A lot of water has flowed under the keel since the last blog post. Has it really been two months since I last wrote a blog? Paradoxically, when things a quiet, the blog gets regularly updated, albeit once a month. You would think that when things are busy, there would be more to write about and hence more blogs but not so lately. The last blog was about the yearly engine service, thrilling stuff indeed! Since the service, the boat has had its haul out and bottom clean. That was approximately a fortnight after the engine service and it was out of the water for about three days. With a clean bottom and propeller, the temptation to take it out of the marina and up the channel to test it out was irresistible and we got in a day sail on a sunny wintery afternoon. Following up on this was another day sail, this time solo, however, things didn’t go quite according to plan as you shall soon see.
The long overdue haul out finally eventuated. On the agenda was the actual lifting out of the water, a bottom clean, a couple of coats of antifoul, a couple of coats of propspeed on the propeller, plus a minor repair to a gouge in the gelcoat just above the waterline. It all went smoothly and according to plan. I drove down to the boat the night before and stayed aboard just in case of an early start. The early start didn’t eventuate as there was a 50 foot Jeanneau on the hard that needed to go back into the water. This boat was at the limit of what would fit on the travel lift, so it was interesting to watch the marina staff get it back in the water. And I thought my job was stressful! There were no problems and everything went smoothly. Next up was La Mouette. I motored it around to the next arm where the travel lift was and put it nose first into a slip opposite the travel lift tracks. Because full keelers don’t do reverse, we lined it up with the travel lift rails and gave it a push backwards and the boat just glided in gently with no dramas. The backstay had to be removed and the slings were tied together to stop them slipping and the lifting began. Before we knew it, the boat was out of the water!
Once it was on the hard and propped up with stands, the inspection and cleaning could begin. Surprisingly, there wasn’t all that much growth and barnacles. The propeller was well and truly covered with barnacles but there were a few patches here and there on the hull but overall it was pretty clean. The calm water in the berth doesn’t encourage much growth, as does the fresh water creek nearby draining into the marina. From then on it was up to the lads in the marina. Clean the bottom and propeller, apply the antifoul and propspeed, fix the gouge and put it back in the water. All of which was duly done.
After the engine service a few weeks prior to this, which involved the removal of the fuel tank, I had been experiencing a wee diesel leak with a bit of fuel in the bilge. It proved difficult to track this down so on the next Sunday, I again removed the tank, suspecting it might be the overflow tube. The plastic on the tube was a bit on the hard side and the spring clip didn’t seem to be doing its job. With the tank free, I ensured that the tube was properly attached along with the spring clip and put it all back together. A quick bleed and the engine roared into life. Hopefully, the fuel leak was fixed.
The following Saturday was beautiful, sunny, winter’s day. What better day was there to test out the clean bottom and propeller and go for a sail. Deb was rostered off so we went up to D’Albora in the morning and prepped the boat for a sail. We had the Marina staff put La Mouette back in the slip, stern in, so that getting out again would be easy. Simply untie the lines, put it in gear and motor straight out – which we did. By the time we got to Cottage Point, we hoisted the main and the big genoa. Winds were light and a bit easterly, so we were close hauled and tacked back and forth, gradually making our way up the Cowan waterway. It was a lovely way to spend the morning, and by lunch time we were getting hungry so we picked up a mooring ball in a bay and had lunch. The wind had swapped around by this time, so we just motored back to the marina. The engine got a much needed run and getting it back into the slip couldn’t have been easier. As usual, the stowing and cleaning was the hardest part of the day and then the much earned beer at the marina bar.
The genoa used that day was old and tired and as I have probably mentioned before it wasn’t really suited to the boat. However, we still had fun and left us with a desire to get out there again and enjoy some more sailing. As it was winter, there was hardly any traffic out there at all. Not many boats to worry about, just the seaplane which was taking off and landing. I am pretty sure the boating regulations don’t mention aircraft and who has to give way to whom but it all seemed to work out ok in the end and just added to the fun of the day.
Deb was rostered on to work next weekend, giving me the perfect opportunity to have a go at a solo sail. But more about that next time.