Monday, 1 July 2013

Shakedown Cruise

The beginning of June marked an extended sea trial where Jon and Colin were joined by James Hale, ex Royal Marine and honorary ships engineer who fixed the shower pump immediately, Gerry O' Donoghue some sort of Professor and our director of shore based operations, namely getting us to the TT raceS on the Isle of Mann and the best restaurant afterwards, and Tony Power ships purser on treble accounting, and jewellers shower head repairs.


We left Dun Laoghaire and visited Carlingford Lough on the border between Southern and Northern Ireland. The marina was built in the boom years and had a helicopter pad for Dublin high rollers. Now half the pontoons are sinking and there's no one there to collect the fees.
Next stop was Portaferry inside the tidal entrance to Strangford Lough. Fish and Chips from a shop famous for the best in N Ireland and a Guinness at the fiddlers arms where the delightful landlady was having a quiet night preparing the pub quiz. She gave us an old one to do on the boat. Tony Power who always has a book handy won easily.

Strangford to Port St Mary was an easy passage mainly under engine.The next day we took the steam train to Douglas and spent a lovely sunny day watching the TT races. First the 500cc bikes at quarter mile bridge and at lunch we walked down the track to another bend where we watched the sidecars. There were thousands of biking enthusiasts from all over the world and it was great to see just about every make of bike both old and new up and running.
Lovely passage back to Conwy via Holyhead with the wind on the beam and the parasail up. 

The next few weeks have been a frantic combination of a trip to Edinburgh to collect a lifetime award from the chief wizard of the BMA for being a professional thorn in the side to NHS management. A few days walking with Bridget on the Fife Coastal path and hay-making at home. Getting the boat ready has meant endless lists, continuing sagas with bilge pumps , the toilet and holding tank , and the Duogen generator. Fortunately I was berthed next to Clive Sparkes in Sephina who was characteristically generous with both his time, expertise , and cast-offs . Delivery drivers now know exactly where our house is.

The electrical systems on a yacht are quite complicated. You need to generate enough power under sail to cover daily usage. Carl Filer from TLC electronics was a genius at working out which regulator was required for the engine,solar panels and wind generator and then burrowing around in awkward corners to install them. James and Colin rebuilt the Aries windvane which had too much play in the bushes and was resulting in a very erratic course when used and during the final week Colin arrived to live on the boat and restore order and calm to a boat in bits.

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