Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

12 th to 19 th of September 2010 - Time to go home

Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : Ardefern marina, Loch Craignish.
Distance : 3 miles

We gently motored up to Ardfern marina this morning. We filled up with diesel and were found a berth. As strong southerlies were still forecast we decided it would be best to park bows into the wind (stern to pontoon) so that we could get the sails down more easily and have a quiet night. Easier said than done. After a couple of attempts to reverse Speedwell into her berth, we changed our minds and went in head first. We had a few very noisy nights with the slapping of water just by our heads.

We managed to get the mizzen and main sails down quite easily and got them into the dry saloon below before the wind and rain started. The genoa required being totally unfurled before we could drop it. This can be difficult with the wind behind, as it's natural instinct is to sail. During a lull in the wind we just managed to do this without sailing onto the pontoon or losing the sail overboard. We stowed it in the cockpit hoping for less wind when folding it into it's bag. Sadly, overnight it poured with rain so we had a very wet genoa as well as strong winds the next day. We managed to drape it over the boat and dry it, before rolling it up as neatly as we could and getting it into it's bag. It was a relief to deliver all the sails to the office, where they would be taken to the sail makers for valeting and storage over the winter. With room on board once again we were able to change the engine oil and oil filter, wash the salt water system through with antifreeze and remove the impeller. The heads were given a thorough clean and she was fortunately ready a day early for lifting.

The guys from the yard came to tell us the masts could only be removed when there is no wind so we weren't feeling hopeful this would happen the next day. Fortunately one of the guys offered to help us remove the booms that afternoon. The wind was forecast Force 8s and 9s in our area. Overnight this seemed pretty accurate even with the shelter of the marina. We felt that it was even less likely after that night that the masts would be taken off. However at 9am the wind had died and the guys were ready to take her around to the slipway. Unfortunately they weren't in a position to tow us, despite us having been informed otherwise, so we put in a new impeller and ran the engine clear of antifreeze.

The masts were both removed within a couple of hours and the boat was lifted in the hoist and washed down by lunchtime. We went into Oban for fish and chips and when we got back she was safely in her cradle on the hard standing. We slept on board, making sure we didn't drink too much before going to bed. I managed to wait until it was light before making it down the ladder and across to the loos. Fortunately we were booked into the local pub for the next 3 nights.

After several other jobs (seacock servicing, propeller servicing, new anodes for the propeller shaft, a thorough cleaning and more engine servicing)we decided to get the boat shrink wrapped by the yard for the winter. We have a specially made cover which fits her with her masts and booms up. Without these it was going to be a difficult, and in the end, a very wet job for us to put it up.

We left her next to another, very beautiful American, boat for the winter. Hopefully she will be safe until next May.

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