Friday, February 16, 2024


Hopefully the new removable fiddle on the inboard side of
the table will....

prevent a repetition of this which happened at anchor at the
Skerries (IRE)

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Post notifications

I am no longer sending notifications of Blog updates via e-mail and instead will post notifications of significant updates with a link to the blog on Facebook (and perhaps to other social media) at SV-Sancerre, follow the page to get them. 

Monday, January 1, 2024

2024 - Towards Muckle Flugga?

A place name that has always intrigued me, according to Wikipedia it comes from Old Norse, "Mikla Flugey", meaning "large steep-sided island".

Before the lighthouse was automated and the keepers moved away it was the most northerly inhabited place in UK but I think what got my attention was that it is only a couple of miles from RAF Saxa Vord, and in the 1970s when I was in the RAF and working on air defence radar there was a danger that I could be posted there, for someone single, in their 20s and doing a lot of sailing that was not something to look forward to, especially as the weather can be so bad that at various times two radar heads, one 75 foot long, have been blow away.

That should be between 2,200 and >= 3,000 nautical miles depending on the route so a worthy challenge for the year. The plan is weather dependant but I hope to leave in March (the tides will be good on the 16th - 18th, immediately after scrubbing) or early April (optimum dates c 1st or 15th but leaving over Easter does present some logistical problems) and to go west-about via Cape Wrath, I don't want another cold, difficult passage along the east coast in easterly winds, probably getting weather bound for days in expensive marinas, it should also get me to Kirkwall, the Islands of north Orkney and then Shetland in June with long days and short nights. And on the way back I should miss the worst of the Scottish midges and have enough time to anti-foul the boat before another cruise to end the season.

Rounding Cape Wrath in 2020.
The route back will be decided later, east coast, back the way I came or through the Caledonian canal? Single handed the latter is possible but unlikely.

The other question is which way up the west coast? Going up the Irish sea it just depends on the wind but the next big thing on my bucket list is the west coast of Ireland and its tempting to go that way in case I'm not fit enough to do a round Ireland in 2025. On the other hand taking my time going around Ireland would be a a good mission for next year, perhaps in conjunction with the Jester Baltimore Challenge. I suspect I will still be pondering this when I get to Newlyn in April.

Once I get past the North Channel, or Malin Head if going round Ireland, there are a good number of places to visit or transit for the first time and others to revisit, including the sea of the Hebrides hoping for a repeat of the 2023 wildlife exhibition, The Sound of Barra (I would particularly like to see the beach airport there, I tried to fly there some years ago but the weather closed in and I got no further than Machrihanish (Campbletown) and had to turn back with a very low level flight back to Fife), The Shiant Islands and much more.

Some places on the West Coast I might visit as green anchors. In practical
terms some are going to be mutually exclusive on a one way trip, perhaps an
excuse for coming back west about if there is time. I have already visited
the anchorages shown as Red anchors  and marinas / harbours in Blue.

And some in Orkney and Shetland
Principle victualling stops are likely to include Newlyn, Ardglass or Bangor, Port Ellen (Islay) and / or Tobermory, Castle Bay (Barra), Stornoway, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Peterhead and Lowestoft. All of which should have Gaz and all, except Newlyn, have fuel on site or reasonably close at hand if needed.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Darn engines🤬🤬🤬🤬

I thought I would run the engine yesterday for the first time in a couple of months, a few minutes later the overheating alarm went off. 

There was water at the outlet from the water strainer, so I took the pump off then it's back. When the shaft was turned the impeller didn’t, the bonding between the rubber impeller and the metal centre had failed and it was easy to separate the two. 

The water pump looking from aft.
Visually in good condition except its now in
two pieces.
I change impellers annually in the spring with Yanmar branded ones so it has one seasons use. I suppose I should be grateful that it didn’t fail when I was rushing back to the Hamble from Hope Cove in August for a family emergency; I carry multiple spares and could have fixed it in an hour but it would have been quite stressful until I found the fault and dangerous if it had failed going through the Needles channel with little wind.

The assembly is getting a bit tatty where bolts bear on it and as I want to replace some of the pipe work, (including the bit shown above) and check the engine anodes I am leaving the engine drained of water for a while and have the unit at home for the clean up and repaint.

After the repaint.


Check and adjust or replace the water pump belt regularly, the unit gets very close to the engine mount if worn and adjusted for the correct tension, this could be a particular problem if standard soft engine mounts are used as the engine will rock more. Fortunately I have the stiffer premium mounts.

Update 4 Jan 2024. With a brief break in the weather the engine got it's annual service yesterday along with a new drive belt for the water pump and new water hoses from the pump through to the anti-syphon valve and the exhaust elbow, rerouted to hopefully avoid chafe. Everything working again. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

More winter work

The burn holes in the carpet has been bugging me for years, time to replace. Taking the cabin sole home to work on it led to cleaning the bilge to keep the smell down and whilst about it the fore and aft sections of the bilge needed a clean and a coat of paint (The main bilge was painted a couple of years ago), the teak faced boards over these sections were varnished not that long ago and don't need to be redone.

The aft section was easy having had a coat in 2022 when the
sea cock was replaced.
The section in the heads needed a bit more work on what was
almost certainly the original paint. Some wiring also needed
tying up - stick on pads don't seem to last long on a boat. I
added the rubber strips some time ago to stop the board rocking and
squeaking, a small section, lower left, now needing to be replaced.
The underside of the main section of the cockpit sole after what
was probably the first coat of paint in 45 years, but it had done well,
the board is in very good condition albeit with the centre bowed
down ¼" in places which may explain why the table has been
tricky to fit (the aft leg of the table goes over the block of wood).
Two coats of the excellent International "Danboline" bilge paint.
Two coats of varnish for the base of the table leg, two more to go.
Plus a cleaned up and lacquered ring lift. I'll be adding a second
 one to the forward section which will make it much easier to get up
and save pulling on the carpet.
I  replaced the carpet with carpet tiles; cheaper, easier to source, hard wearing and with some spares it will be possible to replace small sections if one gets damaged. It was also probably easier to cut them to shape than a single piece would have been.
Trial fit of the table base on the aft section.
Front and centre sections, waiting for the second lift ring, the
2 slide bolts that hold the centre section down and a tie down
 point will be refitted when the boards go back in the boat,
when the weather permits.
The aft section is screwed down, the middle section secured with
slider bolts. Also one of 3 tie down points for under table storage.
The electric bilge pump and the hose to the main pump are 
accessible  with the middle section lifted.
Job almost done, just needs the additional
lift ring.
Job done.
And a small job, a heat shield for the lamp which was starting to damage the headlining with heat and smoke. A piece of brass sheet left over from a job about 15 years ago, cut and bent to shape then lacquered. And it hides a join and looks better than before.

Friday, October 27, 2023

My review of anchorages and marinas around UK has been updated through 2023.

Anchorages and Marinas covered at Dec 2023.
Sancerre in the anchorage at The Holy Island of
Lindisfarne, 2021
, the Farne Islands and Bamburgh
Castle in the distance.  A trip line is required in
this anchorage, to see why click here.
My review of anchorages and marinas around UK has been updated with those visited through September 2023, at that point I had been to 141 different ones since getting Sancerre, almost all have at least some comments. The pages were getting over long so there are now 11 of them. 

I now include:

  • Harbours and Marinas.
  • Some info on fuel & gas availability but I would not have checked at many locations. 
  • Cell coverage, Vodafone and O2, for those I have visited recently.

Be sure to check out Reeds  and / or the appropriate pilots for more detailed information and alternates, this is just an overview of likely candidates, but I have been to all of them over the last few years. Some notes on passage making using some of these can be found here:  "Planning a round GB trip" , a list of charts and Pilots I have used round GB can be found here: "Charts and Guides for a round GB trip"

Further updated during a boring winter 2023/4 to include some information on access to and from marinas. Done from notes but largely from memory but fortunately that is good for this sort of thing, I just wish that I always knew why I went into a room or opened a browser page 😕. See my page Marina & mooring notes (opens in a new window) for some general tips, definitions and the context (handling of my boat) in which I comment.

Village Bay Anchorage, St Kilda
Hunda Sound anchorage looking towards Scapa Flow, Orkney at 03:30.
Note that these "Pages" do not show up under "Post Labels" (right). There will normally be more photos of each anchorage on the linked post and sometimes subsequent ones (I normally only "tag" the first post in a sequence) the associated slide show, or by clicking on the Post Label right: