1,700 Newts

Validating the fixing needs of the main SSB did not reveal much. Allowing for the 13.5kg unit a free fall drop of 5 metres resulting in a sudden dead stop (no distance allowed for deceleration) requires an overall fittings strength of 1.7 kilonewtons. The issue is then finding the shear capacity of A4 bolts in kN/mm2.

Stainless steel may have a tensile strength of 500 n/mm2 and an M6 bolt should have , leaving aside 1mm for thread, a total load area of 19mm and therefore tensile strength of 9.5kN. Not the same as shear but the load value indicates a level of comfort spread across 4 bolts.

The weekend? A complete bender!

With wiring unwrapped from all that it seeks to cling to, pull down, get snagged on the interfacing of Wotsit A to Wotsit B, C and D may, fingers crossed, be finished. The last job then is to fit the 14 kilo Icom ‘briefcase’ somehwere cool, near the chart table, near the power source and away from anything else that dislikes heat. Add to that the momentum that this will gain under movement and it turns into a structural engineering problem. The process of elimination begins – can’t drill here, not under the freezer, too low in the bilge, too big a cable run to the antenna, GPS, modem, control unit – eventually it all ends up back at the place we first thought of – the lucky void of dark matter invitingly unoccupied. But could it house water maker parts? Too bad this looks like SSB territory.

What shoe size, style, material and colour? Choices. Much juggling, clamping, drawing and measuring follows. Finally it is decided that the slipper sole will be made of aluminium in a style similar to the hull, joined to a marine ply upper in which the SSB unit can sit and toast away in peace surrounded by a cool clean vertical air flow.


Bring on the weekend bender! The 5/8″ inch aluminium flat bar is bent to shape to sit on the bulkhead, hull rib structure and to avoid existing power units. Imagination, measure, bend, measure, trial fit, bend, cut, bend, fit, remove for additional drilling and machining.




Month T-6 Searching for a good omen

As the days start getting longer we search intensely just like the ancient mariner for a sign, an omen, a simple indication that we are on the right journey. We have listened to the rigging; not a sound. We have searched the sky; not an Albatross to be seen in the grey murk as the rains pour down. We have stirred the bilge water and peered into the depths; nothing. We have raked the sump oil and peeked behind the headlining; nothing. Alas the sign of a great omen has yet to make itself known so on onward we go keeping our highly tuned senses alert to the slightest prophecy.



You can lead a horse to water

But first you have to make the water!


So the watermaker is contemplating life on-board – where will it live, where will its pump go, what seacocks will be added, how will the filters be installed and where will the pipework have to go. Feel another headache coming on for which I need…….water.


Once the watermaker is in place we plan on waiting for the darkest night to onboard the horse and see what happens.

02/13 Latest update – it is now very difficult to find a horse in the UK!

We are fitting the watermaker modules to the bulkheads and reusing old 24 cables (which are rated at 50 Amps for the approx. 10m run and the watermaker at 24V will draw a max 25 Amps). Here we have fitted the second filter with the sea water line into the membrane together with the air-cooled pump power unit which is a large aluminium heat-sink.


The sticking point has been to re-use the existing thru-hull fittings. The to-be brine outlet  is 1 1/2″ bsp and needs to be reduced to 15mm internal diameter. After weeks of searching we hope to have found the solution at pipestock.com



The existing 1″ thru-hull outlet blanked off alongside an active grey water outlet.






The existing 3/4″ sea water inlet to be T’d, ball valved and reduced down to 20mm

The Three Metz-ateers

Meet AIS, VHF (back up) and SSB DSC now in place


and the operation requires jackstays and harness on land as ice covers the decks


and 65 metres of cable to run…soon to be about 120m with the addition of WiFi and SSB radio connections


And add Alfa WiFi

We have added Alfa marine WiFi which feeds straight through to a wireless router. Not that keen on the Alfa designed mounting bracket as it is not a closed ring bracket but will run with it for the time being.


Almost half way through the cable runs from the stern utilising as far as possible the original build routing. Access involves more boat yoga and a ‘special’ set of tools without which it would have been impossible


And the SSB goes straight into the slot we cut a year ago (banking on no design changes to the control head)


Month T-7



The relentless countdown to departure ticks away so a quick readiness check;

  • Where’s the watermaker – hallway
  • Where’s the tri-colour – kitchen
  • Where’s the DSC antenna – garage
  • the VHF antenna – rear cabin
  • AIS antenna – shop
  • New chain – boatyard
  • Foghorn – shop
  • Bilge pumps – shop
  • SSB Radio – shop
  • Ocean life jackets – shop
  • New sails – in manufacture
  • Dyneema for gybe preventer – shop

The next round of joinery removal, mast climbing, cable running, soldering and heavy gear placement is just around the corner – can’t wait!

This month is about securing the cooker – the hobs, cast iron stands on the gas side, fitting the pan holders and hopefully finishing the antenna tree with all antennas complete and in place including waterproof cable glands but this is a big ask for a winter month.

Over the bar

A summer flashback – Closely monitoring levels of freezer draught  and carefully avoiding distributing too widely amongst the crew


anchored in a summer high and settling nicely


building to an Azores high


followed by the inevitable low…..as supplies run dry

Something’s Cooking

Pan holders start to line up for a chance to board


Some careful bending to ensure sufficient contact with pots whilst maintaining the aesthetics


and eventually construction ceases


Out with the Grey and in with a hint of Blue

An initial clearance of grey water, dark skies and constant rain


Out with a bit more grey


A slow transition toward dove grey


A mild blue tint creeping in


and a deeper shade of blue on the horizon