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Barry's Blog # 49 - Getting A B Sea shipshape - The new list!

Way back in Barry's blog #10 The importance of 'to do' lists, I shared with you why I love writing lists and ticking things off once they're completed. Well since spending a month with Mike and Elaine on board A B Sea I now have a new 'to do' list which is separate from any other lists that are currently being worked through.

When we left the marina in Spain after spending 3 months of getting all the modifications and repairs done we figured that A B Sea was as shipshape as she could be and in a way she was. However crossing the Mediterranean has been a very big shakedown sail and you soon learn that there are many things you never considered when you were sitting in your cockpit sipping a cold beer whilst tied up in a marina.

Here are some of the main items on the new list

With an auto pilot you can just set it on course and then go sit on the comfy cushions at the cockpit table. However I like to keep an eye on our engine gauges, the chart plotter and looking ahead for fishermen's crab pot markers, so I have now spent a couple of hundred hours sitting at the helm seat which does not, as you can see from the photo, have cushions that are anywhere near what you'd describe as comfortable. So we are going to have made some custom seat cushions and seat backs for both helm positions once we arrive in Kas, Turkey.

Proposed changes to helm and pushpit area

Our outboard engine, when it is not attached to the stern of our dinghy, is mounted on the port side of the push pit rail and as I have learned from watching stern-to mooring that is a rather exposed position if someone is backing their boat in next to us. So in order to mount the outboard on the aft of the push pit we will need to extend the chrome rail by about 70cm (27.5 inches). An added bonus of getting this done will mean that the new helm seat backs will have something solid to attach to.

Continuing with the theme of extending the chrome rail we will also add 3.5m (11.48 feet) to extend both sides of the push pit to meet up with the gate stanchions amidships. This will give us something more solid to grab hold of when entering and especially exiting the cockpit and give us a spot to mount a detachable BBQ and secure a stand up paddle board. (Both future purchases).

Added safety with a solid stainless steel rail to the amidships gates

At one point during our journey across the Mediterranean, with just Aannsha and I on board, we encountered 30 knot winds and seas that were very confused which gave us a very bumpy ride. As it stands right now the only places we can clip our safety harnesses to is either the cockpit binnacle or the jacks lines running down both side decks. So we will be adding four stainless steel pad eyes to the cockpit area which will provide more choices for clipping in. Our safety harnesses give us the choice of using either a short or long leash so if we position the pad eyes correctly we can use our short leashes for better safety.

For night passages some of our instrument backlights need to be replaced and we are currently using a very low lumens LED torch to see them as needed. But it would be nice if they all had their own illumination preferably in red colour so we can maintain our night vision. We will also install a couple of red LED lights down below in the galley and saloon for the same reason.

The two small gates that open up to let us through to our swim platform will have small magnets attached to them so that when they're in the open position and it's a bit rolly they are not banging open and closed all the time. I know that it's just a little thing, but it's a very annoying sound.

We'll also be installing some LED lighting in the cockpit as there really is nothing there at the moment that's useful for entertaining guests or just enjoying a cold beer and wine ourselves. While we are running the power connections for that we'll also run some 220volt power to the cockpit from our inverter so that we can power our laptops and hard drives without having cables running all over the floor and creating a trip hazard.

Plety of room in our chain locker for another 50 metres of 10mm galvanised chain

After experiencing stern-to mooring we will add another 50 metres of 10mm galvanised chain to our anchor. We did have 48 metres of mooring rope added in Spain, but having it all chain would be easier in the long run and we can re-use the 48 metres of rope as a shore line if that's ever a need.

Port navigation light lens is missing at sea

On one leg of our trip we had no choice but to plow through heavy swell and a strong head wind when we exited the bay heading from Astipalaia to Nisyros in Greece and at one point the bow, anchor and pulpit of A B Sea were buried into a fairly big wave which resulted in us losing the lens cover for the red port navigation light. We watched the video footage and one moment it's there, the next it is not. So that whole navigation light fitting will have to be replaced.

General servicing and maintenance

The main sail and head sail will be taken down so that we can clean and lubricate all of the furling mechanisms. At this moment the head sail comes in and out OK but the main sail is rather reluctant either way and I have watched YouTube videos of people pulling out a furling main sail with just one hand, so ours definitely needs lubricating.

Whilst in the general area of the sails we will remove all of our lines and get them into a washing machine for a good scrub and a nice soak in fabric conditioner. Right now some of them are so stiff you could break rocks with them. When we put them back in place we'll be topping and tailing them so that the current points of contact or wear will be on a different section of each of the lines and the lines can untwist back to their original state.

All lines need a good tumble in a washing machine

We're also considering getting a remote control for our windlass so that we can lower or bring up the anchor from the helm position, but that is way down the list and is dependent on how much all the other jobs cost. That being said it will be Mike and I carrying out most of the work so there will be some savings on labour costs, but I will have to keep him well hydrated with cold beer.

There are quite a few more small cosmetic jobs that will get done and we will of course film everything so that you get to see the before and after of each job.

I'm really looking forward to ticking things off this particular list and also getting A B Sea even more shipshape than she is now and winter time in Kas, Turkey is defiantly the ideal spot to do it.

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