Monday, 1 April 2013

NSW Coast: Jervis Bay anchorage

Jervis bay is about 120nm north of Eden and so a reasonable 24 hour run up the coast.  With fair winds and weather we sailed into the bay with plenty of light and sunshine.  Just on the port side of the entrance are four public moorings, great for passage stopovers and just around far enough to be sheltered from the ocean. 

After a short relax on the mooring here we decided whilst it was pleasant and sheltered there would be some lovely beach anchorages further round.  We spotted another public mooring further along and it was free! so ten minutes later we were tied up at Murry's beach. 

Anchorages seem to have there own character and this spot was exceptional for spending the evening.  I often wonder why it is so inspiring to be on the water and this spot reminded me why.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hobart: Constitution Dock and Sandy Bay anchorage

A few pictures of Hobart.  We spent some time here over the summer, from January until April in fact.  Fortunately we chose the best summer ever, one local described it as 'the summer we will talk about in twenty years time' and for sure we were spoilt with only a handful of rainy days in the whole of our stay.

It is also described as 'Australia's best kept secret' although that is a term coined for just about everywhere in Australia where tourism is needed.  After four months here though I tend to agree it is an amazing place to visit and stay.  We kept bumping into people with the same story. they came for a short visit, bit of work or sailing or visiting friends and twenty years later they had never got around to leaving.  I can easily understand why as there is just something about it, the scenery maybe reminds me of the UK, the buildings are reminiscent of English towns not surprisingly.  The people I sense are living with less energy on themselves and with more interest in others, relaxed and happy.  Of course with only 300,000 people in Hobart  the pressures of life are less than a big city and the whole feel is one of a town rather than a city. 

Of course to yachties arriving by boat then the main port of focus is Hobart.  On arrival we headed here and spent a week in the Constitution Dock relaxing, drinking coffee and going to the various pubs and cafes in Salamanca.  The market at the weekend is also worth a visit.  The port authority charge by the week only and you need to call several hours ahead and ask for the bridge to be opened into the dock.  We used VHF and they also are on the phone. 

It is obvious that the walls to the port and starboard as you go in are going to be the quietest as the far side is next to a busy main road. 

It was strange as when we called the office originally they said that living aboard was not allowed in the dock anymore.  We went in anyway, preparing to explain we were cruisers visiting the island for some weeks.  On chatting to the various local boats it felt as if there was some effort to restrict live aboard boats who stay forever, work in the town and are not too interested in cruising.  We also asked a few boats if there was water and all replied no. We were grumbling about the lack for several days when we happened to look right underneath the wall and found hidden away from view was a fresh water pipe with many taps  running around the whole dock.  This is taken from the lifting bridge that gives access to the dock, it is quite a small entrance and we needed to be careful not to catch the mast on the raised bridge as we went in.                                                                                    
As you enter from the outer harbour then you have Elizabeth pier on your port side.  This picture was taken from the inner constitution dock side and looking out to the entrance. We were happy to hear that MAST had built this new public wharf for short stays, three hours, which is handy to shop and wait for the constitution dock to open.  As always various boats stretched the rules and arrived late to stay for a free overnight.  
Outside of the dock there is no close anchorage for Hobart.  As a next stop we went to the south just a few miles into Sandy Bay and anchored outside the marina in between the various club moorings.  We had thought to use a mooring as there were plenty empty.  The marina have some available which were not easy to find so we dropped the anchor after waiting an hour.   We are more nervous picking up unknown moorings than being on anchor - at least we know that when we are dug in well and have consistent weather forecast then we are pretty secure.  In fact, touch wood, we have yet to drag on anchor once we have dug ourselves in and we have sat through some pretty blowy conditions to date.  The marina is a twenty minute walk to the town although there are shops nearby in any case and we enjoyed several days here.
The sunsets were often stunning in this part of the world.  Its what sundowners were made for!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Derwent Marine: Replacing the fuel and water tanks

When we bought the boat the old mild steel fuel tanks had seen better days.  In fact as part of the work before completing the sale we found that the two fuel tanks were in fact full of water!  The outsides had been left to rust and so we knew that one day soon it would need to be tackled.   I had tracked a small fuel leak in one of the tanks in Sydney and so it was time.   There are usually horror stories about replacing tankage in old boats and ours like many are in the bilge and under the floor.  We had spent some time figuring out just how much of the floor and fittings would need to be cut out to do the work and had been pleasantly surprised at how little it would take. 

Still it was a big job requiring good carpentry skills and so we asked Don Bailey at Derwent Marine near Hobart to help us do this and also weld up the new stainless gantry for the solar panels.  We went alongside their wharf and were glad we did this job whilst in the water as it was much more convenient than it would have been on the hard.

I had searched around for the options to replace and really it was a 'no brainer' to replace with HDPE (plastic) both on cost and ongoing integrity.  I ended up ordering with Atlas Tanks in Brisbane, mainly because any business that has an actual production schedule gets my vote of confidence on the basis that they must be organised, or trying to be, and possibly even reliable on delivery.  Turns out they were organised, reliable and professional and produced great tanks delivered exactly when planned.  

At this point it was time to move off the boat to a nearby apartment.
Glen who works at Derwent marine is a good carpenter, which is just as well as the first job was to take out the companion way steps and then cut out the main floor below.  We were lucky in that we could do this without resorting to cutting out cupboards and bench seats.    

The two mild steel tanks were built port and one starboard which I never understood as if one only was used the boat would be heavy one side. The water was the same configuration. They were very obviously put in before the coachroof was built as there was no way they were going to get through the hatch space without being cut in pieces.  We set to with jigsaws and a sabre tooth saw which made short work of the job. It took four hours for two of us to cut and clear them out of the hull. 

I had measured up carefully and planned that the replacements would be built to fit across the width of the boat and so be longer and thinner.  The new size allowed them to just fit though the hatch space.  Each tank was 375 litres which was marginally smaller than the originals.  Outside size was exactly the same and the reduction came as a result of the 10mm sheet size of the plastic lowering the internal capacity.

There was a lot of shifting and pulling to get access to the space, this is Glen, not me! adjusting the tanks before cutting them up.  It was pretty clear that the time was right to clear them out as the insides were a sludge of rust and the outsides a mass of flaking rust. 

The bilge had not seen the light of day since the build in 1984 so there was quite a lot of mess and sludge.  I scooped out what i estimated to be 30kg of mess and this explained the old boat smell.  I scrubbed it all back degreased cleaned and ground it all back to clean fibreglass before painting the bilge with a two pack paint.  I also took advantage of the space under the floors to re route all the electric cables through tubes so I know where everything is. 

After taking the fuel tanks out I had a good look at stainless water tanks. they were immediately forward of the old fuel tanks that were now scrap. Again they were the original and it had been difficult to see what sort of condition they were in.  I found four small leaks on one of them at the base welds so there was no question that they needed to come out as well given this was the only time I planned to pull out the floor of our home.  The space made by the fuel tanks departure made enough room to slide them out, cut them up and send them to the scrap yard. I had cut out lots of panels to be used for backing plates for the planned new winches and deck gear.
The new tanks were pretty easy to replace in comparison to the removal.  Glen did a great job of preparing batons to fix them down and ensuring they do not move and then replacing all the joinery.  He re organised the joists and fixings on the companion steps so that it would be a fairly easy task to take them up if the need ever arose in the future.

I moved the tanks around and put the fuel forward and the water aft.  Tiki sits too high in the water at the rear, a legacy of losing a mizzen mast perhaps when converted to a cutter, and we have more water than fuel on most occasions so there is more weight aft now.  We also only use the rearmost fuel tank as 375 liters is enough for most journeys and the forward will be filled only on long ocean trips where we need to have 700L of fuel.

Lots of detailed fitting of new lines, gauges and breathers and realigning access hatches and we had a glass or two of bubbles for a job well done.  We even came in under what we expected to spend which is a minor miracle in marine world! It took just over five weeks, longer that planned because of the need to wait for the additional water tanks that had not been scheduled to be built. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Maintenance Haulout: Oyster Cove, Kettering

We arrived in Tasmania in early January after a great cruise over the Tasman sea.  We seemed to arrive as the best summer in living memory also settled in so we were very spoilt for the four months we eventually spent enjoying the island.

Our first stop had been Consitution Dock for a few days rest after the trip down from Sydney and then we headed off to Kettering and Oyster Cove marina to get on with all the work that arrives with taking her out of the water.  In our minds we had pretty much decided that we wanted this to be the last haul out before South America planned in three years time so we had lots to do and of course more work appears than planned so it turned out to be a very busy three weeks.

The yard team and their support were nothing short of amazing.  We hear stories of hassles and difficulties in yards and here the complete opposite was true.  As soon as the boat was in slings Jerry said 'whatever you want just ask, we want to make your stay easy' and he meant it.  They took over the pressure wash, no charge, so I could help move the wind gen. Trestles appeared and help  to set up was always around.  No charge.  Extra lift to help epoxy the keel was happily forthcoming.  No charge!  Helpful advise always provided and use of the workshop bench drill available.  No charge.  Live aboard as well was no problem and no charge.  The local tradies were around and about and  always happy to chat, support and guide just because they are nice people.  We we left after three weeks very happy we had visited.   

The first fast-ball was the rudder, it was pretty wet inside and had been leaking around the stock.  I had pulled it off two years before to effect some minor repairs so the actual process of taking it off was not too daunting and required the dismantling of the hydraulic connections, quadrant and seals.  We then needed to raise the boat on the crane in order to drop the whole rudder out of its fitting. The 'scratch your head' part was deciding what to do with the rudder to make it secure and knowing who's expert advice to take. 
I got the angle grinder to cut out inspection patches on each side to see how much damage and rot there really was.  It was pretty bad in some places so I cut out and ground back to solid material, checked the integrity of the tangs and generally cleaned of the rudder post before washing clean with fresh water.  It was all very wet and with a lot of hollows in the build, not the best quality lay up - although it had lasted thirty years so far.   
Drying out was slow and I made up a small green house pointing towards the sun to keep it hot and dry.  It worked well and after several weeks sat in the hothouse was bone dry. After that it was a case of mat, resin and filler to repair the job and get her back to the original shape.

Whilst the rudder was off I also ground back and repaired loose patches on the rear of the keel as well as cleaning and sealing the rudder post fittings.  I had run the boat onto a bank a couple of years before and so took the time to get under the keel and cut back and re epoxy the base where there had been chips taken out of it.  The propeller had been cleaned several times whilst in the water and even so was caked in barnacles after more than two years since the last drying out.  So this time we figured we would prop speed to avoid all the hassles.  We are now hoping the build up will be eliminated. 

Whilst out we had planned to spend two weeks only and get the basic jobs done.  Some through-hull fittings to give the rear heads better water supply, new main anode for the engine, anti-fouling and some interior work that would be easier in the yard.  We had in our mind that maybe, just maybe we would roll and tip the top sides.  She was not very attractive and had a lot of damage and dents and scratches.  We got chatting to some of the sprayers and $ numbers were mentioned that were far too extravagant for us.  We had pretty much given up on the idea until we got chatting to Sam who was happily spraying a nearby boat that was looking very impressive.  We talked it through and came to an agreement where I, and my unsuspecting crew Keith and Margaret, would do all the prep, sanding, filling and masking (all the hard work)  and he would get to do the glamorous bit with the spray gun.

Whilst the lines that give her a wood appearance are lovely to look at, sanding them ready for paint was not the easiest job.  We estimated we spent, three of us, three days getting her sanded back properly and ready to begin the process of filling in the various bits of damage in the hull.  I guess half of this effort was on the 'tramlines' as they are now called.  After more sanding back and prep after the base coats we are now proud owners of a very shiny yacht courtesy of Sam and Wattle paints.   Of course we previously were pretty cavalier about scratches and dinks and now are converts to the idea of putting extra fenders and protection out before approaching berths and wharfs. 

After a lot more minor jobs it was time to go back in the water and head up the river to undertake our biggest task yet on the boat.  Replacing the tankage.