Although at some points during the depths of winter it felt as though the day would never come, the countdown to the new season finally ended on Saturday. All of our pre-season checks and processes went smoothly, including running the engine on the hard-standing, checking the seacocks, antifouling the hull etc …and before long our Macwester Malin was ready to get her hull wet.
Re-installing the mooring tackle is always an energy-sapping task which I always leave until the very last minute, as the longer the strops are submerged in the mud, the grubbier they become. This year’s installation was made easier by a mild spring day. With favourable weather just at the right time we also managed to get the sails, anchor, and cockpit tent fitted without any problems.
As the big day approached, we were rather childishly counting the sleeps until the start of the new season. The weather forecast was exceptionally good, and we had sunshine with very little wind forecast for the day our Macwester Malin was lifted back in. With over sixty yachts to lift, crane-in takes place over two days; our slot was just after lunch on the first day, and we were lifted straight into the water, unlike earlier yachts that were craned-in before the tide came in.
Thankfully there were no problems with the lift and we were soon in the water and on our way to our mooring. We noticed straight away that our temperamental depth and speed log wasn’t working properly. This is an issue that has been a real pain. We’ve replaced the depth log, and had the elderly display unit back to the manufacturer for repair two or three times over the last two or three seasons, so I decided there and then that it was time to replace the display unit.
Unfortunately we had to sail around in circles for about twenty minutes on reaching our destination, as the stern of the yacht that’s moored next to us was (for some unknown reason) parked precisely where we were headed. Eventually, the coast was clear and we headed in to pick up our mooring. This proved problematic as the link line that runs from our front strop to the rear strops was wrapped around our Hippo buoy. We subsequently were told that the yacht next to us had unintentionally picked up our mooring, so this could have been the cause.
Fortunately a couple of friends were close to hand in a dinghy and they helped us rectify the issue without too much of a drama. Once our Macwester Malin was securely moored, we performed all of our usual checks and then set off back to the club to help craning-in the rest of the yachts.
A couple of days later we nipped over to our yacht on two wonderful spring nights for dinner and an hour or two organising things on board. We unfurled our brand new red ensign which we decided should replace the Dutch flag we’ve flown ever since we bought our yacht over in the Netherlands in 2011. For more info see here.
To sign off this post, I want to share the panoramic wide shot that I took (our Macwester Malin looking aft on the left and bow on the right) below in an attempt to capture the latent promise of the coming season. Click for a closer look.