Snug in a gale and planning to be even more so

So tonight is another wet and windy night. Currently forecast says gusts of upto 45mph which is almost the top of a Beaufort force 8 gale. A bit warmer than a few nights ago with a minimum of 5°C.

We are snug inside with our wallpaper panel heaters on, at the moment it is 18°C in the saloon although overnight it generally drops to about 11°C in the saloon. The aft cabin is warmer with us sleeping there and so we typically set the thermostat to 11°C. The heater isn’t on much of the time then.

When we are away from the boat we have both heaters set to 5°C which is one reason why we are consistently making progress at drying the boat out.

Apart from the places where we want access to bolts (under side decks, around the hatch, the mast foot and some deck hardware around the mast) our aft cabin is now fully insulated with 10mm of closed cell foam. So we will see how much difference that makes tonight. Although we have always felt pretty snug sleeping there.

When in the boatyard it makes such a difference to have composting toilets. We don’t have to go out in the rain and wind to use the clubhouse toilets. Generally we empty the urine bottle every 48 hours or so. The solids about every 3 months (averaging about 24 hours on board a week).

We couldn’t have used the original direct discharge toilets at all. If we had a holding tank it would probably be full by now with no means of emptying it. Plus there would be no water to flush the toilet with.

Talking of water the boatyard does have a tap but you have to pay with a token for each 15 minutes. Not sure how much we would want to use it for drinking anyway. So we are filling 2 litre water bottles from a normal indoor kitchen tap and using them. Waste goes in a bucket which take off the boat and pour down a drain.

So despite it being a horrible evening we are snug and don’t have to venture out.

When we do go out we have our wheelhouse as a porch. Especially with the prevailing winds coming at us head on (as they normally will at anchor) the wheelhouse is great. We have a dry, wind free entrance into the boat and when we put the back cover on the wheelhouse it keeps the heat from rushing out too fast.

While the protection and convenience of the wheelhouse is great, this winter has demonstrated that we are going to have to do some upgrades.

First, we are replacing the rooflight. It was very crazed (defeating it’s purpose of allowing you to look up when steering and see the mainsail) and leaked a bit. So when we took it off to build the engine removal gantry we decided to get new acrylic for it.

Just visible is the temporary plywood cover for the rooflight

Our hatch top and hatch boards also need some TLC, fortunately as they are so protected we can manage for the moment.

More of an issue is the bright blue rear cover. It is really only designed to be closed up from outside when you leave the boat. So closing it with us inside is a pain (but essential when the wind and rain come from behind). It also flaps, bangs and rattles a bit in the wind. Some of snaps used to secure it have broken. We will need to modify it or create a replacement. That would also give us a chance to remove the last of the wood trim for renovation.

Once we get started on the electrical system we have 4 x 40 wattage solar panels to go on it’s roof along with renovated handrails.

One day the glass windscreen will get some care, the middle section might be better if it was opening for hotter climates.

I remember a few days as a teenager when our family of 5 was stuck on our Eygthene 24 foot boat on a mooring during the 1979 Fastnet Storm. The lack of a protected space outside and what was an almost completely open plan interior meant very close quarters living. The combination of our very separate, self contained ensuite aft sleeping cabin, the centre cockpit with a wheelhouse that can be setup with varying amounts of openness, a comfortable saloon as well as main heads and forecabin makes Vida a really good place to wait out bad weather. We have space to relax together, get on with jobs, have meals, do jobs, move stuff out of the way etc.

So despite the weather we are happy and enjoying both the dreams for the future and the process of getting there.

Besides, during a wet and stormy half term this is about as nice a place to be as any.

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