Since arriving, Frank has moved moorings – it turned out that I was parked in a 60′ transient slip and they wanted me to pay for the 60 feet. So I headed over to the new slips, which are empty, probably because the shower and laundry facilities are crap. But the floating slips are brand new, and they are less popular with tourists, so the parking is better.

Mike Firestone, the highly-regarded surveyor, is due to finish the survey, now that Frank is back in the water. He wants to check the engine etc. Did I mention that the gear selector has reversed itself? It is apparently a simple job to set it right, but I am in no hurry to get stuck into the engine bay, in the Texas heat.

Mike got as far as the boat and then had a call which meant he had to head off pronto. So, hopefully, the survey will be completed next week. Then I can take the valuation to the Customs people and have Frank imported (tax paid…) and get her registered and flagged as a US vessel.

There is a small leak coming into the bilge from a couple of keel bolts, despite the keel being re-fitted. I suspect that the cast-iron keel has a couple of holes, through which the water seeps. When the keel was dropped I saw a few holes at the top of the keel – this is not unheard of. I am not worried about it. The 10 bolts are all sound, the keel too, and nothing has happened in 31 years, so we will be fine for the next 30. I am not taking her out again fo a year!

Once Frank is imported I will start tidying her up.  The chicken coop, which has served so well and looks so awful, will go. I will not go back to the sprayhood, but will make a perspex (Lexan, actually) version of the coop. I need to have the internal frame, which was knocked up in Spain overnight for $100, modified, but I have some ideas to allow for more solar panels to be fitted inside the new cabin. 

The Chicken Coop.

  Acrylic rather loses its charm..  
Two shelving rails act as protection against the boom.

Using .200 or .250 Lexan, with the steel frame inside and some other mods, I can slide solar panels into position inside the new structure, so that I get maximum sun coverage when sailing or moored, and can also remove them when I want extra visibility. That is the idea!

We shall see. 

The teak is in urgent need of protection from the sun, as the handrails on the coachroof are wasting away without varnish. And the stackpack is shredded. And, and, and!

But first, the survey needs to be completed and Frank imported.

I also need to document my journey from Gosport to Corpus Christi more fully. Later!

Corpus Christi, finally!

Frank is finally tied up at the Municipal Marina at Corpus Christi, after an extended refit at Hooking Bull boatyard, Rockport TX. Dropping the keel to re-bed it took three months due to a backlog of work at the yard, delays in getting stuff etc. 

Yesterday (Saturday May 21st) we made our escape, heading back up the inland coastal waterway to Corpus bay and the marina. 

Now I have to complete the survey, import her, have her registered in Texas and flagged as a US sailboat. Then I can start to make her pretty! I will post the keel refit pics another day.

Approaching Corpus Christi May 21st 2016.  
Tied up at Corpus Marina. In need of tlc.

Flying the Manx Red Ensign at Corpus.


The Route: Camarinas to Port Aransas.

Regrettably, I did not have my Delorme InReach for the Gosport-Falmouth-Camarinas leg. The Inreach posts a position every 10 minutes, and is a satellite text messager. $70 a month for unlimited texts and tracking plus SOS and Rescue. When you don’t need it, suspend the service. 

Here is my route, with a brief stop at Porto Santos (off Medeira) to retrieve the halyard again, and then a March 8 – December 24 layover in St Croix.


Port Aransas, Texas

Frank departed St Croix at 21:00 local Christmas Eve, 01:00 GMT Christmas Day. I sailed non-stop to Port Aransas, arriving around 23:00 local time, 14th February, 05:00 GMT 15th February. On Frank the entire journey was timed in GMT.

Non-stop excludes two days becalmed in the Caribbean and two days becalmed off Port Aransas. 

The transition from Caribbean to Gulf, between Mexico and Cuba, was especially rough but eventually we made progress.

Updates to follow. 

Frank in Port Aransas, Texas. I am having a new stack-pack made…

  Frank going back in the water, St Croix, Christmas Eve. 


I have ordered a replacement liferaft from Seago, so that we have an ARC-compliant ISO9650 liferaft. It will arrive today!
And on Tuesday, the Iridium Pilot Satellite Internet/Phone system will arrive, plus a hand held IsatPhone for backup. This means we will have (when it is installed..) on-board phone, email, web and wifi, at sea as well as in harbor.

Someone dinked Frank! I saw a deep graze on the rub rail, and on the newly polished topsides of her hull. I shall ask the marina to check the video from the cameras.

I planned to run the radar to the Garmin Chartplotter, as well as to the Raymarine display belowdecks, but after a tech support call it is not possible. Proprietary systems..

Not a big problem and I am not spending money on a new radar.

Finally – progress!

Frank Refit Update

Frank’s engine is being rebuilt, and should be re-installed next week. The block is being rebored, new pistons, new injectors, water cooler, oil cooler, and lots more new stuff fitted and the engine installed on new mounts.

The lifelines are fitted, so Geoff and I added the newly-renamed dodgers from Kemps. Once the rigging is fine tuned, we can focus on the rest of the stuff – electrics, power generation, internet connectivity, new SOLAS raft, heads holding tank update. etc etc.

We need to get some sailing time in! But progress is being made.Image

The engine before being dismantled:


The old Water Cooler


The block and old pistons: