Wintry Najardvarvet (Najad Yard), Henan, Sweden - where I'm spending a lot of my time now, keeping a good eye on the fitting out of the new "Nereida" in between discussions on some remaining issues - stern steelwork, strongpoints for a drogue, windsteering fixing points, electronics, sails, 2nd alternator on the engine, etc... I'm really appreciating a heated car driving seat (warm & relaxing!) as I drive to and from the Stenungsund Y.C. where I'm staying - a very pleasant, friendly place. Every Friday and Saturday night, it's really 'hopping' as the only place around where the locals can dance to live music and forget the short, often overcast & dark, cold days. It gets a good mix of ages (and quite a few really good dancers) and it's great to see so many people clearly having a good time - plus I get to dance occasionally to 'Abba' (or at least, to their music!) in Sweden....!!
The boat started out in December being worked on with the deck alongside the hull - but by January, the deck was in place and the boat was soon moved to its new 'home' (see photos below) where it will stay until it is almost ready to truck down to England in early March.
Moving of the boat gave me a chance to get a good first overall view of her - she looks pretty, don't you think? And I know she'll sail well, maybe even better than the old 'Nereida' ... It was a freezing cold Friday night and they took quite a time manoevring her to a precise position - the working platform/floor around in her new 'home' is a very close fit!
I had a busy time at the London Boat Show, meeting lots of people, many of whom were very supportive of my sailing plans with the new boat. Prior to the Show, I'd already had very welcome help from both Lopolight (their new stainless steel LED navigation lights) & Whale Pumps (fresh water foot pump and sea water manual pump - both very reliable & used in my previous boat) - as mentioned in my previous 'blog'. Andersen (winches) are continuing to be very helpful and, as a result of talking to IMP Ltd about that, I was delighted to find Cantalupi Lighting offering to send me as many overhead LED cabin lights as I need - a big 'Thank you' to Susannah (IMP in UK) and to Giovanni (Cantalupi in Italy)! That will really help keep my power usage down both on passage and at anchor. Terry Smallwood of Kelvin Hughes has very kindly offered to help me with my buying of books and charts etc - I lost so many....
Not far from Henan is Smogen where the sail loft of UK-Syversen (sailmaker for Najad) is based, amid dramatic, enormous, granite boulders and bare outcrops, rounded and smoothed by Ice Age glacier action, overlooking a sea littered with low, bare, granite islands - so unlike the tree-covered Gulf Islands of B.C. Here I met 'Dallas' who will be making my sails. I found it difficult not to accept his very tempting offer of sails in a woven Spectra/polyester 7:3 mix, his price was so good. It'll be interesting to see how they wear - I've been given conflicting reports on that. He is convinced that the cloth will do me fine - and it will obviously keep its shape well. Of course, there'll be a deep third reef in the mainsail and I've asked for reflective tape on the furling genoa 'reef marks' - that has proved so useful overnight when it's really dark.
As part of the stern arch steelwork design problem that's been on my mind for some time now, I've been looking at using Scanstrut's self-levelling radar mount, with a simple GPS support on it, which can hang to one side of my solar panels (so minimal shadowing) . It looks like a really neat well-designed solution and should work well. This can be combined with other antennae (for AIS, Navtex, weatherfax, Iridium, etc) mounted on a plate above, with all wires leading down into the supporting tube. I'm not keen to use aluminium if it can be avoided - I prefer to use steel - so we'll see how it works out in practice. I'll use a standard SS 2-inch pole instead of their 3-inch powder-coated aluminium pole, which requires the wires all to be led outside near the hinged base, rather than being led down below decks from inside the tube as I want to do. I'm hoping to lead the wires directly down into a self-draining lazarette before routeing them forward, to avoid problems of water ingress. Scanstrut have been very helpful in discussions on the details of their products.
I started the year well by winning a little competition run by Sealevel Systems (USB-serial adaptors etc) - the answer to their December quiz seemed to me to be so obvious, I replied - and won!! As a result of the direct contact, they have said they are very happy to provide me with the USB to serial communications hardware that I will need to connect boat equipment to my laptop - nice of them, since their products are well-known for being very reliable.
The 'good feelings' continued with the news that the Ocean Cruising Club are to award me their Rose Medal for a 'meritorious short-handed passage' (clearly not my very last one...!). They must have been very short on contenders this year! But seriously, I feel honoured ... and a bit fraudulent for being given an award for simply doing something I enjoy so much!! It seems to me that it's the starting out that is difficult for so many... afterwards, all you have to do is to keep going.