Back to boatwork after a short visit to UK and the Southampton Boat Show
My brief UK visit was just as hectic as expected, but I managed to see a few friends, in between several visits to the September Boat Show .... Had good friendly responses from lots of people at the Show - but full sponsorship for my planned re-attempt at a nonstop solo RTW next year is not at all easy to get - hardly surprising with the present economic situation, but I'm still working on it.
The Show organizers were very helpful & gave me free entry whenever I attended. Several firms have given me bits of equipment - Eberspacher UK gave me a better control unit for their diesel heater, incorporating fault-finding diagnostics - I'm in the middle of installing that. Scanstrut have given me a new radar support and damper mechanism for their gimballed unit and IMP will be giving me some LED lighting strips for the engine compartment and some lockers. Derek of 'Yachting Sports' also kindly gave me a 36mm deep socket - needed to enable me to tighten my keel bolts! Raymarine are continuing to give me lots of help and support, which is much appreciated.
I've still no refrigeration - a new cold-plate is being fabricated after the old one corroded badly and I'm installing a digital thermostat control unit. Several items are needing re-wiring from the SS stern pole, some back to the chart table - ugh!! That work also includes installing a good wi-fi antenna with quality data cabling to pick up wi-fi signals from a distance. I still need to re-bed the staysail chainplate and stern steelwork in an effort to eliminate leaks, the Hydrovane mechanism needs some minor attention and fibreglass work on the gas locker is starting tomorrow (Monday) hopefully - to improve water drainage in order to avoid rusting of steel gas tanks stored there. I'm still waiting for the day when the main work is all finished and I can tidy up the boat to see what else needs doing!
I visited the Clipper fleet on Sunday at the busy V&A Waterfront - interesting to see the heavy deck-gear needed to deal with their big sails. Very little crew comfort down below...! I was hoping to see a member of the 'Gold Coast' (Aus/QLD) crew that I met in Thame recently - Taz is doing the next leg to W.Australia. They leave on Wednesday, after a crew-change and a week's pause for rest/, repairs and provisioning - they expect a 28 day passage. (I wish them good luck! - weather is likely to be nasty this time of year....! There was a strong SEer today!) After looking over the boat, I had a photo taken with the British Consul for Cape Town who was also visiting the boat - all the gear is big, with an emormous boom and sails! (My cousin lives in Cairns and the local radio&TV people greeted me on landfall there from Vanuatu in July '07, having taken 4 mths to cross the Pacific solo from Mexico, so I feel an affinity with the region - and 'Gold Coast' is also doing very well, so far, in the race!)
Sunday evening I went to Kalk Bay for a meal - and was fascinated by the swell breaking heavily over the rocks just outside the restaurant and a pair of Southern Right whales seen for quite a time just before sunset beyond the small fishing harbour entrance. The whales are here in numbers in False Bay and all around this coast now.
Weather has been variable since my arrival back here - hot in the daytime, during the clear days when the wind has not been so strong (as it often has), but cold at night - my Ushuaia fan heater is continuing to be well-used!
A few photos - firstly of an English 16th century thatched house, with a high covered entrance for farm carts, in the old village of Long Crendon, not far from Oxford,
and then two photos of the 'Gold Coast' Clipper boat here in Cape Town at the V & A Waterfront complex (one with Christopher Trott, UK Consul General and the othershowing two of the crew members at the main winch)