Thursday, 22 November 2007

Countdown to casting off.

Yesterday TBH's final piece of software arrived from the States. Yahoo! That hopefully means that in just a few weeks we will be off sailing again. I can't tell you how excited that makes me feel.

It has also put me in to a bit of a panic, there is so much to do before we can leave the dock. The biggest problem is our refrigerator. It's not working. We have an engine driven Frigoboat set up. It has been a great system and we are very happy with it but it looks as though the compressor has finally given up the ghost, not bad after 15 years!

So we are awaiting a visit from the rivers resident guru on all things cold... probably means sourcing a new part which will be fun. However that's not enough to stop us! I am happy to sail without a working fridge. Where possible we will use it as an icebox, it's quite efficient like that and I am NOT going to lose any more sailing time.

One job that has to be completed is installing the new bilge pump hose that is currently occupying the aft cabin. We had a blockage in the main pump just before we came in here. caused by a piece of kitchen towel that was 'dropped' in the bowels of the boat by a certain person not a million miles from me - and no it wasn't Little Ted!

Whilst cleaning out the problem the existing hose split, isn't it always the way! So a decision was made to replace the whole thing even though a reasonable repair was possible. The boat is 16 years old now and quite a lot of gear is coming to the end of its lifetime... she has been sailed hard, 9 Atlantic crossings to date!

I am paranoid about working bilge pumps and well maintained seacocks! I have seen too many boats with real life threatening problems caused by lack of attention to these areas to feel comfortable about slacking in my attention to these details.

When we hauled out a couple of months ago, first time in over 2 years, I was relieved to see that all the seacocks were in good condition when I serviced them. That's one of my responsibilities on board! They are all the Blake's cone shaped ones and I use a product called 'coppergrease' which I liberally apply after cleaning and inspecting the seacock and skin fitting. Even after 2 years there was still a good amount of the old grease there doing its job - I was impressed!

All things considered she's in good nick, apart from the varnish work. But that is an ongoing challenge in this tropical climate. We have a small amount of varnish in the cockpit and enjoy the 'luxury' that it adds. Below decks is another matter. We have wood everywhere and it really is starting to need some major work. When in Panama we redid one of the heads and tried out a gloss finish varnish, we love it! So at sometime in the future we will probably take that finish throughout the boat... not a process I am looking forward to!

But I digress as that is not a project that needs to be addressed before we leave.

Provisioning is well advanced, spares for the BBQ also arrived yesterday (thanks Kent and Faye), a new deck light bulb waits to be fitted and then we can go I think!

Fuel is already topped up, engine has been serviced, rigging inspected, sails looked at for loose stitching and so on.

I watch every boat that heads downriver at the moment with envy. The Rio is emptying fast as the new season gets underway. I wonder where they are all going? More to the point where are we going!!! Still no decision on that one...

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