Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Stormy Passage to France

We had a peaceful night anchored in Newton Creek on the Isle of Wight, and I had everyone up for a 6 am breakfast before we set off at 07:00. There was a fair wind and, as we sailed out of Hurst Narrows on the rush of the ebb-tide, the grey morning was enlivened by a ray of pink sunrise illuminating the Needles.

Our course took us straight out past Poole and eventually past Portland. I had calculated our departure to enable us to arrive at the entrance of the Chenal du Four at 10:42 GMT to pick up the south going tide. However the shipping forecast was for an easterly gale after 12 hours. The satellite weather maps agreed that winds of up to 30 knots were due late evening and all Sunday. I took the view that Niall was proving to be hale and hearty , and that we should be able to handle a gale.

We have now passed through the Chenal and are at the entrance to Brest, having arrived exactly on time for our southward passage.

However the gales was not quite as forecast with winds rising to sustained 52-59 knots for several hours. This qualifies as Violent Storm 11, after which the only other classification is a Hurricane above 64 knots. I'm glad to say that both boat and crew did very well in mountainous seas, reducing sail appropriately and surfing at almost 12 knots at times. The autopilot, George, did his job well too.

Once in the Chenal du Four the seas were flatter, the wind dropped to 40 knots or so and we shook out some reefs to race another yacht through. Now as I write this we are held up waiting for a naval convoy to pass before we make for a mooring in Camaret or Brest.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Off at last!

Friday came and we still had Steve and John from MarineTech on board finishing off the engine, and helping fix the electric loo and repositioning some deck hardware. Then we set off as far as the fuel pontoon, took on 360litres of diesel and at 6pm sharp, Mark steered us out into the Solent.

Darkness fell as we navigated through the lights of buoys, sailing boats and great illuminated cruise liners, past Cowes and down to Newton Creek where we dropped anchor for the night.

Mark cooked up some pasta, and then we turned in ready for an early start. Tomorrow we head down Channel towards Dartmouth and will then turn left towards Brest.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Our crew arrives

Our novice crew, Niall Gallacher, arrived today catching the green foot ferry from Portsmouth Harbour station to Gosport where Tin Tin is moored.  The exceptionally high tides mean that we get a great view out of the harbour entrance and can wave at visitors arriving on the ferry.

In a spirit of optimism we loaded frozen goods for the freezer and our personal kit bags.  Mine is packed with thermal underwear and thick jerseys and socks for the first part and shorts and T-shirts of the second part.

At the boat we found three engineers still struggling finish the engine installation, plus Jerry the Rigger installing the boom vang.

We did a tour of the boat for Niall and then some knot training.  He quickly got the hang of round turn and two half hitches, clove hitches and bowlines.

We left with hope that the boat would be ready for trials on Thursday morning.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Captain Morgan comes aboard to show us the way.

One step forward......

Mark and I felt a sense of foreboding as we arrived in Gosport today. In fact we sat in the car putting off the dreaded moment of finding out what progress had been made while we ate sandwiches.

Finally I called Jerry the Rigger. GOOD NEWS! They are on deck running through the final items. Replace worn topping lift, replace worn mainsail furling line, replace staysail attachment, and re-rivet the boom vang.

So then down to the boat.

BAD NEWS! The electrician has done his back in and can't finish the engine today. Aaaaarghhh! Will it be done tomorrow? Who knows!?!?! Can we sail on Wednesday ? Who knows?!!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Open Day on Board

The rain stopped, the sun shone and TinTin was polished and tidy for Sunday's visitors.

It was great to see Mark's 3 boys; Matt and Elisa, Tim and Amy and Nick and Emma, plus Richard and friend Louise, just arrived from USA via Italy.

Paul served tea in the best China mugs, but then disaster struck when everyone tasted it. SALT! It was an awful discovery to find that our 600 litre water tanks, freshly replenished on Saturday, were full of seawater!

We quickly resorted to drinking beer and then all ten of us were treated by Richard to Sunday lunch at the Boat House.

We were also joined by Phil, and once everyone had left we dealt with the technical problems.
Investigation of the boat manual's water pipe diagrams showed a possible link to sea water. On investigation I found some rather alternative French piping which lacked a non-return valve crucial to the separation of fresh and salt water systems.

Meanwhile Phil instantly solved our wifi router issue ! A very useful man to know!

Now we are desperately hoping that Monday will have a successful conclusion so that we can do sea trials on Tuesday and leave on Wednesday before the weather deteriorates.

Sent from my iPhone
Apologies for any text errors

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Always look on the bright side of Life.... Aha aha ! Alway look on the bright side of Life... aaaaaargghh!

It's Saturday morning in the Big Brother House, and it feels as though Mark and Paul are characters in "Waiting for Godot".  

Every day we stow stores, tackle any maintenance issues and prepare for departure, but every day the engine room is still full of crouching engineers muttering curses against French yacht designers for the lack of space.

Friday was a BIG disappointment. When we arrived after lunch, hoping that the engineers had finally packed up and gone, they were still in contorted positions in the engine room. To everyone's dismay the parts sent from Volvo France, recommended by Alubat for installation of our engine, proved to be for a different engine. They now have to construct various new brackets to fit the bits, and won't be able to work on the boat this weekend.  So it's fingers crossed that all will finally be completed on Monday.  Then we still need to do sea-trials on Tuesday and try to leave on Wednesday.

Meanwhile our weather forecast shows that Wednesday would be perfect condition for a fast sail south, but that we don't want to arrive in Spain later than Saturday 22nd as there will be southerly gales for a few days.
The weather forecast looks promising if we can get away on Wednesday19th.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The French Connection

Good News! Since I discovered that the engine installation was putting current through the hull, the MarineTech team have been hard at work trying to sort the problem out.   Calls to Volvo UK, Volvo France and ultimately to Alubat in Sables d'Olonne have resulted in the useful discovery that the Volvo D2-75 engine is also fitted to the latest OVNIs, and there is a solution to the problem.  So now parts will beacquitred to sort this out, but they don't arrive till Thursday.  Just possibly will have the boat back for testing on Friday !

Meanwhile we have an appointment onWednesday 12th, much postponed, with Joanna The Compass Adjuster.  So at 14:30 tomorrow we shall be swinging!

Monday, 10 October 2016

Loading the Stores

We loaded just over 800 items of food on Sunday weighing in at 315kg.  Miraculously it stored away neatly join cupboards and under the floor.

To my great relief the new freezer equipment is pulling it down to -15 C which is just as I wanted it for longer term storage of Mark's medical supplies - ice cream :-)

Today we are taking down more equipment and will aim to be ready to sail on Wednesday/ Thursday. The compass adjuster is booked on Wednesday to make sure we g  in the right direction.

As an added bonus, Niall Gallacher called to say that we had been delayed so long that he was now available again to crew down to Spain.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Initial sea trials completed OK

Mark & Paul headed down to Gosport for the umpteenth time, but this time, after a full morning of making things shipshape, we started the engine.   With engineers, John and Ashleigh, aboard, and with the floor of the cockpit removed so that they could tend the engine, we warped ourselves out of a tight corner and reversed slowly out into the harbour.

The engine ran smoothly and quietly, and we head out to the first to test it.   Running at full throttle (3,100 rpm) we made about 8.6 knots, which is maximum efficient waterline speed.  Lots of white steam out of the exhaust, but this soon settled down.  The engineers were busy checking temperatures, filling cooling systems, checking for leaks etc, until we were all satisfied.  Then a bit of manoeuvring practice in the harbour to check engine performance for fine manoeuvres before heading back to the berth.

Mark and I then did a comprehensive scrub of the deck and paintwork before heading home.   Issues to fix on Monday; speed, wind and autopilot instruments not working, masthead wind sensor not rotating freely, current leak to hull when engine connected, engine not charging batteries, electronic engine monitor not connected to chart plotter, keel hydraulics still need some attention.

Tomorrow I think we can load the stores.  Then on Monday we can focus on getting these jobs fixed.

I think we are almost there ........ :-)

Friday, 7 October 2016

Still in Gosport, watching friends sail off for Spain!

Our friend Nick Russell has now found enough crew to set sail from Falmouth towards La Corunna in his 55' ketch, Rogue Trader.  We watch them go with fair winds for the next 5 days, and wish them bon voyage, wishing that we could be casting off too!

However the engine should now be ready for sea trials on Saturday, so we will find out whether everything works as it should.  

Yesterday we had help from Justin doing lots of cleaning and clearing out which made the aft deck feel shipshape at last.  Tomorrow we have a huge job getting the main cabin ready for sea, before we can cast off for our trial run.

Meanwhile Mark has been helping me complete DIY jobs at home, and has been working on fettling our gangplank.  I bought a scaffolding plank and sanded it down to give nice surface.  Mark has then been burning into it the words TIN TIN MMSI 235111559 so that it is identifiable if it floats off.  It now gets a number of coats of preservative so that it withstands the sea water and sun.   Holes have been drilled to attach ropes, and we should soon have a perfect means of getting ashore in Spanish harbours, where one moors stern to the dock.