One of many loading sessions involving numerous winched loads up to the onshore 5m deck level. We have lost track of the weight that we have onboarded but there are a few more shipments of this kind to come. So long as a dorade doubles up as a periscope we should be alright.
We have a 450mm trapeze but nowhere to swing to. As the time for last minute tasks begins to expire it’s a question of finding scraps of raw materials to fabricate parts. There was just enough 6mm and 12mm steel bar knocking about on the floor to form the trapeze for the passarelle.
We are part way through making the 25mm steel pin for the transom so we are just missing the bit in the middle, the gangway and wheels.
So we wondered if it were possible, and if it proved to be so, how long it would take a family crew to manage a 60ft yacht and take it from ‘barely coastal’ to circumnavigation readiness? This excludes the many hours of packing up the shore life which eventually became a seriously high pressure job which we currently do 5am-ish to 9pm 7 days a week. We have no idea what day it is because it’s always the same; checking through a project deadline and ticking off tasks every three hours or so – and unlike the IT world this one is not going out to the right! There is no right to go to – weather windows, budget constraints, miles to travel, workshop decomissioned and so on; there never has been room to slip. We set a deadline almost three years ago and we remain on target against a schedule that in the corporate world would be deemed impossible. Amazing what a family crew can do with focus, drive and commitment.
Our thanks to Pete of Travis Perkins and our amazing friend Sue for easing the shore life exit.
There are a number of things outstanding as the departure date rapidly approaches but at this stage we can generally conclude that it has taken about 4,500 hours of boat work to reach the launch pad. this includes researching, sourcing, fabricating, installing, interfacing. It excludes on the water testing.
Most suppliers (equipment only) have been excellent and only one proved downright negligent, dishonest and willing to risk lives without a care. So the answer to Question #1 is 4,500 approximately. We have one key risk on the horizon which is a full rigging inspection once we drop in the water – fingers crossed we pass without issue.
Leaving the sinking ship…..a laboratory experiment on yacht crews
We spent a few days at the Hamble School of Yachting to gain the Sea Safety, Sea Survival and First Aid Certificates required by the ARC. In the pictures we are learning to abandon ship, deploy a liferaft, minimise cold shock, manage a casualty, righting, boarding and maintaining a liferaft, and to put the human body into shutdown for longer term survival. Sea Survival, taught by ex-military specialist John, was excellent. All crew attended and the teenagers found it to be a brilliant and rewarding experience. Admittedly they no longer want to go even as far offshore as Bournemouth Pier.
Life inside an 8 man liferaft with a ‘comfortable’ 8 man crew (bouncy castle type floor space allocation of about 2 sqft each) even in the flat calm of a pool is very challenging; what this would be like at night in a bit of weather we never want to know but to have had some practice in ideal conditions. And adding more crew beyond the 8 man design in the event the space is needed would make a tough situation very gruelling.
Our thanks to Fiona of ARC 2013 entry True Colours for supplying the photos.
Offshore lifejackets, although these are old, take a bit of handling
Righting an inverted 8 man liferaft
Crew Aditi after a number of lengthy swims in full foul weather gear.
Crew of True Colours having righted the raft
Our survival consultant, instructor and personal trainer John was a great no-nonsense yet encouraging live wire who simply never stopped working making this a first class, definitely no picnic, kind of a day. If you wanted someone to raise your chance of surviving a crisis look no further.
The Ship’s Cat is not going sailing with us and is moving out having packed his belongings. Crew morale will plummet without the ship’s cat chattering away throughout the day. How many other ‘hobbies’ require the total sheding, or shredding, of one’s daily existence. That’s the jobs gone, cars gone, house gone and now the Cat – there is no going back and the months ‘to go’ have slipped rapidly through weeks and now to hours as time becomes ever more compressed!
The more parts that become obsolescent the more we get used to sourcing materials and making replacements. We are forced to learn more about our boat and develop our own parts. In this case the Lewmar 2000 windlass from 1990 required a new friction ring so the search for a suitable plastic to take the load bearing, that was easily machined and had low friction/excellent bearing qualities took us past nylon and delrin to a new material, Acetal. We have plenty spare for further bearing applications but cutting this at sea would be a challenge.
Advanced plastics from Bay Plastics who supply to any specified measurements.
Milling the ring on a rotary table with every other movement locked off to ensure accuracy.
The old friction ring was missing a third. The new white acetal ring sits within a grove on the rope gypsy.
It was some time sgo that we made the cooker fiddles and we always knew that fitting would be another 5 minute boat job, or about 4 boat hours all going well. Drilling the top mounting holes in sheet steel without being able to run any cooling fluid was a nightmare as the cooker cradle heat hardened and all of our HSS CNC bits found it hard going. Then the need to drill at a lower level necessitated the removal of the cooker hobs, microwave and gimballed cradle. We are now trialling cobalt tip drills.
The final fit has worked out well and deals withe issue of different heights between the gas cooker and the ceramic hobs. Perhaps it would have been more practical to keep the pan retainers straight to maximise flexibility but aesthetically that would have been bland and would not have centred on the offset ceramic hobs.
Cleaning the keel ready for anti-fouling now that we are within our paint window (less than a month until immersion which is the survival time for Trilux 33 out of the water – the joys of aluminium). Everything and everybody get’s covered in blood red splashing about in the toxic red swimming pool as we take care not to contaminate the ground. High pressure washing didn’t cut it so it’s hard labour with scrubbing pads. When this paint dries on you it can only be explained away as a having been a busy night out in the dark without garlic.
We are finally working on deck and sorting out the garage in some late spring sunshine
And we are onboarding fuel conditioner for 20,000 litres of diesel, a large where’s-this-going tub of hydraulic oil, and Christmas decorations (we are allowing one box of Christmas bits and baubels)
And as part of the Christmas planning we are adding cockpit harness points with a 6 tonne / 15,000 lb working load which should hold a couple of crew with or without extra turkey (pictured with a swiftly made up nylon6 and 2mm 316 steel backing plate, however, after looking again at the depth of thread on the u-bolt the further addition of a marine ply backing plate has had to be included).
At long last the watermaker installation is over with the final fitting of the remote control at the chart table. Alongside the outrageously expensive and rather poorly manufactured remote (which was not even squared up on it’s faceplate so the body had to be cut in at a seriously bespoke angle to sit straight in the panel) with a basic 3 way switch. Where’s the remote pressure monitoring and production volume control? We could have made our own switches linked to an RJ45 plug for next to nothing and placed them within the right context on our main switch panel. We are unimpressed with the Ecosistems remote.
We added the flashing red led which on power up via the circuit breaker warns the crew to check that the various valves are open before running the unit. If flashing red becomes tedious we can switch to always on red or green warning lights.