Monday, 31 March 2014

Almost time to get ready

The regular reader will know that the owner and his boat have not seen each other for at least six months. 
The owner is now imagining all sorts of scenarios about how Vagabond has withstood the winter.
Will the cabin be infested with mould?
 Have rats or mice chewed the cushions or the sails? 
Will the tarpaulin still be intact?  
And what about the trailer wheels - will they have become flat?
Don't forget the batteries...

One week to go before we find out how Vagabond has fared during the winter. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

This summer takes shape

Wake up gentle readers! Wake up!

There is only about 8 weeks to go before Vagabond and I resume our slow peregrination* around Britain. I'd better get cracking.

Firstly, the purchases/improvements planned.

Existing readers will know about the immersion suit - I had wanted to test it out in the relatively warm water of a swimming pool but couldn't persuade the authorities to let me do so. The local river is flowing well for the moment (what a surprise) but I've rather been put off that by the farmyard near the source. So it will have to wait.

Have I mentioned the pump up foghorn? Up to now, Vagabond had sported one of those red plastic trumpets. I've discovered that it takes more breath than my lungs can spare, so we have acquired an air powered one that works with a pump.

Another solar panel lurks in the garage, waiting to be installed, together with the rig modification kit, to provide spreaders and two sets of shrouds.

Lastly, I've been investigating the battery charging and use arrangements and realise that having two batteries in parallel is not the best arrangement, so the system will be changed to have the two batteries on separate circuits with a new on off switch to change from one to t'other. This requires a new approach to the way the solar panels charge the batteries and a new controller has been obtained. I'm crossing my fingers that the new solar panel and the new charging controller will enable Vagabond to operate with the benefit of shore power for about a week, given reasonable weather.....At least the daylight hours are many in June in Scotland....

Oops - I forgot Freddie. He's been serviced and dirt was found in the carburettor. So the petrol tanks need a thorough clean. Motto, don't let you outboard share petrol cans with the mower or hedge trimmer!

All of this represents a few days work on Vagabond, before I think of polishing the hull or varnishing (at least the copper coat means that her bottom doesn't need cleaning).

So, I'm heading north in the first full week of April to put this lot into effect....then coming back south before setting out again in mid May.

Perhaps at the end of this summer I'll bring Vagabond back to Bucks.....

Meanwhile, other stuff happens.

The Sail Caledonia team have wrought miracles and sent us all the detailed plan for the week. I notice it includes this rather ominous phrase: 'Monday 26th May Afternoon fun section - capsize drill' The immersion suit might get tested after all.......

The wife of the farmer (currently resident in Nova Scotia) has announced she wants to sail with me from Balvica to Fort William. BUT (and there's always a but) she has to be back in London on the 30th May. So now we are sailing against the clock before any racing with Sail Caledonia.....And I have had to advance purchase her train and plane tickets from Ft William to London.

Pedants bit

* Not strictly a peregrination as we are not going on foot**.

**Well, not all of the way