A Very Short Update

For the other reader of our blog:

The Boss is now much better, however, torn muscle(s) take a long time to heal! We were on the boat on Sun 3 Jun to remove stuff that we are beginning to need. The Skipper will be off for sail very soon, either solo or with friend(s).


Dartmouth and Back

The Boss and the Skipper made several journeys from home to the Club and the boat loading stuff. Finally, we went on board, more or less ready on Wed 9 May and set off at 10:30 the following morning to catch the tide down the river towards Dartmouth; the timing was such that we also had favourable tides around Bolt Tail, Bolt Head and Start Point. The sea was quite an unpleasant “Moderate” which lessened as we got further East. It was a 7 hour trip and went into a berth at Darthaven Marina. The plan was to wait for favourable winds to St Peter Port in Guernsey.The crossing on Friday was not very pleasant, Saturday was Southerly and therefore head winds and Sunday became “The Plan”.

Dartmouth was holding its annual music festival, with music for every taste from classic to jazz to heavy metal rock! We could hear the main band from across the water very well! Our first night’s supper was at the Ship Inn in Kingswear (300m walk from the marina) for their weekly steak night. Excellent food!

We used both the Upper ferry and Lower ferry to do some last minute shopping before we set off, and had our annual dose of a visit to Simon Drew. He, of the cards, and those who have visited us: of the place mats! The music in his shop was very nostalgic: The Bonzo Dog DoDa Band!  the Skipper last saw at Southampton as a student! Simon has been mistaken for the singer, Viv Stanshall!

We got up very early (for us) on Sun and departed in virtually no wind, clearing the harbour entrance with the mainsail up by 05:45, towards St Peter Port. The Boss had just topped up the Skipper’s mug of tea in the cockpit when she slipped off the 1st or 2nd step and fell onto her back onto the saloon floor – quite some distance! This was VERY painful! We went through several scenarios, but ended up with the Boss in the day bunk dosed with painkillers. The Skipper took the boat back to Plymouth and up river to Cargreen during which our brand new autopilot really earned its keep.  We had “fun” manoeuvering the Boss around the backstay, down the boarding ladder and into the dinghy. The rest was relatively easy with two walking poles to help her along the Club causeway to the car. The worse part was going to A&E with the waiting, which neither of us do very well!

We’ll be back when everything is better.

PS Apologies for a lack of photos in this blog, but there are none!

On the Water

The boat is now on her mooring off Cargreen awaiting crew, food and weather for us to go off sailing!

On Sun 6 May, we took the boat down the river for a check sail to make sure everything was working and the lines were all correctly rigged. The sun was shining, the wind was gentle and the sea almost smooth!

When the skipper correctly set the autopilot, it worked very well! It held a course very easily with very little effort when compared with our old one. It motored towards a waypoint as well! The Boss was very pleased with the new fridge; it cooled down quickly and held it cool temperature very well.

We had lunch hove-to near the Mewstone South of the Breakwater and motored across to Cawsand to meet up with D & A, who spent the night there, despite a nasty bit of land breeze at silly o’clock that morning.

The Skipper went down to the boat on Mon to play with the autopilot again and he worked out to sort the wind vector side which worked well. The hot and cold taps in the galley are now correctly marked! The toerails and coachroof handrails are now rubbed down and have at least one coat of woodskin and they look much much better!

The next challenge is to be in Dartmouth for the right wind to get across the channel to Guernsey – almost anything except winds between South and East. Next Fri, appears to be the only “bad”day!

Pre-Launch Work

To save my other reader getting bored with minutae, I have decided to skip all the detail and just give the highlights.

Master Blaster was on-site in Feb, so I asked him, through Andy of Weir Quay Boatyard, to grit blast the keel, because the antifoul kept falling off! The next time I came to the boat, it was painted in grey epoxy.

Gritblasted Keel with Anti-rust Epoxy

I’ve filled and faired most of the holes in the keel, sanded off the rust stains that appeared, and put on 3 coats of epoxy paint, followed by a coat of Primacon and now two coats of antifoul are on. The standing water under the boat is a real mess and does not help working conditions!

The holes that I made in the glass-fibre part of the forward bulkhead in the saloon have been filled and faired and are nearing ready to have blanking plugs, but there’s still work to do, not least matching gelcoat colours!

Port Saloon Bulkhead

Stbd Saloon Bulkhead

As we are under the trees at Weir Quay, we kept betting covered with leaves; the worst were eculyptus which stained the deck. Pressure washing the deck helped, but a good hand scrub with a stiff brush and detergent has done the job of a clean deck. The toe rails have been washed and rubbed down and we’ve started brushing on Woodskin which appears to work well, but it does need 3 coats – another work-in-progress job!

The boat is now fully rigged, both sails up, canopy and cockpit enclosure on. The latter is to stop serious downpours the try to fill the engine bilge via the aft cockpit locker lid. The problem is we are tilted down by the stern that causes the rain water to flow back rather than forward over the locker lid (I think)!

I’ve de-winterised the engine, which started very easily and now runs very well; many thanks to Spencer of Weir Quay. I’ve also replaced both anodes, one on the prop shaft and the other is a peardrop shape for the engine and skeg; any ideas what I can do with the 3/4 used anodes?

The fresh water tank is almost full.

The Boss has cleaned the whole of the inside of the boat, except for my mess on the chart table! Many thanks!

We’ve got all our stuff to load in the next few days, retreive the gas bottles that the yard removed for some obscure health & safety reason.

The launch date is Thu 19 Apr…..

Winter Work (cont)

A progress report of sorts;

The fridge is all but complete, however, I broke the sensor tube for the thermostat. I placed it in a convenient place above the cool box, but the sensor wasn’t long enough, so I put it nearer the cool box, but the tube had to be moved from exiting the unit out the back to out the base and the very thin tube broke. So I ordered a new unit, just before Christmas but it’s now arrived at Mt Batten Boathouse. but I’ve got to get there to pick that up and some other stuff.

Tim of Tim Beck Engineering fitted the compressor onto my backet in the cockpit locker and carefully unwound the condenser tubing (it’s aluminium, much to my suprise) very carefully and threaded it through the back wall of the cool box, re-wound it up and fixed it to the bulkhead out of the way. He then connected it up, both tubes and the electrics, put a jumper on the missing thermostat pins and it worked. The plate got down to -16°C and was drawing 2½amps. This is much better than the old one, and we could hardly hear the compressor running. – V quiet. When I’ve fitted the thermostat, the last job is to fix the condenser plate to the side of the cool box, seal up the hole that carries the tube, probably with plasticine (don’t ask, it’s what Tim uses to seal the holes!)

The tap in the galley is very slightly loose so I’ve disconnected and removed everything: tap, filtered water pump and old and unused seawater pump, removed the perspex splash guard, not to mention the shelves and cleaned up the varnished wood. Today, I put the 1st coat of varnish onto the sink surround to be followed by at least 6 more, inc a few rubbed down. The I’ve got to put everything back, in the right place. One of the shelves was very difficult to remove!

I’ve never been happy with connecting a swivel directly onto the Bruce anchor, so I’ve copied what Vyv Cox has done and connected the anchor to the swivel via 3 links of chain. Yhis will prevent the swivel being pulled at right angles when the tide changes and drags the anchor around. (His website is full of excellent advice, especially on Sadlers.)

Remaining jobs are lots of little ones, some I’ve already done, for example, I’ve revarnished the outboard bracket, however, I’ve need to find a way/place to refit it with the wind generator and the stays that are now in the way!

Launch day is only 45 days away; delete all the wet days, a very rare holiday abroard and there’s not much time left!

Continuing Winter Work

Saul, from Weir Quay Boatyard looked at the skeg and rudder and measured the water content as very high; not unexpected! However, he has ground back the offending bulge and it is now being left open to allow any fluid to drain. It will be repaired in the spring before launch.

The fridge has progressed from a mucky hole to a clean and pretty fair cold box with 5 coats of epoxy undercoat and, as I write, 1 coat of topcoat, to be followed by 2 more. Tim, if you read this, do you want to try your hand at the installation of the fridge units?

The autopilot is fully installed and, good news, Raymarine have said that they will replace the lid of the EV-1 sensor. At some stage, I will start everything up, update the software in the various units and maybe do the dockside initialisation of the autopilot.

The Sadler wiring is a true rats nest! During manufacture, the wiring is preinstalled and stuck to the outer shell of the coachroof, it is now hidden inside the sandwich. Unfortunately, Sadler used only 1 sq mm twin core domestic wiring, which is fine for some lighting but useless for power. In various places, I have found cable ends and have had “fun” finding where the other end is! I’ve managed to connect the NMEA wires for the AIS and GPS data from the VHF radio to the Chartplotter using a multi-core cable. The cockpit instument panel loadspeaker cables are connected from the CD-radio at the Chart table using another multi-core cable. Power for the Chartplotter comes from the Chart table to the Chartplotter via two domestic cables to ensure that there is sufficient conductivity. This has removed several cables from crossing the aft cabin deckhead; it will look much neater when I put the remaining cables into a white plastic duct. They are for the Speed log, Depth gauge and Wind vector. I am still trying to find a cable to get a power feed from the switch panel to the chart table for the 12 volt socket.

I have installed an improved extractor fan and improved lighting into the heads. There is a switch for each, somehow I need to make it obvious which does which! The installation involved threading cables from one small hole to another and hoping they were long enough!

There has been lots of Northerly winds, consequently most of the boats at Weir Quay have a covering of leaves from the very high hedge belonging to next door. I think that we’ll do some gardening next time we go to the boat.

Winter Work #1

Stop Press: The dehumidifier works (see previous post)

Our plan was to install a windgenerator to help power the new fridge and to help us short-handed a new autopilot. As a blow-bu-blow account of every visit would be VERY dull, not to mention, balls-aching to write, I’ll detail just the highlights.

Cuchulainn now has a working Rutland 914i windgenerator installed. The base is fixed close to the top of the transom by the upright of the pushpit. It’s fixed to the upright with a large U-bolt and a custom-made plastic block that is a snug fit to both pole and upright. In addition, the upper pole is secured with two stays bolted to the pushpit as well. Message to Sadler Owners: my pushpit is fixed with through bolts and not screws! As the pole covers the existing stern light, I removed it from the pushpit upright and rivited it to the generator pole (facing the right way). Both cables go into a deck gland on the transom. The generator cable goes to a dual battery controller which is directly wired to the batteries. The advantage of the dual controller is the display which shows battery voltage.

Wind Generator Awaiting Some WIND

The fridge is a longer term project. We found that there was very little insulation on the inboard side of the cool box. A little checking this winter showed there was still substantial air gaps around the fridge. This is on a boat that is filled with foam, thus losing quite a bit of storage in the process, not to mention the difficulty in rewiring existing equipment from standard 1.5sqmm domestic wiring to tinned wiring (that doesn’t corrode and lose conductivity). There is now much more foam around the cool box, the base now has an additional 50mm of Celotex (closed foam insulation), sealed in with epoxy coated ply. the whole inside of the box has been filled and faired with epoxy filler. It is now smooth (almost everywhere) and ready for 3-4 coats of top coat 2-pack polyeurethane paint, after I put on 4 coats of epoxy primer. The Boss hasn’t seen the dust the Skipper has produced yet!

The Autopilot is an Evolution autopilot which we’ve added to the existing network to the chartplotter. Its centre is a 3-D magnetic field, accelerometer and gyro sensor which will very quickly learn the pattern of the boat movement and steer the boat in much heavier conditions that the existing unit which is barely capable of dealing with half-metre waves. We hope it will considerably help with cross-channel crossings. Installation was fairly straight-forward by fitting the control unit by the  tiller pilot fitting, installing a ply plate for the sensor and computer inside the cockpit locker and joining them up with the right cables. All I need now is to launch! Oh, and a replacement fixing cover to the sensor as I broke the very flimsy clips. Not good Raymarine! I expected much better.

The boat has cables crossing the deckhead in places and I am putting them into ducts that I’m fixing to the fibreglass with plastic ties through holes drilled inside the duct. The one I’ve done looks much neater already; I’m also reusing some of the dubious cabling hidden between the two skins of the coachroof: replacing the cockpit loudspeaker cables, NMEA data cable between the VHF radio and the chartplotter, power to additional 12v sockets.


Ashore at Weir Quay

View from Cuchulainn, looking S (ish) down the R. Tamar

We were suposed to be lifted out during Hurricane Brian on Mon 16, but it was a bit too windy! The Weir Quay guys collected the boat for us and lifted us out on Tue 17 Nov.

The Skipper went to the boat on Wed and collected the sails and folded them at Cargreen Yacht Club, just prior to a meeting. The next day, I took the sails for a wash & service to Westaway who supplied them.

The Boss & Skipper went to the boat on Fri and filled the car up with food (we now have too much at home!), books, charts and other paper, towels and bedding and a load of other stuff.

On Mon 23, the Skipper completed removing the halyards and replacing them with messengers, all the lines were green in places because it has been so wet the summer, I’ve never know it as bad. Fresh water tank is empty – I use a impellor pump, connected to a “spur” with stop valve and fitting in the cold water feed to the hot water tank. That way I remove all water from the both tanks, normally the hot water feeds from the top of the tank.

The main hatch is now covered with a tarpaulin because we have removed the spray hood (it’s got gull poo on it!). We used pipe insulation on the canopy steel work to protect the tarpaulin. Works very well, as does bungees on every line holding the tarp down.

Tarpaulin over Main Hatch

Hopefully this Tarp will keep us dry!

We’ve discovered that the 20+year old dehumidifier has stopped working. The speed impellor is broken, almost certainly because the Skipper forgot to remove it before lift-out. One of the arms of the mast head Windex has been broken by rooks on the mooring – that’s a mast climb after launch next year.

The skeg repair last year appears not to have fully cured the problem, there is a small bulge nearby and I await the firm who did the original work to get back to me.

Weir Quay will service and winterise the engine, replace the stern gland and they may be doing the skeg repair as well.

I hope the weater is drier so that the Skipper can get on with installing mounting plates for the autopilot.


Final Few Trips of 2017

I think that everyone will agree that this has been a %$£* year for sailing, camping and any other outdoor activity. But we’ve managed several shorter trips this year but I haven’t posted the recent ones.

Here they are:

Mon 21 Aug

We braved the August holidays and went down to the boat to set off off sailing the following day because, for a change, the weather seemed half-decent, even fine!

Evening View from our Boat at Cargreen looking up-river towards Weir Quay

Tue 22 Aug

We had a lovely sail to Fowey, albeit upwind and made very good time, and spent a couple of days there, moored up-river at the Gridiron.

Wed 23 Aug

We tried out the Cafe at Mixtow, which proved to be very good, but unfortunately was not going to be open that evening for supper. From Mixtow, we walked around the area and having some difficulty finding the route of some of the tracks that we were trying to follow! But we managed to get back to the dinghy and the boat, if a bit muddy.

The showers at the Gallants Sailing Club (http://foweygallantssc.co.uk/) were excellent and still only £1. Fowey was its usual August chaos:

View from Gallants SC with only some of the chaos when the racing fleet is out

Our meal at The Lugger  was also good.

Thu 24 Aug

Our trip back home was downwind, so we used the motor on a fast tickover to keep a reasonable boatspeed during the longish lulls. However, the Boss heard an odd knocking which the Skipper investigated and found that the new alternator had shredded its new belt. So we had to sail all the way back up river to our mooring. It was a bit slow going down-wind but once in the Sound we made good speed up the River Tamar. Too much so that when we came to pick up the mooring under sail alone, the tide swept us past the mooring and there was insufficient wind to stem the spring tide. The Boss was picking up the mooring for the 1st time for a long while and the Skipper put the engine on for about a minute to get back to the mooring without hitting any other boats.

This was a very pleasant short (for us) trip to probably our favourite port. It also proved that the fridge had definitely failed.


The Skipper talked to Gavin at Mount Batten Boathouse (http://www.mountbattenboathouse.co.uk/) who suggested that the alignment of the 3 pulleys may be the problem. After measurements with straight edges and adjustment with various thicknesses of washer, it was sorted – see later for proof.

The Skipper bought a new fridge from Gavin and set about improving the cold box in the galley. The inboard wall was drilled in the hollow-sounding parts and more foam was injected into it, it seemed most of it came back out again! But, it sounded solid. The base was filled out with a cut-to-shape piece of Celotex foam, covered with a sheet of ply sealed with epoxy and sealed in with more epoxy. During the winter, we’ll finish this with more filling and fairing and a final covering with polyeurethane paint to waterproof the finish.

Tue 3 & Wed 4 Oct

This was our final short trip to Fowey (again). We sailed upwind there and expected to go dead downwind back (again).

Sailing “Full and Bye” towards Gribben Head

Dolphins, this year were like the old London bus joke, “you wait all year for nothing and then 3 sightings appear within an hour or so!”

The Boss got very excited, but she always does with dolphins! The Common Dolphins came twice and swam in the underwater pressure wave in front of the boat. There were also plenty of gannets diving into the water for food and about 300m off the boat as we got closer to Fowey, we could see a pod of dolphins fishing with the gannets.

The way back was a repeat of our last trip, as expected – downwind with the engine helping with the fairly lumpy seas which occasionally got the boat surfing for short period. The Skipper briefly saw 8.5 knots on the speed. We got back home before the weather broke.

The ice block to keep our cool bag was still frozen after 2 days with the improved in the fridge. Now that’s a bonus! The alternator belt was still fine after several hours of running.

That’s our final trip done, we will be lifted out at Weir Quay (http://www.weir-quay.com/) next week with plenty of jobs to do. We will save loads of driving time going to the boat there instead of the Yacht Haven Quay or Boating World.

This winter, we’re fitting a wind-generator, a very superior autopilot (too expensive really, but the Skipper hopes to prove it’s worth it next year) and the fridge will be finished off. Plus, there are all the usual maintenance and servicing.

Not the Scillies!

Thu 13 Jul

The weather on this trip has been very unstable; wet ‘n windy one day and fine the next. Along with may others in Falmouth, we all though the weather was %$*&! They included CYC Member on Echo, Ninja, who had all our sympathy with a failed alternator, a Colvic Sailor who thought Cuchulainn was Gaelic for “Darling” and despite being told the full story, continued to call us “Darling” whenever he met us, and a number of other Sadlers’ of varying lengths.

Thursday brought out the sun and a fair wind from the NW. Along with many others, we set off towards the Helford River. We were having such a cracking sail that we stayed out for about 4 hours before turning back to Helford after so many other boats had gone in and we thought that there would be no room. We were lucky; one boat left just as we came into the moorings and we picked it up straight away before anyone else got it! Later Echo arrived, but there was no room, so he returned to Falmouth. However, M & M, one of whom came from our village and Weir Quay Sailing Club, moored behind us. The brisk wind caused some chaos near low water because the tide and wind were in opposition, some boats set to the tide and others to the wind (we mostly did the latter) or both; at one stage we were within 3 metres of another boat, but it cleared as the ebb increased.

Fri 14 Jul

After some shopping, we left our dinghy at the Helford River Sailing Club for a walk around the St Anthony peninsular; the last time we did this was about 5 years ago.

Looking West up the Helford river on our walk
We’re the 3rd boat from the right in the nearest row.

We were advised that there would be enough water on their pontoons, there wasn’t! Luckily, the ferry took us back to our boat, for half the price of going to Helford Passage. Later he took us back to the Sailing Club so we could have a shower in the new facilities (only 1/3 male showers working!) and a superb meal. As the tide was now in, we could use our dinghy to get back to Cuchulainn.

We had been watching the longer-term forecast and had decided that we would sit out a week or so of rough weather at home, rather than trying to hide up the River Fal with little or nothing to do, or spend lots of money in a marina.

Sat 15 Jul

We had hoped for a fine sail to Fowey, however, the wind was now West but not nearly as useful as it should have been. The sea was decidedly wobbly so what wind there was just got flopped out of the sails and we lost drive. A whisker-pole would have helped us to control the genoa. Our best speed was “gybing down wind”, which M & M ahead of us were doing. Eventually, we got to Fowey and decided that up-river in Wiseman’s Pool would be best, away from any swell coming in on the wind. It was lovely and quiet, no wind, and just one other visitor – a blue wooden motorboat.

Sun 16 Jul

We had a lazy start, which was disturbed by tenders coming past, one got so close that the Skipper got up to look out of the hatch, to be greeted with “we are only looking at your lovely 34!” We were waiting so that on arrival in Plymouth, the tide would be favourable to Cargreen. Waiting is not good for us, so we left early, again in hope for a pleasant sail downwind. For the result – see Sat 15 Jul! We motored a few times, with the genoa out and sometime in. But motoring does our fridge good as we can turn on the only just working fridge to keep our food cool-ish.

A Sick Fridge getting the wrong bit cold!

D & A were anchored in Cawsand in Eilean and we chatted from nearby, rafting on a much smaller and lighter boat with a rope anchor line was not a good idea for them. Motoring up the river, against some tide, with the Skipper keeping too close to the shore for the Boss’ comfort until the depth gauge stopped working (again; it is going to find out just how deep the water is if it doesn’t behave!)

Mon 17 Jul

Last night and this morning, we packed our stuff up into boxes and bags and the Skipper did 3 journeys with it all back to the car at CYC and then home via Louis Farm Shop on Kit Hill to buy superb pasties for lunch, if a little too large for the Boss so the Skipper eat her half for lunch the next day.

We plan to be off sailing during the following week but are visiting Exmoor (Skipper’s old stamping ground) for the rest of this week.