Category Archives: Westerly Sealord

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 57 we made it.

This is the same blog but I’ve added some photos.

Our position at 16.30(19.30 GMT) Saturday 18th March was
14 26.39N
060 53.38W
The anchor is down, thank God, literally as we’ve arrived safely in Martinique after completing our circumnavigation.

Our last 30 hours was fairly uneventful except for the mini drama of nearly using the Hydrovane rudder. Bill had noticed the steering was behaving oddly on his night watch and put the autohelm on. In the daylight he looked over the stern to see the Hydrovane rudder looking bent. We hove to (stopped the boat) to look at it and discovered the pin clipping it into position had broken. Fortunately Bill always ties it on as well so we hadn’t lost the rudder. It was brought back on board and was a passenger for the rest of the journey. Incredibly Bill doesn’t have a spare, he had already used it, so we’ll have to get one along the way. That was our only breakage on the whole trip which is pretty incredible considering the miles we have covered.

Barbados in the distance

We continued to sail through the day although the wind started dropped in the afternoon and we motored for 2 hours because we (I) didn’t want to slow down, until it picked up again. Barbados came into view about 4pm as we sailed past the north coast with the lights from the resorts twinkling in the dusk. I watched a cruise liner leave Barbados on the AIS and was SOOOO tempted to call them up and ask for a lift! I ate my last 4 squares of chocolate during my last night watch.

I awoke to 100% cloud cover and a line of squalls matching across the skyline. Bill went back to bed for his second sleep while I sat in the cockpit with the umbrella up because it was also raining. The wind disappeared so the engine was on again. The cloud and mist continued through the morning and Martinique was hiding behind it. St Lucia appeared about 8am, which is the island south of us, and Martinique about 8.20, but disappeared again. When Bill got up I made pancakes for our last breakfast at sea because we seem to have missed pancake day while we’ve been out here.

Camomile right on the line

I started to come out of my chrysalis like a butterfly and began to sing again, I haven’t been singing for a while and although Bill says it’s nice to hear me singing again I think he’s just being kind because he prefers it to the silence! As we were about an hour away from our finishing line the sun appeared along with a pod of spinner dolphins jumping out of the Caribbean blue sea to welcome us. The wind started to blow and the engine went off. As Martinique emerged from the cloud we were quite close and able to see the lovely houses built into it’s verdant green hills. As we’ve already written we crossed ‘the line’ at 1.30pm Bill and I hugged each other with me in tears and Bill pretty close. It’s just amazes me we actually managed to do it.

Turning Camomile back to Le Marin, Martinique

We turned Camomile back towards the marina and had to motor quite hard against the wind to get there. Even though it was only 4pm when we got to the channel we decided not to go into the marina but anchor in the bay in front of St Annes for the first night to ‘wind down’ slowly from the journey. Once we go into the marina my feet won’t touch the ground with washing, cleaning, shopping, etc.

Heading into the anchorage

 

 

 

Once anchored I felt an enormous sense of relief that we were safe and could relax. We spent a short time sorting out the boat then the bottle of bubbles came out. We didn’t have posh Boli like someone we know (!) but a nice South African sparkling wine that was very nice along with some cool white wine too. I had intended cooking lemon chicken and apple crumble but I put some Pringles and cheese and biscuits out to have with our drink and dinner got forgotten.

The celebrations begin

I spoke to Sara on Norsa for the last time on the net (the SSB doesn’t work very well in the marina) and said an emotional farewell, they have another 7 or 8 days out there but they aren’t coming in our direction. Not sure when we’ll see them again – the down side of cruising. 😦
So to sum up the journey we left Simonstown 9 weeks ago and spent 3 days in Cape town before leaving on 19th January. The journey from Cape Town to here was 5634 miles altogether but we stopped in St Helena for 2 weeks and 2 days. The passage just from St Helena to here was 3857 miles that took 27 days 9 hours or 657 hours giving us an average speed of 5.8kts which isn’t bad considering we’ve had anything from 3kts to over 8kts along the way. It has become our longest passage and, as I’ve already said, it won’t be beaten. Of those 657 hours the engine was only on for 77 hours, half of those were for charging the batteries when the day was cloudy. The solar panels and wind generator kept the batteries going for the rest of the time.

So we go into the marina later today for 5 or 6 days then we will start to make our way north to complete the rest of the 1500 miles or so to get us to Florida. We’ve got 6 weeks or so to do it which, hopefully, will be enough time. The plan is Martinique this week
Antigua next week
St Martin first week in April
BVIs second week in April
Sail to Turks and Caicos third week in April
Sail the last 700 miles or so to Florida (on the inside route) during the last week in April If there’s anyone on that route that we know we would love to meet up.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

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Camomile completes her circumnavigation

This is the same post but I’ve added some photos.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP We’ve done it!!

Bill and Sue on the bow of Camomile

At 13.30 this afternoon Camomile crossed the ‘finishing line’. We have sailed around the world traversing all meridians of longitude, the equator and then met our outgoing track here. Eventually we’ll complete our journey and head back to the UK but for now we feel we can call ourselves circumnavigators. Very emotional moment. Can’t believe we’ve actually done it, just Bill and I on our own but that’s basically how its been for the last 8 years. We’ve joined rallies and cruising groups but once you leave port, particularly on ocean passages, you are on your own; completely unassisted.

The line between the green crosses was our track from 2010

From the UK we’ve traveled 58525 miles so far on the worlds oceans and our circumnavigation from this spot on the 11th January 2010 and back to it today was 52365 sea miles or to put it in another context, two times around the earth’s equator.
This voyage has taken us 7 years 2 months and 7 days visiting 44 countries, some more than once, and more islands then we could keep count of – maybe we rushed it!

We haven’t arrived back with a tatty worn out boat either, Camomile is in better shape than ever. During our circumnavigation Bill has kept her well maintained and she has had new electronics including new autopilot, vhf and ssb radios and a new dinghy and outboard as a result of insurance claims from storm damage. Bill has replaced the standing rigging and most of the running rigging (ropes), she has had new sails, stackpack, cockpit cover and bimini, a new cooker and I’ve replaced the kettle three times. Bill also repainted Camomile and replaced all the woodwork (grab handles, toe rails, etc) and the propshaft. So I say to all you yachties working on your boats getting ready to leave, like Bill’s rhyme says JUST GO, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to finish your boat on the way round.

Back stooped and shoulders sagging
Soul and body really flagging
Worn out and weary, time to retreat
Before this daily grindstone has me beat

Cast your mind to a white sand shore
Green palm fronds over sea azure
Trade winds there cool a simpler life
And roaring breakers mute that strife

Above blackest night and pin prick stars
Milky way and meteors
Beneath glowing wake eats up the miles
as mast and deck heel to the sails

Go cruising now my friend don’t wait
’till fatty fare ‘n stress slow up your gait
Real loved ones will support you swim or sink
Life’s hour is later than you think

exert from the Rhyme of the Middle Aged Mariner by Bill Redgrove

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 46

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Tuesday 7th March was
00 19 NORTH
037 39W
on a course of 325T with sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 126 miles. Average 5.2kts we motor slower than we sail. We have 1512 miles to go to Barbados

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WE HAVE CROSSED THE EQUATOR FOR THE FINAL TIME.

The first time we crossed the equator was with our wonderful friends on the Blue Water rally on the vessels Enchantress, Lucy Alice and Briet they had come to support us after a shroud fitting had broken and we had nearly lost the mast. With the mast strapped down we were unable to sail and they all escorted us to the Galapagos islands sailing alongside us while we motored 900 miles. We all had a wonderful equator crossing party on our own boats while watching each other throw various concoctions over each other as we crossed the line. It’s on the website somewhere I think around March 2010.
The second time was in 2013 after Sail Indonesia as we motored up towards Singapore on our way home after Mum had died.
The third was in 2014 after Sail Malaysia East in the Makassat strait between Sulawesi and Borneo in Indonesia on our way to meet Thomas and Sonal in Lombok. The forth was on our way back up to Singapore again later in 2014.
The fifth was last year 2016 on our way south through the Maldives (it was hot then too)
The sixth and definitely last time was at 3.30am this morning – we are back in the northern hemisphere to stay.

Camomile crossing the equator

The last few days have been stiflingly hot on board with no wind plus having the engine on made it really hot below deck. We kept having to close the hatches because of the rain showers; I hope to never be this hot on board again. Yesterday, in all that heat, we took the twizzle down as we hadn’t had any rain for several hours and the sails were dry. We didn’t want to take it down while there was a chance of more SE winds but the forecast was for NE winds tomorrow. We dropped the downhaul and Bill took the poles off the sails first taking off the ‘twizzle links’ and re-stowing the poles on the guard rails. We can have both the headsails up at the same time and pull them both to one side or the other but with the possibility of stronger north easters coming Bill decided it would be best to drop the sails and take it off. With no wind they came down easily, lines were swapped, shackles undone and the single headsail reattached, hoisted and furled away. The second sail had come down nicely and Bill and I managed to flake it the best we could on deck and roll it up. It’s now sitting under the table until we can take it ashore in Barbados and fold it properly. All this was done in the midday sun! We didn’t realise until the job was finished how hot we were. I have to have a sleep early afternoon so I can do the first night watch but I just couldn’t sleep because I was bathed in perspiration, I couldn’t cool down.

The black clouds are behind us now and we feel so fortunate to have had such a benign crossing; not a single flash of lightening. Up to the day before yesterday we had only ran the engine for a total of 11 hours just to charge the batteries. It has now been running for 42 hours as we’ve motored through the ITCZ and finally went off at 9.30 this morning as the wind started to fill in from the East. The mainsail went up for the first time since leaving Capetown and the wind is strengthening. We aren’t making our course yet but as the wind gradually backs to the NE we’ll get back on course.

We saw our first ship yesterday, in fact we saw two. There have been several on the AIS recently but they were the first ones we’ve had a visual on. Will need to keep a better look out.

I made a stir fry last night. I sliced up half an onion, half a red pepper, half a green pepper and ‘matchsticked’ a carrot. Stirfry with a chicken breast sliced. I then added a jar of basil, garlic and chilli stir fry sauce from Thailand and some noodles. All cooked in about 10 minutes. YUM.

Bill ate his last apple last night in celebration of our equator crossing, I had some grapes – or they were until they were made into wine. Haha.

Finally a very Happy Birthday to my little sister Amanda. Enjoy your last year of being forty something! See in May, lots of love. XX

All well on board. 🙂

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

Ready for the off

Camomile after her final lift a few weeks ago ready for the Indian ocean

Camomile after her final lift a few weeks ago ready for the Indian ocean

We’ve been preparing Camomile for this trip for almost a year now starting on 1st February last year when Camomile was lifted at Rebak for her major refit. Now after the rudder bearings were completely overhauled, her steering completely overhauled, a complete new paint job, new teak woodwork, new propshaft, new main sail and genoa, new sprayhood and bimini, as well as engine serviced, and numerous other jobs she’s finally ready to leave. Are we ready? I think so, every single nook and cranny has been filled with food and alcohol and I did a huge load of washing today. We’ve checked out of Thailand and are sitting in Nai Harn bay ready to head out sometime in the next week bound for Sri Lanka and the Indian ocean. The passage to Sri Lanka is a little over 1000 miles and will probably take about 7 or 8 days. No facebook but don’t worry about us. Will try to send messages this way which will pass through to facebook but we won’t receive any replies until we get to Sri Lanka.

 

During this year we hope to spend February in Sri Lanka, we have a 30 day visa.

March we’ll sail to the Maldives which is about 700 miles so that will probably take about 5 to 6 days. We will apply for a 60 day cruising permit there which will take us to the second week in May.

Next stop will be BIOT Chagos about 300 miles from the bottom of the Maldives so just a couple of days to get there.  Chagos is a British Indian Ocean territory leased to the Americans. The permits are quite hard to obtain (we haven’t got ours yet) but it’s supposed to be beautiful so hopefully all the paperwork will be worth it.  The permit will be for 28 days but we’ll be watching for a weather window and may leave before the permit expires.

The next destination will be Mahe in the Seychelles, another 1000 miles, 7 or 8 days again. Depending on the weather we should be arriving there sometime towards the end of June spending the rest of June and July there. In August we’ll have a mosey around the island groups to the west of Mahe and hopefully spend a week or so in the Comores.

September we’ll cross to Madagascar and some time in October to South Africa but it all gets a bit hazy that far away.

That’s the plan – written in the sand at low tide but hopefully it will come to fruition.

So we now we wait for a weather window.

Week 16 – We’re getting there.

After we’d cleared up all the dust on Friday afternoon we put our lovely new sprayhood on. Will take detailed photo of it later.

Marking position of winch

Marking position of winch

Saturday 16th May Bill fitted the winches and cleats to the port side which entailed taking the ceiling panels down in the quarter berth, the nav station and my wardrobe. Firstly the holes were drilled through the wood from below using the previous holes. The now hated blue tape (because every time I go out on deck I seem to see another piece of it) was used to mark out the position.   Bill placed the winch in position marked round it and pealed off the tape in the middle. Each piece will have a layer of black Sikaflex 291 under it and we don’t want any excess leaking onto the wood.

The base of the winch in position

The base of the winch in position

 

 

The base of the winch is fitted along with a cleat and finally the top goes on the winch. Bill said the sheet winches were in pretty good condition considering how much they’ve been used.

The big sheet winch complete

The big sheet winch complete

The smaller winch and a grab handle are fixed in place

The smaller winch and a grab handle are fixed in place

The smaller mainsheet winch and another cleat were fitted at the back of the cockpit along with one of the last of the new grab handles. I was able to help with this job because there were lots of bolts that needed nuts on them and I have to hold the bolt still with a screwdriver while Bill tightens the nuts from underneath. I love this photo it shows the shiny cockpit and the beautiful curved new seat.

Putting dinghy bits back on

Putting dinghy bits back on

Sunday 17th we awoke to rain. Why does it always rain on Sunday’s all around the world? I still went for my run; I either get wet from the rain or wet from sweat it made no difference although it was quite muddy too. We pulled Camomile back over the pontoon so we could let the dinghy down onto it and then pushed Camomile back again. Bill spent an hour refitting the parts back on it. We let some of the air out so I could fit the new dinghy cover I made before I left for the UK. I spent the afternoon making an outboard cover.

Covers for every thing.

Covers for every thing.

Bill fitted a new piece of wood across the transom so the outboard won’t scrape the new paint. We re-launched the dinghy and fitted the outboard. I put its new cover on along with the new wheel covers.   It looks a bit homemade but as a lot of Camomile is homemade we prefer the term lovingly crafted.

So T bag the dinghy is ready for the off.

Lovingly hand crafted

Lovingly hand crafted

My galley upside down again

My galley upside down again

Bill spent the day fitting the starboard winches, cleats and the last new grab handle. To do this the galley ceiling had to come down and the ceiling in my bathroom. Everything was upside down and I couldn’t possibly make dinner so we had a meal in the Hard Dock cafe.

 

More wood

More wood

 

 

 

 

Monday 18th We had a new mystery object in the cockpit – more wood. It’s been marked with black pen.

 

 

 

In the groove

In the grove

 

 

 

Bill got his circular saw out (they love him here!!!) and started cutting little groves in the wood.

New against the old

New against the old

 

This is the new wood laid out on the old seats – can you tell the difference? Apparently the old seats are a slightly redder teak but a blind man would be pleased to see it. We keep being asked if we are going to varnish the new wood or oil it. The answer is neither. Bill says once you start it’s a perpetual job so it’s just going to be left to weather with age.

See the gap...

See the gap…

The mystery object is going to be a wooden top for the instruments but the instruments housing is slightly curved so the little groves enable Bill to ‘bend’ the wood into place. You can see the gap in this photo –

 

.... now it's gone

…. now it’s gone

 

 

 

– now it’s gone.

 

 

 

Port bridgehead

Port bridgehead

Bill and I spent the rest of the day fitting the bridgehead instruments with me holding the screwdriver on the outside and Bill tightening nuts underneath. We were so busy I didn’t take any photos but this is how it looked at the end of the day with all the instruments rewired back in place. To enable Bill to fit the wood top the VHF speaker had to be moved but it fits nicely next to the music speaker. So we have comms again. It was suggested we remove our old garmin GPS instead but that little gem has survived quite a few dousing and a lightening strike and still works magnificently.   So it has pride of place among the posh new Raymarine instruments.

Starboard side

Starboard side

My side looks just as nice with the addition of a cold glass of wine at the end of the day. We were supposed to leave today but obviously aren’t ready yet so I went to the office to book for another 2 weeks. We’ll be leaving Rebak on 1st June – definitely.

Sundowners in our beautiful new cockpit

Sundowners in our beautiful new cockpit

Forty Two from Germany

Forty Two from Germany

Tuesday 19th I went for my run while Bill was finishing the edging on the renovated seats. We took the ferry over to Langkawi for a day in town. First job was a hair cut for me. My hair has grown quite a bit since I’ve been back and it makes me hotter so it had to go. Chris and Keith had invited us to lunch in their cosy apartment so we spent a wonderful few hours catching up with chatter before finishing our day in the supermarket. When we got back we noticed our German friends had arrived on their Westerly Fulmar.   This photo is for our WOA friends who think their Westerly is too small to sail around the world Forty Two is from Germany and Carsten and Mercedes sailed her around the UK before leaving on their circumnavigation; and she’s a bilge keel!

 a row of pulley blocks

a row of pulley blocks

 

Wednesday 20th These are all the pulley blocks that were taken off the bottom of mast when Bill was painting the deck.   Bill put them all back on so I could rerun all the lines.

 

Sorting out the lines.

Sorting out the lines.

 

What a job, I think I did every one of them at least twice some three times. I got all the port side ones threaded through the front of the coaming and Bill realised he’d put the feeder on upside down so I had to start again. Grrrrr! The reefing lines on the starboard side were also wrong because Bill put their pulley block on back to front.

Start of a wasps nest

Start of a wasps nest

 

I found the start of a wasp’s nest under the front sail bag while checking the lines weren’t twisted. Luckily it wasn’t very big.

 

 

All lines in place

All lines in place

 

Eventually I got them all sorted. Bill fitted the rope bags in the cockpit and the lines were all tucked away. The winch handle pockets were also fitted, the winches are in them.

 

Finally got all the lines sorted

Finally got all the lines sorted

Yachtleg lugs in place

Yachtleg lugs in place

While I was doing all this Bill was fitting the Yachtleg lugs which meant me in the dinghy holding onto it while Bill was inside tightening nuts again. Sounds simple but nothing is ever simple on a boat. As the rubbing strake has been made wider Bill had to make a wooden plinth for them to sit on so of course the bolts weren’t long enough. He shaved a bit off the plinth so the bolts would fit but then the pin that goes through the two holes on the top and through the top of the yachtleg wouldn’t fit! So Bill had to plane a bit off the rubbing strake. Eventually all fitted. This type of thing is why we’ve been sat here for 16 weeks.

Brilliant Mediterranean white decks

Brilliant Mediterranean white decks

After lunch I changed into a swimming costume and scrubbed the decks. With a combination of airline fuel exhaust from the planes that fly over us landing at Langkawi airport and our dirty feet from walking on the dirty pontoons (for the same reason) the decks are filthy. Luckily most of the marks came off with just water and a scrubbing brush.   Bill wouldn’t let me use any detergent because it would take the wax off the hull. There were also streaks down the hull that luckily came off with a sponge.   I used the dinghy to clean the outside.   Camomile is gleaming again.

'Can I come out now?'

‘Can I come out now?’

 

Thursday 21st we emptied the deck locker.   Wouldn’t this make a great photo for a caption competition? This was half way through; we’d stopped for a coffee break.

 

Didn't take long to mess it up again

Didn’t take long to mess it up again

When we’d finished unloading it our wonderfully tidy bridgehead looked like this. There were a number of jobs Bill needed to do the first of which was reattaching the locker lid. It was another job with a screw on the outside and nuts to be tightened on the inside but Bill hadn’t been able to reach them. Also the engine stop control had been disconnected for painting and he couldn’t get it back on from the outside. My bathroom backs onto the deck locker and the radiator was leaking so once everything was out Bill was able to disconnect that and take it outside for repair and respray.

Bill working on the immersion heater (top right) Eberspacher (top left)

Bill working on the immersion heater (top right) Eberspacher (top left)

Friday 22nd After we’d finished with the water Bill emptied the water tanks so he could take the hot water tank apart to replace the immersion heater element, (another thing that had come back in my luggage) and the over pressure relief valve. The water maker needed attention too; Bill had to adjust the fittings on the inlet and outlet. The diesel eberspacher unit that powers the heating and the hot water had failed, so that needed replacing too but the whole system had to be drained first; nothing’s easy on a boat.

After refilling the water tanks we had a evening off and went to the music jamming session in the resort where a variety of yachties and their instruments get together and play, sing or whatever you feel like doing. As it’s also half price drinks at the bar it leads to a fun evening!

The deck locker mid way reloaded

The deck locker mid way reloaded

Saturday 23rd Bill put my radiator back on and filled the system with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. The coolant is antifreeze, can you imagine how difficult it was to find here but we found it in a local garage because they use it inside car engines to stop them rusting, which is the same reason we’ve used it. The system had to be turned on to check it was working but we turned all the radiators down and the air conditioning up first. All worked ok. We went across to the resort for coffee to celebrate. Came back and filled the deck locker again. It’s like a 3d jigsaw but each piece has a place and there’s a place for everything.   Bill and I have emptied and refilled it so many times we both know where every thing goes.

Poor Billam

Poor Billam

Poor Bill managed to drop one of the acrylic door panels on his foot. Unfortunately it fell between two of his toes and went through to the bone, he probably should have had a stitch in it but he wouldn’t let me try out my stitch kit!   I had to bandage it up for him because it was in an awkward place to put a plaster.

 

A nice end to the day.  All tidy again.

A nice end to the day. All tidy again.

We’ve both in the wars because I managed to twist my knee so can’t run at the moment. I cycle my bike around the same circuit ending up at the pool and having a swim instead. I don’t lose lots of weight with my running it just keeps my metabolism stable and allows me to have the odd biscuit and a glass of wine when I want.

9 more sleeps here then we’re off.

Week 14 – Shiny new cockpit

Birthday breakfast in resort

Birthday breakfast in resort

Saturday 2nd May was my birthday.   Bill had promised we would both take the day off and relax; something he hasn’t done since we arrived on 1st February. We started with breakfast in the resort. Followed fruit, yoghurt, museli and a glass of bubbles courtesy of the resort with scrambled egg, grilled tomatoes, and beef bacon and best of all waffles with chocolate sauce together with a cappuccino. Won’t need to eat for the rest of the day now. Back at the boat Bill made ME a coffee while I read all my lovely facebook messages and emails. I had so many; everyone was very kind. Bill paid for me to have a reflexology foot massage and pedicure with leg massage in the resort spa. I was in there 1½ hours what a treat.

Barman mixing my Zombie

Barman mixing my Zombie

We spent the afternoon relaxing and finished the day in the pool. I decided to have a cocktail at the pool bar. The bartender took quite a while to make it but it was delicious when it arrived. I think it was called a Zombie and it had quite a lot of rum in it. I spoke to James in the evening and as I was birthday Queen I got to choose which video we watched so I choose the latest series of Downton Abbey that Thomas and Sonal had given me.

Cheers!

Cheers!

All masked up ready to go

All masked up ready to go

Sunday 3rd it was back to work. Bill got up early and masked the windows and seats of the cockpit and gave it a first coat of primer. It was great to see the last of the old gel coat disappear.

Last of old gel coat to go

Last of old gel coat to go

Last view of the mystery object

Last view of the mystery object

 

 

 

The whole of the cockpit was painted including the mystery objects and the floor.

 

Painted himself into a corner

Painted himself into a corner

 

Bill managed to paint himself into a corner. We had to enter and exit out through the aft hatch that day. The primer is quite thin and dries quickly in the heat so Bill was able to get three coats of prima on altogether during the day.   I sat down below writing my blog. Our new sprayhood made by CJ Marine in Chichester, UK had arrived in the country with UPS and was sitting in customs in KL. It’s only taken 5 days to get to Malaysia from the UK. Will we have it soon?

First undercoat

First undercoat

 

Monday 4th Bill got an undercoat on first thing. Being a bit thicker it took longer to put on plus Bill had to be more careful applying it. The sides of the mystery objects are now painted.

 

We have a stanchion

We have a stanchion

 

The undercoat takes 12 hours to dry, even in this heat, so Bill spent the rest of the day working on the stanchions.   First they had to be bent by 5 degrees, which he managed to do using the cleat on the pontoon with a metal bar inside them to stop them distorting. They slot into the bases that Bill had already fixed to the deck while we were on the hard. A pin secured them in place.   We have a stanchion, one down five to go.

Guardrails

Guardrails

 

Next we unwrapped the new guardrails and threaded them through the holes in the stanchions, something I could help with.   A forked terminal with a clevis pin through it secures them to the bow and they are lashed to the stanchion by the ‘garden gates’. There’s only one each side on the aft deck because we have the solar panels on the top rail. It feels much safer on deck now.   The weather had been good for the last few days with no rain; no sign of rainy season yet or our package from UPS.

Job finished

Job finished

Poles back in place

Poles back in place

Tuesday 5th I had spoken too soon because we awoke to heavy rain. Even though we have the cockpit cover it was too damp to rub down the undercoat.   There were lots of other jobs to choose from on the list. Once it stopped raining Bill finished off the stanchion work and put the poles back in place. I put the cars back on their tracks and reran the roller reefing line and the genny sheets (different ropes) back down boat.

Sitting on my dolphin seat

Sitting on my dolphin seat

Bill did the final fix on the dolphin seat that he had made so I can sit on deck to watch the dolphins playing (have to find some now). The humidity level dropped in the afternoon and Bill was able to rub down the cockpit and put the second undercoat on while I sat down below working on my next blog, gradually catching up. UPS package still sitting in KL, it’s been in and out of clearing 3 times now!

Bill rubbing down

Bill rubbing down

 

 

 

Wednesday 6th the undercoat was dry so Bill gave the whole cockpit a good rub down. Everything was covered in a layer of white dust including Bill. While Bill got the paint ready I gave everything a good clean and wipe down to stop any dust getting into the paint. Bill applied the first topcoat with his usual care and attention.

Thursday 7th The first topcoat was given a very light rub down and cleaned again before Bill put the final topcoat on. We managed to get to the pool at the end of the day for a change. Nothing from UPS.

Shiny cockpit

Shiny cockpit

 

Friday 8th After my usual visit to the Chinese veggie man followed by some nice chatting while waiting for the ferry I started removing the reams of blue tape. The paintwork has come up really well.   You can hardly see the mystery objects now. Shiny cockpit.

Engine starter panel

Engine starter panel

 

 

Bill spent the rest of the day starting to put things back. This is the engine start panel. The surround used to be all faded but has been painted with everything else and is gleaming now.

 

Bit of a muddle

Bit of a muddle

I thought I’d help by sorting all Bill’s little pots with bits in.  This is just some of the bolts and screws that have to go back somewhere. Unfortunately I didn’t realise Bill had pots for different areas and I ended up muddling them up. Oh dear!

Still nothing from UPS!

Refit week 11

Masking stanchion bases

Masking stanchion bases

Saturday 11th April was the first day that I started feeling like my old self. I had a shower, washed my hair and we jumped on the ferry to pick up one of Mr Din’s cars. Bill needed some more paint, sanding discs and other hardware bits and I needed to pick up some food and, more importantly, wine. I’d got a few bits in the marina shop and from the fruit and veggie man but we needed snacks, bread, and store cupboard stuff as well as the wine. We headed to Starbucks for coffee and later had lunch out.   Every day normal stuff to a lot of you but a treat for me. When we got back Bill started masking the stanchion bases ready to attach them the next day.

Bill fitting new bases in place

Bill fitting new bases in place

Sunday 12th back to work again. We still didn’t have any stanchions or guard rails so the next job for Bill was fit the bases in between the new toe rails.   Bill was able to reuse some of the bases but I had bought 4 new bases as well as 6 new stanchions in Port Solent and brought them back with me. Bill attached the bases with bolts and a layer of sikaflex under them.

 

Coming along but still missing a lot of fittings

Coming along but still missing a lot of fittings

Unfortunately the stanchions can’t be fitted yet because they need bending to shape and that’s classed as an in the water job. We have so much to do we have to prioritise and stick to jobs that we’ve decided to do before we get dropped in, which could be next week. The deck looked great when he’d finished but still missing a lot of fittings.

Looking good

Looking good

Amazing finish

Amazing finish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washing drying in my garden

Washing drying in my garden

Bill on a tea break

Bill on a tea break

I had managed to remove the blue tape from everywhere; it takes ages to remove it neatly. I changed the bed and fitted the lovely new mattress cover, fitted sheet, pillow covers and pillow cases I had brought back with me. They had been wrapped round the stanchion bases to protect them. I like putting my washing outside to dry. Bill had created a bit of a back yard for us. The boat to our left is an old tub that looks like it’s been there for years but on our right side the boats have been coming and going and our ladder always gets moved because it’s in the way so Bill has put it on the other side. Bill has his ‘workshop’ under the left hand side of the boat out of the sun. The dinghy is our front fence and I found a couple of old chairs lurking around the hard stand. So we have our tea breaks in the garden.

Harry the Hornbill

Harry the Hornbill

 

 

This is Harry the Hornbill, he’s beautiful and very young but he’s decimated the tree in front of us eating the new leaves. He watches us sitting in our garden.

 

Shiny waxy Camomile

Shiny waxy Camomile

 

 

Monday I got up early to start my joggy trots again.   I had bought some lovely new trainers in Kent with James’s help and wanted to try them out. It was like running on air. Bill spent the day waxing the hull, which is the last job he needs the scaffold tower for so we could hand it back.

 

Cockpit grating

Cockpit grating

 

Tuesday and Wednesday Bill worked on preparing more woodwork. Among other things he sanded down the cockpit grating. It came up like new, as did all the other bits he’s renovated. I removed the very last of the blue tape, I still keep finding bits, and continued writing my blogs trying to catch up. At the end of the day we went to the pool, the first time since I’ve been back.

 

Before we started

Before we started

Thursday was cockpit day. The winches, clutches and cleats had to be removed so Bill could start preparing the new teak decking that he intended to replace the treadmaster with. Unfortunately the bolts that had to be removed to get them off were covered by the headlining and Bill struggled to get underneath it. To take the headlining panels down is a major disruption, which is why Bill chose to paint around some things on the deck rather than remove them.

Bill struggled

Bill struggled

Everything off

Everything off

It took several hours but between us we eventually achieved it. You can see the contrast between the new paint on the cockpit combing and the old GRP in the cockpit. The cockpit painting is another ‘in the water’ job.

Taking the big sheet winch apart

Taking the big sheet winch apart

36The big sheet winches had to be removed too, which had Bill contorting into awkward corners of the deck locker and under the headlining above his workbench. Eventually they were all cursed into submission!

 

The treadmaster removed

The treadmaster removed

 

Finally the treadmaster had to be ground off creating an awful dust cloud but leaving a lovely smooth surface for Bill to start creating his teak bridgedeck that he’s always wanted.

 

 

Shaping the wood

Shaping the wood

 

Friday I went for my usual trip on the ferry with my friends to do our shopping with the little Chinese ‘man with a van’.   When I got back Bill had started making the pieces for the new deck. The first piece had to be made curved and took Bill a while shaping it with a bobbin sanding head on his drill.

It fits!

It fits!

 

It fitted exactly.

For the next piece he used a jigsaw, he pointed out that he was using my Dad’s old jigsaw, I think Dad would have approved of its use, that’s if he didn’t cut his hand off in the process!

Using Dad's jigsaw

Using Dad’s jigsaw

Starting to look good

Starting to look good

 

By the end of the day, after many times up and down the ladder, he had produced this; it’s going to look stunning when he’s finished it.

 

We were supposed to go back in water on Monday but we’re not ready so we’ll have the rudder put back on instead.

Meanwhile Bill is creating another mystery object, what can it be?

New mystery object

New mystery object

Refit Week 10 and the Toe Rails

Easter bunnies

Easter bunnies

Sunday 5th April was Easter Sunday.   Last year I didn’t even get the sniff of an Easter egg; this year I bought some Easter bunnies to take back with me. Sadly one was smashed to bits and there was chocolate everywhere, the other one had melted and collapsed.   Don’t worry fortunately both were still edible! So it was Easter bunnies for breakfast in bed before the unpacking started. Most of my washing was done thanks to my sister but Bill hadn’t done any while I was away. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you got too close to him!) he hadn’t changed much either so there were only a couple of loads to do!

I spent the next couple of days feeling generally under the weather. I’d arrived back with a really bad cold that I’d caught from Angela’s hairdresser, I always suffer from jet lag for several days and I felt homesick. I’d had a lovely time in the UK and although it was good to get back to Bill I missed everyone.

Bill eating his cookie

Bill eating his cookie

It didn’t help that the boat was covered in dust and the cushions were still over in Norsa. Poor Bill had spent half a day before I got back cleaning and changed the bed but it was only ‘man cleaning’ and the boat needed a good spring clean. This is Bill enjoying his ‘Thomas cookie co’ cookie; one of 5 that managed to get home in one piece.   You can see the general state of the boat behind him.

Finishing off the painting

Finishing off the painting

Bill had one more coat of the topcoat with the non skid granules to do so continued with that. I can’t believe the difference in the boat, it’s incredible what he’s achieved. His work has received lots of compliments in the boat yard, from professionals as well as fellow yachties.

The aft deck masked up

The aft deck masked up

The anchor winch masked up on the bow

The anchor winch masked up on the bow

The deck is still covered in blue masking tape, which needs to be removed once the painting has finished. Bill thought that would be a good job for me, cheers, there go my nice long nails! I don’t mind really it’s nice to be able to help, there isn’t a lot else I can do really.

Bill took this photo from next doors boat with me sitting in the cockpit ‘relaxing’.

Relaxing on Camomile

Relaxing on Camomile

The gearbox under the bed

The gearbox under the bed

In between painting Bill got on with the inside jobs. One of the first things to fit was the new steering flange bearing so the floorboards could go back down and I could re-stow all the bags. This is the gearbox, which Bill had out to service.

 

The flange in place

The flange in place

 

 

 

It was attached to the steering flange bearing that had seized and the bearings were like red dust.

 

The new and the old flange

The new and the old flange

Bill had to cut it in half to remove it from the shaft, which fortunately was still in good condition. The new one was put back in place. Luckily Bill had found this problem otherwise it would have caused difficulties further down the line. The floorboards and the bed were put back.

I spent the next couple of days washing (some of my new clothes had chocolate on them), ironing and repacking the bags although there wasn’t so much to repack because I left a lot of my winter stuff behind to make room for the boat bits and my new clothes. I took the ferry to Langkawi to do a bit of shopping in the local shops but I was still feeling fairly sorry for my self.

Nice clean cabin

Nice clean cabin

By Thursday I felt much better and set about spring-cleaning the boat. I took clothes out of cupboards, books off of shelves, ironed the curtains and re-hung them, cleaned all the galley and generally cleaned away all the dust that had inevitably spread itself around while Bill had been working on below decks projects. The newly varnished floorboards looked much better once they were clean. All that remained was to get Norsa’s keys and go and fetch the saloon cushions.

A nice clean cabin

A nice clean cabin

A nice clean galley

A nice clean galley

 

 

A vast improvement.

 

 

 

The set of grab rails

The set of grab rails

 

Before I returned Bill had signed up for another 2 weeks on the hard so he could finish his woodwork in the shade of the boat.   These are the new grab handles.   They won’t be put on yet because Bill is concentrating on completing the ‘out of the water’ jobs which includes anything that can be achieved by using the scaffold tower rather than working on his knees.

Also on the Thursday Bill started replacing the toe rails. You may remember he had removed them by cutting off the top of the screw heads, easing off the old wood and leaving the stud of the bolts in place. Now the painting was finished the toerails were next.

Putting in the first nut

Putting in the first nut

First a special home made cutter was used to create a shallow counterbore around the exposed stud. This then took a square nut, then a lock nut and provided a recess to pot them with epoxy resin once they were seized hard to the stud to discourage it from turning when the toerail was loaded.

DSCF7675 (Small)

The toe rail is fitted

The toe rail is fitted

The toerail is tried for size. Note the curve that the wood has got to bend to. A fresh layer of blue masking tape is applied which Bill scores around the toerail with a knife to leave the centre of the masking tape free.

Applying the masking tape

Applying the masking tape

 

 

 

 

The toerail is also masked up.

 

The black Sikaflex is applied and the toerail is eased into place.

 

 

Applying the sikaflex

Applying the sikaflex

Looking down into the hole to see the nut in place

Looking down into the hole to see the nut in place

 

 

A washer and a third and final nut is loaded into the counter bore in the top of the toe rail and is tightened down (without the stud spinning) to squeeze the mastic out from under the rail. Finally Bill plugs the holes with his home made plugs and epoxy resin.

 

 

 

Bill plugging up the holes before the rain came

Bill plugging up the holes before the rain came

When it’s dry the masking tape is removed leaving a nice clean finish to the job.

It took two days to attach the new toe rails to both sides. On the Friday evening after he’d finished the heavens opened and we had a massive downpour. It rains in paradise too.

The rains have started

The rains have started

Week 7

It’s a short blog for this week because Bill didn’t take any photos.

Friday 13th March Bill rebuilt the window gaskets, which had cracked up due to the UV damage, by cutting them back and filled and filleted them with filler (taken from Bill’s notes). He also finished bonding on the rest of starboard rubbing strake.

Beautiful new rubbing strake

Beautiful new rubbing strake

Saturday 14th March Bonded on port rubbing strake and sanded both sides. They look superb, I took this photo when I got back.

Sunday and Monday more rubbing down and more fairing and more rubbing down which took approximately 60 hours altogether.

Before I left we agreed that Bill would concentrate on the inside jobs and not take the stanchions off (they stop you falling over the edge) until I get back and we go back into the water. The painting of the decks was going to wait until then but Bill had been speaking to some of the locals and was informed that once the rains start in April painting becomes difficult. Also Bill decided that it was easier to paint the decks from the scaffold tower rather than on his knees so the stanchions came off so he could complete the deck preparation for painting. As Bill discovered they were badly corroded they were also added to my shopping list!

Tuesday 17th Bill spent most of the day organising a new lot of primer, undercoat and topcoat in Kuah town.   Unfortunately the topcoat was out of stock but he bought enough primer and undercoat to keep him busy. The rest of the day and most of Wednesday was spent masking the decks.

Thursday 19th and Friday 20th were spent priming and rubbing down in between coats.

Meanwhile having spent two and a bit days with my younger sister Amanda in Surrey, resulting in me driving off in my brother-in-law’s car (all arranged), a days shopping at Port Solent (in the chandlery not a shoe shop!!!) followed by two and a bit days with my middle sister Angela in Basingstoke, I had caught up with all the gossip and was thoroughly chatted out (almost)!

Friday 13th I drove to a trailer company to pick up two tyres and inner tubes – why? – for the dinghy wheels of course! You won’t believe the shopping list I’ve got, I’ll list it all before I return.

Lovely but wintery river Medway in Kent.

Lovely but wintery river Medway in Kent.

 

I continued over to Kent to see Thomas; so strange to be able to drop in and see him. I spent the night with Sally and Rob again, and had a lovely evening with cousin Wendie and Haydn joining us, so I could be up early to Gatwick to pick up James. I hadn’t seen him in over a year and it was good to see him again. We drove straight to Kent to join Thomas.

 

My young men

My young men

 

Here are my two boys or I should say young men now.

 

 

 

Walking the dog

Walking the dog

 

 

Thomas had borrowed their friend’s dog for the weekend and we all took her for a walk, so normal.

 

Selfie with the bearded ones (sorry boys blame Dad for the ginge!)

Selfie with the bearded ones (sorry boys blame Dad for the ginge!)

 

Cookies ready for baking

Cookies ready for baking

 

 

Back at the house Thomas was preparing cookies for baking. This is his new business venture, check out his website www.thomascookie.co.uk I hovered for rejects but there weren’t many.

Lovely dinner altogether

Lovely dinner altogether

That evening I had the pleasure to meet some of Sonal’s relatives when we all had a meal together. In the picture we have Nalin and Andy sitting next to me, next is Dave, who is involved with the Cookie company too. Then my James and Thomas, Little James and Ben are next then Sonal and her mum Meena. The little boys were so well behaved, so unusual these days. It was lovely to meet everyone; we all had a really nice evening.

Mother's day breakfast

Mother’s day breakfast

 

 

 

The next morning was Mothers day, my first with the boys for about 6 years. James cooked me my breakfast before he and I drove to Aylesford Farmers market to see Thomas’s stall. It looked very professional. I bought some cookies with a small family discount!

Thomas Cookie co

Thomas Cookie co

 

I bought cookies

I bought cookies

In the afternoon James and I drove to Sonal’s brother Amit’s house and had a delicious meal with Thomas and Sonal, Sonal’s mum Meena and Amit’s wife Jen. It was a lovely family occasion.

Monday 16th Thomas took James back to the airport and I headed to the outlet centre in Chatham to buy some bits for me, some for Bill and some for Camomile.

Gorgeous baby Logan

Gorgeous baby Logan

 

 

 

Tuesday I headed back to Angela’s to meet this little chap, isn’t he gorgeous. Logan is 6 weeks old here and I love him, he’s so good. My first great nephew, makes me feel quite old.

I spent the next 3 days shopping for boat bits either online or in the chandleries in Southampton.

 

 

Girls night out

Girls night out

Friday 20th March was my sister’s hen night. Fortunately we all opted for a nice meal in a restaurant so no men taking off their clothes! It was a lovely evening with not too much to drink.

Camomile’s 30th Birthday refit – week 5

Continuing on with the story of the refit.

Bill's kerdung machine

Bill’s kerdung machine

Saturday 28th February Bill continued to remove the toe rails. The problem Bill had was that the toe rails could not be removed by removing their screws because they are glassed in underneath the deck and to remove them would turn into an extremely messy and lengthy job. His plan was to remove the screw heads with a special tool he bought in Australia. It works with a pump action sawing movement and within a minute the screw head pings off.

Carefully lift off the toe rails with a crowbar

Carefully lift off the toe rails with a crowbar

 

The next process is to get a crowbar and some screwdrivers underneath the toerail and gradually but carefully prise it off in one piece because Bill needs them intact to use as a pattern for the new ones.

 

The toe rail intact

The toe rail intact

 

Each one in marked with the position it came from.

It took him the best part of two days to remove them all and sand the deck underneath them all.

Example of what the deck looks like

Example of what the deck looks like

 

 

This is what the deck looks like with all the studs sticking up. He removed the grab handles in the same way. Meanwhile I was busy sewing the Velcro on the dinghy cover and fitting it onto the Velcro strip on the dinghy. It all fitted very well but I failed to take any photos. I took it off again because I don’t want it covered in dust while I’m away.

 

 

 

Our new vinyl lettering

Our new vinyl lettering

 

 

Sunday 1st March after a sumptuous breakfast in the resort (one of our little treats) Bill put Camomile’s name back on the transom. We’d had the vinyl letters made when we were in the UK Christmas before last. It looked beautiful and really finishes off the transom; we are no longer anonymous.

Camomile's beautiful rear

Camomile’s beautiful rear

The bare cockpit

The bare cockpit

We started striping the cockpit beginning with the cover and framework. The intention is to take the cover back to CJ Marine in the UK to have a new one made.   They made the original but we’ve had some modifications made to it along the way that we want them to copy.

Cockpit cushions drying in the sun

Cockpit cushions drying in the sun

More stored on the davits at the back

More stored on the davits at the back

 

I gave the cockpit cushions a good shrub and laid them out in the sun to dry. The halyard bags and the bimini cover and frame were also removed. The cockpit looks bare now. All the frameworks have gone over the davits.

 

Just a couple of cockpit cushions left to sit on.

Just a couple of cockpit cushions left to sit on.

 

 

I spent the rest of the day carrying the cockpit cushions and the saloon seating down to Norsa.   Bill intends to do some sanding inside the boat while I’m away and I don’t want them covered with dust. I also washed all the curtains and scatter cushions and took them to Norsa to store too and a box of my clothes and a box of bedding. Thanks Sara.

 

Bill's home-made pedestal drill

Bill’s home-made pedestal drill

 

 

 

Meanwhile Bill set his woodworking station up. He bought this pedestal base in Australia; it clamps onto his workbench with his drill fitted into it – instant pedestal drill!

His first job was to cut plugs out of the old grab handles. The teal wood is old and worn but underneath it’s perfectly ok. These plugs are used for filling the boltholes when the new handles are fitted.

Bill making plugs

Bill making plugs

Cutting plugs

Cutting plugs

 

 

‘Waste not, want not’ as my Dad used to say.

 

 

13The old handles looked like this when he had finshed

14

 

 

Which became a pot of plugs.

 

 

Drilling holes in the new rubbing strake top

Drilling holes in the new rubbing strake top

 

 

 

Next job was to prepare the cladding for the rubbing strake along the side of the deck. If you remember again Bill can’t remove it because the bolts are glassed in on the inside of the boat so first he prepares the wood strip by drilling the holes ready to apply.

Then sections are glued and screwed and clamped into place.

 

Clamping a section of the rubbing strake in position

Clamping a section of the rubbing strake in position

Applying the vinyl stripe

Applying the vinyl stripe

Monday 2nd March we got up early to apply the navy vinyl strip before it got too hot. It went on well. The secret was water, which I sprayed onto the surface and gradually removed the backing while Bill slide it into position before it got to stuck on. It didn’t allow you much time but we managed fairly successfully to get it applied.

The completed starboard side

The completed starboard side

Bill applying the gold stripe

Bill applying the gold stripe

Bill continued to apply her gold stripe or sash as we say. This is why he didn’t mask the top line.  Each layer of paint was gradually blended in and before applying the vinyl Bill thoroughly rubbed down the area so that there wouldn’t be a hard line.

The westerly name back where it belongs

The westerly name back where it belongs

 

 

Doesn’t she look beautiful? (This section doesn’t have the cladding on the rubbing strake yet.) When Bill was rubbing down the old stripe he found the original position of the Westerly name under the surface so he’s put it back where it should be.

Bill continues with the rubbing strake

Bill continues with the rubbing strake

 

 

We had a new neighbour today and they came over for a chat. His first comment was ‘the GRP has scrubbed up well’ Bill pointed out she had been painted to which he asked who had done that for us.

Bill said ‘I did it’

‘Really, is it sprayed?’

Bill replied ‘No I applied it with a roller’

They were very surprised but impressed.

Later that day we signed up for another month on the hard. We had been trying to get in the water but the woodwork will be easier to do under the shade of the boat.   Bill continued fitting the top cladding on the rubbing strake.

Bill started making the new toe rails

Bill started making the new toe rails

Tuesday 3rd March Bill started making new toe rails by clamping his router to his work bench and passing the wood over it’s cutter to get the shape he wanted, using the old toe rails as guides.

Router at work

Router at work

old toerails

old toerails

 

These are the old ones he removed from the deck.

 

This is the new set, which will go on after the deck has been painted. Don’t they look superb? Camomile is going to look really smart when we’ve finished with her.

New set of toe rails

New set of toe rails

 

 

 

Wednesday 4th March I spent most of the day sorting and packing while Bill continued his woodwork. We had one last minute panic. I had applied for a new passport for Bill on line and was taking his old one back with me to post in the UK. After going through our sets of passport photos we suddenly realised we didn’t have any good enough for an actual passport so we hopped on the ferry borrowed one of Mr Dins cars and drove into town to get some passport photos processed. Fortunately mission accomplished.

 

Off to the UK

Off to the UK

Thursday 5th March I was off to the UK. I had lots planned – surprise my sister for her birthday, Mothers day, see baby Logan and my middle sister was getting married. If you’re wondering why I’ve got so many bags it’s because I’ve got the old chartplotter and instruments with me to ebay plus the cockpit cover plus all my winter clothes!

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