DIY Dave


It’s always an unknown setting out on a journey when your 37 year old boat has not moved for a wee while. Hoards of mischievous blighters are known to take up camp in out of the way places, hiding in crevices and corners, waiting to leap out and bite you on the bum on your first trip.

We had just the four on our journey from Fishing Bay, Deltaville to Cape Lookout, near Beaufort. Round Hatteras.  A first for us. But actually a great sail.

Cap’n and chief Spannerman Dave was equal to them all. Take that you cheeky blighters. A quick précis of the list. Dodgy alternator putting out too many volts…solved by replacing the alternator with a spare. Tick. Burst pipe and associated flood from the pressurised water tank to the sink…solved by replacing the pipe and two big sponges. Tick. Snapped lazy jack line which keeps the sail in a bag along the boom…solved by a fancy bit of splicing and a quick trip up the mast. Tick.

And the fourth, I was on watch in the middle of the night when I became aware of an unwanted creaking noise in the steering quadrant / autopilot area. Hmmmm. That’s not usual or healthy. Time to wake Dave up. Turns out the bracket which holds the autopilot mechanism has a crack down a welded seam causing the unit to twist in a Chubby Checker fashion.

This was of course, only discovered when the whole contents of the back bedroom had had to be hauled out from its neatly packed home and distributed on the floor to allow access. This one was not so straightforward to fix so we hand steered for the next 30 hours. Tell you what, that autopilot does bloody good work and hand steering down wind in the dark with no points of reference is knackering.

All the aforementioned didn’t really dampen spirits. I was really happy to be moving again. We had a fast trip down with good wind. A large swanky powerboat called Andrea’s Revenge overtook us and made us laugh. Who was on the wrong side of Andrea? 😀

I saw a large ray somersaulting out of the water and landing on its back, it’s white belly vivid in the sea. I didn’t know if it was being chased, or just happy, or maybe trying to get rid of mites on its back? Whatever the reason it was quite spectacular.

And dropping the anchor at 3.15am meant Dave stayed up and followed the England New Zealand Rugby World Cup semi final. Bad luck Kiwi friends. I however was asleep in seconds.


On the move again…

No story to tell here, just a very quick update.

Haul anchor and move south. It’s happening tomorrow. I have itchy feet.
Plan is to head straight to Beaufort North Carolina, round Hatteras. Should take around 2 days offshore.

We’re lining up a few days in the hills of Brevard in North Carolina with a family we met in the Bahamas. Dave hopes to get his climbing gear out. We’re excited to see these folks again and have fun in their backyard.

Pennies to Pounds

The first thing I ever saved up for was a drop handle bar racing bike. It cost £112. I was in my young teens and £112 was a fair whack. Summer’s working washing dishes and autumn’s picking potatoes let me accrue my pile of dosh. It took a while.

My previous bike was a 1930’s women’s racing bike which I was given. It was heavy, sturdy and went like stink when you got it upto speed. Brakes seemed optional but the leather in my school shoes did the business too, much to my mam’s chagrin.

Having to save up for something that cost more than three figures gave the bike more value than the pure financial cost. Dirt and rubber gloves were involved.

Saving up, just generally to have some cash behind you, is a different thing. It’s an insurance policy, a ‘what if’ fund, but the question is, when do you spend that money? Surely the whole point in saving up and putting a bit of cash by, is to spend it one day and not just grace the bank’s particularly greedy piggy bank. 

Where’s this leading? We splashed some cash on a new prop shaft and a new life raft. Buying a life raft is an bizarre thing. Spend good money on something you never want to use. There’s probably a adjective to describe this but I don’t know what it is.

We went to the Annapolis boat show to suss out different brands and prices. Some looked like kiddies paddling pools that wouldn’t  stand up to a boisterous 5 year old, We opted for something that was the ‘top end of the mid range’ priced rafts. It felt like the best compromise after we’d pondered for a few days.

Good news is we are back floating. All good. Well that’s not strictly true. The generator is not working. It won’t start so we are liaising with the UK, Germany and the USA about getting a new starter motor as it’s still under warranty. It’s a three way email dance.

We’re not big dance fans.

Boat yard life

It’s all been a bit deja vu in the boatyard here in Deltaville. Plans, lists, delays, repetitions and so forth, but our time on the hard is very nearly up. We splash Friday after a mid week trip to the Annapolis boat show to look at, then dream about owning a water maker. Followed swiftly by a consoling beer with some Peeps we last saw in the Bahamas. That bit will be fun.

There has been quite a European contingent here, a few Brits, plus a fair smattering of Dutch and German folk too. And there is surprising uniformity in everyone’s day….early starts, trips to the hardware store (if you’re American) or shop (if you’re british) in either the yard sofa which comes with wheels and an engine or one of the red push bikes which are free to use here. Then routinely it’s days end for showers around 6 or 7 before dinner and bed. This is pretty much everyone’s Groundhog Day schedule here.

There isn’t really anywhere to go. I’ve cycled around a bit in the evening. It’s very flat here which is helpful as the bikes have no gears, or traditional cable brakes for that matter. Pedal backwards to stop. They do have very large saddles which offer unbounded comfort levels in the cheek department.

Chat centres around rotting rudders, caulking and prop shafts. I look forward to moving on again, as the dynamic will change and we can get on with the main business of the day, sailing to new places.