Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

5 th to 10 th of May 2012 - Ready for the new season

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Inverness.

Saturday 5 th May

Finally we have been having thoughts of Speedwell and the summer ahead of us. We just about managed to get everything we need for the boat into the car, including 2 bikes, new cockpit cushions, bed linen and numerous other necessities for boat maintenance and servicing. We drove up the A1 with a stopover in Berwick for a walk around the town walls and a bit of luxury.

Sunday 6 th May

Following an early start, after a quick look at the seal on a rock in the river Tweed, we managed to squeeze back into the car and had a leisurely drive to Inverness where we found Speedwell unharmed, but with a pair of pink pyjamas bottoms on deck. We kept these to use for tying up frapping halyards which we suspect may have been the reason they were on Speedwell. We also found the big fender under the boat cover, which, it later turned out, the harbour master had put there to prevent a build up of snow and rain. We removed the cover and reminded ourselves just how much there was of it when we tried to get it stowed away. We just managed but will have to sleep with the cruising chute in our cabin. I put some new curtains up to ensure I get some sleep with the long light days of the north.

Monday 7 th May

We collected the main sail and put it on in the wind with a lot of flapping. The engine was made usable and ready for driving her to the travel hoist for lifting the following day. We replaced the impeller, only to find that we had the wrong sort and the cooling water wasn't being driven around the engine. This made for a rather smoky dry time until we found the correct one. It was a relief for me as I had put it in so immediately assumed I must have done it wrong. Andy tried to remove the drive belt which looked very old. Unfortunately it wasn't going to be possible without taking a bit of the engine off, so Andy contacted the marine engineer the following day to show us how it should be done. I later escaped to Tesco for provisioning whilst Andy replaced the forward heads pump and sterilised the water tanks.

Tuesday 8 th May

Today a little more of the forward cabin was freed up as the life raft was fitted on to the push pit. Andy put a new LED navigation light to the bow. By lunch time David, the harbour master, was ready for us to be lifted out of the water. Plan A was to go in backwards. Andy parked the boat smoothly. Unfortunately the hoist was not going to go over the mizzen mast as it was high water. We resorted to Plan B by turning the boat around to go in forwards. Andy removed the forestay easily enough and secured it to the guardrails. Unfortunately this was not enough so the harbour master had a go at moving the hoist back a bit and tying the two strops together to stop Speedwell slipping out of the forward strop. This didn't quite work and so Plan C involved also removing the babystay. Andy and David went round in the work boat to sort this out and Speedwell was finally out of the water and on a couple of wooden blocks. We quickly got to work. I serviced the seacocks which involved bending into some very awkward places. The marine engineer came and sorted out the drive belt and Andy changed the anodes on the propellor, hull and keel cooled fridge. He greased the propellor and gave the p-bracket a coat of anti foul. The rest of the hull was foul free and looked very clean. A slight chip in the gel coat on the keel was soon filled by Andy and we were able to head off to a hotel for the night.

Wednesday 8 th May

Speedwell was back in the water early and we faced the problem of getting the forestay attached. This required much thought and strength on Andy's part. Eventually a winch, turning block and genoa sheet helped us to pull the forestay down far enough to get the pin through the hole so that the mast was safe and secure again. Eventually, between showers, we were able to get back to our berth and managed to get the genoa and mizzen sails on so she looked like a real boat again. It was time for more shopping so we went to the chandlers and B&Q. We bought some light polythene pipe to make new light weight fender boards to replace our heavy wooden ones. We also bought a new DAB radio for the boat as we were missing Radio 6 music. We replaced 2 gas cylinders, giving us 3 full ones, as we've been told they would be hard to get in the Baltic. We have an electric convection hob which means we don't use too much gas, so we hope that the gas will last us the full year.

Thursday 9 th May

I went into Inverness in the morning for a bit of retail therapy and boat provisioning, whilst Andy emptied out the lazarette so that he could check the steering cables and make more space for 'stuff'. He checked the gear box oil which was fine and had a look at the batteries, which were as good as new. He repaired the alternator cable which had been dodgy last year, resulting in the engine instruments dying every now and then. He also sheltered from the rain whilst splicing ropes onto our new fenders and a bucket. We finally got the safety gear out of the fore cabin, making room for Alberto and Angeliki, our crew for the first leg of the trip. We also did a fair amount of rearranging lockers.

Friday 10 th May

On waking it was very wet so we went provisioning. Later on Andy disappeared to sort out the car but it then started hailing so he didn't come back for some time. The bikes and cushions were stowed on the boat and the car was loaded with all the things we no longer needed, including the sails and mast for our dinghy and the old fender boards. Andy fitted an electrical filter to stop the interference we had been getting when we listened to the radio at the same time as the saloon lights were on. The sun came out so I put on the dodgers and Andy made new fender boards. With the curtains back in the saloon, and a bit more sorting of lockers and we were finally able to relax in preparation for our long drive home. Our first Radio 2 request was satisfied with a mention on Simon Mayo's Friday evening drive time.

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