Photo Journal – Crossing the Atlantic

Crossing from Camarinãs to St Croix took about five weeks. I stayed on GMT the whole trip.

I took a few photos and made a regular video diary, which I plan to edit and turn into a movie of sorts, one day.

This is my iCloud album. Feel free to browse. The most interesting aspect for me was the change in my face – early exhaustion, leading to a leaner, happier visage as I made progress.
There are a load of missing pics, but how many shots of waves, or experimental night shots, can a peson stand??

The stop-over is Porto Santos, where I arrived at around 5am and left at 22:00, having dried my bedding and clothes and retrieved the halyard, using my invaluable Aloft Alone kit .

The big island in the background is Madeira. It is a massive lump of rock in the middle of the Atlantic – it stays in the rear view mirror (no, I don’t have one!) for days! 

The photo or video that I did not get was of the dolphin to my starboard, perhaps 10 feet from me. I was watching and filming the dolphins to port, when I turned and saw a dolphin walking on its tail, looking at me, keeping pace. Then it disappeared.

The other scene that I missed filming was nature in action: the flying fish suddenly appeared, having been hidden from the birds under the boat, they were flushed out by dolphins: then came the chasing dolphins in a feeding frenzy, and suddenly the gulls joined in the fray.

Tired, heading south “to where the butter melts”

Exhausted, smiling

Porto Santos

Madeira. Forever Madeira

Manx Red Ensign at dawn

Happier Colin

Beard coming along nicely

Dragons be there.. Going off the edge of the World, or at least the Garmin map of Western Europe as delimited by that green box under the 274°, top right.

What goes round, comes round..

Radio GaGa updated Sept 10 2016

(Added the name plate with callsign etc to the vhf panel – pic below)

I had to replace the old VHF, as the mic lead had disintegrated in the heat of the Caribbean. Or… Mice?

The new one was a different size profile, and I only had a Dremel, so I made a bad job of fitting it into the “cubby”, as I was just trying to get everything ready to escape before Christmas.

I have made a new frame to fit the vhf, and bought a couple of adapters, so that it is attached to the fascia, rather than to a stand. The pics will explain. 

Note that slot cut into the inner hull side – you can see light through the hull. I am guessing that the original vhf was bigger and the installer cut into the inner hull and 2″ of foam, to give space to the radio’s heat sink.

A bit of varnish makes all the difference…shame I could not match the wood. I have ordered an engraved plate with Vessel Name, call sign (Mike Echo Charlie Whisky Eight), O/N 701429 and MMSI (too long).

A bit messy – someone else before my time added the white gunge, by the way. 

All set, and it works better too!

Frank’s Flown The Coop!

The world’s most famous (and least attractive)  marine chicken coop has been decommissioned.

I shall recycle the 1″ marine ply, and re-fashion or replace the steel chassis.

The new Crystal Palace, as I have dubbed it, will be a steel and Lexan affair.

Some pics:

Note the Chippendale craftsmanship, as Arthur Negas used to say on “Going for a Song” – the forerunner of Antiques Roadshow. And check out the yellowed acrylic glazing!

Frank, looking less like a fishing trawler every day!

The new sailcover and lazyjacks will arrive in a week or so.

Off the rails.

(Updated 28th Aug 2016)

My new coachroof rails have been cut by Fine’s Lumber – I drove to Austin and collected them, and must now fettle and fit them.

The old ones have some inch and a half of curvature at the mid point. 

The profile of the original is asymmetric, more rounded on top than the bottom, whereas my new ones are symmetric. I will round off the top edges.

The new ones are also undrilled, so I have to get the holes lined up correctly. As Frank is 3 hours drive away, I do not want to be shuttling back and forth, and am not sure whether to drill and measure at the boat or at home, using the old rails as patterns.

Then I shall need to decide how to treat the new teak – oil, varnish, 


I have measured up the new rails to drill the holes, and will do the drilling at Frank

The difference in the profile:

The end of the old rail, on the left, is sloped out from top to bottom, and I have allowed one inch on the new rail, for cutting errors. I will match the emd slope, but probably not the profile, which is wider on top than on the bottom.

The holes seem to be offset from the centre line. This is most apparent when viewed from the underside of the old rail. The rail curves inboard,naturally amd the holes are biased to the inside of the curve:

A pencil fits in the holes just enough to centre the pencil mark for the hole, assuming that I have it in the right position! That is why we use pencil. Measure twice, cut once, they say, although I tend to measure several times and still get it wrong. 😉

SailTimer Wireless Wind Instrument

My new SailTimer wind instrument finally arrived today.

It is a Bluetooth wireless device, to replace the NASA Marine Clipper unit, which has a cable from masthead to cockpit, where the display unit site. The Clipper stopped working months ago, with the masthead unit having given up the ghost and, I suspect, the wire having some breaks in it.

This Sailtimer unit should transmit to my iPhone(s), iPad, etc as well as give me access to Crowdsourced wind wherever there are users – both historical and in realtime.

The Unit:

How it is supposed to look, once installed:

I will use my Aloft Alone kit to shimmy up the mast and install it – perhaps next weekend.

Wayward Halyard

I have lost the halyard several times – so now I wire it in place. It usually happens when I am reefing the main in a sudden blow, but it has happened when I have (for some reason) loosened it, and the wind snatches it from my hand, or it wraps itself around the head of the mast.

Shortly after leaving Camarinas, in a blow, as I was reefing, I heard a “ping!” As the shackle pin went flying one way and the shackle another. I took this photo of the halyard. 

I used my Aloft Alone kit to climb the mast mid Atlantic, somewhere off Portugal, but could not untangle it. I used the topping lift, as the halyard shifted position for several days, looking like a python, languidly lazing in the standing rigging.

Then, as I approached Porto Santos, it just fell loose!

I raced to the mast and grabbed it, still wrapped around the mast but in my reach at last, and tied it to a shroud before shackling it securely at the foot of the mast.
Below is Frank in Porto Santos, to the north east of Medeira. I stayed 12 hours to dry out and secure the halyard shackle pin with some seizing wire and headed on to the Caribbean. 

I heartily recommend Porto Santos – the marina is reminiscent of Portland, being an ex NATO base – not used much, sheltered and friendly. The beaches are wonderful and the shops nearby are superb. Apparently, finding a berth Madeira is hard but Porto Santos is great.

An Ode to an Anode

The hull anode, to which the engine is earthed, is a large, 8″ pear-shaped lump on the port side and towards the stern, near the centreline.

It is mounted on two through-hull bolts. When it was replaced in September of 2014, Craig was unable to free the forward nut holding the anode in place. So it was cut off, and disappeared into the gap between inner and outer hulls. A new bolt was fitted.

Water was entering the gap between hulls through the bolt hole, and upon inspection at Hooking Bull I saw that the new bolt was very badly corroded. With advice from the Sadler Owners’ forum (tremendously useful!) I set about replacing the bolt but also curing the problem of water ingress.

So I drilled a 2″ hole in the inner hull centred around each anode bolt, but not through the outer hull. Natch!

I discovered the old nut and bolt, and also drained out some water. There was a previous and poorly-executed attempt at filling the hole, as evidenced by some filler that I also removed. Remember, the gap is “filled” with a water resistant foam but there are gaps, and here was a gap.

I took these pics of the job:

The hole. Somewhere, I have pics of the finished job, and will add them.

I drilled new holes and cut new threads into the filled “bung” with a tap and die set, sealing the deal with 3M below waterlne adhesive Sealant (the stuff that can be removed, not the permanent stuff!)

The anode before new bolts were fitted. I reused the anode, making a new rubber gasket to go between the hull and the anode.

News of The Screws

In St Croix I greased the MaxProp propeller, which involves buying some expensive grease and injecting it through a screw-in nipple. I also polished the bronze, added a new zinc and   also serviced the rope cutter (new zinc and bearing). I had bought some antifoul for the prop and shaft but decided to save it for another time.

Nine or 10 weeks later she was out of the water again, and I was amazed at the barnacles which were on the screw and shaft! 

This is the screw after 11 months in the water, from September 2014 Gosport to July St Croix.

Contrast with how the prop looked just after Frank was “re-branded” and put back in the water in Spring of 2014. 

Below are some pics of the MaxProp in various stages of undress at Hooking Bull boatyard, Rockport TX, May 2016. Somewhere I have pics of the screw with its new coat of antifoul. I hope it will last the season.

For a 3boat driven byna 8hp engine Frank was always reluctant to get a move on. I suspected that the settings were wrong (the MaxProp is a self-feathering blade which can be fine tuned to match the gearbox), and the guy at the distributor kindly gave me the correct settings to match my 2.14 reduction ratio gearbox. The difference is readily apparent. I can now turn the power on and off quickly, which is much better for navigating marinas or driving and turning through tough seas.

Note the alpha settings on the outer ring.

The prop is offset, making a clockwise turn easy but an anti clockwise turn, especially in reverse, is a nightmare. Go slow, be prepared to do lots of to-ing and fro-ing to manoeuver at close quarters, and be ready to use a power dump to halt momentum and start again!

I left the 1″ zinc on, and added one.

That square plate is a ground plate, magnesium alloy. Designed to correctly ground a SSB radio. It has two mounting points and is removeable for cleaning. The gap between the plate and hull is designed to maximise grounding. Most grounding plates have multiple mounting points – with this, fewer mounting bolts through the hull mean fewer holes through the hull.

Keel Over

Some pics of the keel refit at Hooking Bull, Rockport TX. This took three months or so, because we had to get a slot in the calendar, wait weeks for the “glue”, and schedule the rigger to unstep and restep the mast, tune the rigging, etc.

The mast is dropped..

Before the keel is dropped..

We had to wait whilst Hooking Bull found the time and then ordered the two-part keel adhesive sealant.

Lifting the hull, with the keel bolts loosened. The mast is off, to prevent the unballasted hull toppling over if the keel becomes detached.

Loosening the keel slowly to lower it from the hull..

The keel is hanging on..

Separation. There was water in the hull, which was drained out over several hours. No osmosis, thank heavens.

Interesting hole in the cast iron keel.

Applying the Pettit FlexPoxy, a 2-part epoxy adhesive sealant designed for keel joints, from Pettit Marine Paint. It has a carteidge to ensure that components A and B combine in a 2:1 ratio.

Inside the boat.

Dropping Frank back onto the keel, to compress the joint, and tightening the bolts..

Finishing off.

The finished job