Posts Tagged ‘dinghy’

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Festival flotilla fail

June 13, 2017

Preparations for this year’s river festival had been going on for months, and it must have put a smile on the organising committee’s collective face to see things taking shape on Saturday morning. It’s a pity that the weather forecast for the weekend was poor, with rain and gusts over 30 knots.

The main task for the crew and I was helping with the river golf. Our job was to collect the balls after they were struck by the paying public. This meant a three-hour shift in a dinghy, which at some point was interrupted by the arrival of Wave Spirit from Port Edgar. With two 500 hp water jets, we could feel the hum of her engines permeating every inch of our bodies. Yes, I’ll have one of those please!

After our river golf shift was completed, we dried ourselves off and spent some time catching-up with friends on the pier and in the garden. The sun came out for a while, and it started to feel like June. At the bar, the barman gave me a choice of beer from the local brewery. It wasn’t until later that I realised the barman owned the local brewery, and that my favoured tipple would probably have been available too. This would come back to haunt me.

Our plans was to bring Indefatigable Banks, our Macwester Malin round later in the day once the rib trips had stopped. We had a window of about 30 minutes to leave our mooring before the tide would leave us high and dry. I spent a lot of time mulling over the conditions; the wind was picking-up and there were waves coming into the harbour from the south-east. In the end the conditions, the deteriorating forecast for the following day, plus the lack of space to manoeuvre in a busy harbour meant that I decided on the safe option and left our yacht on her mooring.

We enjoyed a good night with live music and our friends in the marquee. As usual, time vanished and I didn’t get to catch up with everyone that I hoped to. With no yacht alongside to sleep onboard, our chums from Calloo kindly put us up for the evening (thanks again team Calloo). Unfortunately the crew had to put up with me keeping her awake for what was left of the night, as three hours in a dinghy obviously represented more exercise than I’m used to, and I had leg cramps all night long. The following morning I was hobbling around like a ninety-five year old cartoon crack-whore who’d been a life-long-nookie-neighbour of Glenn Quagmire.

Giggity-giggity.

We all headed back to the club to help clear away the fixtures and tidy-up the litter left behind the night before. The flotilla was planned for mid-afternoon, and the raft race would take place following that. Although we’re no quitters, with the rain tipping down it became clear that our collective lack of sleep, my ongoing leg cramps (I should really be fitter), the hangover jitters from the local hooch …and the pressing requirement for me to be near conveniences (which again I put down to the local bitter rather than the very mild chicken curry) …meant that sailing in challenging conditions wasn’t the most sensible thing to do next. I guess that makes us light-weights; not heavy-hitters.

As the crew didn’t have a bullet to hand, she scooped me up and took me home for a warm bath. While that was disappointing and represented an epic flotilla fail …sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

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Tender trouble July 2016

August 2, 2016

TenderTroubleJuly2016-01

We hit a snag right from the first moment we arrived at the pontoons at the weekend. Our tender wasn’t attached to the link line at the stern, and by design there was no way of pulling the bow all of the way into the pontoon.

After much faffing around, we managed to get our dinghy within reach.

TenderTroubleJuly2016-02

It didn’t take too long to figure out that the problem had been caused by third-party interference. Somebody had been on board, and presumably in order to get on board they had tied the 2m stern chain around the pontoon. This meant that as the water level rose, there wasn’t enough slack in the system, and the U-bolt had been wrenched out of the transom.

TenderTroubleJuly2016-03

Looking at the evidence, it seemed clear the uninvited guests had been adolescent or adult-sized rather than small kids. They left a trail of mud inside the dinghy, on top of the mud they freely distributed on the exterior of the hull. They also removed or otherwise disposed of our trusty bailer.

I reckon that our dinghy was targeted because she was moored stern to, and (because we use her a lot), much less rain water had collected in her compared to most of the other tenders.

We spent some time on board our Macwester Malin ruminating, and given there wasn’t much we could do as the horse had already bolted, we decided on a change of scenery.

AberdourRegattaJuly2016

Good call. We headed over to Aberdour by car, where the annual ABC regatta was under way. We met up with friends and spent some time on board Joint Venture, followed Chiron, both yachts from our club. The crew on board Chiron had already munched their way through the provisions, and were a little embarrassed that they couldn’t offer us as much as a biscuit (no need). Amusingly, we were offered a falafel sandwich to compliment a Singapore Sling …both of which we opted to pass on.

Later we had a couple of drinks in the ABC clubhouse while the prize-giving ceremony was underway …and the crew from Joint Venture picked-up one of the two cups up for grabs.

TenderTroubleJuly2016-04

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the following day we decided to take swift remedial action to resolve the dinghy problem. I made a temporary repair to the transom so that it’s water tight again, and then I more or less reinstalled the running mooring solution that we had in place in previous years. By my reckoning I could fix the transom and there would be absolutely nothing to prevent the very same twit from turning up for another party on our dinghy a week later. At least now, our dinghy is much less prone to interference.

Hopefully out sailing again soon!

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Lazy May weekend in the sun

May 17, 2016

LazyMayWeekend01

Early tides meant an early rise if we wanted to get away for our Macwester Malin’s 2016 shakedown cruise over the weekend, and the crew spectacularly failed to be enthusiastic about a 6am rise on Saturday morning.

I had loosely been planning an overnight at Port Edgar, but that will have to wait.

v-berth-access-panel01

The weather was better than forecast, however I took the opportunity to squeeze in one or two tasks below decks while we were stuck in the putty. Installing an access hatch in the v-berth was high on my agenda, as that means it will be much easier to open/close the heads inlet seacock when the v-berth is in use. As you can see above, this area still needs some further work …but it’s definitely going in the right direction.

GhautsMay01

With the tide back in promptly on the Sunday morning, the crew ventured out in the dinghy while I ticked off some more items from my pre-season to-do list. You can just about see her out in our dinghy at the Ghauts above, drifting beside a chum in a kayak, yakety-yak-yaking, while his son was wading back and forth across the Ghauts.

Having completed my tasks, I found myself hanging around on deck waiting …and waiting.

GhautsRun02

Eventually the crew returned and, racing to beat the falling tide, we took the dinghy back out to the Ghauts as we had planned earlier in the morning. The shot above shows the crew discovering that the water wasn’t quite as warm and inviting as she had imagined.

With the salty wet stuff continuing to ebb away, we parked our dinghy on the pontoons while we still could.

GhautsTideOut02

As the water receded further still, we pulled on our gum boots and walked back out to the Ghauts, and then from the far side, walked east along the water’s edge. We spent the rest of the day pottering around on deck enjoying the heat of the sun and generally taking things easy. Although we didn’t make it off our Macwester Malin’s mooring, we actually had a really enjoyable and relaxing weekend.

MooringChainMixUp01

Before I finish, I want to take a moment to thank our club’s rear commodore piers and moorings for taking swift, hands-on remedial action, when it came to light that the owner of the yacht beside us hadn’t made a particularly great job of replacing his stern mooring chains. I had become aware there was a problem (1) with our neighbour’s starboard stern chain shackled on to our port stern chain (as flagged-up by the passing skipper of Pampero), however our rear commodore discovered it was much worse than we had anticipated (2), with our neighbour’s port stern chain simply lying in the mud unattached.

All fixed now though …thanks the K-man.

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Ten days and counting…

April 6, 2016

 

PettycurBayBeachWalk29-12-2015

The new season is almost upon us, with just one more weekend’s prep to go.

As usual when our yacht’s on the hard standing we’ve been out and about by road, along the coast to Anstruther, Crail, Dysart, Elie, Pittenweem and St Monans amongst other coastal villages. The shot above was taken on the 29th of December 2015 while the tide was out at Pettycur Bay (click to enlarge).

PortpatrickFeb2016

We also spent a few days in Portpatrick in February, which was the very place that we decided to buy a yacht when we were last there back in 2010. On the far right hand side of the image above you can just make out a Zorb that was part of a BBC Blue Peter presenter’s attempt to cross between Donaghadee and Portpatrick (click to enlarge).

Anyhoo. I’ve been really busy over the last few months, but I’ve still got way too much to do before crane-in. With a bit of luck we should float, however this year our Macwester Malin has a date with me and some power tools for the first month or two in the water. Once I’ve finished I’ll talk through what I’ve been working on here, but prior to that there’s the small matter of crane-in.

 

HullAntifoul2016

As usual, our Malin’s hull has been anti-fouled, I’ve de-winterised the engine; changing the oil and flushing out the anti-freeze. The dinghy has been repaired following on from the damage caused by vandals at the end of last year, and anti-fouled too.

DinghyPontoon2016

 

I’ve dismantled our dinghy mooring, as this year the club has installed pontoons for our dinghies. You can see our dinghy already parked on the nearest pontoon above.

Sprayhoodvinylclean2016-1

 

I have also tackled the opaque patch on our sprayhood window. Having read online that there’s little can be done to improve opaque vinyl, I tried a variety of solutions coupled with several hours of elbow grease. Subsequently it still wasn’t clear to me whether the opaque patch was dirt or sun damage, but on balance it seemed most likely to be a distilled stour that had dripped down from the main boom. Eventually I reached the point where replacing the window seemed like the only alternative. Once I’d made that decision, there was nothing to stop me trying one last solution …a solution that isn’t recommended in online forums.

Sprayhoodvinylclean2016-2

 

I dug out some old car wax (Johnson Rally Wax) that had been languishing in the shadows of our garage and tested a couple of strips using my Dremel 3000 as a circular polishing tool. I bought 100 wool polishing wheels from Ebay, opting for non-Dremel wheels as they are a couple of millimetres deeper and I wanted to use the tool at a right angle to the vinyl. Surprisingly the test strips proved that the opaque patch was stubborn dirt on top of the vinyl, rather than sun damage integral to the plastic itself. There was a noticeable improvement and no sign of any damage caused by the Dremel or wax.

 

Sprayhoodvinylclean2016-3

As I kept experimenting I discovered it was best to use plenty of polish, and have a heavy white card underneath the window in order to have a good view of the process. There was often a stubborn layer of orange residue, which came off with a second or third pass of the Dremel and car wax. While not quite as good as new, it’s a major improvement. Now I’ll need to find a way of removing the excess wax and cleaner from the surrounding fabric.

While there’s loads more to do, the only essential task that I’ve still to perform is installing our Macwester Malin’s mooring tackle. That’s one that I’ll choose to do on a sunny day if one of those turns up in the first half of the month. Failing that I’ll be getting soggy …again.

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