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Barry's Blog # 28 – Life on the hard

Right now the whole hull of the yacht is vibrating madly as power tools are being used on the port side to grind away the bronze exterior fittings of the through hulls from the galley, whilst on the starboard side the already removed foreward head through hull fittings holes are being sanded in preparation for the new fittings.

A B Sea is currently out of the water and up on the hard. We're still living on her even though we have to climb up a small scaffold and an aluminium ladder to get on board and we're adapting to day-to-day living without the use of onboard toilets or the ability to simply drain the water from the galley or head wash basins. It's all good though because it means things are moving forward and we are getting ever closer to the day we can slip the lines and begin sailing.

Seacocks should open and close

4 seacocks in the foreward head

When we had our pre-purchase survey done back in mid March 2018 it was noted that several of the seacocks were badly corroded, so much so that a couple of them could not be opened or closed, one even had its handle broken off. Not being able to close a seacock is an especially bad thing because the exterior of the through hull that it's attached to is very likely to be below the waterline and if the hose or pipe that's attached to the inside of the seacock splits or comes loose, then you instantly have seawater gushing into your vessel, usually followed by a sinking feeling. With a fully functional seacock in place a quick 90 degree turn of the handle and hey presto no more seawater can get in. Being out of the water we have taken the opportunity to walk around the exterior of A B Sea and make a note of how many 'holes' there are and then match them up with what we see on the inside, so that we now have a diagram which shows what the through hull fitting is attached to and whether it's an inflow or outflow 'hole'. These are all good things to get sorted now so that should an incident arise while we are out sailing, we can just look at our diagram and know what's what without having to figure out which pipe or hose runs to where and why.

Several other jobs are getting done while we are high and dry. A big one is having the iron keel cleaned up and prepped, ready for it and the whole hull to have antifouling paint applied. The bilge pump is being replaced as it has never worked since day 1 and we are having the rudder stock cable attachment serviced and corrosion protective paint applied. The cables at the base of the now reinstalled mast have also been reconnected which will allow us to have a good play around with the navigation instruments and make sure that everything is calibrated before we sail away.

We have also discovered that the hot water heater has issues, the main issue being that it doesn't actually heat the water. I did show it a 'job definition' but it just shrugged its shoulders and laughed at me. It seems that the previous owner, rather than fix it had simply chosen to shut off the water to it and ignore the problem, then when we turned on the water, hoping to allow it to create hot water, we discovered that the water ran right through and half filled our bilge. Jose is going to look into it for us.

Christmas every day!

Please take me out bof the box!

During the course of this last week several of our expected packages arrived and we now have our auto inflation Spinlock personal lifejackets, 12km range waterproof walkie talkies, a waterproof handheld VHF radio and especially exciting for me, a DJI Mavic Pro drone with a 4k camera. The drone, still unopened, is sitting on the nav station table and every time I walk past I swear that it calls my name and begs to be opened and played with. Unfortunately I just haven't had the time. I imagine that once we are back in the water and we're waiting for paperwork to be processed there will be plenty of time to learn how to fly a drone then.

There has also been a bit of an issue with Mares Australia being unable to supply us with the extra scuba gear we need. Plan B is our friend Mr Ian from The Diving Company who has connections to a USA scuba equipment manufacturer and we are now looking into that possibility. Plan C would be to hire a car again for a week and make another trip to Casco Antiguo (dive shop) in Murcia to get the scuba equipment we require. The silver lining of hiring a car is that we can also do a big supermarket run and refill our slowly dwindling food and beer stocks.

Summertime and the weather is fine

It has been interesting noting the temperature and weather changes since we arrived here at the marina in mid April, going from chilly to now quite warm. We are told that it gets 'stinking hot' in The Med during the summer and we are curious to see just how hot it does get compared to the Australian summer heat and humidity of Queensland. At least if it does get 'stinking hot' the swimming pool is always open and it's located just off the stern of A B Sea. Since we arrived in Spain in mid December there has also been very little rainfall apart from a couple of drizzly days while we were staying Javea and yesterday evening here at the marina a very brief shower that dried up as soon as it hit the ground.

Monitoring the wind

I have been monitoring the more important weather factor to us, which is the wind strength and direction. From what I have observed if we actually want to sail and not motor away from this marina, our departure day will not be defined by ticking off all of the jobs on our to do lists, nor will it be decided by the processing of boat ownership and insurance documents, we will be at the mercy of the wind. For example yesterday the wind was blowing from the north east and gusting to 30 knots, that's no good to us. Today it's blowing from the south and gusting to 20 knots, just perfect. Saturday there's no wind at all and Sunday it's blowing from the south east (perfect) but there's only 5 knots predicted so theoretically we'd be motoring. As we are very inexperienced sailors we are crossing our fingers that the universe supplies us with the just right Goldilocks weather zone for when it comes to departure day. Once we do depart and all things being equal we plan on taking 4 to 5 days to sail up to Javea (it normally can be done in 2 days), where we will meet my brother Phil, hang around there for a few days and then head over to the Balearic Islands for a month. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men!

This week's blog is another short one I know, but I'm writing this one at the eleventh hour and where we are in the boat yard the Internet connection is slower than a three legged asthmatic hippo wading through molasses. So rather than take the chance of not getting it and the accompanying photos up to our website in time for you to read, I'm going to cut it short and hope you'll understand.

Until next time thanks for reading and remember if you have any questions do leave them in the comment section below and I'll get back to you.

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