Expensive progress

This evening I’ve placed a big order with Jimmy Green Marine for all the Dyneema and Low Friction Rings that I need for the Mizzen. Decided to be very cautious and go oversized from what I had worked out in The mysteries of sizing Dyneema standing rigging, so we are replacing the 6mm stainless steel with 9mm Dynice Dux (with 6mm Dynice Dux for the tensioning lashings.

I also ordered what we need for 6mm Dynice Dux guardrails with gates.

This includes enough chafe protection of the right sizes to protect the Dyneema at the chainplates, mast tangs and stanchions. I realised that I will be able to reuse the dyneema even if we change the stanchions, so the lower guardrail lines are a good place to practice my eye splices before doing the top guardrails and then the shrouds.

I’m going to need to experiment with some prototype mast tangs before I can order all the parts for them but having the actual rope will make that easier.

What is coming next?

April was another record month on SustainableSailing with a 25% increase in views over March which was our busiest month so far.

So we assume there are some new visitors (and an especially warm welcome to the new subscribers).

With this in mind, and also with us being able to able to get on with the refit, it seems an update on what is coming next would be a good idea.

By Sabbatical in April 2022

Our first priority is the aft cabin work that is required to get the mizzen mast up with it’s new dyneema stays. So that means finishing the chainplates and the work to better support the mizzen mast foot (which is connected with reconfiguring the double bed in the aft cabin).

Then we have two paths that we can work on. Inside (and in poor weather) we can continue with the aft cabin remodelling. Outside we can get everything ready to put the mizzen mast up (which is quite a long list).

You can see our first draft changes to the aft cabin layout here since then the ideas have only changed a little. Once the main work is done the mattress can be adjusted, the whole cabin insulated and the headlining fitted – that will be our first “finished” space as our comfortable place to sleep in a warm, nice looking cabin.

After the mizzen and aft cabin our next task is going to be the work on and under the foredeck. That includes modifying the bow roller. We want to be able to securely self stow and launch our Spade anchor; to have a roller for mooring lines that is clear of the anchor; to have points for the yankee, forestay. We want to have a plan and the basics in place for both a code zero and an asymmetric spinnakers (either via direct connection to the new roller structure or or a way to have a removable bowsprit). We will do the structural work to reconfigure the old anchor and chain lockers for our new windlass and inner forestay. We wrote about this in Plans for anchoring and not a lot has changed except that we hope to get our existing bow roller changed locally now that I have managed to remove it.

Then a few basics (3 holes to fill above the waterline – old shower outlet, old bilge pump and engine exhaust) and we can get on with the bilge (remove old water tank, new bilge pumps, new water tanks) so that we have done everything below the motor. That will allow us to fit the propeller shaft (cutlass bearing, dripless seal and aquadrive) and so be able to finally install the electric motor and batteries.

Meanwhile once the mizzen is up we can properly check the plans for the solar panels and wind vane self steering. The solar will come first.

At this point we can fit the new chainplates for the main mast (some dry weather needed) and do all the rigging work. In bad weather there will be all the interior wiring and plumbing for the galley.

Somewhere in all this we will have decided what to do with the guardrails. That is connected with decisions about the solar panels but also whether we keep what we have or replace them (several have been bent, the line guides on the top of the stanchions have significant UV damage, we would like higher lines for better security).

We have lots of painting to do including antifouling below the waterline (after removing the existing paint, possibly needing a new epoxy barrier coat); hull topsides (the gel coat is too tired to be worth us restoring); decks (to improve non-slip and hide changes/repairs) and probably a quick spray of the inside to look brighter and cleaner.

Lots of other jobs won’t happen before we launch (hopefully in time for my sabbatical in April 2022) so we won’t have done much more to the galley, we won’t have washbasins in either head or the shower in the forward head. The forecabin will be untouched so just for storage. No new headlining in the main saloon.

Instrumentation/electronics will be minimal. New bulkhead compass, new depth sounder, new AIS (transmit and receive), new VHF radio, android tablet for navigation (phones as backup), navigation lights and some internal LED lighting.

There are lots of other smaller jobs (like cleaning and refitted the connection from the steering to the rudder stock) and a few big ones that don’t depend on us (eg the boatyard fitting the new toe rails).

Before we move to living aboard and cruising the world

Following the 2022 season we can get on with “finishing” more things


  • finish the galley with an extended worktop making it a full U shape, gimbled cooking, fridge, storage
  • finish the forward heads with basin and shower. Reconfigure the doors so that it can be a good “dressing space” for the forecabin.
  • finish the aft heads with basin
  • forecabin to be made into a nice guest cabin (and good storage when no guests)
  • replace chart table with Refleks diesel heater and storage (on the go chart work in the cockpit, planning on the saloon table), fit hot water storage and radiators from the Refleks
  • New headlining throughout to match the aft cabin (with insulation everywhere), nice LED lighting everywhere
  • Full navigation suite using Raspberry Pi’s and Open Source projects such as OpenCPN and SignalK. Other Raspberry Pi’s for “office work” and play. One fully configured Raspberry Pi navigation system stored with a screen and battery in a Faraday cage to be available should everything else be destroyed by lightning).

Above decks

  • Fit windvane self steering (either a Cape Horn or a Hydrovane)
  • Improve wheelhouse (stronger and opening front, full but removable enclosure). Some ideas here.
  • New sails, furlers and extra cockpit winches to take us towards our ideal sail plan

And onwards

The aim will do have all this complete before we move to live aboard. After that hopefully the only remaining big tasks will be a Watermaker (needed if we are going to do our own clothes washing and have showers without visiting marinas) and getting the Plastic Recycling to work onboard. However, we will be cruising with tools and materials so that we can maintain and repair as much as possible ourselves as we go.

Progress on Visit 3 in 2021 (part 2)

Today we managed to make more progress on the aft cabin chainplate ply backing plates. We have drilled through from the deck holes to ensure accurate positioning and so we can use bolts to apply pressure when we fit. We have also attached the smaller ply backing sheets.

We also gave the sides of the aft cabin, that we revealed yesterday, a really good clean. Noticed that the tabbing for the bulkhead at the foot of our bed needs a little attention.

We also cut away the front of the deeper wardrobe at the entrance to the aft cabin. Will make it seem a lot more open as you come down the corridor. It also makes space for the seat at the side of the bed.

The epoxy wasn’t dry enough to fit the ply backing plates so that is a job for another day 😊

Progress on Visit 3 in 2021 (part 1)

Today we have removed all 6 chainplate bolts that are accessible from the aft cabin. See Feeling vindicated by chainplate condition. Also one mooring cleat and the pushpit bolts (which had no backing plate at all).

Then we have prepared the largest plywood backing plates. These go the full length of the aft cabin under the hull shelf that supports the deck. They are 9mm marine ply, thickened epoxy will ensure a smooth, even bed between the shelf and the ply.

This will be supplemented by extra localised backing plates for the cleat and pushpit.

In the picture you can see another, smaller 9mm ply backing plate on top of the large one. This will be a backing plate for all 3 chainplates per side, attached with slightly thickened epoxy. Below that will be a third, smaller backing plate of 10mm G10.

The next job has been preparing the aft cabin to fit the backing plates. After a lot debate we decided to remove the ply lining from the cabin sides. This will make the backing plates easier to fix and we will be able to fit a lot more insulation between the stringers.

We have sanded the underside of the deck shelf ready for the ply backing plate.

Hoping to do the first epoxying tomorrow, possibly. Meanwhile the temperature is plummeting so retreating to the cabin with the heaters.

We did get to measure all the existing stainless steel rigging. As we suspected 6mm for the mizzen and 8mm for the main mast.

Late evening progress

Well we arrived at Vida at 11.20pm and decided it was worth connecting our new mains consumer unit before bed.

We can now use the full 16amp boatyard supply. At the moment I’ve wired in a couple of extension leads. Already a nice tidy up possible from the way we have managed with a “consumer” unit designed for tents.

We are using a cheap domestic consumer unit at the moment. Obviously not a long term solution, but our plans are not stable enough yet to get a marine one which we will probably need to make a custom cabinet for.

Progress on Visit 2 in 2021

Rather than returning to Friday updates I thought I’d share progress bu visits. Our first visit in 2021 was really just a checkup and a nicer place to work from. Last weekend we managed a couple of nights and made some real progress πŸ™‚

Most of our progress has left Vida looking a bit more naked πŸ™‚

We have got the bow roller, anchor locker hatch, pullpit and guardrails off. We found that the pin for the forestay was pretty worn.

Also the hole it was using has been elongated.

There was a lot of water trapped under some of the pullpit legs

We (Jane) have managed to clean up the anchor locker a lot

I was delighted that it was much easier than I expected to remove the bow roller and that it looks straightforward to have it adapted for our Spade anchor and new forestay setup. As well as extending it out forward a bit so that the anchor fits better and doesn’t hit the boat, we will be adding some extra length coming aft with extra bolts to counteract the leverage of the anchor. We will also add means to ensure that neither the chain nor anchor can “escape” and chafe through the forestay.

The anchor locker is going to be radically changed. I wrote about our plans in this post about anchoring. Over the summer we can thrash out the details. First job will be to make a mock-up, of the changes to the bow roller, using plywood to give to the local fabricator as a template

The pullpit will probably sit on pads which will help keep water out, otherwise it won’t change. The anchor locker lid will be partly fixed and partly opening but it is starting to split open so will need some reinforcement/rebuilding.

Hopefully we have made some progress on getting a new toe rail fitted (was arranged for and paid for by the previous owner but still not fitted 2 years later).

No pictures, but we also removed two u-bolts from the cabin roof having discovered they were leaking a little over the winter. Once things have dried out we will replace any damaged core with thickened epoxy and not refit them.

I’ve also removed all the shrouds and tangs from the mizzen mast so that we can start on the dyneema replacements.

We have now made a detailed workplan now for fitting the chainplates in the aft cabin without causing to much disruption to our sleeping arrangements. Basically we will return home late at night after doing epoxy work so that we don’t have to move everything to sleep in the saloon. The marine ply is now ordered.

We have also ordered the “Ecor Pro DryBoat 12 DH1200 INOX 12 Litre Boat Dehumidifier” that we had planned on getting so that we can leave it on and hopefully ensure that nothing gets mouldy again. To fully achieve that will require us to finish the insulation and headlining but that can’t be done in the aft cabin until the chainplates are done and the mizzen mast support strengthened and the bed rearrangements completed. So a few weeks off.

As part of that we are preparing for a first fit of our new mains consumer unit. So far we have been using a camping unit but this will allow us to use more electrical things at the same time. Later it will be properly wired into Victron Multiplus units (see House Battery Bank: Should we go 48 Volt?) which will be connect to both a proper mains supply connection point and to the battery bank. We have gone for a large unit so every socket on the boat will have it’s own (appropriately sized) circuit breaker.

One slight gotcha was that by the end of this visit I’d used up my bandwidth for the month on my tablet (which also acts as a hotspot). Hadn’t really planned for 6.5 hours of zoom meetings, uploading edited video etc.

So a good amount done. In our next visit (weather permitting) we should start to see more things being created rather than removed πŸ™‚

Lessons after a 6 month boat abandonment

So about to go to bed for the second night aboard after a 6 month gap through a Welsh winter. We hadn’t expected such a long gap. Back in October we were expecting Wales to restrict entry from Manchester but we hadn’t expected the double restriction of not being able to enter Wales and not being able to stay away from home to last until mid April.

The only problems we found were:

  • Our duvet and pillows went mouldy. We wouldn’t have left them all winter, we certainly wouldn’t normally leave them with no heating in the boat (not sure when our electricity ran out but until it did we had the heating set to come on at 5 degrees C)
  • One of the only deck fittings on the main saloon roof has leaked (a u-bolt for a harness to clip to). It isn’t much but we will remove it and check for damage to the balsa core.

The great thing we found:

Both our composting toilets were in perfect shape to continue to use them right away. We had emptied the urine bottles but not the compost areas. There was no smell, no mess. They were absolutely ready to use straight away. If you had left a chemical toilet partially full then it would have been disgusting, as would the holding tank of a typical boat toilet. Any toilet with water it could have had problems with freezing and the smell of the stagnant water would have been unpleasant. I don’t think there is any other form of toilet that you could unexpectedly leave for 6 months and find no problems at all (and of course most boat toilets can’t be used while the boat is ashore anyway)


Since arriving we have spent more time working on non boat related work than anything else. So the only real progress has been to check some of our plans against reality.

Also it has been pretty cold here both days. Tonight it is due to drop to 1 degree C, our two infrared electric panel heaters can’t maintain a comfortable temperature in the cabin. We are ok in bed with a replacement duvet and hot water bottles but running out of fleeces to where while out of bed. This has been made worse because earlier this evening our electric fan heater blew up and tripped the electrics. With that we could keep a comfortable temperature, since then it has been dropping a little each hour.

Anyway we have:

  • checked reconnecting the steering to the rudder and in the process checked whether a Cape Horn Wind vane self steering could be fitted (we think it can)
  • reviewed our plans to remodel the aft cabin (better double bed with easier access, comfy seat, wider door to heads compartment, better support for the mizzen mast)
  • come up with a “final” design for our dyneema chainplates
  • reviewed and improved our design for a solar arch, getting very excited by how that is looking now.
  • rethought our chart table area (we are going to follow the recommendation from Attainable Adventure Cruising and do chart work in the cockpit, so we are removing our chart table to make an excellent spot for a Refleks Diesel heater (looking at a 62MSK which heats directly, plus radiators and has a stove top). Apart from that we will have extra storage.
  • rechecked our measurements for the dinghy on the foredeck and that it won’t cause problems for the windlass and inner forestay.
  • taken lots more photos so that we won’t have to rely on memory so much in the future πŸ™‚

I’ve a 4 hour zoom meeting tomorrow morning (Saturday) then home in the afternoon, so not much more to do here except enjoy the views and the relief at being able to be back here.

A nice place to do the washing up

Still here!

We have arrived at Vida for our first visit for almost exactly 6 months. Lockdown restrictions have eased enough for us to both get out of Manchester and be allowed into Wales.

Only problem is that our duvet and pillows were are very mouldy. We would never have left them if we had realised it was going to be for so long.

Otherwise a completely dry bilge and no other problems. 😁