Posts Tagged ‘sprayhood’


Prepping for season 2017

April 4, 2017

With the fuel system overhaul behind us, we turned our attention to getting our Macwester Malin ready for crane-in. As you can see from the shot above, she’s got a fresh coat of antifoul paint coupled with a new boot top. The main sail and genoa are back on, and the mizzen followed later.

You probably can’t spot the replacement sprayhood windscreen that we had replaced professionally over the winter. To be honest, we’re a little disappointed as the quality of the replacement material isn’t as good as the Dutch original. However, the windscreen needed replaced and the new one is an improvement, despite falling short of our expectations.

My little helpers kindly re-varnished and painted the dinghy (above left). Then with one week to go, it was time for my least favourite pre-season task, which is as much fun as wading through mud …mainly because it is wading through mud. As the tide receded I reluctantly dragged on my waders and trudged out to our mooring. It was heavy going, as the large and heavy tools and the large and heavy chain relentlessly sank into the energy-sapping putty. All in all it took me two and a half hours to make some alterations to the mooring ground chains including swapping out a couple of shackles, and re-installing the Hippo buoy. On the plus side I avoided face-planting the brown stuff.

Back onboard, I replaced the engine anode, and then proceeded to bleed the fuel system. I had studied the manual and was struggling to understand where the air actually escaped from the system. My chum from Joint Venture offered to help and he realised that our Lombardini diesel has a self-bleeding system, so all that’s required is to prime the fuel …and the air escapes back into the port fuel tank all by itself.

Unsurprisingly, the engine took a few attempts to start due to the fuel system overhaul, however everything was fine when it was up and running. I let the engine warm up a little before shutting it back down again.

We checked the gearbox oil which didn’t need changing. I then set about draining the engine oil. As you can see above, our Lombardini has a dedicated pump on the starboard side of the engine to empty out the oil. I cut a small cross-hatch in the side of a used water bottle and pushed the bottle on to the oil outlet before pumping the oil out. Easy.

I refilled the engine with fresh oil, and then tightened the fan belt which was a tad on the loose side. After a few more checks, I turned on the ignition and the engine burst into life first time.

That’s it. Our Macwester Malin is ready to get her bottom wet. With just four sleeps to go, crane-in and season 2017 is up next!


Ten days and counting…

April 6, 2016



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).


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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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