine grade stainless; as well as being 33 years old.

Now was time to tackle the last 2 water tanks that are under the galley floor. We haven't been able to get these out before because to move them involves taking 2 seacocks out, probably not a good thing whilst in the water. You can see in the photo above, the hole where the seacock goes and the edge of the tank which is under the galley sink and freezer. The plan was to slide the tank out into the space, cut it into pieces that could be lifted out of the hole, slide the next bit of the tank out and so on until it was all out.

So yesterday Colin removed the seacock and set to with an angle grinder on the tank, the boat filled with a metallic dust that beat all our attempts to contain it and smelt like a burning clutch, which I could still smell this morning. Yesterday was not a happy day.

The tank required 2 hits and today Colin won and got the first one out. Here he is grinding away and making fireworks.

Colin grinding up the tank
Pic: Colin grinding out the tank

Now the tank is out leaving behind a 33 year old sludge - lovely!

So, one down, one more to go. The last tank is in a mirror position to the first and will involve taking out another seacock and yet more grinding.

But that probably won't be started tomorrow what with it being the start of the Six Nations - Swing Low Sweet Chariotttttttttttt - hee hee hee.

Meanwhile I'm getting covered in red anti-fouling dust from scraping off the old stuff from Emerald's bottom. As it dries out the anti-foul starts to crack which makes it easier to scrape off in those places, but unfortunately there aren't too many of those places and I keep looking at just how big the hull is and thinking..... should of got a smaller boat!!


Lift out time

25 January 2013 | River Crouch, Essex, UK
Nichola / Cold, snow forecast
Pic: Emerald coming up over the rise out of the water

Last week we came out of the water and will be in the yard for a few months. We had to wait for a big spring tide to have enough water to get out of the mud hole we've been in for 15 months. The weather on the morning of lift out was quite mild with no wind but unfortunately the tide was still out. By the time the tide was in it was cold and sleeting but fortunately still no wind, so the boys got on with the job.

Ready for lift out
Pic: Placing Emerald in the cradle before lift out

We'll stay out of the water for a few months now. We don't want to go back in the mud as it will take off the new antifoul we put on, so we'll stay out until we're ready for the off. We haven't been out of the water for 4 years and other than a few patches of small barnacles and some very black mud (which took some scrubbing to get off and is still stuck on in places), the hull was pretty clean (we used Jotun antifoul which we'll use again) although we don't know if that is due to the scrubbing effect of going up and down in the mud or a very good product. We found a lump missing out of the back of the rudder which wasn't there before, but that could have happened anywhere in the many miles we made around the UK and through the Baltic.

A coating of black mud
Pic: Colin removing the prop anode and some very black mud

After an interlude where we swapped boat jobs for house jobs on our rental property, Colin has since removed two seacocks and taken the rudder off.

We removed the seacocks as we no longer have deck drains, having replaced them with scuppers we made in the hull instead. We found that when we took a large wave on board, the water would take ages to drain away through the deck drains and would come back up too into the cove lockers at the side of the cockpit, which also had a drain in them.

When the weather warms up the seacock holes can be filled and epoxied up. Two less holes in the bottom of the boat must be good!

The rudder wasn't on our list of jobs but when we investigated it we found a lot of wobble in it and on further inspection found a large piece of fibre glass around the rudder spindle had broken away allowing mud and water to get inside and make voids within the rudder. More on this later with pictures.

It's forecast to get warmer from tomorrow which is good as the cold is limiting what we can get on with at the moment.

Vessel Name: Emerald
Vessel Make/Model: Kelly Peterson 44
Hailing Port: No fixed abode
Crew: Colin 'Skip' Wright, Nichola Wright
About: One from Northern Ireland, one from Yorkshire, UK
Extra: Emerald has been our home since 2004. We've sailed around the UK, the western Baltic and have spent 7 years in the Med. We're currently in Portugal, planning a refit. Lot's more information about us and the boat can be found at www.yachtemerald.com
Home Page: https://www.yachtemerald.com/